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late November 2010 fortnight’s favourites
nov 15th, 2010 by xavier

Howdy, folks. Sometimes it is easy to assemble a « fortnight » feature, sometimes not. This time it has not been that easy, I don’t know why. I tried to vary tempos, origin, labels, and I am not sure I did succeed. Only your visits and interest could say I was O.K.

First in this new serie, CECIL CAMPBELL, backed by the Tennessee Ramblers. He was steel player (born 1911) in the Virginia/North Carolina region, and found moderate but constant success with his records on RCA-Victor. Here I’ve chosen his 1951 « Spookie Boogie« ; he explains in his own words what he wanted to do with this tune:

cecil capbell

Cecil Campbell

He was looking for an « …unusual hollow type of rattling sound designed to send cold chills rushing down the spine. » He couldn’t find that sound on the musical instruments. But as fate would have it, one of the members of the Tennessee Ramblers had false teeth and that mysterious sound that appears on the tune « Spooky Boogie » was made by a pair of chattering false teeth. » Later on, he was to have a minor Rockabilly classic in 1957 on M-G-M (12487) called « Rock and Roll Fever« .

king 1117 jimmie osborne

From Kentucky comes now JIMMIE OSBORNE, the « Kentucky Folk Singer ». He had a string of releases on KING, with strong success, among them the amusing « Automobile baby« . Osborne played the Louisiana Hayride, as well as the Opry, until his suicide in 1957, at the early age of 35.

jimmie osborne pic

Jimmie Osborne

On to Texas. FRED CRAWFORD is a relatively well-known artist, whose 9 Starday singles were of constantly highest musical level. « Cornfed Fred », as he liked to be called, was a long-time D.J. on KERB radio station of Kermit, and considered himself more a radio man than an artist. Here below is « You Gotta Wait« , a very nice 1954 Bopper. He later went to D, and committed a pop song, « By The Mission Walls », whose main claim to fame is the backing by no one but Buddy Holly.

fredcrawford

Fred Crawford

starday 170 Fred CrawfordThen TEXAS BILL STRENGTH, who had on Coral Records « Paper Boy Boogie« . Another version does exist by Tommy Trent on Checker 761 from 1952. I don’t know which one came first. The song was even revived by Hank Williams as a demo. Strength (1928-1973) had a long carreer, beginning on radio KTHT, Houston, in 1944, and recording for 4 Star, Capitol, Sun and Nashville. He re-recorded « Paper Boy Boogie » on Bangar as late as 1965.

texas bill strength pic

During the Sixties, ARK records from Cincinnati did issue many a fine disc, mainly in Bluegrass or Sacred. In a past fortnight I included a Jimmy Murphy song, which I consider one of his best, « I Long To Hear Hank Sing The Blues« . Here we have a pseudonym, and there is not any chance, I’m afraid, to discover who really was TEXAS SLIM. A very superior double-sided « When I’m old And Gray » and « Look What You Gone And Done To Me » (ARK # 309). Stunning association of banjo and steel. Hear it!

k-ark 309 texas slim

Finally a classic R&B rocker: « Flat Foot Sam » by T.V. SLIM & His Heartbreakers. Hope you enjoy the selections! Bye.

checker 870 t.v. slim

early October 2010 fortnight
oct 1st, 2010 by xavier

hank garland pic

Hank Garland

Howdy, folks! We start this fortnight with a stalwart version of the classic Honky Tonk « I’m Moving On » (Decca)  by the great HANK « Sugarfoot » GARLAND (1930-2004). He appeared at 19 on RED FOLEY records, and never gave up backing on thousands sides cut in Nashville. Fine Tommy Jackson fiddle backing, and a short but brilliant guitar solo.

Then I go on with JIMMY MYERS and an unissued tune for the Super label out of Georgia, « Go Cat Go » (recently published on an European anthology). I wonder if this is the same as the one JIM MYERS who cut marvelous sides for the FORTUNE label in Detroit (the frantic « Drunkman’s Wiggle » for example). Here it is raw, crude Rockabilly…

Leiber/Stoller’s « Hound Dog » (Willie « Big Mama » Thornton, 1952) was an enormous hit, and no one could know how many Country versions were made of. This time I chose the humorous version on King by CHARLIE GORE and LOUIS INNIS, « (You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Female) Hound Dog« , both artists I’d like very much set the story up in future articles.

innis

BB 11 mars 50 L.W.Evans London

Billboard March 11, 1950

Already a Country star, both under his own name, and as harmonica player for the DELMORE BROTHERS, WAYNE RANEY had many sides on KING. He also had sides on London under the disguise of LITTLE WILLIE EVANS, hence « Lonesome Railroad Blues« , in 1950.

