Howdy folks ! Everybody’s back from holydays ? Ready for stomping hillbilly !
The first artist chosen is BILLY RAY, born William H. Ray. He was living in Baton Rouge when he was signed by Columbia in November 1952. He cut 8 songs during two sessions. « Tired of talking to the blues » was issued on Columbia subsidiary Okeh 18009. It’s a real blues number with a spare instrumentation (guitar, piano and bass) probably cut in New Orleans. The second interesting song from the next session is « You gotta pet me baby » (Okeh 18030), a nice uptempo hillbilly. Alas, sales were poor, Columbia did not renew the contract and Ray disappeared. Maybe he’s the same on Titan in 1960.
« Tired of talking to the blues«
« You gotta pet me baby« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/okeh-18030-Billy-Ray-You-Gotta-Pet-Me-Baby.mp3download
James « OTIS » PARKER was a Tennessean (1920-1992), whose career began in 1949 on Rich-R’Tone. How he came to have in 1955 a record issued on Covington, California’s New Star label # 529 (a Starday custom) is a mystery. « They don’t have to operate (they just pull the zipper) » is a comedy-hillbilly not so far from Homer Clemons of 5 years before on Modern (« Operation blues »). Good fast proto-rockabilly. Previously he also had an issue in 1951 on Holyday (untraced).
« They don’t have to operate« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/new-star-529-Otis-Parker-They-Don_t-Have-To-Operate-They-Just-Pull-The-Zipper-1955-.mp3download
DON TEAGUE is a completely unknown artist from the Lexington, KY area. I picked up his two records on the Rains label from 1963. First is billed as « Don Teague with Pap and the Young’uns » and gives a radio station WZEJ indication : « Oh, how bad I feel » (Rains 103) is a fast hillbilly – lot of fiddle, a rockabilly guitar solo, a nice dobro, and an assured vocal. The second (Rains 108) has no connection indication, just « Don Teague with the Blue Valley Boys ». Much slower (« Pure country music » on the label), « I’ll take a walk » is nevertheless a very nice tune, with good dobro and fiddle.
« Oh, how bad I feel« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rains-103-Don-Teague-Oh-How-Bad-I-Feel..mp3download
« I’m gonna take a walk« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rains-103-Don-Teague-Im-Gonna-Take-A-Walk-1963.mp3download
Just for a change, a R&B rocker by (Napoleon) CHICO CHISM on the Shreveport, La. Clif label (# 102) – the very same that beared T.V. Slim‘s first issue of « Flat foot Sam ». « Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que » (1957). Enjoy all !
« Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/clif-102-chico-chism-Hot-Tamales-_-Bar-B-Que.mp3download
Sources : 45rpm.com (Dan De Clerk), Youtube, Okeh 18000 (Willem Agenant), malcychapman.blogspot (Starday customs)
Howdy folks ! I should have given myself a big kick, when I posted Ralph Pruett’s « Louise », last fortnight, and not having thought of the other record of the man, RALPH PRUITT, from Florida. He cut indeed the great haunting Rockabilly « Hey Mr. Porter », first on Lark 1506, later transferred on Meridian (same number # 1506).
« Hey, Mr. Porter« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/meridian-1506-Ralph-Pruitt-Hey-Mr.-Porter1.mp3download
Another well-known Hillbilly bop/rockabilly man whose I told the story a mere several years ago of was LOU MILLET. Until very recently I didn’t know his offering on Ekko 1024 from 1956 , which predates his solitary Republic 45 ’ (« Shorty the barber/Slip, slippin’ in » (# 7130). So here are his « Chapel of my heart » and « When I harvest my love », both ballads ; the B-side is more solid.
« Chapel of my heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ekoA-CHAPEL-OF-MY-HEART.mp3download
« When I harvest my love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ekoB-WHEN-I-HARVEST-MY-LOVE.-.mp3download
The remaining selections are all by HUB SUTTER. He had a rich discographical career between 1946 and 57. Hubert Sutter, legally blind since childhood, was adept to both saxophone and clarinet and began his professionnal career in 1941. Later we found him as vocalist for the popular Jesse James in Austin (4* Records), before going solo on Lasso (a version of « New Frankie & Johnny« ), billed as Hub Sutter & his Galvestonians (actually Jesse James’ band in disguise). In 1950 he formed his Hub Cats and was signed with the upcoming Freedom Records in Houston. There he had two issues. « I don’t want my baby back » (# 5015) has an agile electric mandolin and possibly Herb Remington on steel. The rocking « Tellin’ my baby bye bye » (# 5030) was recorded with R. D. Hendon‘s Western Jamboree Cowboys, probably at the same session that produced Charlie Harris‘ « No shoes boogie » (# 5033).
