Starday custom series: # 601-625 (December 1956 to March 1957) – Gospel-, Hill-, Rocka-…. -billies

CIMMARON RECORDS 601 FRANK BOWEN and Dave Warren and the Ark. Valley Wranglers

Lamarr, CO                             December 1956

45-601-A – A Broken Heart45-601-B (Cimarron) Frank Bowen rock & roll blues45-601-A (Cimarron) Frank Bowen A broken heart

(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)

45-601-B – Rock And Roll Blues

(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)

The story starts with Gene Clay, founder of the Ark. Valley Wranglers, which was the most popular country band in Lamar, CO. Between 1949 and 1955, they were playing over KLMR (Lamar, CO) and performing at many local watering holes,(Spot 50 Tavern in La Junta and the Eagles Club in Lamar to name just two),  high school dances, American Legion halls etc. But in 1955 two members of the band joined the US Army and one moved to Pueblo to attend college, so the band took a break.

Meanwhile, another local band, The Rhythm Ranch Boys were performing locally and gravitating towards the Rock & Roll end of the music market. Wanting to make a record but not knowing where to start, Frank and Dave approached Gene for advice. As he had some influence at KLMR, he arranged a recording session there, but on the condition he was allowed to use his own band’s name on the record. So the Rhythm Ranch Boys became part of the Ark. Valley Wranglers.

Recorded in the fall of 1956, they recorded two of Frank and Dave’s compositions and despatched the tracks to Starday Records for pressing on their Cimmaron label (after nabbing the publishing on both sides). Boxes of records came back with postcards to be sent to radio stations that they sent to DJ’s with the hope of some airplay.

The A side is a pleasant enough country/hillbilly weeper with lovely harmony vocals on the chorus.  The B side is a nice relaxed rocker in the style of « Heartbreak Hotel« , but with a more « countryish » musical leanings and again features some nice harmonies. The band, compared to other Starday Customs, sounds very tight and professional.

After spending another year with the Wranglers, Frank moved to Denver and started another band, called the « String-A-Longs ». Later, moving to North Carolina, he worked in the insurance industry before retiring. Dave worked for the Denver police before setting in retirement in Missouri.

Huge thanks to Lisa Wheeler who kindly allowed me to plunder her excellent blogspot for the info above. For the full story of Gene Clay and the Ark. Valley Wranglers (plus two short sound clips of  the record above), visit the link below.

Pueblo City Limits

STARDAY RECORDS 602 FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchersfrank evans

December 1956

(J Dunklin / J Rowell)   (Starrite BMI)

45-602-B – If You Knew

(Bonnie Burke)   (Starrite BMI)

Recorded at WHBO with Arnold Newman (Ld Gtr), Roland Newman (fiddle), Colin Thomas (Steel Gtr), Walter Studenberg (bass) and Frank on Vocals and rhythm guitar. Although neither side stands out, they are pleasant enough to listen to more than once, but sound musically inferior to their other offerings. As the Billboard advert below shows, they were performing over WHBO 5 days a week and performing live frequently.

TREND RECORDS 603 KEN PATRICK with Chet Tant on Steel Guitar

Grand Canyon, AZ December 1956

45-603-A – Snow Flake45-603-A (Trend) Ken Patrick Snowflake

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

45-603-B – Do You Love Me

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

No info. Never actually seen or heard this record. Oct. 16th, 2012. Thanks HillbilyBoogie1, who posted the record on YouTube. I’ve heard it: a very fine fast number; the steel guitar is astonishing! The artist has another entry on Maken 9962, « Night Train« , a strong ditty from the late ’50s (see podcasts below)

MOVIECRAFT RECORDS 604 ROD BURTON

930 West 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA December 1956

45-604-A – Wedding Bells Are Ringing For The Bride

(No info)   (No info)

45-604-B – My New Sensation

(No info)   (No info)

Another musical bank. Missed a copy on a set sale list about 10 years ago and seen sight or sound of it since. The label had moved by 1957 and was located at 6766 Hawthorn Ave, Los Angeles and any correspondence was care of Gerard Enterprises.

Confusingly, I have also seen listed another disc (Drake Morgan – My Heart Believes / Are You The One – Movie Craft 605) which may or may not be a Starday Custom, or perhaps 604 isn’t one after all. Only actually seeing a copy is going to sort this one out.

COWTOWN RECORDS 605 GENE HARRELL

PO Box 1694, Fort Worth, TX January 1957

45-605-a (cowtown) gene harrell I won't be back no more45-605-A – I Won’t Be Back No More45-605-b (cowtown) Gene Harrell Mumbles

(Mary L Miller)   (Starrite BMI)

45-605-B – Mumbles

(Daphine Orme)   (Starrite BMI)

Label owned by John W Stephenson. More of a vanity / Custom Press label than a song poem concern, he did manage to release quite a few great records in amongst the dross. The label was still going through the 70’s. As for Gene, he was performing at the time at Chaylor’s Night Club in Texarkana, TX at the time of this release. For some reason, there seems to be two pressings of this disc.

