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Hillbilly bopping and fiddling: the MERLE ‘Red’ TAYLOR story
juin 26th, 2016 by xavier

Merle Taylor, also known as Mason Dixon, was from the little town of Glen a few miles north of Tupelo, MS where he was born in May 1927. He started with a group called the Country Gospel Singers and then joined the Blue Seal Pals in 1949.

mason dixon (AMM)« Merle was one of the best country fiddle players around », says Quinton Claunch. « He was a good bluegrass singer too, and a super, super guy. He worked with all the big acts in Nashville, Bill Monroe, Cowboy Copas, people like that. I first me him when he joined my group the Blue Seal Pals when we moved from WMC Nashville to WJOI in Florence, Alabama. Bill Cantrell had gone to Chicago for a while and Merle – we called him ‘Red’ – came in. He worked with Buddy Bain’s band on WOMA in Corinth, MS too and Buddy came with us on Meteor’s session ».

Behind Taylor’s assured vocals on « Don’t worry ’bout nuthin’ », there is a classy band kicked off by Bill Cantrell on fiddle [so Merle Taylor is confined to vocal duty] and featuring solos by Terry Thompson on guitar and Kenneth Herman on steel guitar . Ronald Smith also played guitar using the percussive rockabilly effect achieved by damperin’ the strings with paper or a matchbox, and Dexter Johnson played the bass.

« Don’t worry ’bout nuthin’«  downoad

« I’ll never fall out of love with you« downoad

meteor 5028 mason dixon - don't worry 'bout nuthin'

meteor 5028 mason dixon - I'll never fall out of love with you

 

 

« When Rockabilly came in, Red used to do a little section of club dates under the persona of « Mason Dixon ». recalled Quinton Claunch:   »Because he was well known as a country fiddler, he did not want people to get confused. So, when it came to this recording, Red said he wanted to use the name Mason Dixon on the record too. It was not a style he was normally associated with. In fact, Les Bihari, boss of Meteor Records] liked the idea so much he called the band the Redskins, after Merle’s nickname. »

 

 

It should be noted that another singer popular in the Memphis area, Walter « Tex » Dixon from Alabama, also used the name « Mason Dixon » – which still had huge resonance in the South – on the Reed label in the late 1950s. [research on Walter « Tex » Dixon is on its way for future feature in bopping.org...]

The much more country-oriented « I’ll never fall out of love with you» sees Quinton Claunch add his walking bass style on electric guitar to the mix, underspinning Merle Taylor’s high tenor voice. Kenneth Herman takes a wonderful steel solo.

 

Merle Taylor had previously recorded two discs for Decca in 1952 (session probably held on Oct. 18) and 1953 (On March 23, 1953) in Nashville, largely with local musicians but including guitarist and songwriter Buddy Bain. Both records paired a slowie and a shuffler. Taylor’s wife Martha Jean Ellis wrote the songs for the second session. Then Taylor toured with Hank Williams at this time and was billed to appear in Canton, Ohio on 1rst January 1953 for the show the latter never lived to give.

« You can’t be a bride without a groom« (Decca 28496)download

« Gimme a little sugar« (Decca 28741)download

Decca 28496B merle taylor - you can't be bride without a groomdecca 28741 merle taylor - gimme a little sugar

 

 

 

 

Merle’s career in Nashville had many high points. He wrote the melody and played fiddle on Bill Monroe‘s classic « Uncle Pen » in October 1950 for Decca. Taylor also toured with the Monroe band for at least two stints between 1950 and 1955, with an interim sojourn with Little Jimmy Dickens. Then he worked with Jimmie Martin and later Ferlin Huskey. Merle played on sessions for M-G-M by Jimmie Martin and the Osborne Brothers. Fiddler Gordon Taylor has said about Red’s work with Monroe : « He did a slow brow with a lot of finger work and a funny reverse. I don’t think there would be the tunes there are now had he not played fiddle because he did something nobody else did ». 

