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late July 2009 fortnight
juil 15th, 2009 by xavier

Welcome back to the recent finds in my collection! First we have Bluegrass/HIllbilly Bop with JIMMY MARTIN, former guitar player in Bill Monroe’s band, and the fine 1954 (Decca label) « Hop skip & Wobble ». ,Then onto ANDY WILSON for his fast 1952 version (Dot records) of the Delmore Brothers’ classic « Hillbilly Boogie » – done Hillbilly Bop style, very Nashville sounding. More Hillbilly Bop wit the torrid « I’m Turning Over A Brand New leaf » (King, Cincinnati, 1955) by the prolific (HILL) BILLY BARTON, who cut early in career with Johnny Horton. Still Country flavored Rock’n'Roll, this time, with West Coast’s GENE BROWN and « Big Door » (Four Star). Back to Delmore, a recent version of their classic « Blues Stay Away Away From Me » by BILLY & TERRY SMITH.Finally Black R&R with RON HOLDEN for « My Babe » (nothing in common with L. Walter) on Lost Nite records. Enjoy the sound!

dot 1127 wilson

The DIXIE label (2000 series)
juil 11th, 2009 by xavier

 

DIXIE 2000 serie (Madison, Tennessee)(1958-1960)

joy

Benny Joy

Dixie – The very name evokes pictures of the Southern areas of the USA. Dixie records have been fascinating collectors for over 35 years now . Of course the word Dixie was used by many different labels throughout the States, anyway it is the main 2000 series that I am interested. Formed as an offshoot of Starday in late 1957, the idea seemed to be trying out new artists who, if successful, were transfered to Starday or using label as a custom one. Shelby Singleton seems to have been the man in charge at the beginning. Three of the first five discs were recorded in Daz Dood’s TRI-DEC label studio (Miami, Florida) and BENNY JOY’s « Spin The Bottle » was actually released on TRI-DEC 8667 in ’57 with « Hey High School Baby » on the flip. The Dixie release (2001) does sound slightly different, but as the vocal comments are same, it would appear that Starday re-mastered and the bass and drums sound more muffled on this hot slab of Rockabilly. Of a number of tracks recorded at this session, « Steady With Betty » was placed on flip of the Dixie issue and has some outstanding guitar in the break.2001-joy

jimmy-lee

jimmie lee

The other two discs recorded at TRI-DEC were GENE WATSON’s I’ll Always Love You/Little Valley (2003), a couple of ballads of little interest, and the marvelous rockin’ JIMMIE LEE « Three Little Wishes » (2005), one of the better but lesser known items on the label. With his band « The Playboys », Jimmie lays down a fine rocking opus that has a superb break split between a hot pumping piano and a very biting guitarist, and with handclaps and vocal comments, all making for a quality item.2005-lee


Sandwiched between these Florida recordings are the first Texas recordings, both by DOUG BRAGG and probably recorded at Seller’s Recording Studio in Dallas. Issue 2002 couples « Red Rover/Lovin’ On My Mind », both tracks being slowish pounders of which the latter is the better of the breaks which combines piano and guitar, although to be fair the vocal is tougher on « Red Rover ». It is the second Bragg release that is the better of the two with « Pretty Little Thing » (2004) being an excellent fast rocker that has a very good break from the guitar and piano. There is a chorus in this that fits in well and the guitarist solo’s on to the end of the record. Doug recorded for quite a few Texas labels such as D during the 50’s and 60’s.

doug-bragg

Doug Bragg

The next three releases on Dixie are all by Texas artists. DEE (Mullinax) & PATTY (Timmons) have a nice duet Bopper with « Don’t Tease Me » (2006) on which the band are very solid behind their relaxed vocalising. They were also on D and Mercury.2006-pat-dee ORVILLE COUCH, a Country singer from the Dallas/Fort Worth area had discs on boty Starday and Dixie in 1958 and his « Easy Does It » (2007) can best be described as a Rock ballad with obstrusive chorus, but he has a good voice and the guitarist is excellent on this one, although he always sounds more at home on Hillbilly material he cut for Starday and I assume that the Dixie release, probably arranged by local producer/manager Jim Shell, was a deliberate attempt to sell to the teenage market.

