Starday custom series: part 2 (# 526 to 550)(August 1955 to March 1956)

Driftwood 526               KEN ROPE (July 1955)

Soft Spot in My Heart / That Same Old Lie

Untraced

Starday 527                DON PAYNE (August 1955)

Kickaroo / The Game Of Breaking Hearts

Alas, once again I have turned up empty on the info front. Apart from this disc, I’ve seen “Pogo The Hobo” / “Forever” – Starday 150 – on a record list as a $10 rocker – but I’ve not heard it so couldn’t possibly comment. A side is a nice kicking hillbilly tune with a western swing flavour, with nice guitar solo, alongside steel guitar & piano. B side is a weeper with steel guitar & piano to the fore. Andrew Brown states that there was a country singer named Don Payne who was from Austin, Tx. He assumes that Don Payne is the same one who recorded for Starday

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Starday 528 WANDA BALLMAN with Eeny, Meeny, Miney and Mo (August 1955)

Think It Over/ I’m Gonna Keep My Eye On You

I know a little regarding Wanda – she was from Jonesboro, AR and one of her compositions (“I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry”) was recorded by Carl Perkins as a flipside to “Dixiefried” (Sun 249). Oh, and she recorded a few demos at Sun Records. She seems to have been a reasonably prolific songstress as she has had her tunes covered by the likes of Loretta Lynn , Kitty Wells & Charlie Pryde amongst many others. Both sides of this 45rpm are pretty good tonkin’ stuff. and anybody who sings Honky Tonk as “Hawnky Tawnk” will always get my vote. Sadly, Wanda passed away on Sept 21st 2005 at her home in Goodlettsville, TN.

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New Star 529 OTIS PARKER (August 1955

They Don’t Have To Operate (They Just Pull The Zipper)/ False Love Affair

Covington, Georgia

The A side is a fast paced comedy-hillbilly with piano & guitar accomp. B side is a typical country “broken-hearted” song. I found a mention of a record on Holiday 109 by an Otis Parker (« Bugle Call From Heaven » / « Many Times« ) – rev by Billboard on 29th Sept 1951, but I can’t say if it’s the same artist.

Corresponded with Cheryl Parker, the daughter of Otis.(2009) Here’s her story ….Before I answer your questions, let me provide you with a little history. My father and mother divorced when I was 12 years old after 25 happy/unhappy years together. There were 8 children, I am next to the youngest (I am 51). My father was the typical country music person……. »sacrifice everything for the love of it ». He knew everyone who was anybody in the late 40s and early 50s. He worked behind the scenes at the Grand Ole Opry back before the people who sang there made the big bucks they make today. Many of them visited our home after the shows, were over to eat and drink. Jim Reeves was a frequent visitor and friend (through their mutual work in radio)……..he held my sister on his lap and sang « Roly Poly » to her. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were good friends of my father (my other sister remembers having the biggest crush on Scruggs, she said she would sit at his feet and stare at him……she was only about 4 at the time)…….as was Tex Ritter. He was at my fathers home in Reno not long before he (Tex) died. My parents went through alot together and loved each other………they just couldn’t live together. My father remarried, my mother never did.

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I didn’t see my father from the time I was 12 until I turned 25 when I heard he was back in Tennessee and that he was ill. Two of my brothers and I made the trip to see him. We visited with him for a few days and then the next time I saw him was at his funeral. My father was a talented man………just not good at being a father. Sounds like a country song doesn’t it? I don’t hold it against him though…….none of us are perfect.

My mother had several of his recordings but in 1972 someone broke into our home and trashed it, shattering all of his records « for fun »………I guess. I have no idea if any of them survive anywhere else. One that he did stands out in my mind because it was so beautiful……..it was called « This Is My Life »…….I haven’t heard it since I was a child, but I still remember the tune and some of the words. It turned out to be the story of his life as it went….it was about being gone and forgotten What a shame that I don’t know if a copy exists somewhere.

I do have a couple of 45s that he gave me when I visited him……….he recorded them under the name of Jimmy Parker……..the name he went by later in life. His full name was James Otis Parker.

I just wanted to share this info with you so that you would understand why I don’t have many photos of him……..or know much about his life as a whole.

Just a little trivia………..he spoke fluent Spanish, was self taught on the piano and guitar, taught college courses for a time, and…..he stuttered. Not all the time……..just when he got excited or upset….then he stuttered badly.

Even though I didn’t get to spend the time I would have liked with my father, I am proud of his talent …………he just had to dream……..which isn’t entirely bad.

I am glad that something of what he did remains………….I am sure that more of his music is out there somewhere, I just don’t know where………or how to find it. I guess I will have to treasure what I have. I am sure you probably know that the « Zipper » song is on a CD being sold on Amazon. It’s on there with other songs by other artists of the era and was released by Jasmine Music out of the UK. I contacted them about it and was informed of the « public domain » law……..which I was already aware of. My father didn’t protect what he created. It may be the law………but it doesn’t make it right.

Anyway………..on to your questions……………………

Where and when was Otis born?

He was born on March 19, 1920 in Brush Creek, TN He was the son of a tobacco farmer. His mother died when he was young but his father outlived him by several years.

Can you remember the bands he played in?

Unfortunately, I do not know of any bands, other than one he lead in the 1970s. My father did mostly solo work.

Was he ever on TV and radio performing in the 50’s?

I don’t know if he was ever on tv (I know he was later in life in Reno) but he worked for the Grand Ole Opry in the late 40’s. And he also co-owned a radio station with Grandpa Jones and worked for several radio stations. It was while working in the radio station field that he made most of his recordings.

Can you remember who was in his band?

No, sorry. Other than the one in later years, I have no info.

Where was the disc recorded and when?

