early November 2010 fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks! The new batch of stomping Honky tonks and Hillbilly bop tunes for this early November 2010 fortnight.

bb 15 nov 47 majestic selph

Billboard, 11/15/1947

First, from Nashville, JIMMIE SELPH. He seems to have had a long career, both in Bluegrass and Hillbilly, in the late 40s and early 50s, although mainly as a backing member (rhythm guitar and steel) for such luminaries as RED FOLEY or WEBB PIERCE. Here I’ve chosen his nice, relaxed Bopper « That’s Why I Worry » (Majestic label). Below he is shown with a whole bunch of Nashville musicians in 1950. SELPH had records on BULLET, and in 1956 a famous « TOM CATTIN’ AROUND » on COIN.

swift's jewel shortening show 1950 majestic 11024 selphThen later, in Kentucky. Small BLUEGRASS label in 1957. A real wildie « MAMA, MAMA » by JESSE STEVENS. Urgent vocal, fine guitar. Wonder what happened later to the man?  stevens mama,mama BG 712

The ARCADE label of Philly had a whole string of Hillbilly boppers, and was well documented on two « Rockaphilly » albums once in the 70s. Here is JIMMY COLLETT and the great « FOUR ALARM BOOGIE (# 106, 78 rpm), with sound effects.

arcade 106 collett

billy worth Dot Tennessee drifters

Billy Worth

Back to Nashville with the brother to Chet, JIM ATKINS, and a decent « I’M A DING DONG DADDY » on the CORAL label.    Coral 64147 atkinsWe stay in Tennessee, this time in Gallatin, home of Randy Wood’s DOT label (1000 serie). One BILLY WORTH was fronting vocally the TENNESSEE DRIFTERS (whose personal is unknown) for the great early sounding (1950-1951) « BOOGIE WOOGIE BABY ». Fine piano, which may be played by George Toon.

dot 1166 tenn drifters BW baby

Finally I offer to you one of the best, harsh Rocking blues ever. LUE CAZZ was at one time fronting the JIMMY McCRACKLIN’s band (he also had a 45 on ART-TONE, out of Oakland, Ca.). Here he is covering the classic « THE WALK » in 1962 for the VEE-JAY label. Fine, energetic version: the drummer is pounding like mad!. Don’t miss the great Joe Conwright’s alto-sax solo!

vj483 lue cazz centré

JIMMY WORK, « Tennessee Border » (1948) + the DOT sides, « Making Believe » (1954-1956)

Jimmy Work LP recadrée

first ever Work LP, Dot sides (1985)

All too often, country composers of the 1940s and 1950s who didn’t have a substantial string  of hits of their own are forgotten even if their songs have not been. Jimmy Work is a classic example. The author of three bonafide Country classics – “Tennessee Border” (1948), “Making Believe” (a simultaneous hit for both he and Kitty Wells in March of 1955) and “That’s What Makes The Juke Box Play” (1955) –  Work’s records have been a little more than a footnote to the fifties, a composer’s credit on someone else’s records. That fact is truly unfortunate, for in truth, Jimmy Work was among the most expressive composers of the era. Though Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell enjoyed greater success, Work’s best songs were among the most evocative of the period: raw, unvarnished gems with an undeniable directness and beauty. (suite…)