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Lou Millet, Louisiana Hillbilly Bop and Rockabilly
oct 26th, 2010 by xavier

Lou (Louis) Millet was born April 1926 in Baton Rouge, La.     lou millet pic Read the rest of this entry »

Riley Crabtree, star of the Big « D » Jamboree (1949-1959)
sept 8th, 2010 by xavier

RILEY CRABTREE     Riley Crabtree portrait

Riley was born on his parents’ farm in Mount Pleasant, Texas, in 1912 as the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. At age two, he contracted infantile paralysis (polyo), so he depended on crutches for the rest of his life. Perhaps this handicap forced him to make a career in country music. His bluesy voice is genuine and comes from the heart. The life he lived is reflected in his songs, as he had a lot in common with his idol Hank Williams.

mount pleasant

Read the rest of this entry »

Chuck Murphy, piano pounder from Montgomery, Alabama (1951-1955)
sept 6th, 2010 by xavier

CHUCK MURPHY

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.

78bama301 blue ribbon boogie

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« .

blue ribbon boogie
coral murphy 60800
coral 64101 murphy
they raided the joit78

In 1951, Chuck had 4 times the honor of being reviewed by Billboard for his Coral records.

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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.rhythm hall

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!)

Pictures from various sources.

Chuck Murphy disco

early August 2010 fort-night
août 1st, 2010 by xavier

Howdy folks! Just another batch of good ole’ Hillbillies, Honky tonks, and Hillbilly boogies (all from the 50s/early 60s). No label shots, sorry: I just re-formated my Macintosch hard drive, and lost all my sites in course! Sometimes I own the actual record, wish I had them ALL! But, you know, it’s not a matter of time neither of money to get them, they are really THAT rare…

We begin with a very rare USAF live transcription of HANK SNOW, early 50s. Hank does 3 tunes, first his signature song, “I’M MOVING ON”, then he embarks on a track that is known to me, but at the moment I cannot remember the title of the song. He finishes with the famous “HONEYMOON ON A ROCKET SHIP”. Fine, powerful rhythm guitar from Hank himself, I would assume; if the band which is backing him is the same as on recording sessions, then the great steel should be played by either Joe Talbot, or Melford Gentry.

Honky Tonk now with CARL SMITH on Columbia, with the fine 1955 “Baby I’m Ready”, lotta bird-dogging in this song, with the perfect Nashville musicians staff.  On to early 60s I’d assume. I don’t know the location of the CLET label, perhaps Texas? I’ve chosen the uptempo “Honky Tonkin’ Baby” by BOB SMITH. September 1960, Cincinnati, King records studio. My own tribute to a great singer/songwriter, LATTIE MOORE, who just passed away on June 13th (he was heartsick since the 90s); here we have “Drivin’ Nails (In My Coffin)” – is it the same number popularized circa 1947 by JERRY IRBY? I have not the time to compare the songs.

Next comes from Texas or Oklahoma a minor classic  by AL VAUGHN, “She’s An Oakie” (Four Star) from 1952. Good harmonica throughout, and fine steel. Then to Tennessee and on the DOT label, out of Gallatin. BIG JEFF & The Radio Playboys for the fine offering “I don’t talk to strangers”, from 1950 or 1951. Could Big Jeff be…LUKE McDANIELS, or as he was billed on MEL-A-DEE out of New Orleans (“Daddy O-Rock” from 1956), JEFF DANIELS? His actual story is yet to be written…Finally we have Danny (name forgotten!) as HANK THE DRIFTER and the great “Bill Collector Blues” – late 50s on the NEW ENGLAND label. Hope you N-joy everything! Comments welcome.

Charlie Adams
juin 15th, 2009 by xavier

 

Charlie Adamscharlie-adams

If Charlie Adams is mentioned these days, it’s usually in passing – as a footnote, likely connected to the fact that he toured with Hank Williams on the latter’s Texas swing in December 1952. However, though he never enjoyed a major hit nor became a household name, Charlie Adams & His Western All-Stars were a popular presence on the Southwestern dance hall and recording scene in the early-to-mid-1950s and left an enduring and engaging legacy of recordings before Adams bowed out of music in favor of family later in the decade. Read the rest of this entry »

Maddox Brothers & Rose
mai 16th, 2009 by xavier

 

Maddox Brothers & Rosemaddox-arhoolie2

They promoted themselves as «The Most Colorful Hillbilly Group In America », and no one would deny that their various western stage outfits emcompassed all the hues of the rainbow. They were a reasonably talented bunch of singers and, albeit rudimentory musicians, they were filled with an endless stream of adrenaline, a riotous sense of humour and vitality, which was leavened with just the right blend of musical exuberance. In Rose Maddox the band had a totally atypical female vocalist. No shy retiring song thrush she, Rose had grown up the rough edge of town, she was street wise and took no shit from anyone. Her whole demeanour was a gal who would smack you one in the mouth if you stepped out of line. Read the rest of this entry »

Jimmy Murphy
mar 26th, 2009 by xavier

 

 