One of the highlights of the regular Starday label: LONNIE SMITHSON for his double-sider « Me And The Blues« / »It Takes Time » (# 330) from 1957. Fine lead guitar and a firm vocal. Nothing is known about Smithson, who had another Starday disc, « Quarter in The Jukebox« , in 1958.   lonnie smithson Starday 330

RUDY THACKER, a Kentucky guitar player, appeared on the Cincinnati, OH, Lucky label (with his String Busters). Here we have an instrumental (a rare opportunity in Bopping…), the romping « Guitar boogie Shuffle« .

Finally a Rocking Blues by ROBERT NIGHTHAW. 1964, Chicago, Chess label. Backed by Buddy Guy on guitar and Walter Horton on harmonica, he delivers a very nice « Someday« .

Hope you enjoy the selections. Comments welcome! Till then, bye-bye…

early August 2010 fort-night
août 1st, 2010 by xavier

Howdy folks! Just another batch of good ole’ Hillbillies, Honky tonks, and Hillbilly boogies (all from the 50s/early 60s). No label shots, sorry: I just re-formated my Macintosch hard drive, and lost all my sites in course! Sometimes I own the actual record, wish I had them ALL! But, you know, it’s not a matter of time neither of money to get them, they are really THAT rare…

We begin with a very rare USAF live transcription of HANK SNOW, early 50s. Hank does 3 tunes, first his signature song, “I’M MOVING ON”, then he embarks on a track that is known to me, but at the moment I cannot remember the title of the song. He finishes with the famous “HONEYMOON ON A ROCKET SHIP”. Fine, powerful rhythm guitar from Hank himself, I would assume; if the band which is backing him is the same as on recording sessions, then the great steel should be played by either Joe Talbot, or Melford Gentry.

Honky Tonk now with CARL SMITH on Columbia, with the fine 1955 “Baby I’m Ready”, lotta bird-dogging in this song, with the perfect Nashville musicians staff.  On to early 60s I’d assume. I don’t know the location of the CLET label, perhaps Texas? I’ve chosen the uptempo “Honky Tonkin’ Baby” by BOB SMITH. September 1960, Cincinnati, King records studio. My own tribute to a great singer/songwriter, LATTIE MOORE, who just passed away on June 13th (he was heartsick since the 90s); here we have “Drivin’ Nails (In My Coffin)” – is it the same number popularized circa 1947 by JERRY IRBY? I have not the time to compare the songs.

Next comes from Texas or Oklahoma a minor classic  by AL VAUGHN, “She’s An Oakie” (Four Star) from 1952. Good harmonica throughout, and fine steel. Then to Tennessee and on the DOT label, out of Gallatin. BIG JEFF & The Radio Playboys for the fine offering “I don’t talk to strangers”, from 1950 or 1951. Could Big Jeff be…LUKE McDANIELS, or as he was billed on MEL-A-DEE out of New Orleans (“Daddy O-Rock” from 1956), JEFF DANIELS? His actual story is yet to be written…Finally we have Danny (name forgotten!) as HANK THE DRIFTER and the great “Bill Collector Blues” – late 50s on the NEW ENGLAND label. Hope you N-joy everything! Comments welcome.

late July 2010 fortnight
juil 15th, 2010 by xavier

Hello folks! This is REALLY a hot summer over there in France, lot of heavy clouds but…no rain at all. Perfect time anyway to keep oneself well dry inside and stomp to that good ole’ Hillbilly beat. We begin with a very elusive artist from the Cumberland Valley/Cincinnati area. I’ve told before in this site about him, and did promise I should post everything I gathered for one year and a half. This could be later this year, so watch out for the fullest possible story on Mr. JIMMIE BALLARD. The first cut in this fortnite is Ballard’s own version of « Birthday Cake Boogie » (Kentucky 508)cake508ballard

of course, the same song was also recorded by, among others, BILLY HUGHES and SKEETS McDONALD, and stands out as a classic ‘risqué‘ or ‘double-entendre‘ song. Ballard was the front man then of BUFFALO JOHNSON‘s Herd (who was active in the D.C. area, and a full story on him is on the line.  And he keeps the vocal duties with the also ‘risqué‘ (Kentucky 520 ) « T’ain’t Big Enough« . Both songs are from 1953/1954, fine uptempo Boppers, altho’ just above average, except for lyrics.