My older sister seems to remember that the « Zipper » song was recorded while they lived in Beaumont, Tx. (before I was born) They lived in several places…..Nashville, Athens, TN, Athens, Ga, Rome Ga,, Atlanta, Ga., Beaumont, Tx. and Mobile, Al (where I was born)

Can you remember how many copies were pressed?

I have no idea how many copies were made of the recording. Nor any of the many others he did. Zipper was not the only song he wrote and recorded.

Who paid for the recording and the record?

I would imagine my father did. He might have had some backing but I believe most of the money would have been his.

What did he do after the record musically? Was he still performing?

My father was what some call « a jack of all trades »…. and he was full of « wander lust »…he worked for many years in the music industry and then decided he wanted to see the world so he became a chef and joined the merchant marines and traveled the world for several years before going back into the business in the late 60’s/early 70s. His life WAS a country song……….full of drama, pain, sadness. In later years he went by Jimmy…….a nickname for James, his real first name……..Otis was his middle name.

When and where did he pass away?

He passed away on November 28, 1984 in Carthage, TN which is about 60 miles east of Nashville. He is buried in a cemetery on a hill with Tennessee hills all around. At his funeral they played one of his songs « Will There Still Be Country Music », it’s about dying and wondering if there would be country music in Heaven and would he have a place there. It was a fitting song.

I thank you for your interest in my father………..he would have been impressed that his music was still interesting to someone.

Cheryl Parker

Gee, not often do I get to add more than a few lines on any artist listed here.

Starday 530 THE MUSICAL-AIRES (September 1955)

Hop-a-Long Sister Mary / Wildcat Boogie

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The Musical-Aires were Rich Mauney, Carol Dills & Jim Waller. “Hop-A-Long Sister Mary” was also issued as “Skip Along Guitar” on STARDAY ep-258. It was then subsequently issued on STARDAY LP 176 as “Skip Along” and credited to TOMMY HILL. Both sides are nice country / hillbilly guitar led instrumentals. Reminds me of early Chet Atkins.

Starday 531 JOHNNY SUTHERLAND (October 1955)    531a refait

We’ll Have A Time, Yes Siree / I’m in Love

Two fine uptempo fiddle-led hillbilly sides with a fine band backing Sutherland’s slightly flat vocals. It has been suggested that this recording came from the Gulf Coast part of Texas. He had in the early fifties an issue on John Erikson’ Talent 777 . I’m kinda curious to find out what doing the “Willy-Wuck-Wick” means as mentioned on the A side, but perhaps it’s better that I don’t know at my age.

Georgia 532 CLYDE BEAVERS (October 1955)

I Won’t Always Love You / My Baby Is Gone

Tennga, Georgia

The Starday Custom series continues with it’s apparent love of naming a record label after the state that the recording was from. Perhaps it was a coincidence that each artist chose this, or Starday suggested it to them. Anyhow, compared to many artists in this listing, there’s info I can mention on this artist. Clyde was born in Tennga, GA on the 8th June, 1932 and was a DJ on WJAT from Swainsboro, GA. As a young boy, Clyde Beavers never let anyone know that he wanted to be singer, and he has stated « his biggest thrill as a recording artist was meeting people » Both sides are pleasant hillbilly with perhaps the B side being the better of the two, although for me, the accordian solo spoils what could’ve been a better disc. He also recorded “The Black Knee Socks” / “Susie Darlin” – WONDER 105 & “Crying For My Baby” / “ The Man In The Glass” – MERCURY 71185 amongst others. Wonder Records was from Atlanta, GA and was owned by Bill Lowery. Clyde also formed KA$H RECORDS with Tom Reeder in Nashville during February 1963. His entertainment experience included WCGA – Calhoun, Ga. (1957), WBRO – Waynesboro, Ga. – (1959) and WENO in Nashville besides playing clubs and appearing US Military bases throughout the States. There’s a huge amount of info on Clyde in Billboard magazines, but it’s all from the 60’s and, at this time, I’m not sure if there is more than one artist of that name.

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Indiana 533 ROY FISHER (November 1955)

Just Suppose / I’ve Got A Feeling

Michigan City, Indiana

Well, I may well have a label shot, but as yet I haven’t heard this disc. (Oct. 16th, 2012. Yup, thanks HillbillyBoogie1 – Youtube – « I’ve Got A Feeling » is a good bopper, fine lead guitar) As for the artist – once again I have as much info as a UK bank manager has integrity. There was a Roy Fisher who recorded for the New England record label in 1961 (« Pool Stick Window » /  » Moon Powers » – #1004) which could be the same guy, but I’m clutching at straws here really. (New England was out of Houston, TX circa 1961/2 and owned by Dan R Andrade.)  533a refait533b refait

Moonlight 534 CARL TANNER (November 1955)

Sweet Talkin’ Baby / What Makes The Blues

Waycross, Georgia

Another pleasant hillbilly disc which kinda borders on a rockabilly feel, especially with the lovely guitar solo on the A side, but he struggles vocally with the slower tempo of the flip. Carl was a semi-regular presence on the « Peach State Jamboree » on WJAT from 8:15pm ’til Midnight and MC’d by Johnnie Bailes. He has another release on this label coming up later (# 568)

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Starday 535 JOE GIBSON (December 1955)

Puttin’ On The Dog / Oh Brother

On the 3rd December 1955, Billboard mentions a Joe Gibson who was still fronting the Georgia Peach Pickers for Curley Williams, having his first record released on Starday so I’m presuming this is the same guy. I can’t say more than that at present. The A side is a tough, Texas infectious rhythm shuffler with a nice guitar & steel guitar solos. The B side is pleasant uptempo hillbilly with a honky tonk piano, fiddle and steel guitar all taking small solos.