STARDAY RECORDS 606HOYT SCOGGINS and the Georgia Boys

(Artist based in Rome, GA at time of recording)

January 1957

45-606-A – What’s The Price (To Set Me Free)45-606-a (starday) hoyt scoggins what's the price45-606-b (starday) hoyt scoggins the old chain gang

(J Rackey / H Scoggins)   (Starrite BMI)

45-606-B – The Old Chain GangHoytsScogginsBand

(H Stillwell / H Scoggins)   (Starrite BMI)

More jolly hillbilly from Scoggins. Both are nicely sung, nicely played. The A side sets a terrific pace, whilst the flip is more akin to a medium tempo’d blues ditty, albeit sung in a hollerin’ country manner. Hoyt was performing over WROM (TV Channel 9) and was the band leader of the Saturday Night Jamboree (Rome, GA??). In any case, it’s not « Tennessee Rock« , but it’s a mighty fine accompaniment.

STARDAY RECORDS 607             45-607-a (starday) don owens last chanceDON OWENS and the Circle « O » RanchboysJanvier 1957

45-607-A – Last Chance

(Owens)   (Starrite BMI)

45-607-B – A Thief (In The Heart Of A Rose)

(Owens)   (Hank Snow Music)

A pleasantly sung country/hillbilly song. The A side has a bit of, perhaps, « rhumba » influence. Taken at a brisk tempo, it has nice accoustic guitar accompaniment with sawing fiddles and steel guitar sharing the solo. I can hear Hank Snow singing this. Odd to mention Snow as he’s the writer of the B side. This is a ballad sung with feeling. There’s a small bio on Don on his previous Starday Custom Release (#559, see earlier entry of « Starday custom serie », # 551-575).

STARDAY RECORDS 608 LUCKY WRAY with Link and Doug Wray

January 1957

45-608-a (starday) lucky wray teenage cutie45-608-A – Teenage Cutie45-608-b (starday) lucky wray you're my song

(H Albert / C Davis / L Wray)   (Starrite BMI)

45-608-B – You’re My Song

(B Baker / J Williams / L Wray / C Davis)   (Starrite BMI)

Killer Rock-A-Billy and classy ballad from Lucky and Link. A side is fast, mean and moody with Lucky’s understated vocals threatened by Link who threatens to steal the proceedings with a flick of his pick up switch. The ballad side is a dreamy affair with Link almost sounding like a steel guitar in parts. Sadly this was their last appearance on a Starday-Custom pressed disc . Both Link and Lucky went on to bigger and better things.

STARDAY RECORDS 609 BUDDY SHAW

January 1957

45-609-A – Just Like A Fool609-A - BB Rev 9 Mar 57Buddy Shaw pic

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

45-609-B – I Belong To You

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

Two ballads from Buddy. Both are pleasant without being exceptional. Nice snippet of overloaded each just as he starts singing on the A side. I especially like Buddy’s « hick » Vocals. Band lend fair support with steel guitar being the prominent lead instrument. The artist was possibly from Kentucky. Both sides are co written with Ruth Snider – a name seen before on writers credits but can’t place where.

TARHEEL RECORDS 610      LEVON McCALL

January 1957

45-610-A – I Lose Again

(No info)   (No Info)

45-610-B – If I Don’t Change My Mind

(No Info)   (No Info)

Nothing on the above artist or label.

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 611          UNKNOWN ARTIST

January 1957

« All I Do Is Cry Over You »

« One Dark Sunday Night »

This is a blank acetate, supplied by Dave Sax. It has no artist, label or song credits. In fact, it’s totally blank. The only info is in the dead wax which has the issue number and A/B designations. As there are no titles, the ones listed here are what a few of us « think » they are – we could very well be barking up the wrong tree with these.

MARYLAND RECORDS 612 THE GOSPEL TROUBADORS  Gospel Vocal by Henry NoeFebruary 1957

45-612-A – Cry Aloud And Spare Not45-612-a (maryland) gospel troubadors Cry aloud and spare not45-612-B (maryland) gospel troubadors Ananias

(Noe)   (Starrite BMI)

45-612-B – Ananias

(Noe)   (Starrite BMI)

Record unheard

STARDAY RECORDS 613ART RODGERS with the Texas Top Hands

February 1957

45-613-A – Our anniversary

(Rodgers)   (Starrite BMI)

45-613-b (starday) art rodgers Ten thousand miles45-613-a (starday) art rodgers Our anniversary45-613-B – Ten Thousand Miles

(Rodgers)   (Starrite BMI)

Another slightly blurred label shot from another unknown artist. I found an Art Rodgers on Seven Stars Label from Cincinnati, OH from 1957, and it’s possibly the same artist, but not 100% certain. The A side is a nice mid-tempo honky-tonk song. He sounds to be about 30-40 years old. Flip side is mid tempo but more in the hillbilly vein. Nice fiddles and steel guitar. B side has some nice harmonies as well.

VAN RECORDS 614 CAMPBELL TRIO with Jerry Tuttle, Hawaian Acc.