Bill Monroe, « Uncle Pen« (Decca 46283)download

Bill Monroe, « Close by« (Decca 29645)download

Taylor continued at a high level for a few years before he quit playing with the top bands. People say that he had a really bad driking problem and that he had a serious altercation with singer Little Jimmy Dickens one time when he was drunk.meteor 5027 buddy bain - can we live it down?meteor 5027 buddy bain - daydreams, come true

 

buddy bain carte

Bain’s profesional card. Courtesy Eddie DJ Cesc

 

decca 46283 bill monroe - uncle pendecca 29289 bill monroe - close by

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buddy Bain « Can we live it down« (Meteor 5027)download

 

Buddy Bain « Daydreams come true« (Meteor 5027)download
 

 

 

After the Meteor recordings, Merle Taylor had cut two songs [in a more poppish vein] for the Bill Justis enterprises, which were issued only in 1989s on the U.K. Zu-Zazz label (# 2005) « Memphis Saturday Night ». One can forget « There’s a light », full of choruses and frankly pop; sole remains of interest the second song, « Love fever », embellished by some fine bluesy guitar and piano. These two unissued songs – not demos- do go stylistically back to 1957 or 58.

« Love fever« download

Taylor also made various sessions as a sideman in Memphis and Muscle Shoals over the years, and was involved in half a dozen bluegrass and fiddle Lps on Old Homestead, Atteiran and Mississipi Trace labels. He also made a solo album produced by Bill Cantrell for Hi Records’ short-lived Hi Country label.

Merle Taylor died on May 3, 1978 in Tupelo, MS.

With thanks to American Music Magazine (Bo Berglind) for the permission given to freely use the Martin Hawkins’ article (AMM # 136, September 2014) on the Meteor label. Pictures were taken from 78rpm-world or from the AMM Magazine, or the Ace CD 885 « The complete Meteor Rockabilly & Hillbilly Recordings ». Thanks to Imperial Anglares for his help. Thanks to Ronald Keppner, who provided both label scans and music of a rare Decca 78. Thanks to Uncle Gil for the loan of Bill Monroe’s music, as the Zu-Zazz LP. Thanks to 45-cat member « Excello-2101″ for the sound to a rare Decca Merle Taylor issue. I have also used Michel Ruppli’s indispensable book : « The Decca labels – A discography, volume 5 » for details on Bill Monroe sessions from 1950 to 1954, and the two Merle Taylor sessions.

Late June 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites
juin 15th, 2016 by xavier

Some real rarities this time, several being medium-paced. The name JACK HOLDEN does ring a bell ? With his brother Fairley he had on the White Church (ca. 1946-48) label some issues. We find him in 1948 on the sister label RED BARN (# 1152), located in St. Louis, MO, whom he released three singles for. Red Barn « Mama I’m sick » is a fast, typical late ’40s sounding bopper. Call-and-response format, it includes a vocal backed only by a powerful rhythm guitar and a great fiddle (Wayne Miskiff?). Holden appeared on Cincinnati « Renfro Valley Barn Dance ». Love his style.

« Mama I’m sick« download

red barn 1152A jack holden

Then in Louisiana’s West Monroe. Jiffy was a short-lived affair, however important by the quality of its issues, and the celebrity of some names, Jimmy Pickard, Tommy Spurlin or Jimmy Simpson. Here is the least known ED RAYBORN & his Southern Hillbillies, and the good medium paced « I’ll go on hurting » (# 208). Nice fiddle/steel and sincere vocal.

jiffy 208 ed rayborn

« I’ll go on hurting« download

Kustum appears to have been a subsidiary to Jiffy, yet had only one issue # 4000 (an ambitious numbering) by DAVID CRAIG and the medium uptempo « Just forget it » : nice vocal & steel. Craig was also on Imperial (« Replace my heart » # 8284): hear him on a future Fortnight.

« Just forget it« download

kustum 4000 david craig - just forget it

Late ’50s still had their goodies, here on the Starday custom Dixie 634 by RENAUD VELUZAT for « Race track boogie ». Insistant guitar boogie riff over a youngful voice. A record for Rockabilly buffs 

 

renaud veluzat pic

dixie 634 renaud veluzat - race track boogie

« Race track boogie« download

 

ERNIE HUNTER next was a long-time fiddler for various Starday sessions. Here he’s the leader for the very first Houston Longhorn label ( 503) « At ease my friend » (1957). Uptempo medium paced, piano led with confident vocal and steel. Hunter also appeared on a Gold Star custom Rainbow issue (# 1203/1204).

longhorn 505 ernie hunter

« At ease my friend« download

 

On the Rose City label (unknown location, # 1004), there’s nothing particular with « At the drug store cowboy’s ball » by ROY JACKSON. With much accordion, this record surely dates from the late ’40s. Good hillbilly bop.

