The Kentucky based DIXIANA label was a short lived concern, maybe operating from Bowling Green (Warren County). Launched in 1953, the label appears to have only lasted 6 months or so. However, during that relatively short time, the owners released some first rate Hillbilly, some of which can be found on various White Label « Boppin’ Hillbilly » albums.
Kentucky and Warren Cty
102. Southern Harmony Boys – Hattie Mae Fleming (piano)
That great mansion DA 12
The Lord and I DA 13
103. The Renfro Brothers and the Valley Sta. Playboys
Ever ready (BH 2821) no mtx
Just over a girl (BH 2821) no mtx
Both tracks are superior hillbilly boppers. Very fast tracks, over assured vocals. Backing is superb : sawing fiddle, steel, piano, even an accordion solo. The « Girl » side reminds me of the Carlisles.
104. Odis Blanton and his Blue Star Rangers
Steppin’ High Wide and Handsome (BH 2807) no mtx
Don’t move the moon no mtx
Both sides are superior Hillbilly boppers too. Over a fast fiddle routine, an assured vocal is backed by accordion, steel and piano. The « Moon » side is an excellent medium rock-a-ballad, with the piano well to the fore.
Back in early 1953, WLBJ out of Bowling Green, Kentucky was featuring the Blue Star Rangers. Their leader Odis Blanton was a D.J. at this station, airing daily.
Odis and Hugh would handle the vocal turns as solos. When they did their trio numbers, it usually included John, Gene and Odis.
The Blue Star Rangers had a 45-minute show that aired every day except Sunday over WLBJ called « The Farm And Home Hour ». They also did the usual personal appearances throughout the area of western Kentucky and northern Tennessee, including stage shows and square dance engagements.
Group Members included:
Odis Blanton, leader and manager, rhythm guitar
John Blanton, steel guitar
Gene Kitchens, violin
Hugh Poteet, bass
« Pappy » Jones, saxophone
Gwen Dalton, piano (she had several records on her own on Republic)
105. Cliff Gross and his Texas Cowboys
Hog pen hop (BH 2822) no mtx
Smokin’ and jokin’ (and pokin’ along) no mtx
I only heard « Hop » side : a fine hillbilly boogie, sort of talking blues, with the band singing the refrain in unison. Western swing overtones. The side had surely been recorded in Dallas (Jim Beck’s studio), even « Beck » co-written. Gross was a mountain style fiddler, who had played as early as 1929 with the Hi-Flyers, then in 1932 with the Light Crust Doughboys.
106. Jack Bybee and the Rhythm Wranglers
Drifting down the stream no mtx
(N.B. This label shot was unearthed by Drunken Hobo. Thanks to him)
107. Jimmy Smith
Does he love you no mtx
It ain’t no fun to say I told you so no mtx
Nothing is known about this fine singer. I only heard « Does he love you », which is a fine heavy rockaballad, again over accordion, fiddle and piano accompaniment. Smith (according it’s the same person) has an excellent « First choice » – very fine guitar picking – on Cactus « Rockin’ Hillbilly » vol. 1 (included here).
One then can wonder if the backing members are not the same at least for the known sides.
based on Hillbilly Researcher # 13 issue (mid-1990s). Additional research and comprehensive musical appreciation by Bopping editor.
Howdy, folks! Here we go first with a romper, the fast BILLY SCOTT « You’re Braggin, Boy » on a Tee-Vee, OP 4 Star label (#225). Great steel and piano, and call-and-response format. Then in Nashville for the Marty Robbins’ owned Robbins label (# 1005) by the typical hillbilly duet of TOMMY & JOHNNY. They do « I’ll Go On » (#1004), tinkling piano, sawing fiddle and steel -all have their solos, but nothing exceptional!
Nashville on the Bullet label. I couldn’t find any picture of the label (# 706) of « Walking Up Stairs« , by Texan PAUL BLUNT, which, according to Kevin Coffey, could well be the the forerunner of the young Eddie Cochran for « Twenty Flight Rock » six years later. Steel and piano (Blunt was at ease with both) for this fine bopper. Blunt was a renowned session player (Lefty Frizzell, Bill Boyd) since the ’40s and had records on Columbia and Imperial too. Thanks go to Michel Ruppli! Thanks to DrunkenHobo, a faithful visitor, here is the label!
Ohio based AL WINKLER on his own Winkler label (# 45-88) for this « Show Boat Boogie« , along with the Warren County Band. It’s a belter (call-and-response), two guitars, it rolls.
From California and a Tom Sims’ cassette (I found a label scan), for a Bluegrass wildie: The GOLDEN STATE BOYS on the Shamrock label (# 717) . Powerful banjo and mandolin. Chorus, then urgent vocal on « Always Dreaming« . The Golden State consisted of Hal Poindexter (guitar/writer), Vern & Rex Gordin, plus virtuoso young Chris Hillman on mandolin. Disc from 1962.