614 North Kimball, Malden, MO February 1957

45-614-A – Satan Lost A Sinner

(Jack and Billy Campbell)   (Starrite BMI)45-614-a (Van) campbell trio Satan lost a sinner

45-614-B – God Can Do Without Your Service

(Jack and Billy Campbell)   (Starrite BMI)

Nice, delicate white gospel (with a hillbilly flavour)  from the Campbell Trio. It’s the harmonies that win me over here. A side is taken at a faster clip than the B side, but it’s the B side I prefer. Jerry Tuttle, the steel guitarist appears on a Rite Pressing from 62 (King Tutt – « Twisting At The Little Big Horn » / « Shorter Hours In School » – Starline 1001 (Flint, MI), and he had at least one release on Dot Records (« Tweedle-O-Twill » / « Bop Goes The Weasel » – Dot 16093).

NO NAME LABEL 615 HOYT SULLIVAN

Phoenix Street, Greenwood, SC February 1957615-Hoyt Sullivan Advert

45-615-A – Hoyt Sullivan’s Drug Products 1 and 2

(No info)   (No info)

45-615-B – Hoyt Sullivan’s Drug Products 3 and 4

(No info)   (No info)

Cut in records with R and B hits of the day. Hoyt ran a reasonably successful beauty products company. He later owned HSE Records (amongst others) where he recorded Gospel Music. I’m figured Hoyt was (is) black, but according to Alistair Blazaar, he was white.

HUFF RECORDS 616COWBOY HUFF

18 Southwest 27th, Oklahoma City, OK February 1957

45-616-a (huff) cowboy huff No two timin' me45-616-A – No Two Timing Me45-616-b (huff) cowboy huff what's gonna happen to me

(Huff / Raines)   (Starrite BMI)

45-616-B – What’s Gonna Happen To Me

Very little is known on this artist. Informed that Cowboy Huff is Charlie Huff, a singer, songwriter and record label owner from Oklahoma;as Charlie Huff, he cut at least one good rocker on Arlo Records (which he may have owned) {She’s My baby / Hiding My Tears – Arlo 100} which also appeared on Huff Records (#100) (both labels carry the same Oklahoma City, OK address). There’s also a Cowboy Charlie Huff LP on Northstar 1001, which may be the same guy. Also Billboard magazine mentions (25th Mar 1967) that …. »Charles « Cowboy » Huff is trying to sell all of part of his publishing firm, Record Masters« .

Also found two 4-Star Releases {4-Star 1190 « Conversations With A Mule / Sad Sack« } and {4-Star 1191 « Maybe Next Week Sometime / High Hat Blues« }, plus a couple of 45’s on North Star (727 & 729), plus a couple of later Huff Records (722 & 723).

As for this record, the A side is a fast(ish) hillbilly number with fiddles taking the solo and what sounds like an accoustic guitar taking the place of a stand-up bass. B side is more of the same really. Huff’s vocals has got that Texas/West Coast drawl to his voice.

HUFF RECORDS 617 COWBOY HUFF

18 Southwest 27th, Oklahoma City, OK February 1957

45-617-A – Lover’s Waltz45-617-a (huff) cowboy huff lover's waltz

(Huff / Raines) (Starrite BMI)

45-617-B – Patonia (Pride Of The Plains)

(Arr: Huff) (Starrite BMI)

More of the same here from Huff. A side is indeed a waltz with fiddles taking the lead. Flip is faster and more like the previous two sides.

STARDAY RECORDS 618BUDDY SHAW

March 1957

45-618-a (starday) buddy shaw no more45-618-A – No More

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

45-618-B – The Breath Of Life To Me

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

Buddy’s back with another offering by him and Ruth Snider. « No More » is ALMOST rockabilly. In fact, if you cut out the steel and added a guitar, it’d be darn close to being really good. But as it is, it’s darn fine hillbilly. Flip is a ballad which, apart from the fine vocals by Buddy, is a little pedestrian for my tastes.

CRESTWOOD RECORDS 619 MARVIN JACKSON with the Battreal Boys

Cadet, MO

March 1957

45-619-A – Honey, If You Love Me

(M Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

45-619-B – World Of Make Believe

(M Jackson)   (Starrite BMI)

Here’s Marvin Jackson’s first record. Now, Marvin may not be household name around these parts, but thanks to White Label / Collector Records, there’s a whole CD of his stuff floating around out there. He cut some rough and ready rockabilly tracks (« Gee Whiz, Miss Liz » on Crestwood 200), a few instrumentals (Marvin plays lead guitar) and some nice country stuff (« Dippin’ Snuff » on Mar-Lee). Marvin got this and his follow up disc pressed by Starday – 300 hundred copies and perhaps some promotional material (which was either post cards to send to DJ’s or – in Red Moore‘s case (# 840 « Crawdad Song ») – a stamper which you could stamp « Play This – It’s Hot » on the paper sleeves.) His third disc was pressed by King who only pressed 200 copies. The artist was based out of Cadet, MO at the time of these recordings., and Crestwood was his own label.

