DUSTY TAYLOR, first selection of this fortnite, offers with « My shining star » a pleasant shuffler, with nice sawing fiddle (solo). An average although nice tune to find on Nugget OP-190 (4 Star custom) from 1956. I don’t know where it comes from. Taylor had another issue on Nugget 191 (« Down grade/Just rumors »), and a record in 1968 on the Nashville Stop label.
« My shining star«
« The hillbilly hop« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/leo-1824-Curly-Gibsons-Sunshine-Playboys-The-Hillbilly-Hop.mp3download
« The hillbilly hop » is a medium rockabilly (short piano solo) by CURLY GIBSON‘s Sunshine Playboys (vocal by Colin Prevette, who has even here some hiccups) on a Leo label (there were dozens by this name) # 1824. A clue of location is given by another record by Curly Gibson on the Pennsylvania Record label out of Pennsburg, PA. The Leo issue is from 1957.
With « All by myself » by DOUG DAVIS on the Texan Nite star label (# 007, from ca. 1963), we touch the real thing ! Already posted in 2010, this time with a nice label scan. It has haunting steel, perfect ballad vocal and confident backing. My prefered all-time ballad. Davis had another record on Malinda 113 (untraced)
« All by myself« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Doug-Davis-All-by-myself.mp3download
Next three tracks all by the veteran AL DEXTER, who, at the time they were cut (1950), had already records since 1936. All three do come from a long Cincinnati session for King.
As the title implies, « Walking with the blues » (King 884A) is a mid-paced item with fine harmonica and good guitar (Zeb Turner ? Louis Innis?). The whole sounds much like the Delmore.
Further on, « Hi de ho boogie » (# 884AA) is a lively tune. The harmonica has been dropped, replaced by fiddle and good steel. And the third track of this session is « Diddy wah boogie » (# 913AA): the harmonica returns for a pleasant and fast track.
« Walking with the blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/king-884A-Walking-With-The-Blues-Al-Dexter.mp3download
« Hi de ho boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/king-884AA-Hi-De-Ho-Boogie-Al-Dexter.mp3download
« Diddy wah boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/king-913-AAAl-Dexter-his-Troopers-Diddy-Wah-Boogie.mp3download
We conclude with BILL HUSKEY on the Meritone label (Lenoir City, TN) for a great « Record Spinning boogie », half sung, half played (solid acoustic guitar), which reminds me a lot of « Doin’ the boogie woogie » by Johnnie Barfield (Bullet 620).
« Record spinning boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/meritone-1001-Smokey-Mountain-Ramblers-Record-Spinning-Boogie.mp3download
Howdy folks ! Everybody’s back from holydays ? Ready for stomping hillbilly !
The first artist chosen is BILLY RAY, born William H. Ray. He was living in Baton Rouge when he was signed by Columbia in November 1952. He cut 8 songs during two sessions. « Tired of talking to the blues » was issued on Columbia subsidiary Okeh 18009. It’s a real blues number with a spare instrumentation (guitar, piano and bass) probably cut in New Orleans. The second interesting song from the next session is « You gotta pet me baby » (Okeh 18030), a nice uptempo hillbilly. Alas, sales were poor, Columbia did not renew the contract and Ray disappeared. Maybe he’s the same on Titan in 1960.
« Tired of talking to the blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ok18009-billy-ray-Tired-of-Talking-to-the-Blues.mp3download
« You gotta pet me baby« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/okeh-18030-Billy-Ray-You-Gotta-Pet-Me-Baby.mp3download
James « OTIS » PARKER was a Tennessean (1920-1992), whose career began in 1949 on Rich-R’Tone. How he came to have in 1955 a record issued on Covington, California’s New Star label # 529 (a Starday custom) is a mystery. « They don’t have to operate (they just pull the zipper) » is a comedy-hillbilly not so far from Homer Clemons of 5 years before on Modern (« Operation blues »). Good fast proto-rockabilly. Previously he also had an issue in 1951 on Holyday (untraced).
