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.
Read the rest of this entry »
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«
« 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)
TOM JAMES is completely unknown except in the Rockabilly/R&R circles for his Klix issue « Track down baby/Hey baby » from 1957. No whereabouts neither his birthday year are known. Is even still alive today ?
He already had come from Oklahoma when he got a recording contract with RCA-Victor. His only session with this major label came early 1954 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tom James(vo,g) with Chet Atkins(el g) Louis Innis(rh g) Robert Foster(steel g) Dale Parker (bjo) Bob Moore(b).
(Thomas Radio Productions) Nashville,February 17,1954
E4VB-3624 Don’t lead me on RCA Victor 20/47-5790, Cactus 5052
E4VB-3625 Your kind of lovin’ RCA Victor 20/47-5695, Cactus RCA vol.2
E4VB-3626 Sample of your love RCA Victor 20/47-5695
E4VB-3627 I’m a pig about your lovin’ RCA Victor 20/47-5790
All four tracks are uptempos, the slowest being « Sample of your love ». They are nothing but pleasant hillbilly boppers (prominent bass) although a bit common.
« Dont lead me on« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Sample-Of-Your-Love.mp3download
« Your kind of lovin’« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Tom-James-Your-Kinda-Lovin.mp3download
« Sample of your love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Sample-Of-Your-Love.mp3downoad
« I‘m a pig about your lovin‘ »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/10-Tom-James-Im-A-Pig-About-Your-Lovin.mp3download Read the rest of this entry »
An important Texas artist of the ’30s and ’40s, (W.A.) SLUMBER NICHOL. He first cut records and had shows with the Sons of the Pioneers, then went after WWII to S&G label for the romping « Cotton pickin’ boogie » (# 3003)(vocal Andy Hallcom). He also had the first postwar version of « Cocaine blues », credited to T.J. Arnall. I never knew if this was actually Nichols disguising himself under a nom de plume. The song was reissued on Imperial, then covered by a lot of artists i.e. Roy Hogsed on Coast, later on Capitol, had the best-selling version ; Billy Hughes had his own version on King, among others. Later on Nichols had « Booger red blues » (unheard – sounds promising) on Imperial 8047, and now his track grows cold.
« Cotton pickin’ boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/s-g-3001-Slumber-Nichols-Western-Aces-Cotton-Pickin-Boogie-1950-.mp3download
On to Nashville on the M-G-M label by PAUL DAVIS, a nice bopper (great bass) with « Big money » (# 12357)(1956), complete with steel and piano accompaniment over a firm vocal.
« Big money« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Paul-Davis-Big-Money.mp3download
From Tennessee to Louisiana in Ville Platte : ALDUS ROGER & his Lafayette Playboys. He has « Cajun special » on Swallow 110, from 1959-60. Even for me, French-speaking being, it’s hard to understand all the lyrics !
« Cajun special »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/swallow-110-ALDUS-ROGER-CAJUN-SPECIAL.mp3download
From Texas on the Towne House (Sulphur Springs) label (# 11): EUEL HALL & the Rhythm Rockers for two nice bluesy country-rock sides, « Stand in line » and « Blue feeling » . Small but very efficient backing, a prominent lead guitar.
Euel Hall « Blue feeling« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/towne-house-11-Euel-Hall-Blue-Feeling.mp3download
Euel Hall « Stand in line« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/towne-house-11-Euel-Hall-Stand-In-Line.mp3download
Finally probably her first ever record from 1960 on the Zero label (# 107) by LORETTA LYNN, « I’m a honky tonk girl ».
« I’m a honky tonk girl« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/zero-107-Loretta-Lynn-Im-A-Honky-Tonk-Girl-ZERO-107.mp3download
First I offer RED LEWIS on Kasko 1643 (Santa Claus, Indiana) for « I’ll move along ». Strong lead guitar and a melodic steel solo. DrunkenHobo, do you know something more about this record?
« I’ll move along« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Red-Lewis-Ill-Move-Along.mp3download
Then we’ll turn to a talented artist who deserved much more fame than he’s got during his 2 or 3 years tenure at RCA-Victor Records. Born in 1925, he was noted, after his discharge from U.S. Marine, by A&R man Steve Sholes. So EDDIE MARSHALL cut 9 good singles between 1950 and 1952.