A side is pretty much country, but Marvin’s got that voice that easily skips the fence of Country into the green fields that is rockabilly, so it’s an early example of what he’s gonna sound like later on. B side is a ballad. Quite nice steel guitar featured on both sides. I’ll have some more info on him by the time we reach his next release (#644, in the next « Starday customs serie)

CAROLINA RECORDS 620              RENE McCALL and her Candy Ranch Boys

Rt 7 – Box 474, Charlotte, NC March 1957

45-620-A – We’re Strangers Now

(C Johnson / R McCall)   (Starrite BMI)

45-620-B – The Waltz In The Rain

(Preston Miller)   (American Music Inc)

Another record I haven’t seen or heard.

JAMBOREE RECORDS 621               BILL and BOB // BILL BOLAN and the Country Melody Boys

4213 Rose Ave, Lyons, IL March 1957

45-621-A – Falling Apart At The Seams

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

45-621-B – Country Music

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

No info on the artists. Musically, the A side is a weepy country ballad with that sad steel guitar sound throughout. There’s a fiddle player in the background who takes a brief solo. The B side is a faster, fiddle & steel guitar led hillbilly song. Bill sounds like a real southerner when he sings, despite the label location of IL.

STARDAY RECORDS 622LUCKY HILL

March 1957

45-622-A – Fickle Baby45-622-a (starday) lucky hill fickle baby45-622-b (starday) lucky hill It's comin' home to you

(Lucky Hill)   (Starrite BMI)

45-622-B – It’s Comin’ Home To You

(Lucky Hill)   (Starrite BMI)

Billboard review on 29th April 1957.

A side is a hillbilly song, kinda like an early Lattie Moore King 45. Fiddles are the main instrument here. B side is slower and more bluesy (in a typical hillbilly sort of way). More of a Hank Williams type song, and the tune bears a passing resemblance to « You’re Gonna Change Or I’m Gonna Leave« .

As for Lucky himself, he appeared on the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial celebration in Meridian, MS, held over May 21st-22nd in 1957. He wrote in Billboard advertising this disc can be acquired from him from an address in Tiffin, OH. By July 57, having come back from an Armed forces tour of North Africa, Lucky could be found as a staff announcer over KDRO-TV, Sedalia, MO. In December 1957, Billboard also announced that his piano player (Denny Bolin) had broken his neck in a car accident near Joplin, MO.

There was a Lucky Hill who recorded for TNT. Andrew Brown confirmed that the Lucky Hill on TNT is the same artist as the Starday Artist.

JAY RECORDS 623 BOB COLE

New Orleans, LA April 1957

45-623-A – Face To Face

(B.Cole)    (Starrite BMI)

45-623-B – You Lied

(B.Cole) (Starrite BMI)

Bob had his own radio show broadcast over WARB, Covington, LA and appeared as the MC and a singer on the « Old Country Barn Dance », which was held at the Ann Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA. (He was still appearing at the Ann Theatre in 1958, but after that I have no idea.)

A side is a slowish country ditty; a little like an early Hank Williams. (To be honest, most songs of this type always remind me of Williams). Nice dreamy steel guitar and tic-tac guitar. Guitar solo is a simple run around on the melody. The B side is faster and has a nice catchy melody. Again the guitarist skips along with the melody in the solo. If anybody has this 45, label shots would be most welcome.

DIXIE RECORDS 624 TOM CROOK and the Rock And Roll Four

Rome, GA April 1957

45-624-a (dixie) tom crook my heart don't lie45-624-A – My Heart Don’t Lie45-624-b (dixie) tom crook weekend boogie

(Crook)   (Starrite BMI)

45-624-B – Weekend Boogie

(Crook)   (Starrite BMI)

A side is a slow number, sung with a hillbilly flavour. Tom has that great « hillbilly twang » to his voice. There’s some nice guitar gently supporting Tom whilst he’s crooning his love song.

Flip the disc over and you get a great relaxed Rock-A-Billy/Hillbilly/Country hybrid ditty with an accoustic guitar taking the lead with fine support from a steel guitarist. Oh, the joys of the weekend (unless, of course, you’re unemployed – in which case, to quote Morrisey,  « every day is like Sunday »).

According to Terry Gordon (Rockin’ Country Style), the artist was from Rome, GA.

COOSA RECORDS 625            ERNEST PAINTER

Shannon, GA April 1957

45-625-A – No One But You

(Painter)   (Starrite)

45-625-B – Whispering Heart

(Painter)   (Starrite)

Sadly, no info on the artist. Nor have I heard either side. Oct. 16th, 2012. Thanks HillbillyBoogie1 (YouTube), I’ve heard « No One But You« , a rather slowish honky tonker. Nice but average one.

As for the previous Starday custom series, a generous use has been made of Malcolm Chapman’s excellent blogsite « Starday customs » (just do search through google). My thanks to him, reprinted with permission. All label scans were taken from his site, except # 601 (Frank Bowen), which was provided by John Burton, thanks a lot, john.