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Starday 536 LEO OGLETREE (December 1955)

Crooked Dice / You Done Got Me

Lee was from Tucson, AZ where this disc was recorded. He also worked at WGAC out of Augusta, GA for a spell. The A side is a mid paced hillbilly bopper with Lee boasting of his dice rolling prowess (although by the end of the song he gets caught with dice up his sleeve). This side was penned by Jimmie O’Neal (see COAST 500) and Johnny Tyler, who performed over WGST in Atlanta, GA in 1954 and also recorded for Starday (main series) and for O’Neals’ Rural Rhythm label. Flipside is more of the same, penned by the great Eddie Noack. Nothing on WM Minor either. This sounds like a Texas recording to me. The steel player is Hal Rugg.

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Lucas 537 FRANCIS RODGERS (December 1955)

Jolly Old Fellow / Oh Gee – Oh Gosh – Oh Golly

Never seen or heard this disc. I presume Ray Lucas owned the label (or at least paid for it.)

Starday 538 TOMMY CASTLE (January 1956)

Wanderlust / I’ve Done More Accidentally

Possibly one of the great unknown Rock-A-Billy discs in the Starday Custom catalogue. Jack Rhodes (more on him later on Starday 560/561) had set up a small recording / demo studio at the back of a hotel he owned in Mineola, TX where artists could come along and record demos, especially ones that Jack had written. The unknown Tommy Castle probably cut this Rhodes-penned disc at the hotel with (possibly) Freddy Franks (bs) and Al Petty (steel guitar) and an unknown guitar player who hops all over the disc like a man possessed.   538a refait

The A side is a great shuffling, two-chord ditty with Tommy claiming to suffer from “Wanderlust” – an inability to settle down in one place. This song that could’ve gone onto greater things if picked up by a seasoned country star (Hank Williams, had he lived long enough would have been a good bet), or perhaps even Luke McDaniels. The flipside is a great bopper with a super, finger-picked guitar solo (he also cuts loose whilst Tommy is singing to; almost threatening to take over on occasions). This side was co-written by Freddy Franks. A fantastic 45rpm! According to Tom Lincoln, Castle is Tommy Cassel (of Cassel Records), although at least one other collector says they are two different artists.

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Big State 539 ROY ROBINSON (January 1956)

I Told It To Jesus / Little Romeo

This disc was issued twice. The first release is vocal with accoustic guitar accompaniment. The second release is vocal with guitar, steel guitar, bass and fiddle accompaniment. The only means to distinguish between the two releases is that the second issue has the letters RE in the dead wax / run off after the A & B designation. In a way, I think I prefer the accoustic version, especially the religious A side (gospel, in my mind, should always be sparse in instrumentation). Flipside is a happy little ditty about a young (some say very young) “Don Juan” who chats up the girlies with the aid of candy bars and bubble gum. Kinda cute. This disc would have perhaps made a good demo, though I’ve yet to discover if anybody covered it. Perhaps that’s why he rerecorded it with a full hillbilly band and reissued it a few months later. The gospel track loses something with the band behind him but the B side comes off better with instrumentation. I drew a blank on Roys’ identity – a familiar story where these artists are concerned. I did find an artist with the same name on TRC (Texas Record Company) with songs entitled « Blood Weed » / « In Your Arms » – TRC 8457 – which was reviewed by Billboard on 15th Sept 1962, but I have no clue as to if it’s the same guy. Both of these sides were published by Glad Music which is a tenuous link.

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Starday 540 FRANK EVANS and the Western Hayriders (January 1956)

I’m Different / Another Love Like You

Tampa, Florida

Frank was singing as a child on WHBO in Tampa, FL. (According to Frank, the radio station was so small, the signal “ … just barely made it over the tree tops”.) He was 15 years old when he cut this, his first recording, at the Burdette Sound Studios in Tampa, backed by the Western Hayriders (who were already an established band by this time & included Pete Howell on lead guitar & Dusty Robbins on steel guitar). Frank plays the banjo on these sides. The A side is a nice uptempo number with Frank soloing on the banjo with nice support from both lead & steel guitar. The flipside is a hillbilly weeper. It’s a great debut from an underrated artist. Soon after, Frank formed his Top Notchers (more on them later on Starday 567).

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Starday 541 JACK MORRIS (January 1956)   jack Morris

My Pony Wants To Go / Cooing On The Wrong Pigeon

A great West coast swinger from Morris and his band which (to my ears) sounds like it included Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant. The A side is a fast-paced hillbilly bopper with clever, humourous lyrics – the type of song I could imagine Tennessee Ernie Ford covering with great aplomb. 541-B was picked up and recorded by Merrill E Moore on Capitol Records 3311. Jack also turns up on Sage Records from Hollywood, CA (“White Line” / “Stop Teasing me” – SAGE 228, “”Four Wheeled Bungalow” / “Glad I’m Looking Back On You” – SAGE 232)

Starday 542 HOYT SCOGGINS and the Saturday Nite Jamboree Boys (February 1956)

What’s Gonna Happen To This Old World / Kneel Down With Jesus

The second disc by Hoyt bemoaning the state of the world as it turns its back on God.. Nice accompaniment by lead guitar, banjo, fiddle & dobro. Not heard the B side as yet. No label shots either.

Rondo 543 HAROLD SMITH with Slim Green & the Trailriders and Danny Clark (February 1956)

Waiting For Someone / Listen To Me Baby

Savannah, Georgia

Nothing on Harold Smith at present. The slow A side is another tale of a broken heart with some nice & simple steel guitar through the solo, accompanied by a competent piano player. Flip is a fast “call-and-response” disc which reminds me of a typical early hillbilly disc from Fortune Records (Detroit, MI). Great boogie piano throughout with nice fiddle, steel & guitar breaks. On the label, it states « A DC-HS Production », which is Danny Clark and Harold Smith.