His first, « The Tom Cat blues » (RCA 48-0357), recorded in NYC in May 1950, had Tony Matola on lead guitar, a fiddle, a steel who does a fine job and a bass, and as waited, is a medium-paced bluesy number. An organ comes in the background for good effect.
« The Tom Cat blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Eddie-Marshall-The-Tom-Cat-Blues.mp3download
In December 1950, he cut the already little classic « Coffee, cigarettes and tears » (21-0413) known by Charlie « Peanut » Faircloth [see a recent Fortnight's favorites to hear the latter's version]. His version is jazzy and lot more faster than Faircloth’s. Very nice fiddle.
« »Coffee, cigarettes and tears« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/eddie-marshall-__-coffee-cigarettes-and-tears.mp3download
In December 1951, he cut his teeth on Rodney Morris ’ « Mobilin baby of mine »(20-4661), with sound effects, with a very nasal voice and new : a piano backing. Same tune was revived January 1952 on the West coast for Capitol (#2075) by Gene O’Quin. I include Gene’s version for comparison.
Marshall retired from business afterwards to deal with his family.
Gene O’Quin « Mobilin’ baby of mine« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Mobilin-Baby-Of-Mine-Gene-OQuin.mp3download
Finally from California on the Big State label (# 101), GRADY ROLLINS and the filthy « Spit-toon song », with steel effect and harmonica, as a sequel to « Chew tobacco rag ».
Enjoy the selections ! Some info was taken for Eddie Marshall from Paul Vidal’s BigVJamboree.blogspot site.
Go to a map of the U.S., search « Biloxi », and you’ll find this small city in the Harrison county, down south of Mississipi. That’s where the Fine label story begins. But before that and its debuts, we must look at its founders. Professor Marion Carpenter had a recording studio open to local facilities in Biloxi and was associated with steel guitar player Murphy Monroe « Pee Wee » Maddux (born 1923). The latter’s name had over the years several changes : from « Pee Wee » to « Pee-Wee », even « PeWee ». He was also a songwriter (Kitty Wells in 1956 ; or « Fools like me » for Jerry Lee Lewis, or more « Rocky road of love » for Curtis Gordon, even Fats Domino : « What a price »), and his earliest efforts as recording artist (at least he is credited as such on the labels) are to be found in March 1952 on M-G-M records, cut in Nashville : « My hobo heart » and « Lover’s crime ». The vocals were done by a certain Al Britt for two average boppers. Maddux penned a good percentage of the songs on Fine, among them the Ernie Chaffin ones.
« My hobo heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mgm-11224-Peewee-Maddux-vocal-by-Al-Britt-My-Hobo-Heart.mp3download
« Lover’s crime« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mgm-11281-Peewee-Maddux-And-His-Lazy-River-Boys-Lovers-Crime.mp3download
In 1954 the pair Carpenter/Maddux launched a microscopic label, Gulf Coast, which they issued a certain DAN SEAL on : « You gotta walk that line » (# 1012) is a lively little opus, but nothing particular, and it sinked into obscurity. But SEAL reemerged next year on the new comperes’ label, FINE for two ballads, « I wake at dawn (with you on my mind ) » being the best one (# 1003).
« You gotta walk that line« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/01-Dan-Seal-You-Gotta-Walk-That-Line.mp3download
« I wake at dawn« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/05-Dan-Seal-I-Wake-At-Dawn-With-You-On-My-Mind.mp3download
JIM OWEN then came with the rollicking « Sie Simon shuffle » (# 1004) : it’s a jumping hillbilly rocker with a fiddle solo and one from Pee Wee Maddux on steel well to the fore. Owen had late ’50s his own Owe Man label where he issued « The key’s in the mail box » (see below). On to JOHNNY BOZEMAN and the good « She’s my bayou babe » (# 1006). Bozeman went afterwards in 1957 on Mobile, Alabama, Sandy label, which he co-founded with Paul Bose, and saw a classic horror rocker « Rockin’ in the graveyard » by Jackie Morningstar in 1959. Bozeman himself had « Blues and I » (# Sandy 1001)(alas, unheard) and what is described in a sale list as « doo wop rockabilly », « How many ».
