Very little is known about Bobby Soots, except what is contained in a Tampa newspaper snippet dated Nov. 2, 1950. He was born in Alabama during the ’20s, took up the guitar when he was twelve and had his first band, the Red Wagon Boys, entertaining a local radio show in 1938. He then moved to Chicago to sing Hillbilly in the clubs, when the famous jazz drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa noticed and hired him as featured vocalist. Soots had a strong baritone voice, and Krupa used him on New York sessions for C&W tunes like Pee Wee King‘s « Bonaparte’s retreat » (June 1950), « Panhandle rag », « At the jazz band ball » or « Walking with the blues », to name just a few classic Krupa jazz sides.
A year later, free from his contract with Gene Krupa, Bobby Soots went solo for two sessions for Mercury records, apparently cut in Chicago. Eight tracks were recorded circa February/March 1951, whose only four were released, leaving unissued a promising « Fiddle boogie ». Among the issued tunes were Amos Milburn’s « Bad, bad whiskey » (Mercury 6326), and most of all, the immortal « (Help me lose the) Boogie woogie blues » (great steel solo!), often reissued (Mercury 6331). B-sides are less interesting, « I’m crying » and «Have you forgotten my name ». Soots did not write his own material. After these two issues, one loses his trail, and he seems to have disappeared afterwards.
Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) « At the jazz band ball »
Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) « Walking with the blues » <a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Vicor-Bobby-Soots-Walking-with-the-blues.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Bobby Soots, « Have you forgotten my name » download
Bobby Soots solo discography:
(vo) with instrumental accompaniment: g, rh. g, p, steel, str.b.. Poss. Chicago, circa Feb. 1951
7208 Bad, bad whiskey Mercury 6326
7209 Fiddle boogie unissued
7210 I’m cryin’ Mercury 6326
7211 A thousand times too many unissued
(vo) with fiddle, piano, rh. gtr, g, steel, str.b. circa September/october 1951
7232 Help me lose the boogie boogie blues Mercuy 6331
7233 Goin’, goin’, gone unissued
7234 Lots of nothin’ –
7235 Have you forgotten my name Mercury 6331
Source: Internet for the Gene Krupa records, Bobby Soots photograph and Billboard snippets. Thanks to Ronald Keppner for scan/mp3 of Mercury 6326. Discographical details from Michel Ruppli’s « Mercury label » vol. 1.
Howdy, folks. Sometimes it is easy to assemble a « fortnight » feature, sometimes not. This time it has not been that easy, I don’t know why. I tried to vary tempos, origin, labels, and I am not sure I did succeed. Only your visits and interest could say I was O.K.
First in this new serie, CECIL CAMPBELL, backed by the Tennessee Ramblers. He was steel player (born 1911) in the Virginia/North Carolina region, and found moderate but constant success with his records on RCA-Victor. Here I’ve chosen his 1951 « Spookie Boogie« ; he explains in his own words what he wanted to do with this tune:
He was looking for an « …unusual hollow type of rattling sound designed to send cold chills rushing down the spine. » He couldn’t find that sound on the musical instruments. But as fate would have it, one of the members of the Tennessee Ramblers had false teeth and that mysterious sound that appears on the tune « Spooky Boogie » was made by a pair of chattering false teeth. » Later on, he was to have a minor Rockabilly classic in 1957 on M-G-M (12487) called « Rock and Roll Fever« .
From Kentucky comes now JIMMIE OSBORNE, the « Kentucky Folk Singer ». He had a string of releases on KING, with strong success, among them the amusing « Automobile baby« . Osborne played the Louisiana Hayride, as well as the Opry, until his suicide in 1957, at the early age of 35.
On to Texas. FRED CRAWFORD is a relatively well-known artist, whose 9 Starday singles were of constantly highest musical level. « Cornfed Fred », as he liked to be called, was a long-time D.J. on KERB radio station of Kermit, and considered himself more a radio man than an artist. Here below is « You Gotta Wait« , a very nice 1954 Bopper. He later went to D, and committed a pop song, « By The Mission Walls », whose main claim to fame is the backing by no one but Buddy Holly.
Then TEXAS BILL STRENGTH, who had on Coral Records « Paper Boy Boogie« . Another version does exist by Tommy Trent on Checker 761 from 1952. I don’t know which one came first. The song was even revived by Hank Williams as a demo. Strength (1928-1973) had a long carreer, beginning on radio KTHT, Houston, in 1944, and recording for 4 Star, Capitol, Sun and Nashville. He re-recorded « Paper Boy Boogie » on Bangar as late as 1965.
During the Sixties, ARK records from Cincinnati did issue many a fine disc, mainly in Bluegrass or Sacred. In a past fortnight I included a Jimmy Murphy song, which I consider one of his best, « I Long To Hear Hank Sing The Blues« . Here we have a pseudonym, and there is not any chance, I’m afraid, to discover who really was TEXAS SLIM. A very superior double-sided « When I’m old And Gray » and « Look What You Gone And Done To Me » (ARK # 309). Stunning association of banjo and steel. Hear it!
Finally a classic R&B rocker: « Flat Foot Sam » by T.V. SLIM & His Heartbreakers. Hope you enjoy the selections! Bye.
Not many gals could have made such statement in the conservative country music world of the 50’s but Charline Arthur did it. That Texas gal was stylistically far ahead of her times and was rollin’ on stage floor wearing pants when other women were still in dress playin’ rhythm guitar on family band. She was a kind of « Maverick », and an hot item to handle, just like Elvis Presley. She brings something new on female country music and opened the way for rockin’ boppin’ teenage Janis Martin, cute Brenda Lee or for glamorous Wanda Jackson. That girl was not there to stand by her man and weep about her unfaithful honky tonkin’ husband. She sings about parties, fancy clothes, women dreams and wanted to enjoy life. If you ain’t treated her right or if you ain’t nothing but a « Hound Dog », you can move away, wag your tail and goin’ cryin’ in your beer somewhere. Move away, skinny dog! (suite…)
Jimmy Murphy is one of the more enigmatic figures to come out of the country/rockabilly scene of the early to mid-’50s. A virtuoso guitar player and a gifted and inspired songwriter, he had a knack for composing and performing quirky, clever songs that hooked into unusual thematic angles — his first song, « Electricity, » equated rural electrification with religious salvation, while the closest he ever got to a real hit, « Sixteen Tons Rock n’ Roll, » was a satire of the 1956 Tennessee Ernie Ford hit of the Merle Travis song. His music was also strangely archaic in both its form and content, elements that may have doomed his chance for a successful recording career. ??Murphy’s music drew from a multitude of influences, most notably the blues. His father was an admirer of numerous bluesmen, including Blind Boy Fuller and Leadbelly. He joined his father in the bricklaying trade and always split his time between construction and music. (suite…)