Hoyt’s 544 RANSOM GOSPEL SINGERS (March 1956)

I’ll Tell It / I’ll Make It Home Someday

Yet another in a long line of Starday Custom discs I haven’t seen, heard, or know nothing about.

Sage 545 DON REDFIELD and The Sage Dusters (March 1956)

I Can’t Go Back / Montana Waltz

Thanks to Al Turner who not only managed to hear the record, but he also found a snippet on the artist in a Country Music Round-Up magazine. I’ll quote it here in full. “Young Don Redfield’s background is about as unusual as the come for folks in the country music field. For Don is a native of Boston, MA and began his musical career by studying classical violin for four years. All this changed however when he moved out to Montana in 1945. There, he traded two rabbits and six phonograph records for his first guitar, and has stuck with that instrument ever since. In high school Don organized his first dance orchestra known as the Tune Timers. While attending Rocky Mountain College, he rounded up a vocal trio known as the “Three Bears,” which appeared on a series of radio programs in Billings. This group was so well received that in no time at all they become greatly in demand for personal appearances throughout the Billings area. In the winter of 1952, Don carried two half-hour broadcasts from the Amvets in Billings and had two fifteen minute shows a week on KOOK. At present, he’s keeping quite busy by participating in an occasional stage show, playing over KMON in Great falls and teaching guitar.”

All that besides, “Montana Waltz” is exactly as it says on the label – a waltz. He’s got a pleasant voice but the recordings are slightly muddy, which is a shame really. “I Can’t Go Back” is taken at a fast clip with fine instrumental support from fiddle, steel guitar & lead guitar. The sound is more muffled here than the slow B side; not so much that it spoils the disc but enough to detract from what is a fairly decent record, especially the nice Chet Atkins / Ronnie Durbin guitar solo.

Hoyt’s 546 WALTER PONDER, Jr. (March 1956)

I Had A Chance / Carry On

A nice piano led gospel-type number, sung with feeling (as almost all gospel records are). Both sides are slightly similar to each other and that’s a good thing cos it’s a great record. I found a Walter Ponder Jr listed on the net as having a CD release in 2001 where he sings 14 gospel songs. The brief bio says he was a two time winner of a contest at the Apollo Theatre in NYC (no dates). He also had his own TV show in Jacksonville, FL and has been singing since the age of four. He also had his own prison ministry and apparently received high recognition for his rendition of the National Anthem. He was last heard of running & organizing « Thunderbolt Ministrys » out of Jacksonville.

Starday 547 MACK KING with the Western Hayriders (March 1956)

This Is Your Life / No Wings – No Halo

This is the same Mack King who also appears on Nugget Records (“No Special Reason” / “You Better Get Going” – NUGGET 1004), and is also backed by the the Western Hayriders (who also backed Frank Evans -who also appears on Nugget). But we’re getting ahead of ourselves as Nugget 1004 was pressed in 1958. By the time Starday 547 was issued, Mack had served in military and was at this time, located in Tampa, FL. Mack also played 3 shows supporting Elvis Presley in Tampa. For some reason they issued this 45rpm with Starday matrix numbers instead of the usual A/B prefix. Anyhow, The A side is a nice country ballad. The flip is a mid-paced hillbilly/country swinger with fine guitar and steel guitar support. Mack’s got a nice voice for this kinda stuff; melodic but slightly lazy vocals. Cool stuff!

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Gulf Coast 548           TOMMY TOLLESON and the Western Playboys from Palacios, Texas (March 1956)

Warm Spring Waltz / Think Of Me

Palcios, Texas

Tommie was born on the 5th July 1936 – one of six children. Blind from an early age, he attended the Texas State School for the Blind (although Tommie could differentiate between day and night but not much more) which could boast other such luminaries as Leon Payne & Hub Sutter. Learning not only how to play but to tune a piano, he formed the Western Playboys to perform in bars when he was home from the school. Aged 19, this is his first record release – 300 copies pressed and another 100 shipped out to DJ’s , Radio Stations etc – the standard Starday Custom deal. « Warm Springs Waltz » was dedicated to the Warm Springs Foundation which was a cure centre. He was 22 when he graduated from the school and returned to Palacious, TX where he took up music pretty much full time. He recorded for Dan Menchuras’ KOOL label before operating his own record label – Gulfcoast Records – where he released polkas, waltzes, boogie woogie and the torrid rocker “Carla Blues” (Gulfcoast 101). He died April 23rd 1997. “Think Of Me” is a ballad whilst the flip has a cajun/waltz feel. Not as torrid as « Carla Blues » or « A Gal Named Sue », but nevertheless a nice little tune.

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Rambler 549 CURLEY MONEY and the Rolling Ramblers

(March 1956) Playing The Game / Why must I Cry

Unlike many of the artists in the Starday Custom series, Curley was quite a prolific artist, though this seems to be his only Starday pressing. Curley was born Robert Earnest Money in Halesburg, Alabama in March 1925. He moved to Columbus in 1942 and passed away in 2003. Quite a few of his Rambler Record releases were pressed by RCA. The A side is a nice country bouncer, with guitar, steel guitar and sawing fiddles. Flip is a waltzy-little number.

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Curley Money & Rolling Ramblers


L & C 550           LUKE GORDON acc by C. Smith and the Tennessee Hayriders (March 1956)

Goin’ Crazy / Married Life

Washington, D.C.

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Luke Gordon was born Gordon Brown in Quincy, Kentucky on Friday 15th April, 1932 and was next to the youngest of 6 boys and 2 girls. Luke started his music career on radio station WPAY in Portsmouth, Ohio with the Rhythm Rascals and became good friends with Zeke Mullins who was a DJ at WPAY. Luke served in the US. Army during the Korean Conflict and upon his discharge in 1953 he headed for Norfolk, Virginia where he met up with Jimmy Dean and did a show with him. He then went from there to Warrenton, Virginia with Jimmy and they won the ‘Best Vocalist’ at a JC contest. He also appeared on the ‘Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, Virginia. Luke then went to Tennessee and entertained the folks with Ray Price & The Western Cherokees.

