Howdy folks ! Over here in France, it’s the final run for Soccer’s Europ Cup – that’s not really Hillbilly !
First a mostly known artist for his Rock & roll and Pop records. He went with 2 aliases to pursue 2 careers at least. Originally from Canton, OH, DICK GLASSER first fronted for one record the Pee Wee King band in 1956, and sang on two tracks full of energy and dynamism (without noise, all is fluid and lowdown although uptempo) : « Catty town » and « Hoot scoot », to be found on the RCA-Victor 47-6584 label. A cross between Hillbilly bop and Western swing. Later Glasser renamed himself Dick Lory on the Liberty label.
« Catty town«
« Hoot scoot« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/B3.-Hoot-scoot-v-Dick-Glasser.mp3download
Next four tracks were cut in 1959-60 and issued on the Demorest, GA. Country Jubilee label. The city is at the upper north limit of the State, very near of Virginia and Tennessee frontiers.
# 517 is done by BILL ALEX and the Dixie Drifters : « I‘m just a nobody » is a typical late ’50s medium uptempo country-rocker. It’s flipside, « I’ll remember you » was untraced by me, but issued along with the A-side on Top Rank EP 2055 in 1960.
« I’m just a nobody« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/02-Bill-Alex-The-Dixie-Drifters-Im-Just-A-Nobody.mp3download
BILL WATSON on # 525 has here two selections, « I’m dying darling » is a soft uptempo country-rocker, while the reverse side « You’re the one for me» is a bit bluesy, with a sort of hypnotic guitar throughout.
« I‘m dying darling« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/country-jubilee-525-Bill-Watson-Im-Dying-Darling.mp3download
« You’re the one for me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/country-jubilee-525-Bill-Watson-Youre-The-One-For-Me.mp3download
On # 529 we find JIM PARKER and « Did I do alright». Same average vocal, with good guitar and steel. The thing is listenable.
« Did I do alright« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/country-jubilee-529-Jim-Parker-Did-I-Do-Alright.mp3download
Finally for the Country Jubilee label, we jump to # 539 by BILL LEATHERWOOD and « My foolish heart », a slow uptempo ; nothing exceptional, although the man has a sort of treble in his voice. Steel present. I’ve added as a bonus his « Hillbilly blues » issued by Peach (# 756), also in Georgia, well into 1961-62, a good country rocker with lotsa steel and a fiddle solo.
« My foolish heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/country-jubilee-539-My-Foolish-Heart-Bill-Leatherwood.mp3download
« Hillbilly blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/peach-bill-leatherwood-hillbilly-blues.mp3download
Last record I review this fortnight is done by MASON GAY on the Country Music label, from Forest, MS (# 501). Confident vocal for a country rocker (no drums), « I never have the blues », while the flipside is catchy (« The girl I met at the bar ») which is part-spoken. has a Rite number, dating the record from 1960.
« I never have the blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Mason-Gay-I-Never-Have-The-Blues.mp3download
« The girl I met at the bar« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Mason-Gay-The-Girl-I-Met-At-The-Bar-2.mp3download
As usual, main source is Youtube, with forays into 45rpm-site and my own archives. Current research goes on Merle ‘Red’ Taylor, Bill Morgan (of Bill & Carroll), Redd Stewart and Dub Dickerson, among other less important irons-on-the-gentle heat.
Merle Taylor, also known as Mason Dixon, was from the little town of Glen a few miles north of Tupelo, MS where he was born in May 1927. He started with a group called the Country Gospel Singers and then joined the Blue Seal Pals in 1949.
« Merle was one of the best country fiddle players around », says Quinton Claunch. « He was a good bluegrass singer too, and a super, super guy. He worked with all the big acts in Nashville, Bill Monroe, Cowboy Copas, people like that. I first me him when he joined my group the Blue Seal Pals when we moved from WMC Nashville to WJOI in Florence, Alabama. Bill Cantrell had gone to Chicago for a while and Merle – we called him ‘Red’ – came in. He worked with Buddy Bain’s band on WOMA in Corinth, MS too and Buddy came with us on Meteor’s session ».
Behind Taylor’s assured vocals on « Don’t worry ’bout nuthin’ », there is a classy band kicked off by Bill Cantrell on fiddle [so Merle Taylor is confined to vocal duty] and featuring solos by Terry Thompson on guitar and Kenneth Herman on steel guitar . Ronald Smith also played guitar using the percussive rockabilly effect achieved by damperin’ the strings with paper or a matchbox, and Dexter Johnson played the bass.
