MACK HAMILTON & his Drifting Texans: « I’m a honky tonk daddy » (1953-54)

Nothing at all is known about MACK HAMILTON, (not even a picture), except he came probably from the Gulf, between Port Arthur, a mere 90 miles East of Houston, TX, and nearby Louisiana. And that is asserted only by the location of the two record labels he got to wax on between 1953 and 1954.

His first ever record was cut in Port Arthur for the Diamond Recording Company in 1953. To add much more confusion, a Diamond diskery was active during this period, which emanated from Beaumont, TX (on the Gulf too) and issued Country records, for example one by Morris Mills (Diamond # 101, « Jumbalaya answer« ), a rather prolific regional artist (also 4* and Macy’s). Although you may say it’s the same company with two locations, which has nothing to do with two other Diamond Co. in New York. This « Diamond Recording Company » was also a short-lived concern with only two issues, one therefore by Mack Hamilton (vocal and guitar): (Diamond CW-1001/1002) : the lugubrious mid-tempo « Moaning in the morning » (fiddle and steel prominent) and the self-conscious very Hank Williams styled « Sweet little Rosebud », a solid bopper, with even a short accordion solo, but steel and fiddle are once more well present.

Billboard, 31 October 1953

« Moaning in the morning »

« Sweet little Rosebud »


The second issue of the label was cut by Roland (R.A.) Faulk, as « Roland and his Rythm Boys » (sic). Sides CW 1003/1004 : « Send

me someone/I’d own the world ». are pleasant waltz tempo hillbillies. Nothing special, except a heay bass, a steel and a good piano and guitar. The singer is firm and confident : he was active on the Port Arthur area, and was to record in October 1956 the great Rockabilly « My baby’ gone » on Big State 592, a Starday custom, out of Port Acres, TX.(valued $ 700). But I am wandering from Mack Hamilton.

« Send me someone »

« I’d own the world« 

Roland (R.A.) Faulk, « My baby’s gone »


His next offerings were commited to wax in late 1953 for the Feature label, which was located in Crowley, La. and run by J.(Jay) D. Miller. Hamilton’s sides however were recorded at radio KTRM in Beaumont, TX. seemingly as a 4-tracks session. Backing Hamilton were Rusty (guitar) and his brother Doug Kershaw on fiddle, plus Louis Fourneret on steel. The tracks included two great Boppers : « I’m a honky-tonk daddy », completely Hank Williams styled with thudding bass and hot steel (Feature 1087A), and in the same pattern, « Will you will or will you won’t ?» (Feature 1095A).

« I’m a honky-tonk daddy »

« Will you will or will you won’t? »


« In a world without you »

« A girl with too many sweethearts »






Less fast were the flipsides, although very good on their part : the weepers mid-tempo « In a world without you » and « A girl with too many sweethearts ». And that was it. J. D. Miller wrote every Feature song, and must have had faith in « I’m a honky-tonk daddy », because he offered it to Wink Lewis on the very following number (# 1088). Lewis did a great version too. Later on he cut the great piano led Rockabilly « Zzztt, zzztt, zzztt » on the Texas Tone label (with Buzz Busby & his Band). I am wandering once more from Mack Hamilton, but there’s no more to relate about him : he disappeared completely from the music scene.

Wink Lewis, « I’m a honky-tonk daddy« 

Billboard Sept. 8, 1956


Wink Lewis, « Zzztt, zzztt, zzzttt« 



Notes : with great help from Ronald Keppner (Diamond recordings); notes by Bruce Bastin for Flyright vol. 19 (557) « Bayou boogie » ; my own archives.

Wink Lewis « Zzztt, zzztt, zzztt » – when a Hillbilly goes Rockabilly

You Do the Beedleleedleebop Zzztt Zzztt Zzztt…

wink lewis


WINK LEWIS w/ BUZ BUSBY & BAND- Zzztt, Zzztt, Zzztt (Tone 1121)


For a very brief period of time in the mid-50s, between stints as a radio DJ in Lufkin and Cameron, Wink Lewis’s voice could be heard over KSNY out of Snyder, Texas. It was from this location that Wink began his Queen record label. Many of the releases on the label were from Big Spring’s Hoyle Nix who was noted by John Ingman as a co-owner of the label.

queen real rockin daddy

Collectors today are aware of the Queen label because of the tune « Real Rockin’ Daddy » which was released twice by the label, with one version credited to Jay Bob Howdy with Hoyle Nix and His West Texas Cowboys and the rerelease noting the involvement of only Hoyle and his crew. Both feature the same vocal by the song’s co-writer Jay Bob Howdy who was actually Wink Lewis. Few people are aware that the song’s roots, and other co-writer « Miller », are based in east Texas and Louisiana from whence Wink came. Wink would actually release one single 45 on his own label under his own name featuring a nice honky tonk boogie titled « Low Down Blues » with backing from Buzz Busby and his Band. It’s Buzz who could probably be given credit for kick-starting the state of Maryland’s fascination with bluegrass music in the 1960s. Not sure how Buzz wound up in West Texas.


At some point in early 1956 Wink left KSNY in Snyder and headed east of I-35 to work radio in Cameron, Texas. A few short months later he again recorded with Buzz Busby’s band, this time producing one of the oddest rockabilly tunes ever- « Zzztt Zzztt Zzztt ». The rhythm is almost too much and the lyrics too hep with the result being a country boy just trying too hard and the disc received a lackluster Billboard review in August of 1956.


Allmusicguide’s Eugene Chadbourne mentions « Zzztt » being recorded in Snyder, but unless it was recorded at the same session that produced « Low Down Blues » and the master carried to Cameron I doubt this. And I doubt it was recorded at the same session. Perhaps the Queen-ette publishing is a homage to Wink’s brief stay in Snyder.


from (August 3rd, 2009)