After his stint in Tennessee he returned to Virginia and the Washington D.C. area to work with fiddler Curley Smith at radio station WGAY, Silver Springs, Maryland and do personal appearances. Curley set up a number of recording sessions for Luke with Ben Adelman and the result was released on L & C & STARDAY 550 during 1956. Luke started his own QUINCY record label which was based in Quincy, Kentucky. He also appeared on ISLAND, BLUE RIDGE, EMPIRE & NASHVILLE amongst others (see his story elsewhere in the site).   550a refait

Married Life” is a Luke The Drifter type monologue which bemoans how bad married life can be. I class this type of song as “Bar Room Advice”, the wisdom of an unhappily married man. “Goin’ Crazy” is a nice shuffling country ditty, supported by a fine lead guitarist.

All appreciations do come from excellent Malcolm Chapman’s site: Starday Custom. Visit him!


STARDAY custom series – part 1: #500 to # 525 (late 1953 to July 1955)

Coast 500 JIMMIE O’NEAL/Cotton Henry (late 1953)

A- Patent On My Heart (CH)/ B- Streamliner Boogie (vocal J O’N)

Los Angeles, California

No info on who Cotton Henry is, although I found a disc on Starday 129 by a Cotton Henry (“Alibying Sweetie / Eskimo Nell”) which could be him. These sides will be podcasted in a later Starday survey . For the flip, the only real info I have is that Jimmie O’Neal later owned the Rural Rhythm label out of Arcadia CA. 500B (Coast)  Jimmie O'Neal Streamliner boogieStreamliner Boogie is a talking blues ditty with some nice guitar work – marred by poor sound quality on the disc. Don Carlos Music appears on quite a few releases on Wolf-Tex Records (Wolf City, TX)

 

Coosa 501 HOYT SCOGGINS & the Kingsmen Quartet (January 1954)

Jesus Still Heals/ The Pathway Is Not Crowded

Carterville, Georgia

The A side is a fast piano led gospel number with Hoyt leading the Kingsmen Quartet in what Billboard magazine might have described as an “exuberant reading”, had they reviewed it. The B side is a straight-ahead fast country gospel number with the Quartet dominating the song. Hoyt was born in 1927 and was at one point a DJ on WCGA in Calhoun, GA. “Jesus Still Heals” also appeared on Starday EP 106 (main series) as by Hoyt & Tyrone Scoggins with the Tune Twisters, but this maybe a different version of the song. He also owned his own Scoggins label. (See also Starday 542, 563, 606 & 659 ). Equally at home on Gospel, Hillbilly and even R&R, Scoggins must have had a strong regional following as he was still recording on NASHVILLE (a late ’50s/early ’60s outlet for Starday recordings)coosa 501B refait

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Hoyt Scoggins and band

Gospel 502 Conway Gospel Chorus (February 1954)

No details. Not Hillbilly.

Cosmopolitan 503 Big Bob Dougherty & his Orchestra (March 1954)

Whale (inst) / Okey Pretty Baby.

Leavensworth, Kansas. A R&B rocker.

Coast 504 JACK HAMMONS (April 1954)

Tomorrows Goodbyes (Johnny Skiles/JH) / Substitute For Love (Johnny Skiles/JH)  coast 504A refait 504b refait

Los Angeles, California

The A side is a weepy hillbilly with fiddle and steel guitar being the predominant instruments. B side is slightly faster. Jack Hammons hailed from Monroe, Louisiana and was heard singing by Col. Tom Parker as Elvis’ soon-to-be-manager drove through Monroe. Jack was singing a number of songs that were penned by himself and Johnny Skiles, who was his brother-in-law, and the Colonel quickly contacted Starday to arrange a  recording session for him. (“Mr Cupid” / “That’s The Way To Fall In Love” – STARDAY 197). Johnny Skiles (cowriter) recorded for Honee-B & Corvette Records amongst others and probably moved up to the West coast sometime after these recordings. (See Corvette 672 later on in another serie) As an aside, Skiles also recorded for Jimmie O’NealsRural Rhythm Label (See Coast 500)

Savannah 505 BUDDY LIVINGSTON & his All Girl Band (April 1954)

Back When She Was Young / Write Me Right Away

Savannah, Georgia

The A side is a boppin’ hillbilly disc featuring fiddle, piano and steel guitar, with a double bass break sandwiched between. Flipside is more of the same. The A side was rerecorded soon after (see Savannah 513). Buddy was based in Savannah, Georgia. His “All-Girl” band were actually his sisters. He altready had a record on King. According to the Billboard Music Magazine dated 25th Oct 1952, the band consisted of Mary Frances Livingston on bass, Buddy was on steel gtr, Christine Livingston on fiddle and Willine Livingston on electric guitar and was about to embark on a King Recording pact. Their manager was their father, Dave Livingston.  505A (Savannah)  Buddy Livingston Back when she was young He also recorded R&R for Scottie Records.   505b refaitBuddy was still performing around Savannah, GA in the 60’s. His band at this time were called Buddy Livingston & the Versitones and Buddy sang and played bass, performing mainly at a club called “The Bamboo Ranch”. They also had their own 30 minute TV show on WTOC. Billy Joe Royal (of “Down In The Boondocks” fame) was also a featured vocalist for a time. The “Bamboo Ranch” burnt down in 1970, allegedly under suspicious circumstances, though I hasten to add that Buddy & the band weren’t party to this or were inside at the time.

