The « Long Gone Daddy », LOU GRAHAM (1951-1957)

 

Notes by Phillip J. Tricker to the Collectables CD 5335 « Long gone daddy »(1990)

The name LOU GRAHAM (rn Lewis Lyerly) is best known for his superb rocker ‘Wee Willie Brown » cut for Coral (# 61931) in late 1957, but Lou had been active in a recording studio as early as the beginning of 1951.

He was born on July 15th, 1929 in the tiny community of Woodleaf (pop. 300) in North Carolina. One of ten children, he soon showed an interest in music and after three years of wearing Navy Blue in the services he got into radio as a singer and DJ. He spent 18 months at WPWA in Chester , Pa. where he met Bill Haley and the Saddlemen : it’s quite probable that Haley helped Lou secure a contract with Gotham (hence, Gotham 416). The second batch of recordings are certainly backed by the Saddlemen. The labels of Gotham 433 were ordered on July 9th, 1952, and at this time Lou was working in TV at WDEL in Wilmington, Delaware and as a DJ with his « Roundup time » program at radio station WTNJ in Trenton, NJ. During the mid-to-late fifties he was busy on a schedule of appearances at nightclubs and hillbilly parks asnwell as TV and radio, and playing on the « Big Western Jamboree » in Camden, NJ.

Notes by Bill Millar & Rob Finnis for BF 15733 « That’ll flat git it » (Decca) (1994)

When LOU GRAHAM dipped into rock’n’roll with Willie Brown in November 1957, he was already 28 and a veteran of local radio in Chester, Pennsylvania whose most famous resident, Bill Haley, became his mentor. One of ten children Graham was born Lewis Lyerly in Woodleaf, North Carolina in 1929. After serving in the US Navy, he worked as a country vocalist and broadcaster joining WPW, Chester in 1950. It was there that he befriended with Bill Haley, then jobbing on the local bar-room circuit with the Saddlemen while holding down the post of announcer at the station.

Graham signed with Philadelphia’s Gotham label in 1951, and made his recording debut accompanied by members of Haley’s band with whom he occasionally appeared on stage. By the time of his second Gotham release, Graham had moved to WTNJ in Trenton, New Jersey leaving Haley to pursue the musical career which would soon make him an international star.

Who’s Lou Graham?

Slap that bass!

By 1956, Haley, flush with riches, had assumed the role of benefactor, granting recording favours to a number of acolytes in an ill-fated attempt to create a music publishing and recording empire. Graham was signed to Haley’s Clymax label and he cut « Wee Willie Brown » backed by the Comets. The master was assigned directly to Coral when Haley’s enterprizes ran into financial difficulties.


LOU GRAHAM, a track-by-track appreciation (notes by bopping.org editor)

« Two timin’ blues » is an uptempo shuffler. A bit of yodel vocal. A good steel. Backing by a fine piano (+ solo).      « Long gone daddy » is, of course, the Hank Williams’ song, and this is a good version. Morever I have the same comments than for « Two timin’ blues ». All in all, a successful 2-sider for a first recording (Gotham 416)

« Two timin’ blues« 

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« Long gone daddy« 

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Now on to the 4-tracks second session. « I’m lonesome » has an inventive steel over an uptempo shuffle pace. The piano is well to the fore and Graham adopts a somewhat harsh vocal. « Please make up your fickle mind » is a nice shuffler too (Gotham 433, from 1953). « A sweet bunch of roses », as expected, is a sentimental, although agreeable song (Gotham 429). More of the same with the medium-paced « My heart tells me (I’m still in love with you) ».

« I’m lonesome »

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« A Sweet bunch of roses« 

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« Please make up your fickle mind »

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« My heart tells me« 

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Of course, the Coral sides from 4 years later are a complete contrast with the Gotham sides. « Wee Willie Brown » (Coral 61931) is a solid rocker : Bill Haley’s saxman Rudy Pompilli blows his fuse, and Franny Beecher excells on lead guitar as on the Comets’ better days. « You were mean baby », although noted as recorded at the same session, is very different : big band type rocker, male chorus ; it reminds me of the Johnny Burnette Trio‘s « Shattered dreams » cut in NYC, already for Coral too.