« The craziest feeling« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/4-1520-The-Craziest-Feeling.mp3download
« New Frankie and Johnny« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/lasso-102B-Hub-Sutter-THE-NEW-FRANKIE-AND-JOHNNY.mp3download
« I don’t want my baby back« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/freedom-5015-hub-sutter-i-dont-want-my-baby-back1.mp3download
« Tellin’ my baby bye bye« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/freedom-5030-hub-sutter-tellin-my-baby-bye-bye1.mp3download
Later on Sutter dropped the steel guitar and added a second saxophone. He then worked extensively with Floyd Tillman, Link Davis, Sonny Hall and Glen Barber.
In 1957, he re-cut « I don’t want my baby back » on the Columbus label (# 103). The rollicking flipside « Gone goslin » is here. Columbus was owned by Eddie Eddings and Sonny Fisfer.
« Gone Goslin« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/columbus-103-hub-sutter-gone-goslin.mp3download
Sources : Internet, and the notes to CD « Heading back to Houston » (Krazy Kat). With help from Drunken Hobo. Of interest also was the Hillbily Researcher blogspot and the entry to « Columbus Records » or Terry Gordon’s invaluable Rockin’ Country Style.
Red Perkins, nor related to the jazz trumpeter Red Perkins as with Carl Perkins, until today remains more or less a mystery within the country music since little is known about him. Not even a picture of him has ever surfaced. Nobody seems to know how he came to appear in 1947 on the country music scene, when he started as a singer for Paul Howard in its western swing band, the Arkansas Cotton Pickers to work. This group he belonged to until 1949, but led at the same time also has his own career.
In May 1949, King let Perkins cut his first solo titles : « Aggravatin’ Lou from Louisville » and « Hoe-down boogie » (# 792) were the best of four tracks recorded. In November 1949, as well as in the course of 1950, followed other sessions,
We find him in on the amusing « Crocodile tears » (# 836) and « One at a time » (# 850). The title of his last studio visit were published on Kings sublabel DeLuxe Records [ named Red Perkins and his Kentucky Redheads, perhaps Howard's Cottonpickers in disguise]. In March 1950, Perkins played once again as a singer with Paul Howard and the band in the studio KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana for 4 more tracks, among them « The boogie’s fine tonight » (# 871)- great pounding piano from Harold Horner, and a good guitar from either Paul Howard himself or Jabbo Arrington.
Under Perkins’ recordings for King to songs like « A Long Necked Bottle »(# 920), « Hoe-Down Boogie » (# 792), « Rag man boogie » (# 903) or « Aggravating Lou from Louisville »(# 792) were, however, found none of his singles off the charts, not least was due to the poor marketing of the label. What Perkins did after that is uncertain.
All in all, a career that lasted not more than 2 years ; nearly not more than a dozen 78pm singles ; and a very few to remember as shufflers and good’uns.
Billboard 9 Jul. 49
Billboard 4 Nov. 1950
« The boogie’s fine tonight »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/king-871-The-Boogies-Fine-Tonight.mp3download
« Hoe-down boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/792AA-Hoe-Down-Boogie-Red-Perkins.mp3download
« Aggravatin’ Lou from Louisville« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/792A-Aggravatin-Lou-From-Louisville-Red-Perkins.mp3download
« Texas boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/779A-Texas-Boogie-Paul-Howard-his-Arkansas-Cotton-Pickers.mp3download
« Rag man boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/903A-Rag-Man-Boogie-Red-Perkins.mp3download
« I live the life I love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/deluxe-5047B-Red-Perkins-I-love-the-life-I-live.mp3download
Sources: a short biography Wikipedia (which is confusing with the pre-War Red Perkins on Champion) translated from German language. A discography on Praguefrank site: http://countrydiscography.blogspot.fr/2009/10/red-perkins.html. Internet for label scans. With help from Ronald Keppner (DeLuxe issue).