Rangeland 506 BILLIE & GORDON HAMRICK “The Honey Hill Sweethearts”        (July 1954)

He is My Guide / He’s Gonna Take His Children Out

Charleston, North Carolina

506a refaitB&G Hamrick present themselves here with a pleasant mandolin led gospel coupling, with the B side being the faster of the two. Both sides were506b refait written by Bernice Jennette. The only info I have on the Honeyhill Sweethearts {there is a small  town vcalled « Honey Hill, some 30 miles North Est of Charleston} is they had at least two previous releases on Rangeland (which may have been their own label), both pressed by RCA in 1953 (“My Dream Of The Old Rugged Cross” / “My Savior’s Train Of Life” – RANGELAND No.# // “Married People Out Of Place” / “Pocotaligo Waltz” – RANGELAND No.#). At present I have no other info of any other subsequent recordings, apart from the three other Starday customs listed later in this serie (Starday 522, 626, 673). The B side was reissued on a 6 track Dixie 78rpm with a fade out roughly halfway. Billboard magazine (14th March 1953) mentions that their steel guitarist who played on the RCA pressed Rangeland discs was Bob Bratcher, who died in Jacksonville, FL in early 53. Billie and Gordon formed a gospel bluegrass duet. Together,they wrote and recorded songs in the 1950’s for both the Rangeland label and the Starday label. They hosted a gospel variety show , The Old Country Church. The gospel bluegrass variety show ran for over 12 years on WUSN-TV channel two in Charleston, SC. Billie played this Martin guitar and Gordon played mandolin on the show and numerous personal appearances throughout the Southeast. Their career spanned over 30 years. Ms. Hamrick passed away in 2002.

HAMRICK – Gordon B. Hamrick born November 18, 1917 in Douglasville, GA, died December 30, 2001. He served in the U.S. Army in the Panama Canal Zone in the 1930s and continued military service in the Coast Guard through WWII on the USS Savage as a Chief. He also managed grocery stores in Jacksonville and performed gospel music with wife Billie in Charleston, SC on a television show called The Old Country Church in the 1950s and 60s.

California 507 AL WARWICK (rn Arthur Alton Warwick)       (September 1954)        507B refait507A refait

Rag Doll / You Are The Only One

Van Nuys, California

Al paid for the studio time and the musicians to cut these self-penned songs and put them on record for posterity. The band on both sides romp along nicely behind Al’s relaxed vocals. He struggles a little with timing here and there but overall it’s a pleasant disc. No other info on the artist at this time, but the guitarist on both sides sounds very, very much like Roy Lanham.

Texas 508 EARLY GRAHAM & His Musical Drifters (November 1954)

I Wish You’d Start Fooling Again / Stop Fooling My Heart

508A refaitHenderson, Texas508B refait

Another fine hillbilly disc with Grahams’ lazy, perhaps slightly flat vocals supported by a tight little combo featuring guitar & steel. The B side is a good mid tempo hillbilly song.  « Early L. Graham was born August 24, 1909 in Arkansas, but resided in Rusk County, Texas most of his life. He died October 4, 1978, aged 69 years old. So he was about 45 when he made this, his only known record  » (wrote Andrew Brown)

Dart 509 JERRY HOPKINS & The Southern Playboys (December 1954)

Cuddle Up To Me / My Everlasting Love                                                                 509A refait

Saint-Louis, Missouri                                                                                                              

Once again, no info on the artist.  The DART version of “My Everlasting Love” is different to the version released on STARDAY 182 (“Mamma Baby” / “My Everlasting Love”), and I’m guessing this was the first release since the Starday disc was reviewed by Billboard on 18th June, 1955. The A side on the Dartdisc is the uptempo tune with fiddle, guitar and steel guitar. B side is a pleasant enough weeper. DART 509 was issued on both 45 & 78rpm formats. Note the lack of publishing details – a rarity for a Starday Custom.

S-Kay 510 RAY MAYO (January 1955)

Mended Hearts / Who Winds Your Clock   510B refait510A refait

Gardena, California

Both sides are uptempo hillbilly with piano & fiddle. Ray seems to have a little trouble with both timing (to me, he sounds slightly ahead of the band in places but he catches up after the solo) & rhyming but both sides are pleasant enough. B side has a very slight “double-entendre” nature about it; probably a little racy for the staid of ol’ fifties but milder than watered down mustard by today’s standards. Regardless, the « Not Recommended For Radio Broadcast » stamp can be found just above the title. “Who Winds Your Clock” was previously recorded by Bucky Bates on 4-Star 1295 in 1949, and rereleased later on 4-Star 1559 in 1951. Just as the last release, the publishing info is left to plain old BMI instead of the usual « Starrite« .

Johnson 511 JERRY & The String Trio (January 1955)

Lead Me To The Promise Land / Judgement Day

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Although both sides of the record credit vocals to Jerry & Steve, only 511-A is a duet. It’s a wonderful disc that has been described as an early example of “Gospelbilly”, although I think only the gospel part is correct. Nevertheless, you could say that the music certainly has rockabilly overtones, especially the “B” side.   511A refaitNo writers credits and although Starrite published both sides, that info seems to have been left off of the label. As far as I know, there’s only two known copies of this disc. As yet, it has not surfaced as a 45 and probably only exists in it’s 78 format.

Mississipi 512 JOE BRYANT & The Mississipi Woodchoppers (January 1955)

512A refait Pulpwood Blues / A Man Ain’t Nothin’ But A Woman’s Slave

Centerville, Mississipi

A nice, tough Hank Williams type disc, once again bordering on Rock-A-Billy, with rough-hewn vocals and a competent band featuring steel512B refait guitar, fiddle & guitar. A side has a “Lovesick Blues” feel to the intro. Flip side is more of the same. Again, like the previous disc, there only seems to be one known copy and possibly only ever pressed as a 78rpm. I think the steel guitarist gets a little lost in the solo on the B side, but that only adds to the character of the track in my opinion.