« At the drug store cowboy’s ball« download    rose city 1004 roy jackson

 

 

 

There were at least two SNUFFY SMITH : one on Star Talent and own Snuffy Smith label ; the other on Western. I don’t know. Or his record which is called « Johnny Acton » is actually titled « Snuffy Smith » ? Anyway it’s great fast Rockabilly, urgent vocal backed by steel and a very nice lead guitar. Oops, Kasko label # 1644.

 

kasko 1644 snuffy smith

« Johnny Acton« download

 

« I’m a country boy« download

 

 

Finally on the Covina, CA. Toppa label (# 1014), let’s get late ’50s Hillbilly. Very intricating : piano, bass figure lead guitar, steel (solo) and..claphands and screams. It’s « I’m a country boy » by WALLY BLACK. He had already cut for Fable « Rock and roll mama » and apparently knew how to rock.toppa 1014B wally black - I'm a country boy

Source: main is Youtube (my favorite chains), also own researches on the Net.

Early June 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites
juin 1st, 2016 by xavier

All aboard ? For a new journey in Hillbilly bop music , with some forays ito Rockabilly, and even rocking Country blues.

The Fox label did emanate from Abilene, TX, but registered in Hollywood, CA. Its early recordings include a very young LITTLE DEDON with the Tex-Mex sounding Hillbilly « My Pedrecito » (# 404). To the best of my knowledge, the girl had never had another issue.

abilene, texas

 

« My Pedrecito« download

« The boy next door« download

On the same FOX label, we find in 1954 the great « I’m a hillbilly at heart » (# 403) by GENE DUNN. A fast bopper, great bass plus piano and fiddle backing  (« The Fox-Four Sevens », label’s band also backed Little Dedon). The flipside « Girl from nowhere » is a real slowie.

 

 

fox 404A pedrecito

thanks DrunkenHobo!

fox404B boy

 

 

« I’m a hillbilly at heart« download

ernest eugene dunn

Ernest « Gene » Dunn

fox 403 gene dunn - hillbilly

Further on, the first ever DEAN BEARD recordings, from 1955 are pure hillbilly : « Wake up, Jacob/Red Rover » (# 405). But his next # 408 is worth the waiting : « Sing sing sing » is a Rockabilly Starday style, with a very nice lead guitar. Its flipside « Time is hanging heavy on my hands » is a lively bopper next to Rockabilly (it features a steel). Beard was to cut on Edmoral the first version of his signature song « Rakin’ and scrapin’ », that Atlantic leased from Edmoral, before leaving behind him a good amount of unissued sides at Sun Records.

 

 »  Red Rover« download

dean beard

Dean Beard

 

fox 405 red rover

 

 

« Sing sing sing« download

« Time is hanging heavy on my hands« download

fox 408 dean beard - sing

fox 408 dean beard - time is hanging heavy

 

The FOX label had another interesting issue, that by CURTIS POTTER, « I’m a real glad daddy »(# 409), a bona fide Rockabilly from 1957.

« I’m a real glad daddy« download

 

fox 409 curtis potter - real glad daddy

Let’s turn now to Rocking Blues. First selection does come from Miami, and it’s a small classic, « A fool no more » (Marlin 804) by drummer and bandleader EDDIE HOPE & his Manish Boys. With an harmonica well to the fore and a solid backing, the tune reminds me of Jimmy Reed who would have turned to Rock’n'roll. The B-side « Lost child » is in the same vein !

« A fool no more« download

« Lost child« download

marlin 804 eddie hope a fool no more
eddie hope - lost child
Final tune is sung by the veteran LEROY DALLAS (b. Mobile, Alabama, 1920). « Jump, little children, jump » and its solid rhythm guitar (done by Brownie McGhee), is a good example of the Big Apple blues on the Sittin’ in With label (# 522) from 1949.

« Jump, little children, jump« download
siw 522 leroy dallas - jump little children

Sources : Allmusic, YouTube and various compilations. Help from DunkenHobo.