Ken Patrick »Do you love me » (Trend 603) download

STARDAY custom series – part 1: #500 to # 525 (late 1953 to July 1955)

Coast 500 JIMMIE O’NEAL/Cotton Henry (late 1953)

A- Patent On My Heart (CH)/ B- Streamliner Boogie (vocal J O’N)

Los Angeles, California

No info on who Cotton Henry is, although I found a disc on Starday 129 by a Cotton Henry (“Alibying Sweetie / Eskimo Nell”) which could be him. These sides will be podcasted in a later Starday survey . For the flip, the only real info I have is that Jimmie O’Neal later owned the Rural Rhythm label out of Arcadia CA. 500B (Coast)  Jimmie O'Neal Streamliner boogieStreamliner Boogie is a talking blues ditty with some nice guitar work – marred by poor sound quality on the disc. Don Carlos Music appears on quite a few releases on Wolf-Tex Records (Wolf City, TX)

 

Coosa 501 HOYT SCOGGINS & the Kingsmen Quartet (January 1954)

Jesus Still Heals/ The Pathway Is Not Crowded

Carterville, Georgia

The A side is a fast piano led gospel number with Hoyt leading the Kingsmen Quartet in what Billboard magazine might have described as an “exuberant reading”, had they reviewed it. The B side is a straight-ahead fast country gospel number with the Quartet dominating the song. Hoyt was born in 1927 and was at one point a DJ on WCGA in Calhoun, GA. “Jesus Still Heals” also appeared on Starday EP 106 (main series) as by Hoyt & Tyrone Scoggins with the Tune Twisters, but this maybe a different version of the song. He also owned his own Scoggins label. (See also Starday 542, 563, 606 & 659 ). Equally at home on Gospel, Hillbilly and even R&R, Scoggins must have had a strong regional following as he was still recording on NASHVILLE (a late ’50s/early ’60s outlet for Starday recordings)coosa 501B refait

501 HoytsScogginsBand

Hoyt Scoggins and band

Gospel 502 Conway Gospel Chorus (February 1954)

No details. Not Hillbilly.

Cosmopolitan 503 Big Bob Dougherty & his Orchestra (March 1954)

Whale (inst) / Okey Pretty Baby.

Leavensworth, Kansas. A R&B rocker.

Coast 504 JACK HAMMONS (April 1954)

Tomorrows Goodbyes (Johnny Skiles/JH) / Substitute For Love (Johnny Skiles/JH)  coast 504A refait 504b refait

Los Angeles, California

The A side is a weepy hillbilly with fiddle and steel guitar being the predominant instruments. B side is slightly faster. Jack Hammons hailed from Monroe, Louisiana and was heard singing by Col. Tom Parker as Elvis’ soon-to-be-manager drove through Monroe. Jack was singing a number of songs that were penned by himself and Johnny Skiles, who was his brother-in-law, and the Colonel quickly contacted Starday to arrange a  recording session for him. (“Mr Cupid” / “That’s The Way To Fall In Love” – STARDAY 197). Johnny Skiles (cowriter) recorded for Honee-B & Corvette Records amongst others and probably moved up to the West coast sometime after these recordings. (See Corvette 672 later on in another serie) As an aside, Skiles also recorded for Jimmie O’NealsRural Rhythm Label (See Coast 500)

Savannah 505 BUDDY LIVINGSTON & his All Girl Band (April 1954)

Back When She Was Young / Write Me Right Away

Savannah, Georgia

The A side is a boppin’ hillbilly disc featuring fiddle, piano and steel guitar, with a double bass break sandwiched between. Flipside is more of the same. The A side was rerecorded soon after (see Savannah 513). Buddy was based in Savannah, Georgia. His “All-Girl” band were actually his sisters. He altready had a record on King. According to the Billboard Music Magazine dated 25th Oct 1952, the band consisted of Mary Frances Livingston on bass, Buddy was on steel gtr, Christine Livingston on fiddle and Willine Livingston on electric guitar and was about to embark on a King Recording pact. Their manager was their father, Dave Livingston.  505A (Savannah)  Buddy Livingston Back when she was young He also recorded R&R for Scottie Records.   505b refaitBuddy was still performing around Savannah, GA in the 60’s. His band at this time were called Buddy Livingston & the Versitones and Buddy sang and played bass, performing mainly at a club called “The Bamboo Ranch”. They also had their own 30 minute TV show on WTOC. Billy Joe Royal (of “Down In The Boondocks” fame) was also a featured vocalist for a time. The “Bamboo Ranch” burnt down in 1970, allegedly under suspicious circumstances, though I hasten to add that Buddy & the band weren’t party to this or were inside at the time.