The Van Winkle Brothers (Arnold and Lee) were musically prolific from 1956 to 1962 . Nobody seùs to have any informaion on their childhood, although U.S. 1940 Census gives for Arnold a birthdate in 1935 ; but the birthplace is in Tennessee, when they made their careers as far as Indianapolis.
Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s start this batch of fortnight’s favorites with a mysterious CURT HINSON. He hailed from S.C. and was at one time tied with WDLC in Dillon, S.C., where he was known as « Curt Hinson & His Sunset Troubadours ». Nothing is known about him except for two, maybe three records. The first one on Gotham 431, « Let’s see you smile » (1952) was coupled with « Down deep in my heart ». The first side is a nice uptempo, partly duetted (with the mysterious « Molinaro », who co-penned this track and the A-side on Carolina ?), over a chanting steel all along and a good swirling fiddle. The same songs were apparently reissued straight out on N.Y.C. Carolina label # 1001.
On Carolina 1003, Hinson has two « new » songs, « Cotton picking baby », a nice uptempo – weird and fooling fiddle, a steel solo and Troy Ferguson on the lead guitar. The flip side « You’re old love is haunting you still »[sic] is on a par with the presumably A-side. Fine relaxed vocal from Hinson, ably backed by a fluent guitar player. The identity of the guitar player was given by « HillbillyBoogie1 » on his Youtube chain, and I wonder where the information came from.
« Let’s see you smile« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Gotham-431-curt-hinson-lets-see-you-smile.mp3download
« Cotton picking baby« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Carolina-1003B-Curt-Hinson-Cotton-Picking-Baby-1953.mp3download
« You’re old love is haunting you still« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/carolina-1003-Curt-Hinson-Youre-Old-Love-Is-Haunting-You-Still.mp3download
From East coast we go now to Texas and the Fort Worth area. EARL WRIGHT & Texas Oldtimers has a good double-sider on Cutt-Rite in 1962 (# 100). « Married man blues » and « You don’t know it » are good Western swing flavored (prominent fiddle, even a solo) boppers. Nice guitar too, with jazzy overtones and a fine piano. A very nice relaxed record. Wright had at least another record, Jimmie Rodgers’ « T.B. Blues » on Bluebonnet 325 (untraced).
« Married man blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cutt-rite-326B-earl-wright-married-man-blues.mp3download
« You don’t know it« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cut-rite-100-YOU-DONT-KNOW-IT.mp3download
Now on to Ohio, with GLENN & VIVIAN WATSON, who do a good duet with « Just keep on going » on the Dayton, OH label BMC # 1000, from 1959. Fine picking guitar throughout a la Merle Travis. Vivian did in 1956 a solitary tune « Hoping that you’re hoping » on a budget Big 4 Hits EP # 195.
« Just keep on going« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/BMC-1000-Glenn-And-Vivian-Watson-Just-Keep-On-Going-.mp3download
Finally I chose from Nashville a Murray Nash production [see Mellow's Log Cabin i (hillbillycountry.blogspot.fr) for more info] by RALPH PRUETT and the song he wrote (not the blues/ traditional classic) « Louise » on B.B. 226, the very last one on this label, which saw no less than 3 Dixieland Drifters records. Topical lyrics, « Be-bop-a-Lula » is named, « Louise she’s my queen », over a relaxed vocal, with fine steel in the background plus n excellent fiddle solo.
« Louise« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/bb-226-Ralph-Pruett-Louise.mp3download
Sad news in France : a GREAT guy is gone, Bernard Boyat. Fine discographer, essential writer and reviewer for many magazines [more than 50, among them the vital French « Rock’n'Roll Revue » or « Le Cri du Coyote ») since the ’70s, a true gentleman, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of Rock’n'roll in general, with a special sympathy for Louisiana and Cajun people. He did help the launch of « bopping » with the co-writing of the article NATHAN ABSHIRE in January 2009. May God Almighty save his Soul and let him keep Rock’n'rolling in Heaven !
As usual, my special thanks to Internet, Alexander Petrauskas for his site « hillbillycountry.blogspot », and Youtube « HillbillyBoogie1″.