 

Late May 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites
mai 15th, 2016 by xavier

Let’s begin this new fortnight with a seemingly Virginian. CARLTON LINK had on the Freeman label (# 100) the fine uptempo bopper « Lovesick and sorrow », of unknown origin. But he issued a single on the Virginia Lark label in 1970 yet untraced (sound at least, even the actual label).freeman 1 carlton link - lovesickand sorrow

« Lovesick and sorrow« download

Then from Paoli, Indiana, on the Four Wheels label (# 0001) KENNY HOLIDAY with « Little heart don’t be disgusted » (1961) : an agreeable tune with a jumping little guitar.
four wheels 001 kenny holiday - little hear (61)t « Little heart don’t be disgusted« download

J. G. MORRISON had a fruitful career with no less than 3 aliases ! As previous, he cut two good ballads, « Ace in the hole » and « Old man honest » on the Texan Maridene label (# 103). Good piano vaguely a la Teddy Reddell. This must come from the early ’60s. The same artist was also simply Jim Morrison on Curley Q. in 1963 with a version of « Ace in the hole ». Finally he was also at the turn of the ’50s as CURLEY JIM the author of some fine Rockabillies, like this « Air force blues », a very strong Rockabilly from 1958, on Mida 100 from Florida.

 

 

« Ace in the hole« download

« Old man honest« download

« Air force blues« download
maridene 103 j. g. williams - ace in the holemida 100-B curleyjim - airforce blues

From probably the late ’40s and Canada, RAMBLIN’ LOU and the accordion led « Seashore blues » on the Ramblin’ Lou label (# 207). He also had « Cindy » on Beaver.

« Seashore blues« downloadramblin'lou 207AA ramblin' lou - sea shore blues

Down South in Houston, on the Gold Star custom serie, we find V. CECIL WILLIAMS on the Gilbert label (# 1004/1005) for the nice uptempos, « Two timin’ baby » and « Maurine », typical of the Houston sound of 1952-53, that was to evolve in the Starday sound in the following years.
« Two-timin’ baby » download

« Maurine« download

gilbert gs 1004 v. cecil williams - two-timin' babysources: Youtube for most part, HBR for Gilbert, 78-world,45rpm

Early May 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites
mai 1st, 2016 by xavier

Howdy friends from all around the world ! This new batch will return to a more conventional time for Hillbilly bop, the years 1950-1960. Lack of time and inspiration I’m afraid. So commentaries will be short ! First we can listen to JOHNNY GITTAR, a.k.a. Johnny Henderson (I posted two tracks under this name recently, fortnight early April) in the famous « San Antonio boogie » (High Time 173). A call-and-response format, the steel guitar well to the fore, a touch of piano : it’s a shuffler, the sort of hard-rock tunes we can hear on the Houston Freedom label (I recently told the story of this important altho’ short-lived label).   »San Antonio boogie« download « Nine o’clock« download

« Is there no love for me, Love« download

high time 173 johnny gittar - san antonio boogie

Two medium-paced numbers, back-to-back of the Bennie Hess Spade # 1929 label, and they both are close to Rockabilly,    «Nine o’clock » and « Is there no love for me, Love » are light, cool sung. A minimum instrumentation and a gliding guitar. They appear to have been issued in Autumn 1956 by JOHNNY McADAMS.

spade 1927B johnny mcadams - nine o'clock

Next LITTLE MIKE MORTON offers a jumping spade 1929 johnny mcadams - is there no love for me loveHillbilly bop        « Midnight hoe-down » on Esta H-9592 from 1955. The location of Esta is Hamilton, OH. And the youthfullness of the voice immediately reminds that of Little Doug [Sahm] on Sarg, or on Westport that of Cowboy Bobby.

« Midnight hoe-down« download

esta h80-9592 little mike morton - midnight hoe-down

« Why did you go away« download

seven star 5511B art rodgers - why did you go away

From 1957 on the Cincinnati, OH Seven Star label (# 2511B) let’s listen to « Why did you go away » by ART RODGERS (without any doubt no connection with Jimmie or Jesse). Nevertheless Rodgers has a hillbilly pronunciation, and a strong rhythm guitar, backed by the K.C. Ramblers.

CUZIN ROSCOE next on the Avery, TX Cowtown label (# 803A) delivers the fast « Sing me a song », accompanied by a sawing fiddle (1960, according to the YouTube uploader).