« They don’t have to operate« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/new-star-529-Otis-Parker-They-Don_t-Have-To-Operate-They-Just-Pull-The-Zipper-1955-.mp3download
DON TEAGUE is a completely unknown artist from the Lexington, KY area. I picked up his two records on the Rains label from 1963. First is billed as « Don Teague with Pap and the Young’uns » and gives a radio station WZEJ indication : « Oh, how bad I feel » (Rains 103) is a fast hillbilly – lot of fiddle, a rockabilly guitar solo, a nice dobro, and an assured vocal. The second (Rains 108) has no connection indication, just « Don Teague with the Blue Valley Boys ». Much slower (« Pure country music » on the label), « I’ll take a walk » is nevertheless a very nice tune, with good dobro and fiddle.
« Oh, how bad I feel« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rains-103-Don-Teague-Oh-How-Bad-I-Feel..mp3download
« I’m gonna take a walk« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rains-103-Don-Teague-Im-Gonna-Take-A-Walk-1963.mp3download
Just for a change, a R&B rocker by (Napoleon) CHICO CHISM on the Shreveport, La. Clif label (# 102) – the very same that beared T.V. Slim‘s first issue of « Flat foot Sam ». « Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que » (1957). Enjoy all !
« Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/clif-102-chico-chism-Hot-Tamales-_-Bar-B-Que.mp3download
Sources : 45rpm.com (Dan De Clerk), Youtube, Okeh 18000 (Willem Agenant), malcychapman.blogspot (Starday customs)
Red Perkins, nor related to the jazz trumpeter Red Perkins as with Carl Perkins, until today remains more or less a mystery within the country music since little is known about him. Not even a picture of him has ever surfaced. Nobody seems to know how he came to appear in 1947 on the country music scene, when he started as a singer for Paul Howard in its western swing band, the Arkansas Cotton Pickers to work. This group he belonged to until 1949, but led at the same time also has his own career.
In May 1949, King let Perkins cut his first solo titles : « Aggravatin’ Lou from Louisville » and « Hoe-down boogie » (# 792) were the best of four tracks recorded. In November 1949, as well as in the course of 1950, followed other sessions,
We find him in on the amusing « Crocodile tears » (# 836) and « One at a time » (# 850). The title of his last studio visit were published on Kings sublabel DeLuxe Records [ named Red Perkins and his Kentucky Redheads, perhaps Howard's Cottonpickers in disguise]. In March 1950, Perkins played once again as a singer with Paul Howard and the band in the studio KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana for 4 more tracks, among them « The boogie’s fine tonight » (# 871)- great pounding piano from Harold Horner, and a good guitar from either Paul Howard himself or Jabbo Arrington.
Under Perkins’ recordings for King to songs like « A Long Necked Bottle »(# 920), « Hoe-Down Boogie » (# 792), « Rag man boogie » (# 903) or « Aggravating Lou from Louisville »(# 792) were, however, found none of his singles off the charts, not least was due to the poor marketing of the label. What Perkins did after that is uncertain.
All in all, a career that lasted not more than 2 years ; nearly not more than a dozen 78pm singles ; and a very few to remember as shufflers and good’uns.
Billboard 9 Jul. 49
Billboard 4 Nov. 1950
« The boogie’s fine tonight »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/king-871-The-Boogies-Fine-Tonight.mp3download
« Hoe-down boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/792AA-Hoe-Down-Boogie-Red-Perkins.mp3download
« Aggravatin’ Lou from Louisville« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/792A-Aggravatin-Lou-From-Louisville-Red-Perkins.mp3download
« Texas boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/779A-Texas-Boogie-Paul-Howard-his-Arkansas-Cotton-Pickers.mp3download
« Rag man boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/903A-Rag-Man-Boogie-Red-Perkins.mp3download
« I live the life I love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/deluxe-5047B-Red-Perkins-I-love-the-life-I-live.mp3download
Sources: a short biography Wikipedia (which is confusing with the pre-War Red Perkins on Champion) translated from German language. A discography on Praguefrank site: http://countrydiscography.blogspot.fr/2009/10/red-perkins.html. Internet for label scans. With help from Ronald Keppner (DeLuxe issue).