Eddie Zack (Edward Zackarian, from Armenian ancestry) was born on March 5, 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island. His first introduction to country music was in high school and at age 17, he organized his first hillbilly band, consisting of a banjo player, a washtub- and washboard player, and various spoon- and harmonica players. Among the band’s members was Eddie’s younger brother Richard (also known as “Richie”, “Cousin Richie” and, later, “Dick Richards”) who was born on January 16, 1925. When both brothers joined the marines during the War, their band came to an early end.
Howdy folks, I am back from Corsica isle (« l’île de Beauté ») where I visited my girl friend and did help her to set up her fairytales’ exhibition before children. While I was there I couldn’t get access to my files, thus not allowing to myself to set up early June fortnight’s favorites.
Let’s begin in Texas with GLENN REEVES, born 1932 in Shamrock, TX. He had his first two records on the T.N.T. Label (owned by Bob Tanner, who billed proudly his labels records as « Tanner’n'Texas »!). « I’m Johnny on the spot » (TNT 120) is already a proto-rockabilly classic. But its reverse, the plaintive hillbilly « The blues are out tonight », is not so well known, although a very good ballad. Listen to the real hillbilly pronunciation of Reeves, over a nice fiddle and steel. I love such a record like this.
« The blues are out tonight« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/tnt-120-glenn-reeves-the-blues-are-out-tonight.mp3download
Later he had on TNT 129 « I ain’t got room to rock », before switching to Republic (the great « That’ll be love ») and Atco (« Rockin’ country style »/ »Drinkin’ wine spo-dee-o-dee ») in 1956, yet before turning teen on Decca in 1957. Meanwhile, he had relocated in Florida, pushing himself as a performer and D.J. On WPDQ out of Jacksonvile, FL. That’s where he met Mae Axton, her fellow-composer, and Tommy Durden, who both looked for someone who could demo their « Heartbreak hotel ». At first, Reeves denied, before agreeing – and the result was presented at a Nashville D.J. convention late 1955 to Elvis as his first million seller (the promise of Mae Axton), which he cut January 1956, in a style very close to Reeves. Here is the Reeves’ demo.
Glenn Reeves « Heartbreak hotel« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GLENN-REEVES-heartbreak-hotel-demo.mp3download
The third compere was TOMMY DURDEN. He had a long story as steel player for Tex Ritter, and later for Johnny Cash, and composer (e.g. « Honey bop » for Wanda Jackson). In 1951 on the Sahul Kahal’s Freedom label out of Houston, Texas, he cut the great « Hula boogie » (# 5025). Later on, he had his own version of « Heartbreak hotel » (« Moods » LP, religious songs), before relocating in Michigan. He retired in the early ’90s.
Tommy Durden « Hula boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/freedom-5025-Tommy-Durden-Westernaires-Hula-Boogie.mp3download
On the next artist, GEORGE HEFFINGTON, I know litterally nothing, except he was one of the first to record on the growing Toppa label (owned by Jack Morris, out of Covina, Ca.), and is backed for the fast « Ghost of love » (# 1007, 1958) by, among others, Ralph Mooney on steel. Good piano too.
George Heffington « Ghost of love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/A02-George-Heffington-Ghost-Of-Love-Toppa-1007-A.mp3download
Real name to next artist was Wilcoxson, but he’s known now as JIMMIE DALE. And there were in the ’50s two different men with the same name. The first to jump on my mind is an Indiana artist, who cut two Starday custom records in 1958. First on Jeffersonville, IN Saber label (# 707), he cut the fabulous two-sider « Baby doll » (great slap bass, energetic drums and lead guitar) and « Darlin’ » (very nice piano, à la Teddy Reddell over a mambo rhythm). In Louisville, KY, he had in 1958 too on the Farrall label (# 687) « Man made moon », more of a country record. Nice vocal, and again a rinky-dink piano and good steel. I couldn’t locate the flipside « For a day ».
The second JIMMIE DALE was a Nashvillian, who cut « Tennessee ghost train » in 1953 on the Original label # 501. The credits don’t give any clue. Lot of echo on the steel, a train song of course.