A baritone vocal, strongly a la Johnny Cash, that of RAY PRIDIE for « Lonesome broken hearted me » on the C.A.R.  label # 102A, from Bellingram, Washington. Steel guitar plus echo.

cowtown 803A cuzin roscoe - sing me a songc.a.r. 102A ray pridie - lonesome broken hearted mecooper H802059 gene stacks - I know (my babt loves me)« Sing me a song« download

« Lonesome broken hearted me« download

 

 

« I know (my baby loves me)« download

A fast Rockabilly by GENE STACKS on the Cooper label (Pine Bluff, AR) # 2059, from 1957. « I know (My baby loves me ) » is fast and has an intriguing guitar, very reminiscent of Scotty Moore.

Finally RAY WILSON on the Hidus label # 2006 (Springfield, TN) does the fast « Heart stealer » – fiddle to the fore, a short piano solo. Hidus also had Jimmy Simpson (« Honky tonk spree »). 

« Heart stealer« download
hidus 2006 ray wilson - heart stealer

ROY DUKE, « Behave, be-quiet or begone »: Nashville Hillbilly/Rockabilly (1953-57)
avr 29th, 2016 by xavier

‘I Mean, I’m Mean’, ‘Behave, be-quiet or begone’ – Roy Duke

A Country Music Anomaly

By Shane Hughes (Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame)

 No picture of Roy Duke has ever surfaced. Additional content by bopping’s editor.

Roy Duke’s style was unique and not easily identifiable as either hillbilly or rockabilly. Certainly his earliest sides on Mart are overtly country in composition and treatment, yet his Reject and Decca sides expose definite rockabilly overtones, due mostly to the presence of ace picker Hank ‘Sugarfoot’ Garland. Garland’s runs are typically definitive and starkly contrast Duke’s lazy and loping vocal, particularly on cuts as Honky Tonk Queen and Hard Hearted Mama. Similarly, these recordings, in terms of lyrical content are unalloyed honky tonk. « I Mean, I’m Mean » is pure Ernest Tubb, while « Behave, Be-Quiet Or Begone » would have been well suited to Johnny Cash’s almost baritone vocal and isn’t too dissimilar to many of his Sun recordings of the period. Further, Roy’s Reject and Decca records have been sought after by rockabilly collectors for years, with his Reject disc fetching healthy sums at auction (at east $ 60-75, when copies eventually turn up). So, just who is Roy Duke and why are his recordings still so much in demand? Maybe it was Roy’s propensity for sheer originality that made him a unique and, thus, collectable artist. Today his appeal is certainly broad; probably further reaching than when he made those eclectic recordings during the early and mid-fifties (no thanks to an over active reissue market).

 

Roy had the potential to find success too, especially after signing with Decca in ’56. By this stage of his career Ernest Tubb had already cut a few of his songs and he was still tight with Tubb’s nephew Douglas Glenn. However, as with the trail of Douglas Tubb’s career, Roy’s tapered radically after minimal sales of his Decca releases (although Roy Junior confessed to Colin Escott that « Honky Tonk Queen » was a moderate hit in Nashville). Roy’s ill-defined style could have been the cause. Staid hillbilly fans may have heard something too progressive in Roy’s recordings, whilst southern teens probably shied away from the melodic hillbilly vocals and languorous rhythm so evident in Roy’s music. Regardless, Roy’s music has persevered and is still very much revered. It’s time his story was finally told.

Read the rest of this entry »

Late April 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites: a Sixties edition special!
avr 15th, 2016 by xavier

First three are exceptions to the rule. CAL DAVIS does a shuffler, with a bit of echo on the steel for  »Loving lifetime » on the Mack label (# 258). No indication at all of its origin. A RCA Custom of 1954.

mack 25B cal davis - loving lifetime

« Loving lifetime« download

« I reckon so« download

hilton 0001 raybon busby - I reckon so

Second dates from 1957 on the Hilton label, yet still unknown origin. RAYBON BUSBY does the complex, half slow, half fast « I reckon so » (# no #) : A sort of talking blues, steel phrases on the slow side ; fast side reminds me much of the Blankenship Brothers.

Note: Hilton was based in Louisiana, according to DrunkenHobo.

TOMMY RIDDLE with « Rayford line » pertains apparently to the late ’50s/early ’60s on the Staircase label (# 6651), from where I don’t know. Good fast honky-tonk, a lot of echo on the lead guitar.

staircase tommy riddle (1927-2009)

staircase  tommy riddle - rayford line

Note: DrunkenHobo says the record came in 1961.

« Rayford line« download

No we begin exploring 1960′s sounds.