Rangeland 506 BILLIE & GORDON HAMRICK “The Honey Hill Sweethearts”        (July 1954)

He is My Guide / He’s Gonna Take His Children Out

Charleston, North Carolina

506a refaitB&G Hamrick present themselves here with a pleasant mandolin led gospel coupling, with the B side being the faster of the two. Both sides were506b refait written by Bernice Jennette. The only info I have on the Honeyhill Sweethearts {there is a small  town vcalled « Honey Hill, some 30 miles North Est of Charleston} is they had at least two previous releases on Rangeland (which may have been their own label), both pressed by RCA in 1953 (“My Dream Of The Old Rugged Cross” / “My Savior’s Train Of Life” – RANGELAND No.# // “Married People Out Of Place” / “Pocotaligo Waltz” – RANGELAND No.#). At present I have no other info of any other subsequent recordings, apart from the three other Starday customs listed later in this serie (Starday 522, 626, 673). The B side was reissued on a 6 track Dixie 78rpm with a fade out roughly halfway. Billboard magazine (14th March 1953) mentions that their steel guitarist who played on the RCA pressed Rangeland discs was Bob Bratcher, who died in Jacksonville, FL in early 53. Billie and Gordon formed a gospel bluegrass duet. Together,they wrote and recorded songs in the 1950’s for both the Rangeland label and the Starday label. They hosted a gospel variety show , The Old Country Church. The gospel bluegrass variety show ran for over 12 years on WUSN-TV channel two in Charleston, SC. Billie played this Martin guitar and Gordon played mandolin on the show and numerous personal appearances throughout the Southeast. Their career spanned over 30 years. Ms. Hamrick passed away in 2002.

HAMRICK – Gordon B. Hamrick born November 18, 1917 in Douglasville, GA, died December 30, 2001. He served in the U.S. Army in the Panama Canal Zone in the 1930s and continued military service in the Coast Guard through WWII on the USS Savage as a Chief. He also managed grocery stores in Jacksonville and performed gospel music with wife Billie in Charleston, SC on a television show called The Old Country Church in the 1950s and 60s.

California 507 AL WARWICK (rn Arthur Alton Warwick)       (September 1954)        507B refait507A refait

Rag Doll / You Are The Only One

Van Nuys, California

Al paid for the studio time and the musicians to cut these self-penned songs and put them on record for posterity. The band on both sides romp along nicely behind Al’s relaxed vocals. He struggles a little with timing here and there but overall it’s a pleasant disc. No other info on the artist at this time, but the guitarist on both sides sounds very, very much like Roy Lanham.

Texas 508 EARLY GRAHAM & His Musical Drifters (November 1954)

I Wish You’d Start Fooling Again / Stop Fooling My Heart

508A refaitHenderson, Texas508B refait

Another fine hillbilly disc with Grahams’ lazy, perhaps slightly flat vocals supported by a tight little combo featuring guitar & steel. The B side is a good mid tempo hillbilly song.  « Early L. Graham was born August 24, 1909 in Arkansas, but resided in Rusk County, Texas most of his life. He died October 4, 1978, aged 69 years old. So he was about 45 when he made this, his only known record  » (wrote Andrew Brown)

Dart 509 JERRY HOPKINS & The Southern Playboys (December 1954)

Cuddle Up To Me / My Everlasting Love                                                                 509A refait

Saint-Louis, Missouri                                                                                                              

Once again, no info on the artist.  The DART version of “My Everlasting Love” is different to the version released on STARDAY 182 (“Mamma Baby” / “My Everlasting Love”), and I’m guessing this was the first release since the Starday disc was reviewed by Billboard on 18th June, 1955. The A side on the Dartdisc is the uptempo tune with fiddle, guitar and steel guitar. B side is a pleasant enough weeper. DART 509 was issued on both 45 & 78rpm formats. Note the lack of publishing details – a rarity for a Starday Custom.

S-Kay 510 RAY MAYO (January 1955)

Mended Hearts / Who Winds Your Clock   510B refait510A refait

Gardena, California

Both sides are uptempo hillbilly with piano & fiddle. Ray seems to have a little trouble with both timing (to me, he sounds slightly ahead of the band in places but he catches up after the solo) & rhyming but both sides are pleasant enough. B side has a very slight “double-entendre” nature about it; probably a little racy for the staid of ol’ fifties but milder than watered down mustard by today’s standards. Regardless, the « Not Recommended For Radio Broadcast » stamp can be found just above the title. “Who Winds Your Clock” was previously recorded by Bucky Bates on 4-Star 1295 in 1949, and rereleased later on 4-Star 1559 in 1951. Just as the last release, the publishing info is left to plain old BMI instead of the usual « Starrite« .

Johnson 511 JERRY & The String Trio (January 1955)

Lead Me To The Promise Land / Judgement Day

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Although both sides of the record credit vocals to Jerry & Steve, only 511-A is a duet. It’s a wonderful disc that has been described as an early example of “Gospelbilly”, although I think only the gospel part is correct. Nevertheless, you could say that the music certainly has rockabilly overtones, especially the “B” side.   511A refaitNo writers credits and although Starrite published both sides, that info seems to have been left off of the label. As far as I know, there’s only two known copies of this disc. As yet, it has not surfaced as a 45 and probably only exists in it’s 78 format.