Jimmie Dale (Saber, Farrall)
Jimmie Dale « Baby doll« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Jimmie-Dale-Baby-doll.mp3download
Jimmie Dale « Darlin’« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/45-708a-Jimmie-Dale-Darlin-Saber-03-58.mp3download
Jimmie Dale « Man made moon« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/farrall-687A-Jimmie-Dale-Man-Made-Moon.mp3download
Jimmie Dale [different artist]« Tennessee ghost train« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Original-Record-OR-501-Jimmie-dale-Tennessee-Ghost-Train.mp3download
That’s all for this fortnight, folks. Comments welcome, as usual.
Sources and credits : internet, RCS, Youtube, lot of labor !
Rambling Rufus Shoffner earned his nickname from his early hobo days when he hopped a train at the age of 16 from his home in Tazewell (or Harrogate?), TN where he was born in 1916 to go wandering: he led a band called the Blue Yodel Boys in 1939 on WROL Knoxville, Tennessee. His neighbor in Tennessee was Hugh Friar, who had later in the Detroit label Clix two fine and very sought after Rockabilly/Country issues (« I can’t stay mad at you », # 805 for example) . But Shoffner’s constant urge to travel resulted in his roaming across much of the country, hustling in one moneymaking scheme after another, before finally settling down in Monroe, Michigan, reuniting with his siblings in 1950. Read the rest of this entry »
Not many things are known about Rem Wall. He was born 1918 in Frankfort, Illinois and he died 1994.
He started at an early age entertaining during the ’30s at different local radio stations and, after being graduated in 1939, decided to settle in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He performed on radios WGFG, later WKZO, where he had even a TV show, « the Green Valley Jamboree » which lasted for 36 years, himself being signed to WKZO for even 44 years.
He then recorded for a lot of companies : Wrightman in 1951 (as Rembert Wall), then Bakersfield (1957), Glenn (1960-62), Wolverine and Columbia. He even had an issue in Great Britain. His music, although hillbilly at the beginning, became more and more softer by the years ’60s. His best songs are : « Heartsick and blue », « Waiting » (lot of echo for this good ballad), « One of these days » (banjo led folkish tune) , « Time alone » from 1962 (a fine shuffler) or « Carried away ».
In 1958 he was chosen by the U.S. Government to represent Country music in Germany and then he toured a lot there.
He seems to have remained a regional hitmaker, having given up his career after his wife’s death during the ’60s. His son Rendal carries on the family tradition as a guitar player.
Sources: various. Wrightman sides and label scan do come from Hillbilly Researcher. Glenn label scans from « 45rpm » blogsite. Picture from hillbilly-music site
« The girl on the matchbox cover« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/WRIGHTMAN-1051_2.the-girl-on-the-matchbox-cover.mp3download
« Heartsick and blue« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Rem-Wall-Heartsick-and-Blue-45rpm.mp3download
« Waiting« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/glenn-rem-wall-waiting.mp3download
« I’m losing my tears over you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/16.-Rem-Wall-I_m-losing-my-tears-ver-you.mp3download
« One of these days« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/04.-Rem-Wall-One-of-these-days.mp3download
« Carried away« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/01.-Rem-Wall-Carried-away.mp3download
« Time alone« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Rem-Wall-and-His-Green-Valley-Boys-Time-Alone-Glenn-2105-1962-country.mp3download
You can read a lot more on RemWall by clicking this link: http://www.visioncouncil.org/bobrowe/rem_wall.htm
With a mellifluous, deep voice often compared to western singer Rex Allen, Ricky Riddle was an Arkansas-born, Detroit-bred vocalist who gravitated to the western side of country music. His surname was apt, as he was a restless character, always on the go and never satisfied with life in one place for very long. Born Arvin Doyle Riddle on Aug. 22, 1920, in Rector, Ark., his parents moved him, two brothers and one sister to Hamtramck, Mich., around 1933. The Riddle family eventually settled in a house on McClellan Street in Detroit.
During World War II, Riddle enlisted with the Navy in Chicago, Ill. He served aboard the U.S.S. Adair in the Pacific Theatre. After an honourable discharge in 1946, He returned to Detroit and found a booming country music nightclub scene waiting for him; a result of thousands of new migrants from the South who moved north to build Detroit’s “Arsenal of Democracy.” Riddle pursued the life of a singing cowboy in earnest, writing songs and performing in nightclubs and showcases, sitting in with other entertainers and headlining his own shows.