With a classic theme – either in Blues or Country – « Walking blues », RAY BEACH couldn’t go wrong in 1968. Solid guitar and light drums for a good uptempo. 3 backing members are listed on label (Ray Beach, really?), which don’t give any clue to the origin of this record.

 

tay beaxch 20664 ray beach - walking blues (+ instr)« Walking blues« download

Picked from my good friend Alexander’s site « Mellow’s log cabin», here is the nice « After I have broke your heart » by LEO GRAY, from Mt. Healthy, OH, in 1965, issued on Log Cabin 903. Good steel over a jumping tempo.

log cabin 903 leo gray - after I have broke your heart

« After I have broke your heart« download

 

 

On the presumably Ohio Harron label, here are two fine Bluegrass duets (male/female) led by ERNEST STACEY (great vocal) and backed by HARLIN KAZY on vocal and fiddle, the fast « I do » and the dynamic « I made up my mind » from 1962 (# 995A). They had also at least one other record, « Lonesome road » on Arvis, another label from Ohio. Usual Bluegrass backup : dobro and bass.

 

 

« I do« download

« I made up my mind« download

harron 995A ernest stacey - I do

 

From Iona, Michigan, BOB WAYLEE offer in 1962 on the Northway Sound 1002 label a fine fast (flying guitar) « Looking out the window ».

« Looking out the window« download
northway bob waylee - looking out the window

Finally the famous CAL SMITH burns the pedal steel-guitar in 1968 on Kapp 938 with his solid version of « Honky tonk blues ».

« Honky tonk blues« download
kapp 938 cal smith - HT blues

Bopping in Houston: Hillbilly on Freedom label (1950-52) = the final sides
mar 22nd, 2016 by xavier

 

peck touchton pic« Walk ‘em off blues » # 5028 by PECK TOUCHTON can only be described by one word – stunning. Pure Hillbilly vocal and tremendous support from the Sunset Wranglers. Next, TOUCHTON‘s « Walkin’ on top of the world » backed with « Sighing trees on a broken heart » (# 5041):both sides are superb Hillbilly, with again the Hank Williams influence apparent, particularly on the former song [alas untraced]. Of course Touchton is known to have had records on Sarg and Starday (the famous « Let me catch my breath », # 160), but these sides are his earliest and probably his best. Also his story is intended as soon as I get enough information. His Sunset Wranglers also backed Johnny Nelms on Freedom.

 

freedom 5028A peck touchton - lonely world

 

freedom 5028B peck touchton - walk'em off blues    »Walk ‘em off blues« download

« Lonely world« download

« Walkin’ on top of the world« download

 

 

 

 

The next issue (# 5032) is another unknown item and then we have CHARLIE HARRIS telling us about the « No shoes boogie », a number he co-wrote with R.D. Hendon whose the Western Jamboree Cowboys provide the backing. Probably dating from the late Summer of 1951, this disc (# 5033) has Charlie in tremendous voice (and lead guitar) on a quality fast Hillbilly boogie number while the band who also recorded with Eddie Noack or Bill Taylor as vocalists for Shamrock, 4*, Blue Ribbon and Starday show why so many of the musicians who went through this band were to become stalwarts of later Starday sessions. »No shoes boogie » is an excellent example of the hard-rocking, shuffle-beat swing that was common in Texas before rock’n'roll. The band consists of Harris (on hot guitar), Herb Remington (steel), Theron Poteet (piano), Johnny Cooper (rhythm guitar), Tiny Smith (bass) and Don Brewer (drums). The story of the prolific Charlie Harris is scheduled in this site.

« No shoes boogie »download    freedom 5033A charlie harris - no shoes boogie

Activity at the label at this time is hard to determine as I can find no information at all about the releases from # 5034 to # 5037. Then our old friend BENNY LEADERS returns for a final fling on the label with two musical throwbacks. Accompanied by the Ranger Trio, « Always remember » is a real Western flavored number while « Give my heart a break » (# 5038) is also Western and set to a waltz tempo and also features Benny’s brother Parker Leaders.

