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

late October 2011 fortnight favorites

Here I am again, and I arranged a nice (I think) program for you all.

First an unknown artist (as often during the Fifties), who cut several marvelous Hillbilly bop sides between 1955 and 1957. I didn’t find anything on LUCKY HILL, though he may have been from the Cincinnati area. A fine, entertaining singer, and because the fiddle is always to the fore, he may also have been playing it. First selection: both sides of COUNTRY 501, a King label custom pressing (hence the Cincinnati possible connection), the fast « I’m Checkin’ out« , the flipside being a weeper, « I’m Missing You« . He apparently re-recorded the latter song for Starday 329 (flipside « Wait For Me« , a very great Hillbilly bop – part slow, part fast). Thanks to « HillbillyBoogie1 » (YouTube), I’ve got some personal details. From a 1957 article,

« Lucky remembers that his first radio show was over WTFM in Tiffin, Ohio in 1947. He was nervous back then that the audience wouldn’t like his music. And remained so as he knew music was constantly changing. Back in 1947 he mentioned, you were either ‘established’ or you weren’t. »

He had a few recordings released, too – songs such as « That Old Sweetheart Of Mine« , « Now You Know« , « Technical Love » (all untraced).

Then he had in the Starday custom serie (# 622), the great uptempo « Fickle Baby » in March of 1957. After that, Hill disappeared, at least on my part.

country 501 lucky hill I'm checkin' outstarday 622a lucky hill fickle baby

The ARMSTRONG TWINS were one of the last duets to master the great harmonies of the traditonal country music that came from ’30s and ’40s. The twins, guitarist Lloyd and mandolin player Floyd, were born in DeWitt, Arkansas but were raised in Little Rock. They made their radio debut at age five and by the age of nine were hosting their own radio show. Greatly influenced by the Blue Sky Boys and the Bailes Brothers, the Armstrongs were appearing on two daily radio shows and on the Arkansas Jamboree by 1946. Between then and 1951, they cut over a dozen songs, most of which were bluegrass covers. Here I’ve chosen their furious « Mandolin Boogie » (4 * 1231) from 1947, here taken from an old Arhoolie album which gathers all of their 4 * output. Buy it in confidence, if you can find. It’s re-released on CD 9046 « The Armstrong Twins – Mandolin Boogie » ).

armstrong twins front

(from the notes to the CD – year unknown – « Keepin’ It Country » (Wedge Entertainment):

RALPH JOHNSON was born in the Clinch Mountains of south West Virginia. south west virginia

He began developing his musical career at the age of six, after receiving his first guitar.  At the age of

fifteen, his singing and musical talent had developed enough to enable him to put together his own band.  Ralph and his band auditioned for a radio show in Richlands, VA. They landed the job on WRIC radio.  During this time, his band played schools, halls and theatres in the area.  They later auditioned for a spot on a new TV station in Bluefield, WV.  Some time later, they had earned the privilege of performing two shows on WOAY in Twin Oak Hill, WV.  It was here that he recorded his first record, « Henpecked Daddy » (released on his own abel, RALPH JOHNSON records)

ralph johnson 639B henpecked daddy

Hillbilly meets old Country Blues! Solid rhythm guitar, assured vocal. A timeless Rockabilly…  After appearing on different radio and TV stations throughout the country, he moved his operation to Baltimore. MD.  While in Baltimore, he launched Wedge Records, Dome Records and Fleet Records.  Along with all of his record labels, he opened his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.  He released all types of music from the Washington and Baltimore areas.  He later moved his operation to Vineland, NJ where he became the co-owner of WDVL Radio.  As a DJ, he played country music five hours a day, every day.  He went on to develop and book country music acts from Nashville, TN into Palentein Park every Sunday.  In 1976, he decided to move to Nashville, TN, where he proceeded to record and promote records on his Wedge Entertainment record label.  He used songs from his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.  As you can see, Ralph Johnson has made a big splash in the music industry.

His  CD can be found direct from his address: http://wedgeentertainment.net/keepinitcountry.htm

Last artist, FUZZY LOFTON, recorded his solitary single for the Lagrange, GA, Trepur label (# 503),

Trepur 503 Fuzzy lofton Bounce, baby, bounce « Bounce Baby Bounce« , from ca. 1957. A fine, interesting hick vocal, propelled by a nice guitar (the player has apparently much heard Chet Atkins, Eddie Hill and Merle Travis). He takes a very good solo, then a shy steel player enters for a short solo. A nice, relaxed shuffler.

Keep bopping, folks. Enjoy the selections! Comments welcome.