The Van Winkle Brothers (Arnold and Lee) were musically prolific from 1956 to 1962 . Nobody seems to have any informaion on their childhood, although U.S. 1940 Census gives for Arnold a birthdate in 1935 ; but the birthplace is in Tennessee, when they made their careers as far as Indianapolis.
Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s start this batch of fortnight’s favorites with a mysterious CURT HINSON. He hailed from S.C. and was at one time tied with WDLC in Dillon, S.C., where he was known as « Curt Hinson & His Sunset Troubadours ». Nothing is known about him except for two, maybe three records. The first one on Gotham 431, « Let’s see you smile » (1952) was coupled with « Down deep in my heart ». The first side is a nice uptempo, partly duetted (with the mysterious « Molinaro », who co-penned this track and the A-side on Carolina ?), over a chanting steel all along and a good swirling fiddle. The same songs were apparently reissued straight out on N.Y.C. Carolina label # 1001.
On Carolina 1003, Hinson has two « new » songs, « Cotton picking baby », a nice uptempo – weird and fooling fiddle, a steel solo and Troy Ferguson on the lead guitar. The flip side « You’re old love is haunting you still »[sic] is on a par with the presumably A-side. Fine relaxed vocal from Hinson, ably backed by a fluent guitar player. The identity of the guitar player was given by « HillbillyBoogie1 » on his Youtube chain, and I wonder where the information came from.
« Let’s see you smile« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Gotham-431-curt-hinson-lets-see-you-smile.mp3download
« Cotton picking baby« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Carolina-1003B-Curt-Hinson-Cotton-Picking-Baby-1953.mp3download
« You’re old love is haunting you still« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/carolina-1003-Curt-Hinson-Youre-Old-Love-Is-Haunting-You-Still.mp3download
From East coast we go now to Texas and the Fort Worth area. EARL WRIGHT & Texas Oldtimers has a good double-sider on Cutt-Rite in 1962 (# 100). « Married man blues » and « You don’t know it » are good Western swing flavored (prominent fiddle, even a solo) boppers. Nice guitar too, with jazzy overtones and a fine piano. A very nice relaxed record. Wright had at least another record, Jimmie Rodgers’ « T.B. Blues » on Bluebonnet 325 (untraced).
« Married man blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cutt-rite-326B-earl-wright-married-man-blues.mp3download
« You don’t know it« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cut-rite-100-YOU-DONT-KNOW-IT.mp3download
Now on to Ohio, with GLENN & VIVIAN WATSON, who do a good duet with « Just keep on going » on the Dayton, OH label BMC # 1000, from 1959. Fine picking guitar throughout a la Merle Travis. Vivian did in 1956 a solitary tune « Hoping that you’re hoping » on a budget Big 4 Hits EP # 195.
« Just keep on going« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/BMC-1000-Glenn-And-Vivian-Watson-Just-Keep-On-Going-.mp3download
Finally I chose from Nashville a Murray Nash production [see Mellow's Log Cabin i (hillbillycountry.blogspot.fr) for more info] by RALPH PRUETT and the song he wrote (not the blues/ traditional classic) « Louise » on B.B. 226, the very last one on this label, which saw no less than 3 Dixieland Drifters records. Topical lyrics, « Be-bop-a-Lula » is named, « Louise she’s my queen », over a relaxed vocal, with fine steel in the background plus n excellent fiddle solo.