Jim Owen, « Sie Simon shuffle« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/07-Jim-Owen-Sie-Simon-Shuffle.mp3download
Johnny Bozeman, « She’s my bayou babe« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/12-Johnny-Bozeman-Shes-My-Bayou-Babe.mp3do<nload
November 5, 1955
Other artists on the Fine label included ANN RAYE and his fine (co-sung with Jim Owen) bopper « Our wedding band » (# 1001). Raye had also had earlier 2 singles on Starday and 1 on Decca in 1956. Incidentally she was the daughter of local promoter Frank « Yankie » Barhanovich, and through her father’s activities, went on to share in 1955 some Elvis Presley shows in Biloxi. Moreover on Fine, HANNA FAYE had the ballad « It pays to be true » (# 1008). Other men : J. W. THOMPSON and the good honky-tonker « It’s your turn » (# 1007) – later he cut « When you’re honky tonkin’ » on the Toledo label (# 1003) out of Alexandria, Louisiana. Or B. F. JOHNSON : the fine bopper « I wish I could believe you » (# 1011)(great mandolin!).
Ann Raye & Jim Owen, « Our wedding band« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/03-Ann-Raye-Jim-Owen-Our-Wedding-Band.mp3download
Hanna Faye « It pays to be true« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/17-Hanna-Faye-It-Pays-To-Be-True.mp3download
J.W. Thompson « It’s your turn« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/15-J.-W.-Thompson-His-Red-River-Trio-Its-Your-Turn.mp3download
J.W. Thompson« When you’re honky tonkin‘ »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/When-Youre-Honky-Tonkin-J-W-Thompson.mp3download
B.F. Johnson« I wish I could believe you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/01-Dan-Seal-You-Gotta-Walk-That-Line.mp3download
J.W. Thompson. Nov. 12, 1955
Pee Wee Maddux on steel guitar
The most important artist however was ERNIE CHAFFIN who made his recording beginnings on Fine with « The stop look and listen song »b/w « The heart of me » (1010), before Carpenter and Maddux went with him to Nashville to meet country promoter Jim Denny and A&R man Paul Cohen. A deal with Decca never concluded but Fred Rose took Chaffin on his burgeoning Hickory label. 4 sides were issued without success, then Chaffin came to Sun, and Maddux backed him on such a classic as « Feelin’ low » (Sun 262).
« The stop look and listen song« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/21-Ernie-Chaffin-The-Stop-Look-Listen-Song.mp3download
« The heart of me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/22-Ernie-Chaffin-The-Heart-Of-Me.mp3download
Ernie Chaffin [Hickory]« Get me on your mind« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/get-me-on-your-mind-1024.mp3download
Later on, Carpenter and Maddux helped a lot Jimmy Donley in his early career and got him his Decca contract in 1957.
Maddux cut « New red river valley » (instrumental) for Judd Phillips label Judd (#1010) in 1958. He died and is buried in Gulfport, MS, in 1993.
All in all, a short lived affair (Fine folded after 20 issues, in 1957), but a good starter for many an artist.
From the notes of Allan Turner on the BACM CD « A ‘Fine’ hillbilly song – Country music on the Fine label » # 392. Various researches to. Somelocalloser.blogspot for Jim Owen’s Owe Man sides.
December 25, 1954
‘One of the newest members of the King country and
western roster is eighteen year old Bobby Roberts.
Young Bobby was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on
September 12, 1937. Bobby always dreamed of becoming a
recording artist and he started getting his experience
young. He appeared in a musical show when only nine.
Both his mother and father encouraged Bobby in his
chosen career. Young Bobby Roberts did part time work
to help him through high school. He was graduated in
June 1953 and began going about the task of gaining
experience in the music world. His biggest thrill was
when over three thousand persons attended one of his
personal appearances. Roberts has worked as a grocery
clerk, car hop, shined shoes, polished cars and washed
dishes, always dreaming of becoming a professional
musician‘.(as written on the DJ bio copy of King 4868)
At least some factual data can now be gleaned on
Roberts’ origins. He recorded one session for King in August
1955 and I’m assuming that it is the same Bobby
Roberts that recorded for the Memphis based Hut label
in 1958. However, I’m not entirely convinced that the
Roberts on Sky is the same person. I base this
assumption on aural evidence (the vocalists on both
records contrast distinctly) and the fact that Sky was
based in Mississippi. Having said that, from a logical
point of view it most likely is the same Roberts on
all three labels, as Joe Griffith, a high school
friend of Roberts, covered both of Roberts’ Sky
recordings and both were apparently based in Memphis
at the time. Further, considering Roberts Tennessee
origins, it possibly is the same Roberts on all four
My query here is, can anyone confirm that the Bobby
Roberts on King, Sky and Hut is the same person? Or
can anyone else shed any light at all on this? It has to
be noted Roberts wrote all his material.
