early August 2011 fortnight

Howdy folks! Plain hot summer, so it’s time for a few more Hillbilly bop/Rockabilly tunes. Note that I will take holidays during this month, so next fortnight early September.

From California first, CHUCK HENDERSON and the fine, steel-guitar dominated 1959 romper « Rock And Roll Baby » on the Ozark label. No more info available.

ozark 959 chuck henderson

Big Jeff

Big Jeff

Grover Franklin « BIG JEFF » Bess is a Nashville legend. He sold beer, cure-all tonics and baby chicks on the Gallatin, TN, WLAC radio from 1946 for 16 years. Appeared in two Elia Kazan films and owned several night clubs, e. g. the famous Nashville’s Orchid Lounge Club. Virtually every major session player in Nashville was a member of The Radio Playboys at one time or another. In fact, the great Grady Martin started out playing fiddle for Big Jeff in the early days. He had records on World, Cheker (sic) and Dot, and today his 1951 « Step It Up And Go » stands as one of the most early Rockabillies. I’ve chosen his first on Dot, « Juke Box Boogie » (1004), strong guitar, and a swinging tight combo. dot 1004A big jeff juke box boogie

Indeed Bess has his own CD on Bear Family 16941 « Tennessee Home Brew« , which gathers all his issued sides, plus a lot of unissued or radio extracts. Big Jeff’s story is intended in the future in Bopping.

Then, from a Dutchman’s Collector comp’, KELLY WEST & His Friendly Country Boys and the great « Grandpa Boogie« . Don’t know anything about the original label, or which part of the U.S. it came from. I’d assume 1954-55. Fine fiddle (a solo) and lead guitar. On to Nashville again, this time late ’50s on the aptly named Starday subsidiary Nashville: KEN CLARK offers a folky « Truck Driving Joe » (very early issue on the label, 5009 – he had a 45 on Starday earlier) with a nice steel-guitar, typical of the late ’50s.

nashville 5009 ken clark Truck driving joe

From Cincinnati, OH, on the King label (# 1403) and a 4-tracks session (held Oct. 15, 1954) comes the very good « Oo-Ee Baby » by RALPH SANFORD. Typical King instrumentation for this medium uptempo Hillbilly bop. The singer is unknown to me elsewhere, here in fine form.

ralph sanford bb 26 mars 55 ralph sanford

Billboard March 26, 1955

On July 19, the famous, although long-forgotten LIL GREENWOOD passed away at 86. I enclose a Youtube snippet of a September 2007 live gig, « Back To My Roots« . She’s in real fine form! For more information on her, go to:http://inabluemood.blogspot.com/2011/07/lil-greenwood-former-ellington-vocalist.html

Enjoy the selections!

Lil Greenwood selection:

early August 2010 fort-night

Howdy folks! Just another batch of good ole’ Hillbillies, Honky tonks, and Hillbilly boogies (all from the 50s/early 60s). No label shots, sorry: I just re-formated my Macintosch hard drive, and lost all my sites in course! Sometimes I own the actual record, wish I had them ALL! But, you know, it’s not a matter of time neither of money to get them, they are really THAT rare…

We begin with a very rare USAF live transcription of HANK SNOW, early 50s. Hank does 3 tunes, first his signature song, “I’M MOVING ON”, then he embarks on a track that is known to me, but at the moment I cannot remember the title of the song. He finishes with the famous “HONEYMOON ON A ROCKET SHIP”. Fine, powerful rhythm guitar from Hank himself, I would assume; if the band which is backing him is the same as on recording sessions, then the great steel should be played by either Joe Talbot, or Melford Gentry.

Honky Tonk now with CARL SMITH on Columbia, with the fine 1955 “Baby I’m Ready”, lotta bird-dogging in this song, with the perfect Nashville musicians staff.  On to early 60s I’d assume. I don’t know the location of the CLET label, perhaps Texas? I’ve chosen the uptempo “Honky Tonkin’ Baby” by BOB SMITH. September 1960, Cincinnati, King records studio. My own tribute to a great singer/songwriter, LATTIE MOORE, who just passed away on June 13th (he was heartsick since the 90s); here we have “Drivin’ Nails (In My Coffin)” – is it the same number popularized circa 1947 by JERRY IRBY? I have not the time to compare the songs.

Next comes from Texas or Oklahoma a minor classic  by AL VAUGHN, “She’s An Oakie” (Four Star) from 1952. Good harmonica throughout, and fine steel. Then to Tennessee and on the DOT label, out of Gallatin. BIG JEFF & The Radio Playboys for the fine offering “I don’t talk to strangers”, from 1950 or 1951. Could Big Jeff be…LUKE McDANIELS, or as he was billed on MEL-A-DEE out of New Orleans (“Daddy O-Rock” from 1956), JEFF DANIELS? His actual story is yet to be written…Finally we have Danny (name forgotten!) as HANK THE DRIFTER and the great “Bill Collector Blues” – late 50s on the NEW ENGLAND label. Hope you N-joy everything! Comments welcome.