« Louise« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/bb-226-Ralph-Pruett-Louise.mp3download
Sad news in France : a GREAT guy is gone, Bernard Boyat. Fine discographer, essential writer and reviewer for many magazines [more than 50, among them the vital French « Rock’n'Roll Revue » or « Le Cri du Coyote ») since the ’70s, a true gentleman, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of Rock’n'roll in general, with a special sympathy for Louisiana and Cajun people. He did help the launch of « bopping » with the co-writing of the article NATHAN ABSHIRE in January 2009. May God Almighty save his Soul and let him keep Rock’n'rolling in Heaven !
As usual, my special thanks to Internet, Alexander Petrauskas for his site « hillbillycountry.blogspot », and Youtube « HillbillyBoogie1″.
Eddie Zack (Edward Zackarian, from Armenian ancestry) was born on March 5, 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island. His first introduction to country music was in high school and at age 17, he organized his first hillbilly band, consisting of a banjo player, a washtub- and washboard player, and various spoon- and harmonica players. Among the band’s members was Eddie’s younger brother Richard (also known as “Richie”, “Cousin Richie” and, later, “Dick Richards”) who was born on January 16, 1925. When both brothers joined the marines during the War, their band came to an early end.
Arlen Vaden was D.J. at WCKY out of Cincinati, OH, when he launched in 1958 his own Vaden label. The first issue (# 100) of the new label was by BOBBY BROWN & The Curios, who consisted of Brown (vocal, rhythm guitar), Shorty Stewart (lead guitar), Tommy Jones (bass) and Johnny Welker (drums). This record was cut at WCKY, and later on reissued on Vaden 107. « I Get The Blues « is of course bluesy with a fine lead guitar (long solo).
« I Get The Blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/vaden-107-Bobby-Brown-I-Get-The-Blues.mp3download
« Bobby’s Blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/vaden-109-Bobby-Brown-Bobbys-Blues.mp3download
Early 1959 saw Bobby Brown back for another issue on Vaden 109, this time cut at KLCN radio in Blytheville, Arkansas. Twin-lead guitars (J.C. Caughron & Tommy Holder), Larry Donn (bass), Johnny Welker (drums), but the most important and pulsating instrument is Teddy Redell‘s piano, who adds a brillant and pulsating flavor to « Bobby’s blues ». Thanks to Alexander Petrauskas who provided me with all the information. Do visit his great blogsite « Arkansas 45rpm records » or « Mellow’s Log Cabin« !
We go further East in North Wilkesboro, in N. Carolina, circa 1952-53, for a fine double-sider first on the Blue Ridge label (# 306) by LARRY RICHARDSON [banjo] & Happy Smith & the Blue Ridge Boys. Two songs are in discussion : « I’m Lonesome » and « Just Let Me Fall », both superior Bluegrass tunes, billed « Hillbilly » on the labels ! Thanks « 53jaybop » to have posted them two songs on Youtube. Later on, Richardson had on the MKB label, out of Virginia (no #) what it seems to be a rocking effort, »I’m Lonesome/I’ll Fall In Love With You » (alas untraced). We finally find him back on Blue Ridge 516 in 1960/62 for « The Nahville Jail », again a fast and fine Bluegrass number or « Wild Over Me » (great fast mandolin by Clinton Bullins?) on MKB 130 from 1968.
« I’m Lonesome« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/blue-rid-306-Larry-Richardson-Happy-Smith-Blue-Ridge-Boys-Im-Lonesome.mp3download
« Just Let Me Fall« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Larry-Richardson-Just-Let-Me-Fall-BLUE-RIDGE-306.mp3download
Larry Richardson on banjo
« Nashville Jail« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Nashville-Jail-Larry-Richardson-Happy-Smith.mp3download
« Wild Over Me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Larry-Richardson-Wild-Over-Me.mp3download
Way up North now for the Omaha, Nebraska Applause label : the TERRIFIC TABORS (with their leader Paul Tabor ? He at last holds the credit) offer a pretty weird mix of Bluegrass (unisson chorus) and garage rocker on « Rockin’ The Boat » from 1961. There’s even what sounds a steel behind the backing of guitars. The flip side, which sounds an instrumental (« Tabor Tromp ») remains untraced.
