Bashful Vic Thomas: “Rock and roll tonight”- hillbilly-rock 1952-1961

Very little is known about this Texas artist, except the information on labels and two comments after his solitary 1952-53 issue as published by Andrew Brown’s “wired-for-sound.blogspot” site.

Ramblin’ Fool” is a Gold Star pressing, dating from around 1952-53. Glen Barber, whose band provides the music here, was probably still a student at Pasadena High School when he cut this. The steel guitarist is “Dusty” Carroll, and the fiddler is Charlie Frost. Musically, this is far from great, but hey, it’s a group of teen-agers. Cut them some slack. Flipside “Let me show us how” is an uptempo weeper. Young Glen Barber is invited to do his (very tame) solo.



In 1956 for a label of the same name (Premium 344), Bashful Vic Thomas (note his entire name) had “Rock and roll tonight“, a prime example of a country band thinking that they could jump on the rock and roll bandwagon by simply writing a song that had the words “rock and roll” in the lyrics — leaving the steel and fiddle intact. I suspect that teenagers at the time weren’t impressed, but the honky-tonkers probably thought they were being “hip” by dancing to it. Flipside is Hank Williams‘ “You’re gonna change (or I’m gonna leave”, well done and very fast in the Thomas manner – copyrights go to Thomas. Actually “You’re gonna change” sound like an entirely new song and I wonder if Thomas only got the tune’s title from Hank.


Bashful Vic lived up to his name — I’ve never heard anyone on the Houston ’50s scene mention him at all. After re-cutting “Ramblin’ Fool” for Applause, an Omaha, Nebraska label in 1960, he disappears from the vinyl map completely except for the Memory 45. Flipside of the Applause 45 was a modern and energetic (for the times being) revamp of his 1956 “You’re gonna change“.



The Memory 45 is from 1961, and originate from Chula Vista, California, a fact which indicate Vic Thomas was a well traveled artist. It’s a Starday custom double sider of lovely but forgettable country ballads, “A fool in love” and “I wonder“. Thanks to Allan Turner to have provided the label scans as well as sound files. Vic Thomas later in his life moved to Florida and eventually was committed to an asylum for his depression. Originally from New York City, Vic was attracted to the sweet sounds of West Texas troubadors and aspired to be one himself.

It is almost certain that the Vic Thomas of “Marianne” fame, a white doo-wop song from 1963-64 on Philips, is a completely different artist.

Notes and sources: Boppin’ hillbilly Vol. 2002 and 2022 for short snippets on Vic Thomas. Comments on Premium 101 “Ramblin’ fool” on Andrew Brown’s “Wired-for-sound” bloodspot. Thanks to Allan Turner for providing rare scans and sound files. Music and scans of Applause from somelocalloser bloodspot (2013).

Doug Bragg, Texas hillbilly bop and Rock and roll (1955-1959)

Douglas Clifton Bragg was born on April 13, 1928, in the small East Texas town of Gilmer. He was among four children born to Bonnie and James Claudie Bragg. He attended Gilmer public schools and developed an interest in music during his teen years. He started performing in and around Tyler during the late 1940’s. His first marriage produced five children, all of whom were boys. By the early 1950’s Doug was appearing on the Big “D” Jamboree and working days as a meat cutter. (more…)

late January 2012 fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks! This is maybe the last fortnight I’ll be posting before mid-February, as I am moving; so all CDs and material are stored. ’till then, another batch of goodies.

Who came first? I’d assume JOHNNY BOND, who penned “Drink Up And Go Home” along with Joe Maphis – whose version was untraceable. Instead I found 1955-56 FREDDIE HART‘s, the demo by CARL PERKINS (cut 1957, with brother Jay B. on duet vocal, unissued until the ’80s), then a ’60s version by the Human Jukebox, SLEEPY LA BEFF. Hear them 3 versions, whose I include the lyrics below of.

You sit there a-crying, crying in your beer                          finn 1690 sleepy la beff Drink up and go home (1963)
You say you’ve got troubles, my friend listen here
Don’t tell me your troubles got enough of my own
Be thankful you’re living, drink up and go home

I’m fresh out of prison, six years in the pen
Lost my wife and family, no one to call friend
Don’t tell me your troubles, got enough of my own
Be thankful you’re living, drink up and go home

Back there sets a blind man, so blind he can’t see
Yet he’s not complaining, why should you or me?
Don’t tell me your troubles, got enough of my own
Be thankful you’re living, drink up and go home

Then we go to a certain HAROLD ZAHNER, backed by Johnny Smith and the Missouri Tsun-nell j08W-0377 bill chambers She's treatin' me badwo, on the Missouri Smith label, who offers a good version of “Shake Baby Shake“. Is this the Rock’n’Roll classic (Johnny O’Keefe, Jesse Lee Turner or the Killer), I don’t know. Full of rural energy anyhow. BILL CHAMBERS do come with the good “She’s Treatin’ Me Bad” on the Sun-Nell label (a RCA custom pressing of 1958), and we come to an end with VIRGEL BOZMAN (also BOZEMAN) for the fine little classic “Blues For Oklahoma” on his own O.T. label (# 109).