« Don’t worry ’bout nuthin’« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/meteor-5028-Mason-Dixon-dont-worry-bout-nuthin.mp3downoad
« I’ll never fall out of love with you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/meteor-5028-mason-dixon-Ill-never-fall-out-of-love-with-you.mp3downoad
« When Rockabilly came in, Red used to do a little section of club dates under the persona of « Mason Dixon ». recalled Quinton Claunch: »Because he was well known as a country fiddler, he did not want people to get confused. So, when it came to this recording, Red said he wanted to use the name Mason Dixon on the record too. It was not a style he was normally associated with. In fact, Les Bihari, boss of Meteor Records] liked the idea so much he called the band the Redskins, after Merle’s nickname. »
It should be noted that another singer popular in the Memphis area, Walter « Tex » Dixon from Alabama, also used the name « Mason Dixon » – which still had huge resonance in the South – on the Reed label in the late 1950s. [research on Walter « Tex » Dixon is on its way for future feature in bopping.org...]
The much more country-oriented « I’ll never fall out of love with you» sees Quinton Claunch add his walking bass style on electric guitar to the mix, underspinning Merle Taylor’s high tenor voice. Kenneth Herman takes a wonderful steel solo.
Merle Taylor had previously recorded two discs for Decca in 1952 (session probably held on Oct. 18) and 1953 (On March 23, 1953) in Nashville, largely with local musicians but including guitarist and songwriter Buddy Bain. Both records paired a slowie and a shuffler. Taylor’s wife Martha Jean Ellis wrote the songs for the second session. Then Taylor toured with Hank Williams at this time and was billed to appear in Canton, Ohio on 1rst January 1953 for the show the latter never lived to give.
« You can’t be a bride without a groom« (Decca 28496)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Decca-28496B-merle-red-Taylor-you-cant-be-a-bride-witout-agroom.mp3download
« Gimme a little sugar« (Decca 28741)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/decca-28741+-merle-red-taylor-Gimme-A-Little-Sugar.mp3download
Merle’s career in Nashville had many high points. He wrote the melody and played fiddle on Bill Monroe‘s classic « Uncle Pen » in October 1950 for Decca. Taylor also toured with the Monroe band for at least two stints between 1950 and 1955, with an interim sojourn with Little Jimmy Dickens. Then he worked with Jimmie Martin and later Ferlin Huskey. Merle played on sessions for M-G-M by Jimmie Martin and the Osborne Brothers. Fiddler Gordon Taylor has said about Red’s work with Monroe : « He did a slow brow with a lot of finger work and a funny reverse. I don’t think there would be the tunes there are now had he not played fiddle because he did something nobody else did ».
Bill Monroe, « Uncle Pen« (Decca 46283)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/decca-46283-bill-monroe-Uncle-Pen.mp3download
Bill Monroe, « Close by« (Decca 29645)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/decca-29289-29645-bill-monroe-Close-By.mp3download
Taylor continued at a high level for a few years before he quit playing with the top bands. People say that he had a really bad driking problem and that he had a serious altercation with singer Little Jimmy Dickens one time when he was drunk.
Bain’s profesional card. Courtesy Eddie DJ Cesc
Buddy Bain « Can we live it down« (Meteor 5027)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/meteor-5027-buddy-bain-can-we-live-it-down.mp3download
Buddy Bain « Daydreams come true« (Meteor 5027)download
After the Meteor recordings, Merle Taylor had cut two songs [in a more poppish vein] for the Bill Justis enterprises, which were issued only in 1989s on the U.K. Zu-Zazz label (# 2005) « Memphis Saturday Night ». One can forget « There’s a light », full of choruses and frankly pop; sole remains of interest the second song, « Love fever », embellished by some fine bluesy guitar and piano. These two unissued songs – not demos- do go stylistically back to 1957 or 58.
« Love fever« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/A8-Merle-Red-Taylor-Love-Fever.mp3download
Taylor also made various sessions as a sideman in Memphis and Muscle Shoals over the years, and was involved in half a dozen bluegrass and fiddle Lps on Old Homestead, Atteiran and Mississipi Trace labels. He also made a solo album produced by Bill Cantrell for Hi Records’ short-lived Hi Country label.