« Wee Willie Brown »

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« You were mean baby« 

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WEE WILLIE BROWN

(Al Rex – James Ferguson – Billy Williamson)

LOU GRAHAM (CORAL 9-61931, 1958)

Wee Willie Brown from my hometown

Got itchy feet, can’t settle down

New Cadillac, retailer’s pack

But that don’t bother him

He goes around, ’round, ’round

And all the girls all love him (they really love him)

Yes, the girls all love him (they really love him)

He ain’t no square, been everywhere

He goes around and around and around and around

Ain’t got a cent, can’t pay his rent

Landlord don’t know, which way he went

But when he’s gone, he’s really sent

No matter where he goes

He goes around, ’round, ’round

And all the girls all love him (they really love him)

Yes, the girls all love him (they really love him)

He ain’t no square, been everywhere

He goes around and around and around and around

Ain’t got a cent, can’t pay his rent

Landlord don’t know, which way he went

But when he’s gone, he’s really sent

No matter where he goes

He goes around, ’round, ’round

And all the girls all love him (they really love him)

Yes, the girls all love him (they really love him)

He ain’t no square, been everywhere

He goes around and around and around and around

(Lyrics taken from Black Cat Rockabilly Europe)

 

Early July 2015 fortnight’s favorites

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« download

« Bobby’s Blues« download

vaden EP 107 bobby brown - I get the blues

vaden 109 bobbybrown - bobby's blues

 

 

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« download

« Just Let Me Fall« download

larry richardson

Larry Richardson

blue ridge 306 larry richardson - I'm lonesome
blue ridge 306 just let me fall

larry richardson2

Larry Richardson on banjo

« Nashville Jail« download

« Wild Over Me« download

 

 

 

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.

applause 1251 terrific tabord - rockin' the boat

« Rockin’ The Boat« download

 

 

 

 

 

 

charlie bowman

Charlie Bowman

 

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« download

« Riding That Mule« download

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.
k-son 7283 shorty long - redstone john

« Redstone John« download

Sources : YouTube, www.Arkansas45rpm-records,Tony Russell’s Country Music Records 1921-1942. Any correction or addition welcome !

 

Early November 2014 fortnight favorites: a bunch of Bluegrass 78rpm!

Howdy folks ! With just an exception, only 78rpm this time.

Let’s begin with the legendary JIM EANES in one of his earliest efforts on the Blue Ridge (#301) label. It’s happy hillbilly bordering to bluegrass (sometimes difficult to distinguish, but who cares?) : « A sweeter love than yours I’ll never know ». Fine solos : banjo, mandolin over chorus vocals.

blue ridge 301 a sweeter love
Smilin’ Jim Eanes « A sweeter love than yours I’ll never know »download

Lucky Leroy « Now get join' »download

Lucky Leroy « All tied up »download

go-lish 100A

Thanks to Hillbilly Researcher and Allan Turner, LUCKY LEROY and two sides on the Illinois Go-lish label « Now get goin’ » and « All tied up ». Solid hillbilly from 1955.

On the Mutual label (uncertain origin), CLAUDE YATES & Bowes Brothers for « Stop knocking at my door » (#214) : as label implies, « hot banjo picking ».

Same label, FRED MURPHY for the very inspired « I want to be ready » (#210).

Bowes Brothers « Stop knocking at my door »download
Fred Murphy « I want to be ready »download
 

 
mutual 214B bowes brothers - stop knocking at my doormutual 210-B fred murphy I want to be ready
 

 

A return to Blue Ridge with LARRY RICHARDSON (& Happy Smith) (#306) and « I’m lonesome ». High-pitched vocal, again that mix of hillbilly and bluegrass music.

Finally for the season, HAPPY WILSON on M-G-M 10877 « The haunted house boogie ».
Larry Richardson « I’m lonesome »download

Happy Wilson « The haunted house boogie »download
blue ridge 306 I'm lonesome
mgm 10877 happy wilson