« Rockin’ The Boat« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/applause-1251Terrific-Tabors-Rockin-The-Boat-19611.mp3download
Real old Hillbilly now by CHARLIE BOWMAN & His Hill Billies on the Brunswick label. Bowman was a fiddler and a banjo player on several sides cut in New York with the Hopkins Brothers between October 1926 and May 1927 : « East Tennessee Blues » and « Riding That Mule ».
« East Tennessee Blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CharlieBowman-EastTennesseeBlues1926.mp3download
« Riding That Mule« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CharlieBowman-RideThatMule1927.mp3download
Finally a SHORTY LONG, who has apparently nothing to do with the S. Long I discussed thoroughly earlier in this site, does a romping R&B rocker (saxes), although the voice sounds white, with « Redstone John » on the K-Son label (# 7283). Location unknown.
« Redstone John« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/k-son-SHORTY-LONG-REDSTONE-JOHN-K-SON-RECORDS1.mp3download
Sources : YouTube, www.Arkansas45rpm-records,Tony Russell’s Country Music Records 1921-1942. Any correction or addition welcome !
Howdy folks, I am back from Corsica isle (« l’île de Beauté ») where I visited my girl friend and did help her to set up her fairytales’ exhibition before children. While I was there I couldn’t get access to my files, thus not allowing to myself to set up early June fortnight’s favorites.
Let’s begin in Texas with GLENN REEVES, born 1932 in Shamrock, TX. He had his first two records on the T.N.T. Label (owned by Bob Tanner, who billed proudly his labels records as « Tanner’n'Texas »!). « I’m Johnny on the spot » (TNT 120) is already a proto-rockabilly classic. But its reverse, the plaintive hillbilly « The blues are out tonight », is not so well known, although a very good ballad. Listen to the real hillbilly pronunciation of Reeves, over a nice fiddle and steel. I love such a record like this.
« The blues are out tonight« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/tnt-120-glenn-reeves-the-blues-are-out-tonight.mp3download
Later he had on TNT 129 « I ain’t got room to rock », before switching to Republic (the great « That’ll be love ») and Atco (« Rockin’ country style »/ »Drinkin’ wine spo-dee-o-dee ») in 1956, yet before turning teen on Decca in 1957. Meanwhile, he had relocated in Florida, pushing himself as a performer and D.J. On WPDQ out of Jacksonvile, FL. That’s where he met Mae Axton, her fellow-composer, and Tommy Durden, who both looked for someone who could demo their « Heartbreak hotel ». At first, Reeves denied, before agreeing – and the result was presented at a Nashville D.J. convention late 1955 to Elvis as his first million seller (the promise of Mae Axton), which he cut January 1956, in a style very close to Reeves. Here is the Reeves’ demo.
Glenn Reeves « Heartbreak hotel« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GLENN-REEVES-heartbreak-hotel-demo.mp3download
The third compere was TOMMY DURDEN. He had a long story as steel player for Tex Ritter, and later for Johnny Cash, and composer (e.g. « Honey bop » for Wanda Jackson). In 1951 on the Sahul Kahal’s Freedom label out of Houston, Texas, he cut the great « Hula boogie » (# 5025). Later on, he had his own version of « Heartbreak hotel » (« Moods » LP, religious songs), before relocating in Michigan. He retired in the early ’90s.
Tommy Durden « Hula boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/freedom-5025-Tommy-Durden-Westernaires-Hula-Boogie.mp3download
On the next artist, GEORGE HEFFINGTON, I know litterally nothing, except he was one of the first to record on the growing Toppa label (owned by Jack Morris, out of Covina, Ca.), and is backed for the fast « Ghost of love » (# 1007, 1958) by, among others, Ralph Mooney on steel. Good piano too.