Merle Taylor died on May 3, 1978 in Tupelo, MS.
With thanks to American Music Magazine (Bo Berglind) for the permission given to freely use the Martin Hawkins’ article (AMM # 136, September 2014) on the Meteor label. Pictures were taken from 78rpm-world or from the AMM Magazine, or the Ace CD 885 « The complete Meteor Rockabilly & Hillbilly Recordings ». Thanks to Imperial Anglares for his help. Thanks to Ronald Keppner, who provided both label scans and music of a rare Decca 78. Thanks to Uncle Gil for the loan of Bill Monroe’s music, as the Zu-Zazz LP. Thanks to 45-cat member « Excello-2101″ for the sound to a rare Decca Merle Taylor issue. I have also used Michel Ruppli’s indispensable book : « The Decca labels – A discography, volume 5 » for details on Bill Monroe sessions from 1950 to 1954, and the two Merle Taylor sessions.
Some real rarities this time, several being medium-paced. The name JACK HOLDEN does ring a bell ? With his brother Fairley he had on the White Church (ca. 1946-48) label some issues. We find him in 1948 on the sister label RED BARN (# 1152), located in St. Louis, MO, whom he released three singles for. Red Barn « Mama I’m sick » is a fast, typical late ’40s sounding bopper. Call-and-response format, it includes a vocal backed only by a powerful rhythm guitar and a great fiddle (Wayne Miskiff?). Holden appeared on Cincinnati « Renfro Valley Barn Dance ». Love his style.
« Mama I’m sick« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Jack-Holden-Mama-Im-SickRED-BARN-1152_A.mp3download
Then in Louisiana’s West Monroe. Jiffy was a short-lived affair, however important by the quality of its issues, and the celebrity of some names, Jimmy Pickard, Tommy Spurlin or Jimmy Simpson. Here is the least known ED RAYBORN & his Southern Hillbillies, and the good medium paced « I’ll go on hurting » (# 208). Nice fiddle/steel and sincere vocal.
« I’ll go on hurting« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/jiffy-208-Ed-Rayborn-Southern-Hillbillies-Ill-Go-On-Hurting-1956.mp3download
Kustum appears to have been a subsidiary to Jiffy, yet had only one issue # 4000 (an ambitious numbering) by DAVID CRAIG and the medium uptempo « Just forget it » : nice vocal & steel. Craig was also on Imperial (« Replace my heart » # 8284): hear him on a future Fortnight.
« Just forget it« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/kustum-4000-David-Craig-Just-Forget-It1.mp3download
Late ’50s still had their goodies, here on the Starday custom Dixie 634 by RENAUD VELUZAT for « Race track boogie ». Insistant guitar boogie riff over a youngful voice. A record for Rockabilly buffs
« Race track boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Renaud-Veluzat-Racetrack-boogie.mp3download
ERNIE HUNTER next was a long-time fiddler for various Starday sessions. Here he’s the leader for the very first Houston Longhorn label ( 503) « At ease my friend » (1957). Uptempo medium paced, piano led with confident vocal and steel. Hunter also appeared on a Gold Star custom Rainbow issue (# 1203/1204).
« At ease my friend« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/longhorn-503A-Ernie-Hunter-and-The-All-Stars-At-Ease-My-Friend.mp3download
On the Rose City label (unknown location, # 1004), there’s nothing particular with « At the drug store cowboy’s ball » by ROY JACKSON. With much accordion, this record surely dates from the late ’40s. Good hillbilly bop.
« At the drug store cowboy’s ball« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Roy-Jackson-At-The-Drugstore-Cowboys-Ball-ROSE-CITY-1004_A.mp3download
There were at least two SNUFFY SMITH : one on Star Talent and own Snuffy Smith label ; the other on Western. I don’t know. Or his record which is called « Johnny Acton » is actually titled « Snuffy Smith » ? Anyway it’s great fast Rockabilly, urgent vocal backed by steel and a very nice lead guitar. Oops, Kasko label # 1644.
« Johnny Acton« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/kasko-1644B-Johnny-Acton-Snuffy-Smith.mp3download
« I’m a country boy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/toppa-1014A-Wally-Black-Im-A-Country-Boy.mp3download
Finally on the Covina, CA. Toppa label (# 1014), let’s get late ’50s Hillbilly. Very intricating : piano, bass figure lead guitar, steel (solo) and..claphands and screams. It’s « I’m a country boy » by WALLY BLACK. He had already cut for Fable « Rock and roll mama » and apparently knew how to rock.