Using a number of different sources, I managed to
compile the following Bobby Roberts discography,
19 August 1955. Cincinnati, Ohio
Bobby Roberts And The Ozark Drifters.
Bobby Roberts – vcl, other personnel unknown : steel, fiddle,st-bass.
K3995 ‘Her And My Best Friend’ King 4868
K3996 ‘I’m Gonna Comb You Outta My Hair’ King 4837
« Her and my best friend« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Her-And-My-Best-Friend-Bobby-Roberts-King-45-4868-1956.mp3download
« I’m gonna comb you outta my hair« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/31-Im-Gonna-Comb-You-Outta-My-Hair-Bobby-Roberts.mp3download
billboard Nov. 5, 1955
« My undecided heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Bobby-Roberts-And-The-Ozark-Drifters-My-Undecided-Heart-King-4837.mp3download
« I’m pulllin’ stakes and leavin’ you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/08-Im-Pulling-Stakes-And-Leaving-You-Bobby-Roberts.mp3download
billboard Jan. 21, 1956
K3997 ‘My Undecided Heart’ King 4837
K3998 ‘I’m Pullin’ Stakes And Leavin’ You’ King 4868
Bobby Roberts with Highpockets Delta Rockets. Mississippi label
Bobby Roberts – vcl, other personnel unknown : ld-g, b, d .
45-S-34 ‘Big Sandy’ Sky 56-101
45-S-33 ‘She’s My Woman’ Sky 56-101
« Big Sandy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Bobby-Roberts-Big-Sandy.mp3download
« She’s my woman« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Bobby-Roberts-Shes-My-Woman.mp3download
Bobby Roberts with Bad Habits. Memphis, TN, label.
Bobby Roberts – vcl, other personnel unknown : ld-g,b,d.
« Hop, skip and jump« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Bobby-Roberts-Hop-Skip-And-Jump.mp3download
« Cravin« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Bobby-Roberts-Cravin.mp3download
4706 ‘Hop Skip And Jump’ Hut 881
4707 ‘Cravin » Hut 881
from the notes of Shane Hughes, « Yahoo » « rockin’ records» group.
This Roberts has obviously nothing to do with the one on U.S.A. label and the other on Cameo, who came later early ’60s, and drastically change in style.
Bobby Roberts’ music, from editor’s point of view.
It is hard to imagine such a change in so little time in style between the King session and the Sky one.
All 4 sides cut at King (« with the Ozark Drifters ») are pure dreamed hillbilly a la Hank Williams. All medium paced tracks, they feature a strong string-bass, and a weird steel-guitar, both propelled by a crisp fiddle. Vocal is a dream, Roberts has a firm voice, even some semi-yodelling vocalizing over nice lyrics.
In complete contrast, the Sky sides are out-and-out rockers. « Big Sandy » is a screamer, and the whole thing is a gas. « She’s my woman », a bit slower, fetches to Rockabilly. Note on the reissue the presence of the Jennings Brothers.
« Cravin’ » is a routinely rocker, while « Hop skip and jump » (not the Collins Kids’ number, neither the York Brothers’ on Bullet ) is an average rocker – even a sax – which Billy Riley could have cut this style. Actually it bears a little similarity with « Pearly Lee »..
The son to Bobby Roberts once posted in « bopping » that his father was the same man on King, Sky and Hut ; so I asked for some details and a picture, if available – no answer..
With thanks to Uncle Gil (King 4868 sound file) and Dave Cruse (King 4868 label scan). Internet research.
Joe Griffith « Big Sandy » (Reelfoot unissued)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Joe-Griffith-Big-Sandy.mp3download
Joe Griffith « She’s my woman« (Reelfoot unissued)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/08-Im-Pulling-Stakes-And-Leaving-You-Bobby-Roberts.mp3download