George Heffington « Ghost of love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/A02-George-Heffington-Ghost-Of-Love-Toppa-1007-A.mp3download
Real name to next artist was Wilcoxson, but he’s known now as JIMMIE DALE. And there were in the ’50s two different men with the same name. The first to jump on my mind is an Indiana artist, who cut two Starday custom records in 1958. First on Jeffersonville, IN Saber label (# 707), he cut the fabulous two-sider « Baby doll » (great slap bass, energetic drums and lead guitar) and « Darlin’ » (very nice piano, à la Teddy Reddell over a mambo rhythm). In Louisville, KY, he had in 1958 too on the Farrall label (# 687) « Man made moon », more of a country record. Nice vocal, and again a rinky-dink piano and good steel. I couldn’t locate the flipside « For a day ».
The second JIMMIE DALE was a Nashvillian, who cut « Tennessee ghost train » in 1953 on the Original label # 501. The credits don’t give any clue. Lot of echo on the steel, a train song of course.
Jimmie Dale (Saber, Farrall)
Jimmie Dale « Baby doll« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Jimmie-Dale-Baby-doll.mp3download
Jimmie Dale « Darlin’« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/45-708a-Jimmie-Dale-Darlin-Saber-03-58.mp3download
Jimmie Dale « Man made moon« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/farrall-687A-Jimmie-Dale-Man-Made-Moon.mp3download
Jimmie Dale [different artist]« Tennessee ghost train« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Original-Record-OR-501-Jimmie-dale-Tennessee-Ghost-Train.mp3download
That’s all for this fortnight, folks. Comments welcome, as usual.
Sources and credits : internet, RCS, Youtube, lot of labor !
Rambling Rufus Shoffner earned his nickname from his early hobo days when he hopped a train at the age of 16 from his home in Tazewell (or Harrogate?), TN where he was born in 1916 to go wandering: he led a band called the Blue Yodel Boys in 1939 on WROL Knoxville, Tennessee. His neighbor in Tennessee was Hugh Friar, who had later in the Detroit label Clix two fine and very sought after Rockabilly/Country issues (« I can’t stay mad at you », # 805 for example) . But Shoffner’s constant urge to travel resulted in his roaming across much of the country, hustling in one moneymaking scheme after another, before finally settling down in Monroe, Michigan, reuniting with his siblings in 1950. Read the rest of this entry »
With a mellifluous, deep voice often compared to western singer Rex Allen, Ricky Riddle was an Arkansas-born, Detroit-bred vocalist who gravitated to the western side of country music. His surname was apt, as he was a restless character, always on the go and never satisfied with life in one place for very long. Born Arvin Doyle Riddle on Aug. 22, 1920, in Rector, Ark., his parents moved him, two brothers and one sister to Hamtramck, Mich., around 1933. The Riddle family eventually settled in a house on McClellan Street in Detroit.
During World War II, Riddle enlisted with the Navy in Chicago, Ill. He served aboard the U.S.S. Adair in the Pacific Theatre. After an honourable discharge in 1946, He returned to Detroit and found a booming country music nightclub scene waiting for him; a result of thousands of new migrants from the South who moved north to build Detroit’s “Arsenal of Democracy.” Riddle pursued the life of a singing cowboy in earnest, writing songs and performing in nightclubs and showcases, sitting in with other entertainers and headlining his own shows.
In 1949, Drake’s Record Shop, located on East Jefferson Avenue, sponsored appearances by Hank Williams, Cowboy Copas and others at the convention center on Woodward Avenue. When Riddle’s friend, singer Eddie Jackson, was hired to open for Williams, Riddle shared the stage with him. Riddle was probably living in Nashville, Tennessee, by then.