Savannah 513 BUDDY LIVINGSTON & his All Girl Band (February 1955)

Back When She Was Young / Can’t Love No One (like I Love You)

Savannah, Georgia

513-A is a different version to the earlier release on SAVANNAH 505. In fact, it’s more slicker than the original and the steel guitar break has been practiced and honed to perfection. The sound quality of Savannah 513 recording is a lot clearer on this disc than the previous release. According to the blurb on a DJ copy of one of his King releases, (1181) Buddy was born in Fitzgerald, GA and was 19 years of age when this disc was released. Sadly, I’ve yet to hear the flip side and only 78rpm copies of Savannah 513 have surfaced. By March 1957, Buddy was appearing on WTOL-TV, Savannah, GA daily between 1:30 & 2pm, Monday to Friday and a 7:00 to 7:30 slot every Friday evening. Another missing label shot I’m afraid.

Rodney 514 BEAMON FORSE (February 1955)

Rest Of My Life / You Better Go Now

Bronson, Texas

As far as I’m concerned, not only is this the first real true rockabilly disc in the series, but if there was ever a top ten Starday Custom listing, this would definitely be included! Great rockabilly guitar led, slap bass bopper featuring Beamon on vocals, his brother Ted on lead guitar, JT “Tiny” Smith on bass, Charlie Craddock on steel guitar and an unknown piano player. Born Beamon Tom Forse on 4th December 1934 in San Augustine, TX, he had a radio show with his brother Ted at KTXJ (Jaspar, TX) and he knew George Jones since he was a child. This disc was cut at Gold Star Studios, Houston TX., and it was inspired by hearing Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right Mama” being played over the radio. 514B refaitThe disc was financed by Rodney Spaford (hence the label name I guess) who was a rich guy from Sabine, TX. Beamon moved to California after this release, and he recorded as Tom Forse on Rich-Vein Records (owned by Terry Fell and features Eddie Cochran on guitar). Beamon also booked top acts on the West coast and wrote songs for Terry Fell, who would pay him cash for them. Beamon died in 2004. He and Truitt Forse were cousins. (See Starday 596). Side A « The Rest Of My Life » is a nice classy Honky tonk number. The disc wasrodney 514 beamon restsupposedly issued on both 45 & 78rpm formats.

Diamond 515 AL MEYER and His Pals (March 1955)

You’re The Same Old Moon / Somebody Cares

St. Genevieve, Missouri

515A refait515B refait

Zero info on Al Meyer apart from what’s listed on the label shot. Primitively recorded hillbilly disc with guitar, steel guitar & fiddle. If the label didn’t say MO, I would have sourced this disc a lot further south, perhaps Mississippi or Alabama. Vocally, it reminds me a little of Lloyd McCullough on Von Records. (Lloyd has his own custom on Starday 686).

Evangelistic Sacred Songs 516 CURT & FAYE BARTMESS with String Ins Accmp (sic)          (March 1955)

Country Music In A Sacred Way / The Narrow Way

Curt & Faye were from Oklahoma and broadcast over KJBC in Midland, TX. Evangelistic was their own label, created after non payment of royalties from another TX label. Reverend Curt Bartmess still has a congregation in Oklahoma, but Faye (if her real name was Myrtle Faye Bartmess) has passed away. Anyhow, the A side is a pleasant country gospel number with some nice guitar and mandolin throughout. Flip is slightly slower with some good vocal interplay between Curt & Faye – shades of Luke the Drifter.516B refait516A refait

Savannah 517 BUDDY LIVINGSTON & His All Girl Band (Vcl – Buddy & Trio)     (April 1955)

I Can’t Help The Way I Feel / When You Stuck Your Tongue Out At Me

Savannah, Georgia

Not heard the A side. 517A refaitB side is a nice hillbilly disc from Buddy and his sisters – mid tempo with good harmonies & steel guitar. Compared to the previous release (513), the actual recording sounds a little primitive and perhaps it was recorded around the same time as the release on Savannah 505. It’s a darn fine disc all the same. Also judging by when BMI cleared the song for broadcast, this disc may have been actually issued to the public (so to speak), or if you prefer – shipped to Buddy before Diamond 515 & Evangelistic 516. (I am going by the assumption that all discs were pressed and the songs were submitted to BMI once payment reached Starday.) 517b refait

Starday 518 DANIEL JAMES (rn Dan Mechura)         (April 1955)

Magic Wands And Wishing Wells / Through The Barroom Door

STARDAY 518 was reissued on ALLSTAR 7161, which isn’t that surprising when you consider that Daniel James is Dan Mechura, who owned Allstar. Billboard mentions in passing (26 March 1955) that Daniel had signed with Starday Records and he was broadcasting over KNUZ. To promote this disc, Daniel toured with Hank Locklin, Lee Leissner & Texas Rhythm Boys in June 55. Compared to the torrid “Rock Moon Rock” – (Allstar 7163) & “I’m Gonna Move” – (Allstar 7183), Daniel delivers this plaintive hillbilly disc with all the gusto of a man singing whilst reading 518A refaitthe lyrics in front of him. Nice echoey sound on the disc though gives it some atmosphere. The odd thing about this is that at the time of this disc, he already sees to have started his Allstar label with an address out of Garrow Street, Houston, TX. Menchura was happy to offer the same kind of deal that Starday offered here – cut the tracks – stick out a 45rpm, limited distribution and hoped for a hit to carry the momentum onwards and upwards. Dan and his Allstar label were also active in the seedy world of « Song-Poem » record labels. But by the mid 60’s, Dan’s labels folded after issuing at least close to 200 45’s on either the main label or on one of Dan’s numerous subsiduary labels. Note the publishing details have changed by the time he reissued it on his Allstar label. 518B refait

Starday 519 JIM CUNNINGHAM and the Missouri Wranglers (May 1955)

A Pain A Pill Won’t Reach / Take Time To Cry

519b 2 refait
519A refait

No info on Jim and his band at the present time. It’s a good hillbilly disc with sawing fiddles and steel guitar. Both sides bounce along nicely.