Source: main is Youtube (my favorite chains), also own researches on the Net.
All aboard ? For a new journey in Hillbilly bop music , with some forays ito Rockabilly, and even rocking Country blues.
The Fox label did emanate from Abilene, TX, but registered in Hollywood, CA. Its early recordings include a very young LITTLE DEDON with the Tex-Mex sounding Hillbilly « My Pedrecito » (# 404). To the best of my knowledge, the girl had never had another issue.
« My Pedrecito« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Little-Dedon-My-Pedrecito-19521.mp3download
« The boy next door« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Little-Dedon-The-Boy-Next-Door1.mp3download
On the same FOX label, we find in 1954 the great « I’m a hillbilly at heart » (# 403) by GENE DUNN. A fast bopper, great bass plus piano and fiddle backing (« The Fox-Four Sevens », label’s band also backed Little Dedon). The flipside « Girl from nowhere » is a real slowie.
« I’m a hillbilly at heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Gene-Dunn-Im-A-Hillbilly-At-Heart.mp3download
Ernest « Gene » Dunn
Further on, the first ever DEAN BEARD recordings, from 1955 are pure hillbilly : « Wake up, Jacob/Red Rover » (# 405). But his next # 408 is worth the waiting : « Sing sing sing » is a Rockabilly Starday style, with a very nice lead guitar. Its flipside « Time is hanging heavy on my hands » is a lively bopper next to Rockabilly (it features a steel). Beard was to cut on Edmoral the first version of his signature song « Rakin’ and scrapin’ », that Atlantic leased from Edmoral, before leaving behind him a good amount of unissued sides at Sun Records.
» Red Rover« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/beard-red-rover.mp3download
« Sing sing sing« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/fox-408-Dean-Beard-Sing-Sing-Sing-FOX-408.mp3download
« Time is hanging heavy on my hands« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/15-Dean-Beard-Time-Is-Hanging-Heavy.mp3download
The FOX label had another interesting issue, that by CURTIS POTTER, « I’m a real glad daddy »(# 409), a bona fide Rockabilly from 1957.
« I’m a real glad daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Curtis-Potter-Im-A-Real-Glad-Daddy1.mp3download
Let’s turn now to Rocking Blues. First selection does come from Miami, and it’s a small classic, « A fool no more » (Marlin 804) by drummer and bandleader EDDIE HOPE & his Manish Boys. With an harmonica well to the fore and a solid backing, the tune reminds me of Jimmy Reed who would have turned to Rock’n'roll. The B-side « Lost child » is in the same vein !
« A fool no more« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Eddie-Hope-A-Fool-no-more.mp3download
« Lost child« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/EDDIE-HOPE-LOST-CHILD.mp3download
Final tune is sung by the veteran LEROY DALLAS (b. Mobile, Alabama, 1920). « Jump, little children, jump » and its solid rhythm guitar (done by Brownie McGhee), is a good example of the Big Apple blues on the Sittin’ in With label (# 522) from 1949.
« Jump, little children, jump« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/siw-522-Leroy-Dallas-Jump-Little-Children-Jump.mp3download
Sources : Allmusic, YouTube and various compilations. Help from DunkenHobo.
Let’s begin this new fortnight with a seemingly Virginian. CARLTON LINK had on the Freeman label (# 100) the fine uptempo bopper « Lovesick and sorrow », of unknown origin. But he issued a single on the Virginia Lark label in 1970 yet untraced (sound at least, even the actual label).
« Lovesick and sorrow« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Carlton-Link-Lovesick-And-Sorrow.mp3download
Then from Paoli, Indiana, on the Four Wheels label (# 0001) KENNY HOLIDAY with « Little heart don’t be disgusted » (1961) : an agreeable tune with a jumping little guitar.
« Little heart don’t be disgusted« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Kenny-Holiday-Little-Heart-Dont-Be-Disgusted.mp3download
J. G. MORRISON had a fruitful career with no less than 3 aliases ! As previous, he cut two good ballads, « Ace in the hole » and « Old man honest » on the Texan Maridene label (# 103). Good piano vaguely a la Teddy Reddell. This must come from the early ’60s. The same artist was also simply Jim Morrison on Curley Q. in 1963 with a version of « Ace in the hole ». Finally he was also at the turn of the ’50s as CURLEY JIM the author of some fine Rockabillies, like this « Air force blues », a very strong Rockabilly from 1958, on Mida 100 from Florida.