dixie 2007 orville couch

The very next release is one of the all-time Rockabilly greats with DERRELL FELTS & The Confederates : « Playmates/The Weepers » (2008). A crashing guitar intro and Derrell’s urgent vocal supported by driving bass and frantic drummer all combine to make « Playmates » so damn good with a superb guitar break. Texan Derrell Felts slows it down for the flipside « The Weepers » but it’s still top quality Rockabilly with lead and rhythm guitars combining for a really fine break. KEN HAMMOCK (also on Starday) offers an instrumental « Blue Guitar Jump» (2009).2009-hammock
2008-felts

The next disc is one of the least known, and arguably one of the best on the label with BILL CARROLL’s brilliant « Feel So Good » (2010) which came out at the end of 1958. I am very intrigued by the songwriting credit of Shuler/Hunter (Eddie Shuler of Goldband, and Pete Hunter, a Southern D.J. ?). The sound on this one is very similar to many of the classic rockabilly platters on the Goldband label. A real ‘lived in’ vocal on this an dit is a very catchy song with a piercing guitar break as Bill tells his tale helped by a couple of backup voices.2010-carroll

EDDIE SKELTON had three Dixie records as well as at least two on Starday itself. Strangely they being issued at the same time too. Eddie who was from the Virginia’s had formed a band with his brother called the Rhythmtones and their first one on Dixie « Keep It Swinging » (2011) is a much sought after rocking gem that has a hot guitar behind a good vocalist and a cat who jumps all over the piano in the second break. Great one.2011-skelton

Yet another elusive disc has been DEE JOHNSON’s « Just Look Don’t Touch » (2012) which has been described to as a solid Country rocker. There is no (2013) : unlucky number ?

Following the gap comes « Your Lying Ways » (2014) by BILL GOODWIN & His Western Ramblers. This is not as strong as his « Teenage Blues » (Starday) but is none the less a solid Country rocker with fine steel guitar, an dis a lot better than the later 60’s releases he had on Bandbox in Denver, Colo.


EDDIE SKELTON returnsfor an instrumental work out on« Rebel’s Retreat » that rocks along showcasing guitar/piano/sax and has a slow rocker « Love You Too Much » (2015) that has a nice brooding sound to it with some excellent bluesy piano and guitar.

mel-price

Mel Price

2016-priceThe disc by MEL PRICE that comes next « Little Dog Blues » (2016) is the best rocking record I’ve heard by him. The first important ingredient is that the song has something going for it. Mel’s voice suits this self penned song and the backin, was the Santa Fe Rangers, is of high standard with brilliant guitar. I wonder why two of the tracks cut at this session were issued in Dixie 800 series. Mel had a number of releases on Starday, Blue Hen and Regan, and despite the name of his band, appears to have been active along the North Eastern seaboard of the USA.

CATHY KELLEY’s « Blues Hanging Around » (2017) is a Country rocker that sounds very Nashville and lives up to its title, and came out in mid-59.

Right from the opening notes of GROOVE JOE POOVEY’s famous « Ten long Fingers » (2018) with C.B. Oliver’s piano pumpng behind Joe’s assured vocal and a growling sax player who gets a good and dirty sound from his horn. An absolute classic whose rarity pales when one considers how rare his « Move Around » (Dixie 733) just a year before.2018-poovey

Use of the word rare, very overused with records brings us nicely to ART ONTARIO and his « It Must Be Me »(2019) which is a very fine bluesy rocker with an unusually toned guitar that has two excellent breaks. Mind this one is certainly not as rare as this son of Ohio’s « Queen From Bowling Green » issued under the name of ART BUCHANAN (Dixie 823).2019-ontario

For a chunk of good old Rock’n’Roll you’ll have to go a long way to beat « Blast Off » (2020) by the unknown ALDEN HOLLOWAY. Set at a fast jive pace, this one has some blisering guitar work and a good old honking sax before the guitar returns. The other side is an instrumental « Swinging The Rock » featuring both the above ; I wonder is his « Loving Is My Business » (Starday 714) was cut at the same session.2020-holloway

I have been unable to throw any light on HUGHEY BUNCH & The Bradley Farm Hands and their « South Wind » on Dixie 2021. It is not the same « South Wind » that was cut by the late Billy Wallace on REPUBLIC, but is a nice Hillbilly Rock side that has a very prominent banjo on this side and also on the flipside « Cry Tomorrow » which just gets the edge with me as the guitar work is better.

