Red Perkins, nor related to the jazz trumpeter Red Perkins as with Carl Perkins, until today remains more or less a mystery within the country music since little is known about him. Not even a picture of him has ever surfaced. Nobody seems to know how he came to appear in 1947 on the country music scene, when he started as a singer for Paul Howard in its western swing band, the Arkansas Cotton Pickers to work. This group he belonged to until 1949, but Red at the same time also has his own career.
In May 1949, King let Perkins cut his first solo titles : « Aggravatin’ Lou from Louisville » and « Hoe-down boogie » (# 792) were the best of four tracks recorded. In November 1949, as well as in the course of 1950, followed other sessions,
We find him in on the amusing « Crocodile tears » (# 836) and « One at a time » (# 850). The titles of his last studio visit were published on Kings sublabel DeLuxe Records [ named Red Perkins and his Kentucky Redheads, perhaps Howard’s Cottonpickers in disguise]. In March 1950, Perkins played once again as a singer with Paul Howard and the band in the studio KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana for 4 more tracks, among them « The boogie’s fine tonight » (# 871)- great pounding piano from Harold Horner, and a good guitar from either Paul Howard himself or Jabbo Arrington.
Under Perkins’ recordings for King to songs like « A Long Necked Bottle »(# 920), « Hoe-Down Boogie » (# 792), « Rag man boogie » (# 903) or « Aggravating Lou from Louisville »(# 792) were, however, found none of his singles off the charts, not least was due to the poor marketing of the label. What Perkins did after that is uncertain.
All in all, a career that lasted not more than 2 years ; nearly not more than a dozen 78pm singles ; and a very few to remember as shufflers and good’uns.
courtesy Dan Tinsley and Red Perkins’ family. Chubby Howard on steel guitar
Sources: a short biography Wikipedia (which is confusing with the pre-War Red Perkins on Champion) translated from German language. A discography on Praguefrank site: http://countrydiscography.blogspot.fr/2009/10/red-perkins.html. Internet for label scans. With help from Ronald Keppner (DeLuxe issue).
Additions : March 12th, 2017
Out of an email from Dan Tinsley (Red Perkins’ nephew), here are some precious details on Perkins’ life. All pictures do come from his Family.
His real name was WUSTER LAMONT NUNEMAKER.
Born Aug 3rd 1920 in Breathitt Co. Kentucky
Died Aug 15th 1990 Columbus Ohio
He lived in Fairborn Ohio & is buried there in the Byron cemetery. He also lived in Springfield Ohio for a long time & was there that he passed. He was also a WWII veteran.
He was employed with the railroad most of his life from the steam engine days to diesel power. Brakeman, fireman, & engineer etc.
Syd Nathan recorded Long Neck Bottle & Big Water Glass on his Audio Lab label (think that one was autobiographical). Uncle Red was a rounder & honky tonk hero. He was the first artist to cover Big Blue Diamonds in 1950 I think. Aside from Paul Howard, The Kentucky Redheads, he last performed with his band Red Perkins & the Southerners in the early 1950’s. It’s my belief that he went to Korea with the USO & entertained the troops during that war. There is a post card to my aunt from him at Christmas time he sent & was on Formosa with the band, also there is a Korea & Golden Gate bridge sticker on the guitar case I have.
He also did some local TV out of Dayton Ohio on WLW-D I can remember him singing Old Shep to me once after my dad shot my dog for biting my cousin.
I (bopping’s editor) will have to ask Mr. Tinsley some more details, that I will publish later in bopping.org.
King Records was a very important label run by Syd Nathan in Cincinnati, Oh. It had a C&W serie (500-1500), a Federal serie (10000) and a Deluxe serie (2000 or 5000).
First artist is Cowboy Jack Derrick, whose story is on the site. « Truck drivin’ man » is a very early trucker gay song.(King 633)
Cowboy Jack Derrick, « Truck drivin’ man« download
Paul Howard from Arkansas (1908-1994) was leading his Cotton Pickers on a long string of releases on Columbia and King. He was a resident at WSM in Nashville. « The boogie’s fine tonight » and « Texas boogie » are two of his best sides.
Paul Howard « The boogie’s fine tonight« Clyde Moody is also well represented with a personal entry in Bopping.org. Here is presented one of his best platters, « The blues came pouring down », with very strong rhythm guitar. (# 943)
Clyde Moody « The blues came pouring down« download
For this early Spring favorites selection, I’ve chosen mostly – that is unusual – major labels recordings!
The first three on King probably all cut in Cincinnati between 1949 and 1950. The earliest track is by RED PERKINS (born in 1890), who had begun his career before WWII and was later the featured vocalist of PAUL HOWARD Arkansas Cotton Pickers (see below). Here it is his « Hoe-Down Boogie » (King 792), a fine call-and-response fast bopper. He also had « Crocodile tears » the next year. His first issue on King (# 773) was « Texas Boogie« , and the personnel was then Jabbo Arrington [gt], Billy Bowman [steel], Bob Moore [bass], Roddy Bristol [fiddle], Fiddlin’ Red Herron [fiddle], Joe Rea [drums], poss. Harold Horner [piano]. The backing is probably similar.
Second selection is of course by PAUL HOWARD: « The boogie’s fine tonight« . Fine piano bopper (# 871), and the next is by the famous REDD STEWART, featured vocalist of Pee Wee King‘s Golden West Cowboys. Actually, except accordion (inaudible) the GWC are the backing band of Stewart for this great « Brother drop dead » (# 843). Fine piano, aggressive steel punctuating the beat.
Paul Howard « The boogie’s fine tonight » download
One step away to West coast on the Capitol label for GENE O’QUIN and « I specialize in love » (# 2715). Fast bopper from 1954.
Gene O’Quin « I specialize in love » download
Back to early days. Dallas, Texas, Jim Beck’s studio, April 1951. The MERCER Brothers (Wallace and Charlie), an old-time male duet do a very energetic « Wish bone » on Columbia 20978. They sound like the Delmore Brothers, and even have WAYNE RANEY on harmonica for a great solo! Thanks to Jack Dumery to have led me to them (and for the CD!)
The link with the former is the Delmore and a version of their all-time great « Blues stay away from me« , a cityfied rendition (Cincinnat, August 1949) by EDDIE CROSBY. Nice guitar (could be Zeke Turner).
Finally back in Dallas with DANNY DEDMON, former vocalist of Bill Nettles. Actually his Rhythm Ramblers are Nettles’ Dixie Blues boys. Here he does in 1947 the amusing « Hula hula boogie » on Imperial 8019.
Sources: my own collection and the net for artists pictures.