Mississipi 512 JOE BRYANT & The Mississipi Woodchoppers (January 1955)

512A refait Pulpwood Blues / A Man Ain’t Nothin’ But A Woman’s Slave

Centerville, Mississipi

A nice, tough Hank Williams type disc, once again bordering on Rock-A-Billy, with rough-hewn vocals and a competent band featuring steel512B refait guitar, fiddle & guitar. A side has a “Lovesick Blues” feel to the intro. Flip side is more of the same. Again, like the previous disc, there only seems to be one known copy and possibly only ever pressed as a 78rpm. I think the steel guitarist gets a little lost in the solo on the B side, but that only adds to the character of the track in my opinion.

Savannah 513 BUDDY LIVINGSTON & his All Girl Band (February 1955)

Back When She Was Young / Can’t Love No One (like I Love You)

Savannah, Georgia

513-A is a different version to the earlier release on SAVANNAH 505. In fact, it’s more slicker than the original and the steel guitar break has been practiced and honed to perfection. The sound quality of Savannah 513 recording is a lot clearer on this disc than the previous release. According to the blurb on a DJ copy of one of his King releases, (1181) Buddy was born in Fitzgerald, GA and was 19 years of age when this disc was released. Sadly, I’ve yet to hear the flip side and only 78rpm copies of Savannah 513 have surfaced. By March 1957, Buddy was appearing on WTOL-TV, Savannah, GA daily between 1:30 & 2pm, Monday to Friday and a 7:00 to 7:30 slot every Friday evening. Another missing label shot I’m afraid.

Rodney 514 BEAMON FORSE (February 1955)

Rest Of My Life / You Better Go Now

Bronson, Texas

As far as I’m concerned, not only is this the first real true rockabilly disc in the series, but if there was ever a top ten Starday Custom listing, this would definitely be included! Great rockabilly guitar led, slap bass bopper featuring Beamon on vocals, his brother Ted on lead guitar, JT “Tiny” Smith on bass, Charlie Craddock on steel guitar and an unknown piano player. Born Beamon Tom Forse on 4th December 1934 in San Augustine, TX, he had a radio show with his brother Ted at KTXJ (Jaspar, TX) and he knew George Jones since he was a child. This disc was cut at Gold Star Studios, Houston TX., and it was inspired by hearing Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right Mama” being played over the radio. 514B refaitThe disc was financed by Rodney Spaford (hence the label name I guess) who was a rich guy from Sabine, TX. Beamon moved to California after this release, and he recorded as Tom Forse on Rich-Vein Records (owned by Terry Fell and features Eddie Cochran on guitar). Beamon also booked top acts on the West coast and wrote songs for Terry Fell, who would pay him cash for them. Beamon died in 2004. He and Truitt Forse were cousins. (See Starday 596). Side A « The Rest Of My Life » is a nice classy Honky tonk number. The disc wasrodney 514 beamon restsupposedly issued on both 45 & 78rpm formats.

Diamond 515 AL MEYER and His Pals (March 1955)

You’re The Same Old Moon / Somebody Cares

St. Genevieve, Missouri

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Zero info on Al Meyer apart from what’s listed on the label shot. Primitively recorded hillbilly disc with guitar, steel guitar & fiddle. If the label didn’t say MO, I would have sourced this disc a lot further south, perhaps Mississippi or Alabama. Vocally, it reminds me a little of Lloyd McCullough on Von Records. (Lloyd has his own custom on Starday 686).

Evangelistic Sacred Songs 516 CURT & FAYE BARTMESS with String Ins Accmp (sic)          (March 1955)

Country Music In A Sacred Way / The Narrow Way

Curt & Faye were from Oklahoma and broadcast over KJBC in Midland, TX. Evangelistic was their own label, created after non payment of royalties from another TX label. Reverend Curt Bartmess still has a congregation in Oklahoma, but Faye (if her real name was Myrtle Faye Bartmess) has passed away. Anyhow, the A side is a pleasant country gospel number with some nice guitar and mandolin throughout. Flip is slightly slower with some good vocal interplay between Curt & Faye – shades of Luke the Drifter.516B refait516A refait

Savannah 517 BUDDY LIVINGSTON & His All Girl Band (Vcl – Buddy & Trio)     (April 1955)

I Can’t Help The Way I Feel / When You Stuck Your Tongue Out At Me

Savannah, Georgia

Not heard the A side. 517A refaitB side is a nice hillbilly disc from Buddy and his sisters – mid tempo with good harmonies & steel guitar. Compared to the previous release (513), the actual recording sounds a little primitive and perhaps it was recorded around the same time as the release on Savannah 505. It’s a darn fine disc all the same. Also judging by when BMI cleared the song for broadcast, this disc may have been actually issued to the public (so to speak), or if you prefer – shipped to Buddy before Diamond 515 & Evangelistic 516. (I am going by the assumption that all discs were pressed and the songs were submitted to BMI once payment reached Starday.) 517b refait

Starday 518 DANIEL JAMES (rn Dan Mechura)         (April 1955)

