For this new rendez-vous, I’ve chosen three tracks from the ’50s, then one from…1978, the remainder being from the ’30s.
First, JOHNNY NELMS on Azalea 015/016 (Houston label), « After Today » is his finest hour, raw, emotional honky tonk. The uncredited backing band here is Peck Touchton‘s Sunset Wranglers, which includes Doug Myers (fiddle), Herman McCoy (guitar), Hoyt Skidmore (steel guitar), and George Champion (piano). I add in the podcasts his Starday offering, « Everything Will Be Alright » (# 228) from 1956. He already had records on Gold Star, Freedom, and later (briefly) on Decca. Nothing but a plain Country boy, who never made it…
Then, from the Cincinnati area, one JIMMIE WILLIAMS, I know nothing about, except this little record on the Acorn label (# 153). Here it is his original « Hey, Hey Little Dreamboat« , a nice, uptempo Hillbilly bop. Apparently the man had nothing to do with later Arkansas rocker of « You’re Always Late » fame.
From Nashville TN, April 1954, when young ERNIE CHAFFIN entered the Hickory studios, nothing really happened with his four sides; I somehow find some freshness in his « I Can’t Lose The Blues » (# 1024). Shortly after, he was to launch, with his steel player Pee Wee Maddux, the Fine label in Biloxi, MS. before moving in 1956 to Sun in Memphis.
That’s it for the ’50s! Now with a legend, ROSE MADDOX, taken live from Youtube (I just kept the sound track), for an old Jimmie Rodgers’ song, « Muleskinner Blues« . The Lady does it perfectly!
Onto the ’30s. First with ex-Governor of Louisiana (twice!) JIMMIE DAVIS. He sang Hillbilly as early as the late ’20s. Here you get his rendition of the traditional « When The Saints« , under the title « Down At The Old Country Church » (recorded Charlotte, NC, 1931), with Ed Shaffer on the lap-steel guitar. Full of emotion…
Finally, from 1936 comes a one-time associate to Davis, his Black bottleneck guitar player, OSCAR WOODS. Here he sings, on a funny cartoon, « Don’t Sell It – Give It Away« . The whole thing, recorded in New Orleans, sounds very much Western swing! Magic of internet to find those gems…
Born on 8 August 1921, near West Monroe, Louisiana, USA. His father died when Pierce was only three months old; his mother remarried and he was raised on a farm seven miles from Monroe. Although no one in the family performed music, his mother had a collection of country records which, together with Gene Autry films, were his first country music influences. He learned to play guitar and when he was 15, he was given his own weekly radio show on KMLB radio in Monroe. (suite…)
Born De Armand Noack, Jnr., 29 April 1930, Houston, Texas/ Died 5 February 1978, Houston, Texas A.k.a. Tommy Wood.
Eddie Noack, 1950
Noack who gained degrees in English and Journalism at the University of Houston made his radio debut in 1947 and made his first record for the Gold Star label in 1949, « Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ». In 1951, he cut several songs for Four Star including « Too Hot To Handle« . Leased to the TNT label, it drew attention to his songwriting and was recorded by several artists (including Sonny Burns) , most recently by Deke Dickerson, who also included « Gentlemen Prefer Blondes » on his new (excellent) CD, « Deke Dickerson In 3 Dimensions ».
Noack joined Starday in 1953 (beginning a long association with ‘Pappy’ Daily), where his immediate success came as a writer when several of his songs were recorded by top artists including Hank Snow who scored a # 5 Country hit with « These Hands » in 1956.
Noack moved with Daily to his D label where in 1958, after recording rockabilly tracks as Tommy Wood, he had a country hit with « Have Blues Will Travel » (# 14).
During the ’60s, Noack quit recording to concentrate on songwriting and publishing and had many of his songs including Flowers For Mama, Barbara Joy, The Poor Chinee,A Day In The Life Of A Fool and No Blues Is Good News successfully recorded by George Jones as album cuts.
In 1968, Eddie recorded « Psycho » for the K-Ark label.
This bizarre song, about a serial killer, was virtually unknown then since the original fifties version by its composer, Leon Payne (yes, the « I Love You Because » guy), had – understandably – never received any airplay. Since Eddie’s version it has become a cult favourite, covered by, among others, Elvis Costello.
Noack did make some further recordings in the ’70s, including arguably some of his best for his fine tribute album to Jimmie Rodgers. He moved to Nashville and in 1976, recorded an album that found release in the UK (where he had toured that year) on the Look label. He worked in publishing for Daily and Lefty Frizzell and in an executive role for the Nashville Song- writers Association until his death from cirrhosis in 1978. A fine honky tonk performer, somewhat in the style of Hank Williams, he is perhaps more appreciated today as a singer than he was in his own time.
Biography taken from Black Cat Rockabilly (Dik De Heer)
Below is a reprint of a New Kommotion article from 1976, « Talk Back With Noack », in which Noack tells his early story in his own words.