Howdy folks, here’s the new batch of Bopping goodies early this month.
From Arkansas, a state not already known for its music. Nevertheless one can find with Internet some very nice records. I knew HERSHEL PARKER for years (through a Tom Sims’ cassette) and his « Hey-Pa » on the Fort Smith, Arkansas, Pla-an-tak (# 510-25) label. Very solid Country bop from the early ’60s. He also had on the Fort Smith UBC label (# 1023) the fine double-sided (one side uptempo, the other a great ballad) « Can’t go home tonight » (very sensitive ballad with fiddle and steel solos) backed with the upt. « I can’t forget« . I couldn’t find a picture n the net but the music only. All sides from early ’60s. UBC also issued Bob Calloway‘s fine Rocker « Wake up, little boy blue » in 1960. See arkansas45s.blogspot.com for information on Arkansas labels.
Seemingly a Tennessean, HOMER MONROE cut in Chattanooga, TN, the nice « Headin’ on down the line » on the Spann label (#1764). We find him once more – same piano to the fore, so he’s presumably playing it – on an Alabama Silvia label from Silvania for « It’s many a mile from me to you » (# 1161), Country Drifters backing him. Judging by the sound, I’d assume both records being from the late ’50s.
Homer Monroe « It’s many a mile from me to you » download
On the Linda label – there has been a few by the same name: « Country Music From Midway USA » – REBEL WRIGHT offers « I’m a long gone daddy » (not the Hank Williams’ song) (# 002B) and finally from « the heart of Dixie » on the Bama label (# 00001B) (not THE Bama label for Hardrock Gunter‘s « Birmingham Bounce » from 1951) by LEFTY PRITCHETT and the Country Kats, « Just an ole has been« . Enjoy the selections, bye! Next fortnight early January 2014. Have a Boppin’ Xmas and a happy Hillbilly New Year! Rebel Wright « I’m a long gone daddy » download
Born Charles Hurt Murphy, Jr., 7 March 1922, Montgomery, Alabama Died 18 August 2001, Charleston, South Carolina
Chuck Murphy was a piano pounder who made two interesting records that you could call proto-rock n roll. Born in March 1922, he always celebrated his birthday on March 8, but, when he looked at his birth certificate years later, he found that he was actually born on March 7. Born in Montgomery, he grew up in Decatur, Alabama. His mother played piano and Chuck and his brother Huel both took up the instrument. Chuck loved Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong. His first gigs were in pop bands during the mid-1930s and by the 1940s he was making a living from music. Most of his work came from the lounges in and around Birmingham. Country music came into the picture in a minor way (he gigged with the Red Mountain Wranglers and was on their television show, and hung out with Hardrock Gunter), but pop music was his bread-and-butter. At one point, he was among the highest paid entertainers in Alabama.
In February 1951, Murphy had his first record released, « They Raided the Joint »/ »Blue Ribbon Boogie » (Bama 301), accompanying himself on what sounded like an old barrelhouse piano.
The A-side was written by Louis Jordan and Dan Burley and recorded by Jordan in January 1945 as « They Raided the House« , though it was not released at the time. Bama Records was owned by Manley Pearson, who had released the original version of « Birmingham Bounce » by Hardrock Gunter. Decca had tried to buy the master, but after Pearson refused, Paul Cohen recorded his own version of « Birmingham Bounce » with Red Foley, which went to # 1 on the country charts, leaving Pearson with piles of unsold copies. Having learned from this experience, Pearson leased « They Raided the Joint » to Coral this time (a subsidiary of Decca!), after the disc showed good sales potential. Coral reissued Chuck’s single in April 1951 (Coral 64090). It sold well in the southern states, but was not a national hit. Chuck did further recordings for Coral with Pee Wee Erwin’s Dixieland Band. There was even a Dutch Coral pressing (61014) of Chuck’s song « 2-D Gal In A 3-D Town« .
In 1951, Chuck had 4 times the honor of being reviewed by Billboard for his Coral records.
In late 1953, Murphy signed with Columbia Records, where his first record was « Hocus Pocus« / »Hard Headed » (21258). However, it was his second Columbia single, « Rhythm Hall » (Columbia 21305), for which he will be remembered most of all. Recorded at the Tulane Hotel in Nashville on March 21,1954, « Rhythm Hall« was produced by Don Law, with Hardrock Gunter and Huel Murphy on guitar, Ernie Newton on bass and Farris Coursey on drums. Chuck’s family says that Chuck himself played piano on the session, and that would certainly make sense, but Hardrock Gunter alleges that Huel played the piano. Like « They Raided the Joint« , « Rhythm Hall » is an infectious piano romp in country boogie style.
Chuck made two more singles for Columbia and a few for other labels (MGM), but since the early 1950s he had felt the call to the ministry. In 1957, he entered what is now Samford University in Birmingham (then Howard College) and finished a four-year degree in three years, all the while working the nightclubs. In 1960, he went to Virginia Theological Seminary and graduated in 1963. From that point, until his death in 2001, he was a full-time minister in the American branch of the Anglican church. Along the way, he wrote several books.
Biography taken from BlackCatRockabilly (Netherlands – come visit the site!)