Magic Wands And Wishing Wells / Through The Barroom Door

STARDAY 518 was reissued on ALLSTAR 7161, which isn’t that surprising when you consider that Daniel James is Dan Mechura, who owned Allstar. Billboard mentions in passing (26 March 1955) that Daniel had signed with Starday Records and he was broadcasting over KNUZ. To promote this disc, Daniel toured with Hank Locklin, Lee Leissner & Texas Rhythm Boys in June 55. Compared to the torrid “Rock Moon Rock” – (Allstar 7163) & “I’m Gonna Move” – (Allstar 7183), Daniel delivers this plaintive hillbilly disc with all the gusto of a man singing whilst reading 518A refaitthe lyrics in front of him. Nice echoey sound on the disc though gives it some atmosphere. The odd thing about this is that at the time of this disc, he already sees to have started his Allstar label with an address out of Garrow Street, Houston, TX. Menchura was happy to offer the same kind of deal that Starday offered here – cut the tracks – stick out a 45rpm, limited distribution and hoped for a hit to carry the momentum onwards and upwards. Dan and his Allstar label were also active in the seedy world of « Song-Poem » record labels. But by the mid 60’s, Dan’s labels folded after issuing at least close to 200 45’s on either the main label or on one of Dan’s numerous subsiduary labels. Note the publishing details have changed by the time he reissued it on his Allstar label. 518B refait

Starday 519 JIM CUNNINGHAM and the Missouri Wranglers (May 1955)

A Pain A Pill Won’t Reach / Take Time To Cry

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No info on Jim and his band at the present time. It’s a good hillbilly disc with sawing fiddles and steel guitar. Both sides bounce along nicely.

Starday 520 HOWARD BRAMLETT (June 1955)

Let’s Take Our Children To Church / City On A Hill

A gospel disc. Not Hillbilly

Hoyts 521 REV. CAMPBELL with the Wonder Boy (June 1955)

Old Ship Of Zion / You Can’t Hurry God

Greenwood, South Carolina

Gospel disc, not hillbilly

Starday 522 BILLIE & GORDON HAMRICK with the Low Country Gospel band (June 1955)

Our Prayer / When I feel The Spirit (Brother) I’m Gonna Shout

The second gospel offering from the Hamricks, now featuring their Low County Gospel band (which may well have been uncredited on the RANGELAND 506). There is a feeling amongst collectors that the first disc sold well enough for a reprint, so Starday issued their second offering on their own label hoping to garner a bit more interest for the disc. (Others think the Hamricks paid extra for it to be issued on Starday.) Anyhow, it’s a mandolin led country gospel for the A side. B side, which is a fast, fiddle led exhortation on the joys of having God in your heart. Kinda makes you wanna jump up in the aisles and yell “Hallellulah!”522B refait522A refait

Starday 523 RED MANSEL and his Hillbilly Boys (July 1955)

I’ve Crossed You Off My List / Brocken Fickle Heart

Nice bar-room honky tonk from Red & his Hillbilly Boys, with the A side being especially good. Fiddle, steel guitar and a nice upright piano with rhythm guitar and bass accomp. Red Mansel was (unsurprisingly) the star of “Red Mansel & Boys” on KFDA-TV, Amarillo, TX, 523A refait(15 min slot on TV between 4:45-5:00pm (Tuesday) and again at 12:45-1:00 pm (Saturday) and was also heard daily over the radio station. He also appeared on Dan Menchuras’ Allstar label from Houston, TX after this release. (He signed a 2 year contract with the label in early April 1956.) “Johnny On The Spot” / “Would You Ever Believe It’s True” – ALLSTAR 7160 {Billboard stated that this release was « lightweight material (that) can’t go far! »} and “My Only One” / “Going Steady With A Dream” – ALLSTAR 7174 are two of the better ones where rockabilly is concerned. Mansell appears on a writers credit on Starday 518.523B refait

Carolina 524          FRANK LEVINER (July 1955)

Keep Loving Up / Plan Of Salvation

Untraced

The Joneses 525 Mrs. R. D. JONES (July 1955)

I Ain’t Got Time / My Prayer For The Ones I Love

Bogalusa, Louisiana

I love this record! It’s certainly a primitive recording and the fidelity seems to fluctuate here and there. But the guitar steals the show with some nice chording and fills whilst Mrs Jones sings along pleasantly. I always imagine Mrs Jones sitting at the family piano belting this out in front of the family whilst the marsh mellows toast in the fire. It’s a joyous record – fills this ol’ heart with a little glee. Flipside is an altogether sadder affair, and somebody’s playing an accordian instead of the piano but again, Mrs Jones is in fine vocal form. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about this 45, but for me I could listen to it again and again without getting tired of it. (Others I’ve played it to don’t even try to stifle a yawn so maybe it’s just me it effects). Only the large amount of Joneses in the Bogalusa area prevents me from phoning each one up and asking “Excuse me , are you Mrs Jones?” But on somebody else’s dime, I’d certainly give it a go.

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All appreciations from Malcolm Chapman’s notes in his excellent site: http://web.mac.com/malcychapman/Starday_Customs/Starday_Intro.html. Additions from Phillip J. Tricker’notes to « Hixville » CD (Jasmine JASCD 452) An indispensable album! hicksville CD