Howdy folks! Hot, hot summer over there (south of France). Lot of hot music one more time for this fortnight.
First not really a newcomer, although not so well known. RED GARRETT on Decca 29742 seems to use Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys for this fine fast hillbilly, « Papa Joe’s place« , which reminds me a lot of Hank’s « Jambalaya« . Strange guitar sound.
Three tracks then by VERNON CLAUD. I don’t know where he came from, but his records were issued between 1957 and 1958 on Decca. First a medium bopper « Jungle of cement and stone« , an average hillbilly altho’. Then let’s embark for a Johnny Horton type (whom Claud wrote for) country song, « Daylight angel« . Last one is a minor classic, « Baby’s gone« , full-blooded rockabilly all along.
Michigan’s JIMMY WILLIAMS on the Drifter label for two issues (1955-56), I like the rural sounding voice of Williams on « Can you face yourself » and « If you could love me« .
Finally from Cincinnati on the Acorn label (not the Savoy blues sub-label) for another JIMMIE WILLIAMS and the fine uptempo « Hey, hey, little dreamboat« . Sawing fiddle and a nice guitar.
For this new rendez-vous, I’ve chosen three tracks from the ’50s, then one from…1978, the remainder being from the ’30s.
First, JOHNNY NELMS on Azalea 015/016 (Houston label), « After Today » is his finest hour, raw, emotional honky tonk. The uncredited backing band here is Peck Touchton‘s Sunset Wranglers, which includes Doug Myers (fiddle), Herman McCoy (guitar), Hoyt Skidmore (steel guitar), and George Champion (piano). I add in the podcasts his Starday offering, « Everything Will Be Alright » (# 228) from 1956. He already had records on Gold Star, Freedom, and later (briefly) on Decca. Nothing but a plain Country boy, who never made it…
Then, from the Cincinnati area, one JIMMIE WILLIAMS, I know nothing about, except this little record on the Acorn label (# 153). Here it is his original « Hey, Hey Little Dreamboat« , a nice, uptempo Hillbilly bop. Apparently the man had nothing to do with later Arkansas rocker of « You’re Always Late » fame.
From Nashville TN, April 1954, when young ERNIE CHAFFIN entered the Hickory studios, nothing really happened with his four sides; I somehow find some freshness in his « I Can’t Lose The Blues » (# 1024). Shortly after, he was to launch, with his steel player Pee Wee Maddux, the Fine label in Biloxi, MS. before moving in 1956 to Sun in Memphis.
That’s it for the ’50s! Now with a legend, ROSE MADDOX, taken live from Youtube (I just kept the sound track), for an old Jimmie Rodgers’ song, « Muleskinner Blues« . The Lady does it perfectly!
Onto the ’30s. First with ex-Governor of Louisiana (twice!) JIMMIE DAVIS. He sang Hillbilly as early as the late ’20s. Here you get his rendition of the traditional « When The Saints« , under the title « Down At The Old Country Church » (recorded Charlotte, NC, 1931), with Ed Shaffer on the lap-steel guitar. Full of emotion…
Finally, from 1936 comes a one-time associate to Davis, his Black bottleneck guitar player, OSCAR WOODS. Here he sings, on a funny cartoon, « Don’t Sell It – Give It Away« . The whole thing, recorded in New Orleans, sounds very much Western swing! Magic of internet to find those gems…