 

The very next issue on the label is a real oddity. The group, LOUIS LAMB and his Melody Boys, are completely unknown to me as is the singer on both sides, one DANNY BRYAN. The titles are « Down hill and shady » and « I will trouble you no more » (# 5039). Hot fiddle reminiscent of Cotton Thompson and an ambitious guitar ensemble riffing add style. Lamb was also present on Melody, perhaps a Pappy Daily’s label of1946. There is a gap of nine No’s with regards of the matrices on the label, but, in the run-off area of the first side there is an ACA number while the flipside has the legend JB2 and that leaves me very perplexed.

« Down hill and shady »download

I suspect that the last three issues I know of on the label date from early 1952. And so we come to the last known, to me anyway, release on the label by TEX JONES and his Texas Rangers. « Little darlin’ » # 5042) is a fine Hillbilly bopper with the Texas Trio helping out on vocal while band once again show us how Hillbilly music was evolving in the area and was to become more widely nown throughout the U.S.A., and now further afield, as the ‘Starday sound ’.

« Little darlin’« download

« A gambler’s last hand« download

 

freedo 5042 tex jones - little darlinfreedom 5042 tex jones - gambler's last hand

 


Just why FREEDOM folded is not known to this writer. Like another independant important company from the same city, MACY’S, it occurred just when the 45rpm record was beginning to exert itself. Admittedly the music scene was changing, and not just with Hillbilly music. We may never be able to find out why but one thing is for sure and that is the fact that Saul Kahal and the acts who recorded for him have left a fine legacy of Western swing and Hillbilly music for collectors to investigate.

 

 

Three features with the precious help of Ronald Keppner and Allan Turner. Help from Krazy Kat CD12 notes (Andrews Brown & Kevin Coffey)

Early April 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites
mar 21st, 2016 by xavier

Howdy folks, this fortnight will be a bit quieter than usual, with a batch of very old Hillbillies.

First the King of Country Music, Mr. ROY ACUFF himself. There’s no need to tell his story, after all, with his Smoky Mountaineers or his Crazy Tennesseans, he more or less started it all. Here’s his « Steel guitar blues » (Conqueror 9088), recorded on March 22, 1937 in Birmingham, AL, with the stunning Clell Summey on lap-steel, Jess Easterday on guitar and Red Jones on bass. Wild effects on the steel, and great string-bass !

conqueror 9086 roy acuff

 

« Steel guitar blues« download

columbia 20033 roy acuff steel guitar blues

Columbia reissue of 1946

JOHNNY HENDERSON, originally from Texas, was a determined character, who just kept on trying. He had «The girl that I love is an Oakie », first on Miltone 5201, a nice jumper (piano leader plus steel solo and fiddle) ; then he recut it on his own High Time label # 117. On the flipside, « Down beside the Rio Grande » is a fine relaxed fast ditty on the same format. Henderson also had of course the famous « Any old port in a storm » and, under the alias of Johnny Gittar, « San Antonio boogie », perhaps for a later fortnight.

 

« The girl that I love is an Okie« download

« Down beside the Rio Grande« download

miltone 5201 johnny henderson - the girl I love is an oakiehi-time 117 johnny henderson - the firl I love is an oakie

On the Tred-Way label (# 100A), out of Midland, Texas, « Who flung that mater » by TROY JORDAN is a gentle piano-led jumping little thing. Good fiddle solo. Jordan had another one on this label, « Too many kinfolks » (# 103).

« Who flung that mater« download
tred-way 100A troy jordan - who flung that mater
Way up in the early times, a famous duet, that of TOM DARBY & JIMMIE TARLTON, had a long string of releases between 1927 and 1933 on the Columbia label, cut in Atlanta, Ga. Here is their fantastic bluesy dobro and urgent vocal for « Sweet Sarah blues » (April 15, 1929, Columbia 15431).

« Sweet Sarah blues« download  columbia 15436 darby & tarlton

From Arizona came SHELDON GIBBS. On his own Gibbs label (# 1), here are two sides, « Nothing gets me down » first, an uptempo shuffler, with lovely fiddle and vocal by Bud Gray. On another issue, they do the semi-instro  »Houn’ dog boogie », a nice uptempo with fine guitar, steel and drums issued on the Smart label (# 1016). Thanks Dean.

gibbs 1 sheldon gibbs - nothing gets me down  « Nothing gets me down« download

 

« Houn’ dog boogie »download

 

Sources : as usual, Youtube or (mostly) HBRAllan blog.

Late March 2016 fortnight’s bopping favorites: 11 selections!
mar 15th, 2016 by xavier

Howdy folks ! Eleven selections (yes, 11) this time of small labels and very minor artists, who made for the most part of them only one known record then vanished into obscurity or did something else than a career in music.