« Ace in the hole« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/J.-G.-Morrison-Ace-In-The-Hole.mp3download
« Old man honest« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/J.-G.-Morrison-Old-Man-Honest-.mp3download
« Air force blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/14-Curley-Jim-Air-Force-Blues.mp3download
From probably the late ’40s and Canada, RAMBLIN’ LOU and the accordion led « Seashore blues » on the Ramblin’ Lou label (# 207). He also had « Cindy » on Beaver.
« Seashore blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Ramblin-Lou-Seashore-Blues.mp3download
Down South in Houston, on the Gold Star custom serie, we find V. CECIL WILLIAMS on the Gilbert label (# 1004/1005) for the nice uptempos, « Two timin’ baby » and « Maurine », typical of the Houston sound of 1952-53, that was to evolve in the Starday sound in the following years.
« Two-timin’ baby » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/V..-Cecil-Williams-Two-Timin-Baby.mp3download
« Maurine« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/V.-Cecil-Williams-Maurine.mp3download
sources: Youtube for most part, HBR for Gilbert, 78-world,45rpm
Howdy friends from all around the world ! This new batch will return to a more conventional time for Hillbilly bop, the years 1950-1960. Lack of time and inspiration I’m afraid. So commentaries will be short ! First we can listen to JOHNNY GITTAR, a.k.a. Johnny Henderson (I posted two tracks under this name recently, fortnight early April) in the famous « San Antonio boogie » (High Time 173). A call-and-response format, the steel guitar well to the fore, a touch of piano : it’s a shuffler, the sort of hard-rock tunes we can hear on the Houston Freedom label (I recently told the story of this important altho’ short-lived label). »San Antonio boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/high-time-173-Johnny-Gitta-And-His-Targits-San-Antonio-Boogie.mp3download « Nine o’clock« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/spade-1629-Johnny-McAdams-Nine-OClock.mp3download
« Is there no love for me, Love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/spade-1929-Johnny-McAdams-Is-There-No-Love-For-Me-Love.mp3download
Two medium-paced numbers, back-to-back of the Bennie Hess Spade # 1929 label, and they both are close to Rockabilly, «Nine o’clock » and « Is there no love for me, Love » are light, cool sung. A minimum instrumentation and a gliding guitar. They appear to have been issued in Autumn 1956 by JOHNNY McADAMS.
Next LITTLE MIKE MORTON offers a jumping Hillbilly bop « Midnight hoe-down » on Esta H-9592 from 1955. The location of Esta is Hamilton, OH. And the youthfullness of the voice immediately reminds that of Little Doug [Sahm] on Sarg, or on Westport that of Cowboy Bobby.
« Midnight hoe-down« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/esta-9592-Little-Mike-Morton-Midnight-Hoe-Dowm-1955.mp3download
« Why did you go away« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/seven-stars-2511B-Art-Rodgers-Why-Did-You-Go-Away-1957.mp3download
From 1957 on the Cincinnati, OH Seven Star label (# 2511B) let’s listen to « Why did you go away » by ART RODGERS (without any doubt no connection with Jimmie or Jesse). Nevertheless Rodgers has a hillbilly pronunciation, and a strong rhythm guitar, backed by the K.C. Ramblers.
CUZIN ROSCOE next on the Avery, TX Cowtown label (# 803A) delivers the fast « Sing me a song », accompanied by a sawing fiddle (1960, according to the YouTube uploader).
A baritone vocal, strongly a la Johnny Cash, that of RAY PRIDIE for « Lonesome broken hearted me » on the C.A.R. label # 102A, from Bellingram, Washington. Steel guitar plus echo.
« Sing me a song« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cowtown-803A-Cuzin-Roscoe-Sing-Me-A-Song-1960.mp3download
« Lonesome broken hearted me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/car-102-Ray-Pridie-Lonesome-Broken-Hearted-Me.mp3download
« I know (my baby loves me)« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cooper-2059-Gene-Stacks-I-Know-My-Baby-Loves-Me.mp3download
A fast Rockabilly by GENE STACKS on the Cooper label (Pine Bluff, AR) # 2059, from 1957. « I know (My baby loves me ) » is fast and has an intriguing guitar, very reminiscent of Scotty Moore.