By now, the latter months of 1959 signs of pop rock begin to show up as on DEE JOHNSON’s « Back To School » (2022), which was probably cut at an earlier session. A basic line up of guitar and rhythm section aided by handclaps, a chorus and tinkling piano ; it is quite pleasant.

I was impressed by JAY GALLEGHER and his « Crazy Legs » (2023). A fast tempo’d rocker opened by a heavy drummer, a rocking guitar and a really pumping piano. There is a chorus on this but it suits the song and the guitarist cuts loose a great break amidst the handclapping. The flip is a bit of a shock too : « Steady Flame » is not so fast but I almost prefer this side with it’s clever guitar break that is followed by the pianist who is really enjoying himself. 2023-gallegherDixie 2024 (Larry Streeter) unheard.

EDDIE SKELTON goes instrumental once more with « Curly » (2025). Mid paced guitar/piano/sax that is pleasing rather than exciting as it takes too long to get into its stride. And so we come to the end of the DIXIE 2000 series with BOBBY MACK and his « Who Put The Blues In Your Heart » (2025) which is a nice piece of Nashville Country.

(reprint from Phillip J. Tricker’s article in Roll Street Journal # v8, Summer 1984)      dixie 2026 bobby mack

Recommended listening: Collector CD 4411 and the Dixie Collector series (2222 to 4444)

clcd4410

 

SPEED label (Nashville, 1951-1955)
juil 9th, 2009 by xavier

 

The SPEED Label (Nashville, 1951-1955) (from Roll Street Journal # 17, 1986)

The label and the men behind it. (notes by Martin Hawkins) Read the rest of this entry »

RUBY Records (Hamilton, Ohio)
juil 7th, 2009 by xavier

 

The story of RUBY RECORDS (Larry Short)winnie-boogieimg

I started in operating « Ruby Records » in February 1955. Before that I played the electric steel guitar for several years. Later on I met Esta Dodds, and worked as her A&R man, on « Esta records ». She was several years my senior and I felt she was satisfied moving at a slow pace. This irritated me and I became to be dissatisfied, so decided to start my own recording service, « talking letters » (Short recorded weddings, speeches and cut demos – in the same manner as did Sam Phillips in Memphis during the late 40’s).

Receiving satisfaction from this facet of recording, it prompted me into seeking my own label. I wanted to register it as « Rainbow Records », but there was a « Rainbow » label in Memphis, Tenn. Rather than be a part of an infrigement act, my wife gave written permission, without involvement to her, to use her name. The name « Ruby » was placed in a two dimensional diamond figure, with simulated glitter…with stars emitting from the glitter – which formed the logo. Then I was successful in getting it registered at the principal register in Washington. Wherein « Ruby Records » was given birth. Read the rest of this entry »

early July 2009 fortnight
juil 2nd, 2009 by xavier

Well, you’re in for another good time with rarities! First the 40s withthe late great Ernest Tubb (Billy Byrd on electric guitar) for the classic « I Ain’t Going Honky Tonking Anymore » – love the cool vocal! Next an unnown Charlie Faircloth (or nearly forgotten these days) for the lively « Coffee, Cigarettes & Tears » – nice lazy vocal too. Then we go Hillbilly Bop/Rockabilly with the fast version of Bill Monroe’s « Rocky Road Blues » by Boston’s Eddie Zack (arian) complete with fiddle solo and steel (1955 Columbia). Now a real berserk wildie: Jim (my) Myers and « Drunkman’s Wiggle » on Fortune. REAL STRONG STEEL. Another wildie in Rocking Blues this time, way down south: Leroy Washington, 1958, Guitar Gable soloist on the great « Wild Cherry » (Excello). We come to an end with a piano master, Memphis Slim alone for a bluesy « The Lord Have Mercy ». Hope you N-joy! Welcome comments…