Finally the one and only BUFFALO JOHNSON. The name can seem not that familiar. He had a long string of releases on Mercury, Gateway (« T’ain’t Big Enough« , # 520, with Jimmie Ballard on vocal) among others in the late 40s/early 50S. Here he offers a good guitar picking bopper. I still do research on him.
A visitor, Mr. Jason Odd, gave me the following details (September 30th) on the GOLDEN STATE BOYS: »"Always Dreaming » — Herb Rice is playing mandolin and singing high harmony. Hal Poindexter is singing lead.
Although not issued until as late as August of 1962 (this date may be wrong) the Golden State Boys debut 45 single ‘Always dreaming’ b/w ‘Wicked woman’ (Shamrock 717) was recorded in early 1962.
The Golden State Boys at the time were Don Parmley (banjo), Herb Rice (mandolin, vocals), Leon Poindexter (vocals, dobro, guitar), Harry Kniss (bass, vocals), and Hal Poindexter (vocals, guitar).
Hal actually quit the band for part of 1962, but rejoined a radically different line-up later that same year. Hal and Don Parmley were the real constants in the group after that, although by late 1963 they were down to a quartet with Don, Hal and the Gosdin Brothers Rex and Vern. With a disagreement over management [Bob Flowers] Parmley and the Gosdins went out on their own as the Golden State Boys with Chris Hillman taking over on mandolin, while Vern Gosdin switched from mandolin to guitar. That group briefly worked as the Golden State Boys until Hal Poindexter and Bob Flowers took control of the name and rebuilt the group.
The Gosdin-Hillman-Parmley combo became known as the Blue Diamond Boys and as that group cut the album that was later credited to the Hillmen when released in 1969. » Thanks Jason!
From Phillips J. Tricker’s article in « Roll Street Journal » # 19 (Spring 1987)
Ramblin’ Jimmie Dolan – the very name evokes to me pictures of a man of travel, a man of the West. His name turns up frequently on record lists and he had sole thirty four releases issued on at least three different labels, and the majority on the major CAPITOL. Those thirty plus discs were put out over the comparatively short period of 7 years and much of his material has been overlooked by many collectors as a few of his later less inspiring releases are those that surface most frequently and I believe a some what false picture has emerged, musically, on an artist who contributed much to our kind of record collecting [hillbilly bop/hillbilly boogie].
As often happens, the early years of the singers we investigate are shrouded in mystery. Jimmie is no exception. In fact by our comencing at the start with his birth on the 29th October 1924, we meet our initial problem. I have seen two versions in print. The first said rural part of Missouri while in a radio interview in 1952 Jimmie’s reply was « Wyoming ». As his first reported radio work was at KWK in St. Louis, Missouri ; and as a boy he was a great fan of Western movies, I tend to place a little more credence on the former location. This thought is supported by these two points. During his earliest days in the music business, he did not use that tag – Ramblin’ – but by the time of 1952 interview, not only he was using that word in his name, but was often billed as « America’s Cowboy Troubadour ». In that case, maybe it was considered a better ploy to give impression of coming from a state synonymous with cowboys – Wyoming. A third version comes from www.hillbilly-music.com. Dolan would have been born largely earlier, same day and month in 1916 and…California, which would be his musical base during the ’40s and ’50s. Who knows ?
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Hi! to everyone visiting this blog early new year. If you are looking for bopping music, this is the site for you! Latest story (published on Christmas day!): Autry Inman. Let’s take a look and a listen. Great hillbilly/rockabilly music.
First, one of those Rockabilly acetates flourishing over the web. Never heard of the artist, HAROLD MORRISON, but his « I Gotta Have Her » has got everything to enjoy your ears.
Then on for bit pop flavoured « Baby, Baby, Baby » on RCA 47-6188 (1955) by FLOYD WILSON. Male chorus, and the whole sounds New York but still enjoyable.
Return to JAY T. STARR, recently covered in a previous fortnight. This time for a serious Hillbilly boogie: » Rattle Snake Boogie« , on Coast 9017, complete with fiddle and boogie guitar.
Also I did announce the DALTON BOYS (Shorty Long and Bob Newman). Both had begun their recording career on King (1951) with a split session. 1955 sees them reunited under a disguise for the fine train song « Roll, Rattler, Roll » on X 0045. Great boogie guitar, and harmony vocals all the way. Flip is slower « Just Like Me » (not podcasted).
From Waco, Texas, for a superb « Shorts Crazy » by MACK McCRAY on the Ford label (#1 or # 1074-A, the sequence in unclear on the label). All in all, piano, fiddle and steel do provide an almost Starday sound.
Finally from New Jersey, Jersey City on the Cevetone label (# 1866), a fine hybrid Hillbilly/Bluegrass « Mountain Boy » by VERLIN SPEEKS. Very fast, fiddle and banjo all along, and an energetic rhythm guitar. Just take a listen! In the meantime, have a nice Bopping New Year!
Bullet Records : a presentation
The Bullet Recording and Transcription company was formed in late 1945 by former Grand Ole Opry booking agent Jim Bulleit, in partnership with musician Wally Fowler and businessman C. V. Hitchcock. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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« .
