Howdy folks. We begin in Texas (Marshall) with the energetic duet MACK & GWEN for « Baby I Want Another Date With You » – could be from 1959-60 on the Phil label. Then JOHNNY BROWN on the Big State label (El Paso, Texas) for the fabulous « Shame » (3 steel solos!), vocal assured by « Sammy » (Sammy Smith is the songwriter)
This is a very special feature. I’ve noticed a singer from Georgia, CLYDE BEAVERS, who sounded interesting. First he appeared on the famous STARDAY CUSTOM serie (he gave his own state as label, GEORGIA) as a Hillbilly Bopper in 1955; he pursued his carreer on other labels, finally hitting a bit on Mercury in 1957 with « Crying For My Baby« . Constant quality of his recordings. Hence 4 tracks by him in chronological order.
The seventh track is a favourite of mine. Alexander « Papa » Lightfoot cut the wild (raucous vocal + harmonica) « Wine, Women And Whiskey » in New Orleans, added by a guitar player (Guitar Gable) and just a drummer in 1952. What a sound, what a savagery! Imperial label.
Jimmy Simpson : Ramblin’ Blues (reprint of A.J. Nightingale’s article in RSJ 7, 1984)
Many people regard the state of Tennessee as the cradle of Country music and I suppose that it was only appropriate that one of the finest hillbilly singers of the Fifties, JIMMY (J.D.) SIMPSON have been born in the state, at Sullivan Hollow, Ashland City, some twenty odd miles from Nashville on 24th March, 1928. His father, it seems, owned the Simpson Construction Co. « My parents were hard-working, honest, and religious people », Jimmy recalls in his book A Vanishing Breed. « This was the Depression era and we learned early in life to cope with hard times. We didn’t have a radio, but an old wind-up Victrola that played 78 rpm records, and that’s was our entertainment. »
A big man, six feet tall, Jimmy had definite stage presence and a gift of gab that enabled him to enjoy a side-career as a disc-jockey for most of the fifties and early sixties. His records were released on an array of small labels that continue to fascinate collectors – Republic, Hidus, Jiffy, Big State, Caprock, and his own Sourdough – but included a brief run with Starday as well. Along the way he managed to get in appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, the Louisiana Hayride, and the Big ‘D’ Jamboree, with a wide array of country music characters, musicians, songwriters and disc jockeys : Jim Denny, Jack Rhodes, Harlan Howard, Slim Willet, Hank Harral, Tillman Franks, Willie Nelson, and Don Pierce, to name a few. (suite…)