In 1949, Drake’s Record Shop, located on East Jefferson Avenue, sponsored appearances by Hank Williams, Cowboy Copas and others at the convention center on Woodward Avenue. When Riddle’s friend, singer Eddie Jackson, was hired to open for Williams, Riddle shared the stage with him. Riddle was probably living in Nashville, Tennessee, by then.
Jackson visited Riddle in Nashville during ’49, and Riddle took him to witness his new buddy Clyde Julian “Red” Foley record what became a major hit for Decca Records, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy.” Compared to the size to which it grew a decade later, the country music business in Nashville was small, thriving through the projects of independent record labels, music publishers and promoters who tapped local artists working at Nashville clubs and radio stations; particularly members of the “Grand Ole Opry” barn dance at clear-channel WSM. In January 1950, Riddle’s first commercial recording appeared as the premier issue of the Tennessee label, a record company created by three Nashville businessmen, including a jukebox serviceman. Riddle’s “Second Hand Heart” on Tennessee no. 711 (numbered for luck, no doubt) was a good seller, and a hit in Detroit. Riddle cut several more releases for Tennessee over the next two years:
Second hand heart http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-711A-Ricky-Riddle-second-hand-heart.mp3download
“Second Hand Heart” and the song on the record’s flip side, “Somebody’s Stealin’ My Baby’s Sugar,” were both covered by several artists, including Houston’s Benny Leaders (4-Star), Bill Johnson and the Casanova Boys (London) and, more than a decade later, Everett “Swanee” Caldwell remade “Second Hand Heart” for King.
« Somebody’s stealin’ my baby’s sugar » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennesse-711B-Ricky-Riddle-somebodys-stealing-my-babys-sugar.mp3download
By 1950, Riddle was operating a nightclub in Nashville. He befriended Arizona singer Marty Robbins, whose first appearance at the “Grand Ole Opry” occurred in early 1951. Probably in 1950, Riddle bought author rights to Robbins’ song “Ain’t You Ashamed,” (# 715) which became Riddle’s second release on Tennessee, # 713. (Detroit musician and Capitol Records distributor Bob McDonald purchased a share in the song from Riddle.) Cowboy singer Bob Atcher covered the song for Capitol. The flipside of “Are you ashamed” was a good honky-tonk, a version (later by Skeets McDonald) of “Smoke comes out my chimney just the same”.
Ain’t you ashamed http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-713A-Ricky-Riddle-aint-you-ashamed.mp3download
« Smoke comes out my chimney just the same« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-713B-Ricky-Riddle-smoke-comes-out-my-chimney-just-the-same.mp3download
Riddle recorded Robbins’ “Heartsick” for another Tennessee release. He attempted to present Robbins with a recording contract, but the company’s artists and repertoire man passed on the deal. Robbins went on to launch a storied career with Columbia Records in May 1951.
Among other releases on Tennessee, Riddle sang a duet with Anita Kerr, leader of the Anita Kerr Singers, on a heart song called “The Price Of Love,” again attributed to Riddle and McDonald. On “Boogie woogie Tennessee”(# 717) (a take-off to “Tennessee saturday night”), Riddle had Ernie Newton, the bassman who wrote much later “Country boy’s dream” for Carl Perkins. He seems far from young on this recording, and the suave assurance of both Riddle and the backing group is almost at odds with the subject matter. Riddle made 8 records for Tennessee, one of them being “Heartsick”, the first Marty Robbins’ song he recorded commercially. After the label’s biggest hit played out in 1951-52
(Del Wood’s “Down Yonder” of 1951), the Tennessee label closed its doors.
Boogie woogie Tennessee http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/riddle-boogie-woogie-tennessee.mp3download
I got other fish to fry http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-732A-Ricky-Riddle-I-got-other-fish-to-fry.mp3download
The tall, easygoing Riddle persevered; he worked on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance as Wayne Turner, but was canned for habitual drunkeness. He then cut a single for Decca’s subsidiary Coral Records in 1953, the fine double-sider “What do you do” and “You belong to another” (# 64157). In early 1954, he recorded the bouncy “Steamboat Boogie” for M-G-M Records # 11741, with steel guitarist Don Helms and Chet Atkins on electric guitar. Framing the clever lyrics of the song was the refrain: Steamboat boogie / Rock, rock, rockin’ along. But for the fiddles, the song rocked like Bill “Rock Around The Clock” Haley’s earliest efforts. The flip side, “A Brand New Heart,” was written by Riddle as a follow-up to “Second Hand Heart.”