This O.T. label was originally based in Westlake, a small town on Highway 10 in the Southwestern corner of Louisiana. The initials O.T. stood for Oklahoma Tornadoes, a group run by Virgel that had recorded for Bill Quinn’s Gold Star label. Among the members of this short lived, but important band, were Bennie Hess, and Cajun fiddler extraordinaire Floyd Le Blanc. . His brother, Harmon recorded Rockabilly on the Texas Sarg label. Another Bozman O.T. release, when the label was relocated to San Antonio, is the fine, more Western Swing in style, “Troubles, Troubles” (# 113), backed by the Circle C Boys. It’s driven along by a bass player who enjoys himself enormously.

smith 17318B harold zahner shake baby shakeot 109A (78) virgel bozman Blues for oklahoma

early December 2010 fortnight’s favourites

Howdy folks! Here are my ‘new’ favourite tunes of  early this month. As usual I try to give you oddities to illustrate the music, although lacking of inspiration and enthusiasm this time!

Red and Lige, The TURNER BROTHERS, were a duet group from Tennessee. I don’t know if they were related to the more famous brothers, Zeke and Zeb (King and Bullet labels). They offer here a strong Country-boogie with  “Honky Tonk Mama” on the Radio Artist label (the one which issued Jimmie Skinner first sides). Circa 1950.

turner brothers CDradio art.243 turner PECK TOUCHTON, a native of Texas, had a solitary release on Sarg (“You’ve Changed Your Tune“). He also recorded for Pappy Daily’s Starday label, without seeing any issue, following a mixing of label stickers during a car wreck! The whole story was told by Andrew Brown in his excellent site, Wired For Sound. See it here:

Touchton’s record, “Let Me Catch My Breath” was finally issued under the name of George Jones (Starday 160).

Starday160 touchton

Out of Texas or West Louisiana, and at one time associated as a singer with Bill Nettles, DANNY DEDMON had records as early as 1947 on Imperial. Here is his “Hula Hula Woogie“, typical Texas Honky-tonk of the late Forties, with a touch of Western swing. imperial 8019 danny dedmonThe Rhythm Ramblers were actually Nettles’ band.

George and Earl pic

George McCormick (he had discs on M-G-M, for example, “Fifty-Fifty Honky Tonkin’ Tonight”) and Earl Aycock teamed as GEORGE & EARL in 1956, and had a string of Rockabilly releases on the Mercury label. I’ve chosen one of their most dynamic sides, “Done Gone“. Nashville musicians behind them. The duet folded shortly afterwards.

mercury 70852 george Out of Nashville came CLAY EAGER on the Republic label. Although he was a celebrity as D.J. in the St.Louis/St.Paul, MO, area, he had cut this fine “Bobbie Lou” in Nashville. clay eager - bobbie louWe finish with the wild, rasping young ETTA JAMES on the West Coast. “Tough Lover” is backed by the ubiquitous Maxwell Davis.

etta james modern tough lover

Late August 2009 fortnight

Howdy folks, here I am back with some goodies. First, Ole’ Buck is back for a song he recorded late in career for kids, IF YOU CAN’T FIND A REASON TO BE HAPPY. Romping Country rocker à la Buck Owens, of course! Then back to late 50s, early 60s, the unknown (to me) Doug Davis on the obscure Nite Star label (from Texas, I think) and the beautiful Country-rockaballad ALL BY MYSELF – lot of nice steel and heavy bass, rich vocal too. Joe Franklin next had a rich career by himself, and I still wonder what instrument he plays here, since the piano is to the fore – maybe him? The nice HITCH-HIKIN’ BLUES on MGM (1953). A romper now with Hardrock Gunter and his first version (on Bama, out of Birmingham, Alabama, 1951) of GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT (he recut the same track in 1954, and leased it to Sun). In 1950 there were Country singers chanting “Gonna Rock and Roll, gonna dance all night”, yes sir! Something different now. A fine duet Bluegrass style, already a classic of the genre, ROAD OF BROKEN HEARTS, by the Webster Brothers, from 1954. We come to an end with a Prestige recording of Otis Spann – he lays down a very atmospheric OTIS IN THE DARK on the 88; Enjoy the selections!