Harry Choates’ musical career differs somewhat from most Cajun artists of the period due to his varied styles, notably that of Western swing and Honky tonk. All of his music was professionnally driven by a smooth fiddle (borrowed and never returned!) that cut through a unique musical home-grown output that is today highly sought after by collectors and listeners alike, who seek to find the music behind one of the originators of modern-day Cajun music.
‘Cat’ has been used as a term in popular music since the Jazz years of the 1920’s. Revered by the ancient Egyptians, cats have a mystique and grace all over their own – no wonder these independent and mysterious animals became such a byword for ‘Cool’ in music from Hep Cats, jazz be-boppers of the ‘40s, and right through into 1950’s Rock’n’Roll.
James Arthur « Jimmie Heap » (later Jimmy) was born March 3rd, 1922 in Taylor, Tx. He died at only 55 on December 3rd, 1977, on account of a boat accident in Lake Buchanan. His corpse was rescued only one day after.
Jimmie’s career did begin shortly after discharge from U.S.A.F. during WWII, more exactly said in 1947. Arlie Carter (piano), Horace Barnett (rhythm guitar), “Big” Bill Glendenings (bass) and Louis Renson (or Rencon) (fiddle), all belonged to the Melody Masters right from the start. Later they were joined by Cecil R. “Butterball” Harris (steel-guitar). Indeed Jimmie Heap was on vocal and lead guitar.
With appearances on radio KTAE (from 1948 to 1956) and in clubs, they were always fully booked up. A Barnett composition about a club they were frequently playing at, “Dessau Hall Waltz” soon found the interest of Lasso Records, who cut the band during the Spring of 1948. Their first singles appeared therefore on this tiny label. They even had leased masters on 4 Star, wrongly credited to « Dolores & Blue Bonnet Boys ». (suite…)
This time we’re beginning with a strange item. Carl Story, bluegrass virtuoso, doing Hillbilly Bop with « Whatta Line »(Columbia). then 1955 Rock’n’Roll with Ken Davis « Shook Shake ». Same period with pianist -bandleader Dick Hyman, doing « Rolling the Boogie »(MGM 78 rm). Enjoy the walking basses! Back to Country-rock with the unknown Cuddles C. Newsome (One Little Kiss, nice guitar). Strong guitar bopper with Bill Watkins, out of Cncinnati for « unissued at the time » « Big Guitar » (Lee label). We come to an end with Jimmy Heap out of Abilene, Texas, for Harry Choates’ « Cat’n Around » done Hillbilly Bop style (strong fiddle), and vocal by Perk Williams. Enjoy! Comments?