Jackson visited Riddle in Nashville during ’49, and Riddle took him to witness his new buddy Clyde Julian “Red” Foley record what became a major hit for Decca Records, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy.” Compared to the size to which it grew a decade later, the country music business in Nashville was small, thriving through the projects of independent record labels, music publishers and promoters who tapped local artists working at Nashville clubs and radio stations; particularly members of the “Grand Ole Opry” barn dance at clear-channel WSM. In January 1950, Riddle’s first commercial recording appeared as the premier issue of the Tennessee label, a record company created by three Nashville businessmen, including a jukebox serviceman. Riddle’s “Second Hand Heart” on Tennessee no. 711 (numbered for luck, no doubt) was a good seller, and a hit in Detroit. Riddle cut several more releases for Tennessee over the next two years:
Second hand heart http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-711A-Ricky-Riddle-second-hand-heart.mp3download
“Second Hand Heart” and the song on the record’s flip side, “Somebody’s Stealin’ My Baby’s Sugar,” were both covered by several artists, including Houston’s Benny Leaders (4-Star), Bill Johnson and the Casanova Boys (London) and, more than a decade later, Everett “Swanee” Caldwell remade “Second Hand Heart” for King.
« Somebody’s stealin’ my baby’s sugar » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennesse-711B-Ricky-Riddle-somebodys-stealing-my-babys-sugar.mp3download
By 1950, Riddle was operating a nightclub in Nashville. He befriended Arizona singer Marty Robbins, whose first appearance at the “Grand Ole Opry” occurred in early 1951. Probably in 1950, Riddle bought author rights to Robbins’ song “Ain’t You Ashamed,” (# 715) which became Riddle’s second release on Tennessee, # 713. (Detroit musician and Capitol Records distributor Bob McDonald purchased a share in the song from Riddle.) Cowboy singer Bob Atcher covered the song for Capitol. The flipside of “Are you ashamed” was a good honky-tonk, a version (later by Skeets McDonald) of “Smoke comes out my chimney just the same”.
Ain’t you ashamed http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-713A-Ricky-Riddle-aint-you-ashamed.mp3download
« Smoke comes out my chimney just the same« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-713B-Ricky-Riddle-smoke-comes-out-my-chimney-just-the-same.mp3download
Riddle recorded Robbins’ “Heartsick” for another Tennessee release. He attempted to present Robbins with a recording contract, but the company’s artists and repertoire man passed on the deal. Robbins went on to launch a storied career with Columbia Records in May 1951.
Among other releases on Tennessee, Riddle sang a duet with Anita Kerr, leader of the Anita Kerr Singers, on a heart song called “The Price Of Love,” again attributed to Riddle and McDonald. On “Boogie woogie Tennessee”(# 717) (a take-off to “Tennessee saturday night”), Riddle had Ernie Newton, the bassman who wrote much later “Country boy’s dream” for Carl Perkins. He seems far from young on this recording, and the suave assurance of both Riddle and the backing group is almost at odds with the subject matter. Riddle made 8 records for Tennessee, one of them being “Heartsick”, the first Marty Robbins’ song he recorded commercially. After the label’s biggest hit played out in 1951-52
(Del Wood’s “Down Yonder” of 1951), the Tennessee label closed its doors.
Boogie woogie Tennessee http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/riddle-boogie-woogie-tennessee.mp3download
I got other fish to fry http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-732A-Ricky-Riddle-I-got-other-fish-to-fry.mp3download
The tall, easygoing Riddle persevered; he worked on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance as Wayne Turner, but was canned for habitual drunkeness. He then cut a single for Decca’s subsidiary Coral Records in 1953, the fine double-sider “What do you do” and “You belong to another” (# 64157). In early 1954, he recorded the bouncy “Steamboat Boogie” for M-G-M Records # 11741, with steel guitarist Don Helms and Chet Atkins on electric guitar. Framing the clever lyrics of the song was the refrain: Steamboat boogie / Rock, rock, rockin’ along. But for the fiddles, the song rocked like Bill “Rock Around The Clock” Haley’s earliest efforts. The flip side, “A Brand New Heart,” was written by Riddle as a follow-up to “Second Hand Heart.”
Remaining Tennessee sides of interest: “Cold icy feet” (# 758) and the fast “I’m so lonesome” (# 801).