From California on the Pico Sundown label (# 113, very late ’50s, let’s hear at BOBBY AUSTIN‘s « Fool, fool, fool » : a jumping little tune, very expressive vocal – the singer knows what he’s talking about, of course. A prominent steel guitar, whose style must BE Ralph Mooney‘s.

« Fool, fool, fool« download

Sundown 113a bobby austin - fool

azalea 118 coy wilcox -mistake

« I made a mistake« download

Recently I posted both Freedom records of COYE WILCOX from 1951. He cut later on several small Houston labels, among them this one, Azalea (# 118), « I made a mistake » from 1959. The singer possesses a very distinctive phrasing, and his ballad grows and grows on you at every listening.

 

 

nat sound 1501 mile clay - it's moneycoye wilcox pic

 

 

« It’s money« download

A lively « It’s money » by MIKE CLAY follows on the National Sound label (# 1501), mid ’60s. It’s an uptempo with a harsh guitar. The record itself is produced by « Jack Rhodes », famous producer and songwriter residing in Mineola, TX.

hood 1031 carl dixon - ark

hood 1031 carl dixon - hunting

« Carry me back to Ark.« download

 

« Hunting out of season« download

From Louisville, KY, here they are, back-to-back of the Hood label # 1031 by CARL DIXON. More ‘Country’ than hillbilly, however two fine medium-paced Country rockers : « Carry me back to Ark. » and « Hunting out of season ». Surely Dixon has to watch for gamekeepers.. A harmonica throughout is the main instrument.

DICK BILLS began seemingly his career in Arizona on the Vicki label in 1954-55 (an OP- custom issue, « Beggars can’t be choosers »)[see elsewhere in this site my feature on the Four Star OP-serie]. We find him later on the Morgan label (# 107) in California for two medium paced numbers (one is sung by Buzz Burnam – I can’t for Heaven’s sake remember him where/when, but his name rings familiar to my ears). Tracks are « Lost without you », an ordinary bopper, while « Old dusty sun » has a surprising hawaiian-style steel guitar.

Finally Bills reappears in 1961 on the Crest label for a solid « Rockin’ and a rollin’ » (# 1091), backed on the lead guitar by his nephew Glen Campbell.

morgan 107b dick bills - lost

morgan 107a dick bills-sun

crest 1089 dick bills - rockin'

« Lost without you« download

 

 

« Old dusty sun« download

 

 

« Rockin’ and a rollin‘ »download

 

JIMMY RINGO next artist offers a very nice bopper as late as 1958 on the big concern W.C. Dot (reputed for its pop orientation). « I like this kind of music » (# 15787) has everything Boppers’ addicts could wish for : a nice guitar (a short solo), an interesting vocal, a prominent fiddle, of course no drums and even a banjo solo.

dot 15787 jimmy ringo - music

« I like this kind of music« download

red river dave mcenery

Red River Dave McEnery

The following artist had a long career as Red River Dave, mostly songwriter, he takes here his real name of DAVE McENERY for a solitary single on a subsidiary label to T.N.T., the aptly named Yodeling # 500. I wonder if they are more numbers in the serie. Both tracks are unusual. « Did the gypsy lie ? » is an intense ballad, while           « Jailhouse blues » (backing is made of 2 guitars and a bass) is a sort of folkish hillbilly, very pleasant with its yodel efforts.

« Did the gypsy lie?« download

« Jailhouse blues« download

yodelng 500 dave McEnery - jailhouseartists 1459 roy beemer - cheating

Note: Phil Watson, a visitor, had noted what follows: « I heard this was recorded when T Texas Tyler was jailed in 1958 for a drugs offence (he was found carrying weed) and, quick off the mark as always, Red River Dave wrote a song about it – Jailhouse Blues. The lyrics mention a couple of Tyler’s songs. ». Thanks Phil!

Last artist is a completely unknown from Kansas City, MO : ROY BEEMER comes with a shuffler, « Cheatin’ don’t count » has a guitar solo « a la Hank Garland », solos of steel and fiddle. A real good disc on the Artist label # 1459.
« Cheatin’ don’t count« download

Enjoy the eleven selections, comments welcome !

 

Sources : Internet (Youtube) or my own collection.

 

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