Biography            by Bruce Ederjimmy-murphy

Jimmy Murphy is one of the more enigmatic figures to come out of the country/rockabilly scene of the early to mid-’50s. A virtuoso guitar player and a gifted and inspired songwriter, he had a knack for composing and performing quirky, clever songs that hooked into unusual thematic angles — his first song, « Electricity, » equated rural electrification with religious salvation, while the closest he ever got to a real hit, « Sixteen Tons Rock n’ Roll, » was a satire of the 1956 Tennessee Ernie Ford hit of the Merle Travis song. His music was also strangely archaic in both its form and content, elements that may have doomed his chance for a successful recording career. ??Murphy’s music drew from a multitude of influences, most notably the blues. His father was an admirer of numerous bluesmen, including Blind Boy Fuller and Leadbelly. He joined his father in the bricklaying trade and always split his time between construction and music. Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Carlisle
mar 16th, 2009 by xavier

carlisles she a leg 70351


BILL CARLISLE (By Kevin Carey)bill-carlisle-photo1

Born 19 December 1908, Wakefield, Kentucky
Died 17 March 2003, Nashville, Tennessee

One of country music’s founding fathers, Bill Carlisle’s 70 (yes, seventy!) years in the music business began in 1931 when he made his first impromptu performance on the local radio station in Lexicon, Kentucky.

When discussing or writing about Bill Carlisle, it is impossible to ignore the influence of his older brother, Cliff, who at four years Bill’s senior, both encouraged Bill and joined him on many early recordings. Cliff’s own career, while cut short by his premature retirement in the late 40′s, had seen him record some of the finest early hillbilly sides and proving an inspiring figure in his slide guitar style.

Following his brother’s lead, Bill started recording in July 1933 on the Vocalion label (an offshoot of the ARC group of labels, to which Cliff had been signed). Bill’s first release, Rattlin’ Daddy, would prove to be one of his strongest and, in its 1947 guise (re-named Rattlesnakin’ Daddy) showed more than a hint of the rockabilly style that would follow.

Recording details from this period are sketchy, although a number of recordings were released on Vocalion, some with support from Cliff, and others that appeared on Bluebird, while the labels would also list Bill variously as « Smiling Billy Carlisle », « Bill Carlisle’s Kentucky Boys », or « The Carlisle Brothers ». Mainly these recording would fall into the Jimmie Rodgers genre, although Bill was as happy, if not happier to be recording both humourous and slightly risqué lyrics.

Moving to Decca in 1938, the brothers output slowed, but continued in a similar vein with much interplay between Billy and Cliff, with some tracks credited to Billy which were mainly Cliff, and vice versa! Just to make matters even more confusing, several tracks would also feature Cliff’s son, Tommy.

With the outbreak of WW2, it wasn’t until 1944 that both Cliff and Billy were signed to the fledgling King label, and hits followed in 1946 with Rainbow At Midnight, which peaked at number 5 (as The Carlisle Brothers), and in 1948 when ‘Tramp On The Street’ peaked at number 14.

A lean period then followed, which may have been coincidental with Cliff’s retirement, and it was only when Bill tempted Cliff to return to the business in 1951, with the formation of The Carlisles, that the hits returned, this time on the Mercury label, where they now performed in a more energetic style and had hits with Too Old To Cut The Mustard in 1951, and had their most successful year in 1953 with the brilliant No Help Wanted (featuring Chet Atkins on guitar) which peaked at number 1, Knothole, T’aint Nice, and Is Zat You, Myrtle?

Cliff retired in 1953, before recording the quartet of hits, and would pass away in 1983.

Bill last success on Mercury came in 1954 with two hits which followed in the same humourous vein, but the lack of further chart success prompted the bands departure from Mercury in 1956.

Continuing to record on various labels, The Carlisles saw only one more chart entry, when the innuendo filled ‘What Kind Of deal Is This’ reached number 4 in 1965.

As far as stage performances were concerned, Bill kept The Carlisles format running, despite numerous personnel changes, which would eventually see his children included in the act.

Always famed for his energetic stage act, which would see Billy doing the splits while singing, the nickname ‘Bounding’ or ‘Jumping’ Billy Carlisle were well earned. The act would continue thus through to the 90′s when Billy slowed down on personal appearances, although he would occasionally appear on stage, complete with zimmer frame, where he would perform a couple of songs holding on to the frame, before throwing it over his shoulder and marching off stage to rapturous applause.

Bill was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame in November, 2002 and was the oldest regular performer at The Grand Ol’ Opry – his final appearance there (in a wheelchair) coming in February 2002.

Billy died, aged 94 on March 17th, 2003 following a stroke.

Recommended listening -

Rough & Rowdy Hillbilly of the 1930′s (Collector) – Bluebird/Vocalion recordings
Tramp On The Streets (Cattle) King/Decca sides
Duvall County Blues (BACM) – Bluebird/Vocalion recordings

bill-carlisle-lp

Hickory LP of Bill Carlisle (I DID own, but sold!)

Busy Body Boogie (Bear Family) – Mercury/RCA/Columbia sides
carlisles-bear-family

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