« What do you do« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/coral-64157-Ricky-Riddle-what-do-you-do.mp3download
« You belong to another« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/coral-64175-Ricky-Riddle-you-belong-to-another.mp3download
« Steamboat boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/MGM-11741-Steamboat-Boogie-Ricky-Riddle.mp3download
« Cold icy feet« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-758A-Ricky-Riddle-cold-icy-feet.mp3download
« I’m so lonesome« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tennessee-801B-Ricky-Riddle-Im-so-lonesome.mp3download
In 1956, Riddle cut two releases for Decca Records. The first featured the trucker’s “Drivin’ Down The Wrong Side Of The Road,” backed with “I’m A Whip Crackin’ Daddy.” The single sounded like it was recorded at Owen Bradley’s Quonset hut in Nashville. Riddle’s second Decca single featured the Anita Kerr Singers for a country-pop production, “The House I Used To Live In,” and a song with religious content (he had cut similar material for the Tennessee label) called “If Jesus Had To Pray (What About Me?)” During the 1950s, while living in Nashville, Riddle performed as a guest at the “Renfro Valley Barn Dance” in Kentucky, and as a guest on the “Grand Ole Opry.”
His parents moved from Michigan to Tempe, Ariz., and Riddle traveled the country, visiting friends and family while singing in nightclubs along the way.
« Driving down the wrong side of the road« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/decca-29813-Ricky-Riddle-Drivin-Down-The-Wrong-Side-Of-The-Road.mp3download
« I’m a whip crackin’ daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/decca-29813-Ricky-Riddle-Im-A-Whip-Crackin-Daddy.mp3download
Around 1968 Riddle settled in Arizona for a spell. There he recorded the finest vocal performances of his career for the Rio Grande label, based in Glendale. For starters, he cut a version of the traditional cowboy song, “Streets Of Laredo,” as well as “Reata Pass,” his own western composition. Riddle reprised “Ain’t You Ashamed” and “Second hand heart” besides coming up with some swinging shuffles like “Don’t You Worry” a cheeky ode to overdoing it at the bar, and “(There’s ) Something In Your Future.” and finally “Jo Ann”. The band was top-notch, delivering punchy performances with quality production and arrangements, including a stellar steel guitarist.
« Something in your future« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Ricky-Riddle-Something-In-Your-Future.mp3download
« Jo Ann »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Ricky-Riddle-Jo-Ann.mp3download
an untraced 45 by Riddle
With a broad, toothy smile, Riddle had a likeable personality and visited Michigan often, to see his siblings and their families, and check up on musician friends he grew up with in Detroit. While in town, he made the rounds of local radio stations and sat with country music disk jockeys for on-air interviews. At some point during the 1970s, Riddle moved back to Michigan and took a job as a security guard in Hamtramck. Late one night, Riddle walked out the door of a Detroit bar and was mugged. When police found him, he stank of liquor and the officers mistook his condition for simply being drunk. They placed the unconscious Riddle in a jail cell for the night. When he didn’t respond to attempts to wake him in the morning, Riddle was admitted to the Veterans Administration hospital. Doctors found that Riddle had suffered a stroke resulting from a blow to his head; he was paralysed on his right side.
Riddle’s brother, E. Marvin Riddle, arranged for him to live at the Clintonview Care Convalescent Home in Clinton Township. Relatives and friends visited regularly. Mentally, Riddle was the same person, but he was unable to sing and play guitar. To cheer him up, a niece often called a local country music station to request Riddle’s records, and they played them late at night when he enjoyed listening to his radio. Riddle passed away on Aug. 8, 1988. His ashes were interned at the top of the hill in St. John’s cemetery in Fraser, Mich.
© Craig “Bones” Maki, 2010
Thanks, as usual, to Ronald ’78rpm’ Keppner for scanning the rare Tennessee/Coral/Decca labels. Rest of the tunes do come from Internet, as: Ricky Riddle discography (Praguefrank)