early March 2012 fortnight’s favourites

Hello folks. Yes I am back, having moved and from a trip in Prague. Beautiful city, yet no Hillbilly sounds over there! Anyway, let’s go back to our favorites. This time I’ve chosen 5 artists. Let’s begin with an interesting late ’40s/early ’50s one, ZEKE CLEMENTS. I know very little about him, except he had many records on Blazon, Liberty (not the L.A. pop concern), Gold Standard, even in 1960 on his own Janet label. He was a prolific songwriter, and should be noticed « Smoke On The Water » for Red Foley. Here he delivers a fine shuffling (piano and guitar led) ditty on Liberty 8, « Oklahoma Blues« .

zeke clementsliberty 8  zeke clements oklahoma blues

Early 60s and on to Cincinnati area with the rather unknown SLIM FOSTER. I posted both sides of his K-Ark single (# 613), one side uptempo, the other medium, with a lovely steel-guitar for « Never Be Untrue » and « I Wish I’d known« . Good Country bop.

k-ark 613 slim foster never be untrue

From Texas I’d assume comes now CURLEY SANDERS and a nice bopper on the Imperial label (# 8226), « Too Much Lovin’« , complete with piano, fiddle and guitar and that immediately recognizable Imperial sound. Sanders would later (1956) have a Starday issue, « Brand New Rock And Roll » in the famous custom serie (# 590): see elsewhere in the site for this side.

imperial 8226 curley sanders too much lovin'lanor 503 bill matte parlez-vous l'francais

On to Louisana, early ’60s: BILL MATTE & the Five Classics for the presumably hard-to-understand for English speakers: « Parlez-vous l’francais » (Do you speak french) is sung in Cajun patois, and myself have trouble understanding all the lyrics!

Finally another inreresting artist from the Cincinnati area, AL RUNYON, on Kentucky for a revamp of Hank Snow‘s « I’m Moving On« . Not a bad version, as Runyon was covering others’ hits, as his labelmate Delbert Barker. He was also later on Starday for the famous Jimmie Skinner’s penned « Baby Please Come Home« . His story is a bit intricated, but I hope to have it posted in the future.

kentucky 537 al runyon I'm moving onAs a bonus. I just heard BILLY STRANGE passed away on Feb. 22th (aged 81). He cut many records and played on innumerable sessions from the late ’40s ‘way into the ’70s. Here is one of my favorite trucker songs, « Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves » on Capitol 2032 from 1952.

capitol 2032 billy strange diesel smoke

Kentucky records (1952-1955): Cincinnati Hillbilly

BURKHARDT, CARL Carl Burkhardt was the owner of Rite Records in Cincinnati, the parent company for Kentucky, Gateway, Big 4, Big 6, Arc, Deresco, Worthmore, and others.  The operation started as a radio repair shop and record store at 3930 Spring Grove Avenue in the Knowlton’s Corner area of Cincinnati in 1940.  They began pressing records there but eventually moved to the Evendale area, where their building was across Interstate 75 from the GE Plant and could be seen from the highway.  In this location they added a studio, pressing plant, and printing presses, so they could do everything in house.  In 1955 a custom pressing division was opened to manufacture records for anyone who wanted to record and had the money to pay for it.  This continued until 1985, and in that span of time, Rite did custom pressing on approximately 21,000 different singles, most of which were country, bluegrass, or gospel.  During its existence, Rite produced 78 rpms, 45 rpms, and some LPs. (suite…)