Remaining Tennessee sides of interest: “Cold icy feet” (# 758) and the fast “I’m so lonesome” (# 801).
« What do you do« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/coral-64157-Ricky-Riddle-what-do-you-do.mp3download
« You belong to another« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/coral-64175-Ricky-Riddle-you-belong-to-another.mp3download
« Steamboat boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/MGM-11741-Steamboat-Boogie-Ricky-Riddle.mp3download
« Cold icy feet« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-758A-Ricky-Riddle-cold-icy-feet.mp3download
« I’m so lonesome« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-801B-Ricky-Riddle-Im-so-lonesome.mp3download
In 1956, Riddle cut two releases for Decca Records. The first featured the trucker’s “Drivin’ Down The Wrong Side Of The Road,” backed with “I’m A Whip Crackin’ Daddy.” The single sounded like it was recorded at Owen Bradley’s Quonset hut in Nashville. Riddle’s second Decca single featured the Anita Kerr Singers for a country-pop production, “The House I Used To Live In,” and a song with religious content (he had cut similar material for the Tennessee label) called “If Jesus Had To Pray (What About Me?)” During the 1950s, while living in Nashville, Riddle performed as a guest at the “Renfro Valley Barn Dance” in Kentucky, and as a guest on the “Grand Ole Opry.”
His parents moved from Michigan to Tempe, Ariz., and Riddle traveled the country, visiting friends and family while singing in nightclubs along the way.
« Driving down the wrong side of the road« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/decca-29813-Ricky-Riddle-Drivin-Down-The-Wrong-Side-Of-The-Road.mp3download
« I’m a whip crackin’ daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/decca-29813-Ricky-Riddle-Im-A-Whip-Crackin-Daddy.mp3download
Around 1968 Riddle settled in Arizona for a spell. There he recorded the finest vocal performances of his career for the Rio Grande label, based in Glendale. For starters, he cut a version of the traditional cowboy song, “Streets Of Laredo,” as well as “Reata Pass,” his own western composition. Riddle reprised “Ain’t You Ashamed” and “Second hand heart” besides coming up with some swinging shuffles like “Don’t You Worry” a cheeky ode to overdoing it at the bar, and “(There’s ) Something In Your Future.” and finally “Jo Ann”. The band was top-notch, delivering punchy performances with quality production and arrangements, including a stellar steel guitarist.
« Something in your future« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Ricky-Riddle-Something-In-Your-Future.mp3download
« Jo Ann »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Ricky-Riddle-Jo-Ann.mp3download
an untraced 45 by Riddle
With a broad, toothy smile, Riddle had a likeable personality and visited Michigan often, to see his siblings and their families, and check up on musician friends he grew up with in Detroit. While in town, he made the rounds of local radio stations and sat with country music disk jockeys for on-air interviews. At some point during the 1970s, Riddle moved back to Michigan and took a job as a security guard in Hamtramck. Late one night, Riddle walked out the door of a Detroit bar and was mugged. When police found him, he stank of liquor and the officers mistook his condition for simply being drunk. They placed the unconscious Riddle in a jail cell for the night. When he didn’t respond to attempts to wake him in the morning, Riddle was admitted to the Veterans Administration hospital. Doctors found that Riddle had suffered a stroke resulting from a blow to his head; he was paralysed on his right side.
Riddle’s brother, E. Marvin Riddle, arranged for him to live at the Clintonview Care Convalescent Home in Clinton Township. Relatives and friends visited regularly. Mentally, Riddle was the same person, but he was unable to sing and play guitar. To cheer him up, a niece often called a local country music station to request Riddle’s records, and they played them late at night when he enjoyed listening to his radio. Riddle passed away on Aug. 8, 1988. His ashes were interned at the top of the hill in St. John’s cemetery in Fraser, Mich.
© Craig “Bones” Maki, 2010
Thanks, as usual, to Ronald ’78rpm’ Keppner for scanning the rare Tennessee/Coral/Decca labels. Rest of the tunes do come from Internet, as: Ricky Riddle discography (Praguefrank)