Finally RAY WILSON on the Hidus label # 2006 (Springfield, TN) does the fast « Heart stealer » – fiddle to the fore, a short piano solo. Hidus also had Jimmy Simpson (« Honky tonk spree »).
« Heart stealer« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/hidus-2006-Ray-Wilson-Heart-Stealer-.mp3download
‘I Mean, I’m Mean’, ‘Behave, be-quiet or begone’ – Roy Duke
A Country Music Anomaly
By Shane Hughes (Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame)
No picture of Roy Duke has ever surfaced. Additional content by bopping’s editor.
Roy Duke’s style was unique and not easily identifiable as either hillbilly or rockabilly. Certainly his earliest sides on Mart are overtly country in composition and treatment, yet his Reject and Decca sides expose definite rockabilly overtones, due mostly to the presence of ace picker Hank ‘Sugarfoot’ Garland. Garland’s runs are typically definitive and starkly contrast Duke’s lazy and loping vocal, particularly on cuts as Honky Tonk Queen and Hard Hearted Mama. Similarly, these recordings, in terms of lyrical content are unalloyed honky tonk. « I Mean, I’m Mean » is pure Ernest Tubb, while « Behave, Be-Quiet Or Begone » would have been well suited to Johnny Cash’s almost baritone vocal and isn’t too dissimilar to many of his Sun recordings of the period. Further, Roy’s Reject and Decca records have been sought after by rockabilly collectors for years, with his Reject disc fetching healthy sums at auction (at east $ 60-75, when copies eventually turn up). So, just who is Roy Duke and why are his recordings still so much in demand? Maybe it was Roy’s propensity for sheer originality that made him a unique and, thus, collectable artist. Today his appeal is certainly broad; probably further reaching than when he made those eclectic recordings during the early and mid-fifties (no thanks to an over active reissue market).
Roy had the potential to find success too, especially after signing with Decca in ’56. By this stage of his career Ernest Tubb had already cut a few of his songs and he was still tight with Tubb’s nephew Douglas Glenn. However, as with the trail of Douglas Tubb’s career, Roy’s tapered radically after minimal sales of his Decca releases (although Roy Junior confessed to Colin Escott that « Honky Tonk Queen » was a moderate hit in Nashville). Roy’s ill-defined style could have been the cause. Staid hillbilly fans may have heard something too progressive in Roy’s recordings, whilst southern teens probably shied away from the melodic hillbilly vocals and languorous rhythm so evident in Roy’s music. Regardless, Roy’s music has persevered and is still very much revered. It’s time his story was finally told.
Read the rest of this entry »
First three are exceptions to the rule. CAL DAVIS does a shuffler, with a bit of echo on the steel for »Loving lifetime » on the Mack label (# 258). No indication at all of its origin. A RCA Custom of 1954.
« Loving lifetime« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/mack-25B-Cal-Davis-Loving-Lifetime.mp3download
« I reckon so« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/hilton-00001-Raybon-Busby-I-Reckon-So-alexandria-La-cheese.mp3download
Second dates from 1957 on the Hilton label, yet still unknown origin. RAYBON BUSBY does the complex, half slow, half fast « I reckon so » (# no #) : A sort of talking blues, steel phrases on the slow side ; fast side reminds me much of the Blankenship Brothers.
Note: Hilton was based in Louisiana, according to DrunkenHobo.
TOMMY RIDDLE with « Rayford line » pertains apparently to the late ’50s/early ’60s on the Staircase label (# 6651), from where I don’t know. Good fast honky-tonk, a lot of echo on the lead guitar.
Note: DrunkenHobo says the record came in 1961.
« Rayford line« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/staircase-Tommy-Riddle-Rayford-Line.mp3download
No we begin exploring 1960′s sounds.
With a classic theme – either in Blues or Country – « Walking blues », RAY BEACH couldn’t go wrong in 1968. Solid guitar and light drums for a good uptempo. 3 backing members are listed on label (Ray Beach, really?), which don’t give any clue to the origin of this record.
« Walking blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Ray-Beach-Walking-Blues.mp3download
Picked from my good friend Alexander’s site « Mellow’s log cabin», here is the nice « After I have broke your heart » by LEO GRAY, from Mt. Healthy, OH, in 1965, issued on Log Cabin 903. Good steel over a jumping tempo.