Charlie Adams
juin 15th, 2009 by xavier

 

Charlie Adamscharlie-adams

If Charlie Adams is mentioned these days, it’s usually in passing – as a footnote, likely connected to the fact that he toured with Hank Williams on the latter’s Texas swing in December 1952. However, though he never enjoyed a major hit nor became a household name, Charlie Adams & His Western All-Stars were a popular presence on the Southwestern dance hall and recording scene in the early-to-mid-1950s and left an enduring and engaging legacy of recordings before Adams bowed out of music in favor of family later in the decade. Read the rest of this entry »

late june 2009 fortnight
juin 15th, 2009 by xavier

Hello again!

This time we’re beginning with a strange item. Carl Story, bluegrass virtuoso, doing Hillbilly Bop with « Whatta Line »(Columbia). then 1955 Rock’n'Roll with Ken Davis « Shook Shake ». Same period with pianist -bandleader Dick Hyman, doing « Rolling the Boogie »(MGM 78 rm). Enjoy the walking basses! Back to Country-rock with the unknown Cuddles C. Newsome (One Little Kiss, nice guitar). Strong guitar bopper with Bill Watkins, out of Cncinnati for « unissued at the time » « Big Guitar » (Lee label). We come to an end with Jimmy Heap out of Abilene, Texas, for Harry Choates’ « Cat’n Around » done Hillbilly Bop style (strong fiddle), and vocal by Perk Williams. Enjoy! Comments?

Maddox Brothers & Rose
mai 16th, 2009 by xavier

 

Maddox Brothers & Rosemaddox-arhoolie2

They promoted themselves as «The Most Colorful Hillbilly Group In America », and no one would deny that their various western stage outfits emcompassed all the hues of the rainbow. They were a reasonably talented bunch of singers and, albeit rudimentory musicians, they were filled with an endless stream of adrenaline, a riotous sense of humour and vitality, which was leavened with just the right blend of musical exuberance. In Rose Maddox the band had a totally atypical female vocalist. No shy retiring song thrush she, Rose had grown up the rough edge of town, she was street wise and took no shit from anyone. Her whole demeanour was a gal who would smack you one in the mouth if you stepped out of line. Read the rest of this entry »

Bud Deckleman
mai 5th, 2009 by xavier

Bud Deckleman

G.D. « Bud » Deckleman was born on 2 April 1927 in Harrisburg, Arkansas. After spending the war in the Air Force, he worked in Chicago where he met songwriter and fiddle player Bill Cantrell, formerly of the Blue Sea Pals. decklemanWhile Cantrell was in Chicago his co-Pal, Quinton Claunch, was in Memphis. By 1954 both Cantrell and Deckleman were back in the Memphis area. Bud had a band with his brother Thadeus (known as Dood) and Claunch recalls : « One day Cantrell met Bud again at a club and said I should go on down and check him out. He was a natural. He had a voice that just knocked me out. He had great tonal quality and he could sing rings around some of the star names, like Webb Pierce. Read the rest of this entry »

beginning of May 2009 fortnight
mai 2nd, 2009 by xavier

First we have a boogie by Dick Lewis (Imperial, Los Angeles, 1947) « Beale Street Boogie » – Is this about Memphis’ most famous alley? Let’s stay in Memphis with Ernie Chaffin for a strong Country-rock on Sun records, « Laughin’ and Jokin’ » (Pee Wee Maddux on steel). Then to Nashville with Dick Stratton, a 1951 romper, « Fat Gal Boogie »(Nashboro label). From Florida comes Joe Asher « Photograph Of You » (DeLuxe label) – I dig interplay between fiddle and steel. Then on to Texas, Jimmy Heap’s « That’s That » (Imperial, 1949) energic & never reissued! We come to an end with the York Brothers and their « Monday Morning Blues »; Hope you enjoy, and post your comments if any…

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