In 1951, Chuck had 4 times the honor of being reviewed by Billboard for his Coral records.
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.
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
Born Jesse Lee Shibley, 21 September 1914, Van Buren, Arkansas. Died 9 September 1975, Van Buren, Arkansas
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Hi! You all. I am a bit early this time, coming back from a trip to find a flat in Vienne, Vallée du Rhône (where I belong), and soon moving from Brittany, before parting early next Friday 14th of May to Paris’ area to meet my girl friend for a few days. All this is a mess! But a whole lotta fun indeed. Here we go with some more music. From 1946-1947 come JERRY IRBY (see his story elsewhere on the site) and one his his early offerings on GLOBE (Pete Burke at the Rolling piano) for « Super Boogie Woogie ». Next we go to a famous entertainer for 6 or 7 years before his suicide (?) I’m told, R.D.HENDON & His Western Jamborees, from Houston. Here is his guitar picker (superb!) CHARLIE HARRIS and the shuffling « No Shoes Boogie » from 1951 (Freedom label), reissued on UK’s Krazy Kat label. On the West Coast with JACK GUTHRIE, too soon deceased, who made superior Hillbilly music as early as 1944 for Capitol records. I chose his « Troubled Mind Of Mine ». Location unknown: Texas maybe. LEON CHAPPEL on Capitol. He begun his career as LEON’S LONE STAR CHAPPELEARS on Decca during the 30′s. You can hear his great « Automatic Mama » (1953), fine Honky Tonk style. On to Louisiana, 1955, with the underrated JIMMY KELLY and « Dunce Cap ». The record came out from Monroe, first on the Jiffy label. It was so good that Imperial picked up and reissued it (more affordable). I finish with a beautiful JACK BRADSHAW 1958 ballad from 1958, way up North in Indiana. Backed by the Morgan Sisters (chorus unobstrusive), his « It Just Ain’t Right » can be found on Mar-Vel’. Enjoy the music. ‘Till then, bye, boppers!
Howdy folks! Back from holidays in Rocking Italy, here I am again, this time more piano to the fore. Let’s begin with the now famous CURTIS GORDON and the classic Hillbilly Boogie from 1953, « ROMPIN’ AND STOMPIN’ – fine walking basses (Floyd Cramer, really??), a relaxed vocal, call & response type, steel and bass, everything is perfect here. From a 78 rpm.
Then we go West Coast with DICK LEWIS and his uptempo « BEALE STREET BOOGIE ». Good left hand, while a nice sax takes the first row for a good solo. 1947, Imperial 8004
The HODGES BROTHERS are well known – I really don’t know if this is the same outlet as on Arhoolie (Watermelon Man). Nevertheless their « HONEY TALK » is already a classic. Rockabilly indeed. Urgent rural vocal, nice interplay during the solo between guitar and fiddle. A great one! Whispering Pines 200 label, from Indiana. They also appeared on Starday custom serie (see elsewhere in the site)
Then a mistery. Famous French collector Henri laffont (R.I.P.) told me he thought it was Red Smith (same guy who cut « Whoa Boy » on Coral) but was unsure. Anyway « RED HOT BOOGIE » is a very solid slice of Hillbilly Bop, almost Rockabilly (because the hiccups of Smith); 3 solos (fiddle, guitar, bass, again fiddle). Which was the original label? This track is one on my all-times favorites! Please take a listen and let me know how you feel it. MYSTERY SOLVED on June 22nd, 2012 (thanks to a faithful visitor, Drunkenhobo from U.K.). The artist is Scotty Stevenson & the Edmonton Eskimos, a Canadian issue on RCA 55-3309-A, from 1950. I’d never thought a Canadian outlet could sound so »Southern hillbilly bop »!
Way down South. LAWRENCE WALKER and Cajun « Allon Rock and Roll » (sung in English); Lot of cliches, a corny sound: I would have assumed the tune was recorded in late 40s, however it goes back to …1962!
Finally ROD MORRIS and « Weary Blues » (Deadwood). When a Hillbilly got the Blues…WHO the hell may be the SUPERB guitar player ? He obviously heard much Magic Sam and T. Bone Walker, and he’s very aggressive during the solo.
Enjoy, and comments welcome!
Trumpet records – the Hillbilly/Rockabilly sides
One of the earliest record companies to set up business in Jackson, MS. was Lilian McMurry’s TRUMPET label. This company was based at her husband’s furniture cum record store on Farish Street, five blocks West from the old Capitol building in downtown Jackson. She recorded first Gospel, then discovered Aleck Miller, aka Sonny Boy Williamson, and Elmore James. She had also Willie Love, Jerry McCain and Tiny Kennedy (« Strange Kinda Feeling » later cut Rockabilly style by Eddie Dugosh on the Luling, Tx. label Sarg – to be heard in another post: the Sarg label story) in her roster. Read the rest of this entry »