« After I have broke your heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/log-cabin-903-Leo-Gray-After-I-Have-Broke-Your-Heart.mp3download
On the presumably Ohio Harron label, here are two fine Bluegrass duets (male/female) led by ERNEST STACEY (great vocal) and backed by HARLIN KAZY on vocal and fiddle, the fast « I do » and the dynamic « I made up my mind » from 1962 (# 995A). They had also at least one other record, « Lonesome road » on Arvis, another label from Ohio. Usual Bluegrass backup : dobro and bass.
« I do« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/harron-995A-Ernest-Stacey-Harlin-Kazy-I-Do-1962.mp3download
« I made up my mind« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Ernest-Stacey-I-Made-Up-My-Mind.mp3download
From Iona, Michigan, BOB WAYLEE offer in 1962 on the Northway Sound 1002 label a fine fast (flying guitar) « Looking out the window ».
« Looking out the window« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/northway-1002-Bob-Waylee-Looking-Out-The-Window.mp3download
Finally the famous CAL SMITH burns the pedal steel-guitar in 1968 on Kapp 938 with his solid version of « Honky tonk blues ».
« Honky tonk blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Kapp-938-Cal-Smith-Honkey-Tonk-Blues.mp3download
« Walk ‘em off blues » # 5028 by PECK TOUCHTON can only be described by one word – stunning. Pure Hillbilly vocal and tremendous support from the Sunset Wranglers. Next, TOUCHTON‘s « Walkin’ on top of the world » backed with « Sighing trees on a broken heart » (# 5041):both sides are superb Hillbilly, with again the Hank Williams influence apparent, particularly on the former song [alas untraced]. Of course Touchton is known to have had records on Sarg and Starday (the famous « Let me catch my breath », # 160), but these sides are his earliest and probably his best. Also his story is intended as soon as I get enough information. His Sunset Wranglers also backed Johnny Nelms on Freedom.
»Walk ‘em off blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Freedom-5028-peck-touchton-Walkem-off-blues.mp3download
« Lonely world« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Freedom-5028-peck-touchton-Lonely-world.mp3download
« Walkin’ on top of the world« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Freedom-5041-peck-touchton-walkin-on-top-of-the-world1.mp3download
The next issue (# 5032) is another unknown item and then we have CHARLIE HARRIS telling us about the « No shoes boogie », a number he co-wrote with R.D. Hendon whose the Western Jamboree Cowboys provide the backing. Probably dating from the late Summer of 1951, this disc (# 5033) has Charlie in tremendous voice (and lead guitar) on a quality fast Hillbilly boogie number while the band who also recorded with Eddie Noack or Bill Taylor as vocalists for Shamrock, 4*, Blue Ribbon and Starday show why so many of the musicians who went through this band were to become stalwarts of later Starday sessions. »No shoes boogie » is an excellent example of the hard-rocking, shuffle-beat swing that was common in Texas before rock’n'roll. The band consists of Harris (on hot guitar), Herb Remington (steel), Theron Poteet (piano), Johnny Cooper (rhythm guitar), Tiny Smith (bass) and Don Brewer (drums). The story of the prolific Charlie Harris is scheduled in this site.
« No shoes boogie »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/freedom-5033-Charlie-Harris-No-Shoes-Boogie-Freedom-5033.mp3download
Activity at the label at this time is hard to determine as I can find no information at all about the releases from # 5034 to # 5037. Then our old friend BENNY LEADERS returns for a final fling on the label with two musical throwbacks. Accompanied by the Ranger Trio, « Always remember » is a real Western flavored number while « Give my heart a break » (# 5038) is also Western and set to a waltz tempo and also features Benny’s brother Parker Leaders.
The very next issue on the label is a real oddity. The group, LOUIS LAMB and his Melody Boys, are completely unknown to me as is the singer on both sides, one DANNY BRYAN. The titles are « Down hill and shady » and « I will trouble you no more » (# 5039). Hot fiddle reminiscent of Cotton Thompson and an ambitious guitar ensemble riffing add style. Lamb was also present on Melody, perhaps a Pappy Daily’s label of1946. There is a gap of nine No’s with regards of the matrices on the label, but, in the run-off area of the first side there is an ACA number while the flipside has the legend JB2 and that leaves me very perplexed.