Starday 520 HOWARD BRAMLETT (June 1955)

Let’s Take Our Children To Church / City On A Hill

A gospel disc. Not Hillbilly

Hoyts 521 REV. CAMPBELL with the Wonder Boy (June 1955)

Old Ship Of Zion / You Can’t Hurry God

Greenwood, South Carolina

Gospel disc, not hillbilly

Starday 522 BILLIE & GORDON HAMRICK with the Low Country Gospel band (June 1955)

Our Prayer / When I feel The Spirit (Brother) I’m Gonna Shout

The second gospel offering from the Hamricks, now featuring their Low County Gospel band (which may well have been uncredited on the RANGELAND 506). There is a feeling amongst collectors that the first disc sold well enough for a reprint, so Starday issued their second offering on their own label hoping to garner a bit more interest for the disc. (Others think the Hamricks paid extra for it to be issued on Starday.) Anyhow, it’s a mandolin led country gospel for the A side. B side, which is a fast, fiddle led exhortation on the joys of having God in your heart. Kinda makes you wanna jump up in the aisles and yell “Hallellulah!”522B refait522A refait

Starday 523 RED MANSEL and his Hillbilly Boys (July 1955)

I’ve Crossed You Off My List / Brocken Fickle Heart

Nice bar-room honky tonk from Red & his Hillbilly Boys, with the A side being especially good. Fiddle, steel guitar and a nice upright piano with rhythm guitar and bass accomp. Red Mansel was (unsurprisingly) the star of “Red Mansel & Boys” on KFDA-TV, Amarillo, TX, 523A refait(15 min slot on TV between 4:45-5:00pm (Tuesday) and again at 12:45-1:00 pm (Saturday) and was also heard daily over the radio station. He also appeared on Dan Menchuras’ Allstar label from Houston, TX after this release. (He signed a 2 year contract with the label in early April 1956.) “Johnny On The Spot” / “Would You Ever Believe It’s True” – ALLSTAR 7160 {Billboard stated that this release was « lightweight material (that) can’t go far! »} and “My Only One” / “Going Steady With A Dream” – ALLSTAR 7174 are two of the better ones where rockabilly is concerned. Mansell appears on a writers credit on Starday 518.523B refait

Carolina 524          FRANK LEVINER (July 1955)

Keep Loving Up / Plan Of Salvation

Untraced

The Joneses 525 Mrs. R. D. JONES (July 1955)

I Ain’t Got Time / My Prayer For The Ones I Love

Bogalusa, Louisiana

I love this record! It’s certainly a primitive recording and the fidelity seems to fluctuate here and there. But the guitar steals the show with some nice chording and fills whilst Mrs Jones sings along pleasantly. I always imagine Mrs Jones sitting at the family piano belting this out in front of the family whilst the marsh mellows toast in the fire. It’s a joyous record – fills this ol’ heart with a little glee. Flipside is an altogether sadder affair, and somebody’s playing an accordian instead of the piano but again, Mrs Jones is in fine vocal form. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about this 45, but for me I could listen to it again and again without getting tired of it. (Others I’ve played it to don’t even try to stifle a yawn so maybe it’s just me it effects). Only the large amount of Joneses in the Bogalusa area prevents me from phoning each one up and asking “Excuse me , are you Mrs Jones?” But on somebody else’s dime, I’d certainly give it a go.

525A refait525B refait

All appreciations from Malcolm Chapman’s notes in his excellent site: http://web.mac.com/malcychapman/Starday_Customs/Starday_Intro.html. Additions from Phillip J. Tricker’notes to « Hixville » CD (Jasmine JASCD 452) An indispensable album! hicksville CD

late March 2011 fortnight favorites

Hello folks! Being a bit late, I am coming back from Corsica a day late. This is the first time I post two tracks by the same artist, but both tunes are so good I hope you will agree with me. From Florida, 1959 or 60, on a custom label, Arvil, ARVIL MEERS cut two very special songs, accompanied by his own guitar, « Muddy River« , with yodel overtones, and « The Future I Hold« . The disc was reissued by Dixie.

arvil 3001 arvil meers muddyarvil 3001 arvil meersarvil meers picdixie 1072A Meers future

A good bopper on Starday (custom serie), late 1955, « Puttin’ On The Dog » by JOE GIBSON. Is this the same guy, JOE D. GIBSON, who had « Good Morning Captain/21 » on New York Tetra label in 1957?

starday 535 joe gibson

One of the most enduring images in Hillbilly is the singing brother act. They were litterally thousands in the genre, one of the most famous being the Delmore Brothers. Robert and J.C. Andrews, the ANDREWS BROTHERS were no exception, hailing from Alabama. They had numerous records on MGM, the best being « Hot To Trot » from 1955. Fine banjo and close vocal harmonies. mgm 12007 andrews bros

Another brothers combo, by far less known, actually a one-off venture, comessurprisingly in 1963 from Indianapolis on the Nabor label from Indianapolis. The RUSSELL BROTHERS do offer a superior rural hillbilly vocal, guitar and steel solos with « You Cheated On Me« . That is the proof that Hillbilly was not dead even at the beginning of British invasion.

Finally, a curious mixture of R&B and Jazz by the SLIM GAILLARD QUARTETTE, from 1945, on the Atomic label: « Atomic Cocktail » seems to be a strange beverage. I appreciate the swing of the combo, and I hope you do the same!slim gaillard

Enjoy the selections!