« Down hill and shady »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Freedom-5039-Louis-Lamb-Dannyryan-down-hill-shady.mp3download
I suspect that the last three issues I know of on the label date from early 1952. And so we come to the last known, to me anyway, release on the label by TEX JONES and his Texas Rangers. « Little darlin’ » # 5042) is a fine Hillbilly bopper with the Texas Trio helping out on vocal while band once again show us how Hillbilly music was evolving in the area and was to become more widely nown throughout the U.S.A., and now further afield, as the ‘Starday sound ’.
« Little darlin’« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/freedom-5042-Tex-Jones_little-darlin-T004.mp3download
« A gambler’s last hand« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/freedom-5042-Tex-Jones-a-gamblers-last-hand_T003.mp3download
Just why FREEDOM folded is not known to this writer. Like another independant important company from the same city, MACY’S, it occurred just when the 45rpm record was beginning to exert itself. Admittedly the music scene was changing, and not just with Hillbilly music. We may never be able to find out why but one thing is for sure and that is the fact that Saul Kahal and the acts who recorded for him have left a fine legacy of Western swing and Hillbilly music for collectors to investigate.
Three features with the precious help of Ronald Keppner and Allan Turner. Help from Krazy Kat CD12 notes (Andrews Brown & Kevin Coffey)
Howdy folks, this fortnight will be a bit quieter than usual, with a batch of very old Hillbillies.
First the King of Country Music, Mr. ROY ACUFF himself. There’s no need to tell his story, after all, with his Smoky Mountaineers or his Crazy Tennesseans, he more or less started it all. Here’s his « Steel guitar blues » (Conqueror 9088), recorded on March 22, 1937 in Birmingham, AL, with the stunning Clell Summey on lap-steel, Jess Easterday on guitar and Red Jones on bass. Wild effects on the steel, and great string-bass !
« Steel guitar blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/14-Steel-Guitar-Blues.mp3download
Columbia reissue of 1946
JOHNNY HENDERSON, originally from Texas, was a determined character, who just kept on trying. He had «The girl that I love is an Oakie », first on Miltone 5201, a nice jumper (piano leader plus steel solo and fiddle) ; then he recut it on his own High Time label # 117. On the flipside, « Down beside the Rio Grande » is a fine relaxed fast ditty on the same format. Henderson also had of course the famous « Any old port in a storm » and, under the alias of Johnny Gittar, « San Antonio boogie », perhaps for a later fortnight.
« The girl that I love is an Okie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/miltone-5021-Johnny-Henderson-The-Girl-That-I-Love-Is-An-Okie.mp3download
« Down beside the Rio Grande« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/high-time-118-Johnny-Henderson-Down-Beside-The-Rio-Grande.mp3download
On the Tred-Way label (# 100A), out of Midland, Texas, « Who flung that mater » by TROY JORDAN is a gentle piano-led jumping little thing. Good fiddle solo. Jordan had another one on this label, « Too many kinfolks » (# 103).
« Who flung that mater« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/tred-way-100A-Troy-Jordan-His-Cross-B-Boys-Who-Flung-That-Mater.mp3download
Way up in the early times, a famous duet, that of TOM DARBY & JIMMIE TARLTON, had a long string of releases between 1927 and 1933 on the Columbia label, cut in Atlanta, Ga. Here is their fantastic bluesy dobro and urgent vocal for « Sweet Sarah blues » (April 15, 1929, Columbia 15431).
« Sweet Sarah blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/columbia-15431-Tom-Darby-Jimmie-Tarlton-Sweet-Sarah-blues.mp3download
From Arizona came SHELDON GIBBS. On his own Gibbs label (# 1), here are two sides, « Nothing gets me down » first, an uptempo shuffler, with lovely fiddle and vocal by Bud Gray. On another issue, they do the semi-instro »Houn’ dog boogie », a nice uptempo with fine guitar, steel and drums issued on the Smart label (# 1016). Thanks Dean.
« Nothing gets me down« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Gibbs-Sheldon-Gibbs-Nothing-Gets-Me-Down.mp3download
« Houn’ dog boogie »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Gibbs-Sheldon-Gibbs-Houn-Dog-Boogie.mp3download
Sources : as usual, Youtube or (mostly) HBRAllan blog.