taint big enoughBilly Briggs - norh pole boogie

Back to a Wildcat out of Texas, a very long career as steel guitar player as soon as 1936, then singer and front man of his band, the XYT Boys, BILLY BRIGGS. I will have some day a complete story on him. He was (maybe he’s still alive, I dunno) to have a sound on his own, and produced very strange ditties from his steel in 1951 for his greatest success (much covered) « Chew Tobacco Rag N° 2 » . Here I’ve chosen the amusing « North Pole Boogie » (Imperial 8131, late Forties), complete with icy wind effects (on steel), and Briggs’ own barytone voice imitating a sort of ‘polar bear’ .

Back to Cincinnati and BILL BROWNING. I’ve written about him elsewhere in the site with the story of the LUCKY label. Today I listen to his composition « Dark Hollow« , which was a hit in 1958 when picked up by JIMMIE SKINNER, before the very nice version on BLUE RIDGE by LUKE GORDON (watch out for his story later in 2010), then even by The Grateful Dead in 1973, among others. I particularly like the recent version made by FRED TRAVERS (90′s) which I’ve included in the podcasts; almost falsetto urgent vocal and great dobro.Bill Browning Island 7 - dark hollow

More from Cincinnati. BOBBY ROBERTS (I think there were at least 2, or 3 personas by the same name during he 50′s). Here he’s the great Hillbilly singer, who cut late 1955 4 sides for KING records. I cannot rememeber if I posted earlier his great « I’m Gonna Comb You Out Of My Hair » (what a title!). This time, I offer the second KING (4868, unverified – Ruppli’s book still stored) « I’m Pulling Stakes And Leaving You », same lyrics format. Great, great Hillbilly Bop. Later in 1956, Roberts (or one of his aliases) had « Big Sandy » or « Hop, Skip and Jump« , pure Rockabillies. I still wonder if it’s the same man; if so, he would have adapted very well and quickly (within some months) from pure Hillbilly vocal to almost Rock’n'Roll. By the way, he would not have been the first to do so: SKEETS McDONALD, GEORGE JONES, MARTY ROBBINS did very well the transition early in 1956.

Another elusive artist: guitar player/singer PETE PIKE. Recently deceased (2006) just after a CD ‘back to roots’ (Bluegrass) issued in 2005, he was active both in Virginia and D.C. areas from 1947 onwards, and associated several years with another interesting man, BUZZ BUSBY (Busbice). Pike had Hillbilly Bop records on FOUR STAR and CORAL in 1954-1955, among them I’ve chosen the superior ballad   »I’m Walking Alone« . Another future entry in www.bopping.org, research is well advanced.

Finally, on the Rocking Blues side, you’re in for a treat with L.A. ‘black Jerry Lee Lewis’ (as the Englishmen call him when he visits their shores), WILLIE EGAN and « What A Shame » from 1957 (Vita label). Pounding piano, wild vocal, strong saxes, heavy drums, the whole affair rocks like mad, althoug relaxed. Enjoy, folks. Comments welcome. ‘Till then, bye-bye.

Hillbilly (Billy) Barton: Crazy lover
juil 6th, 2010 by xavier

ultrafon D 750 billy barton blue is the night
barton

london, kentucky

London, Kentucky area

Billy Barton was born in London, Kentucky, on November 21rst, 1929. At the age of sixteen, after special training at school, he had secured a job as a tobacco auctioneer but, when he was twenty-one, his love of music carried the youngster to his first professional appearance on radio KXLA out of Pasadena, California. However, it seems to have been a further two years before Billy was to see his name on record. This first release for Fabor A. Robinson’s Abbott label was a duet with Johnny Horton on the flip of Johnny’s ninth Abbott issue. The next record on the label showed the same format, Horton solo on one side coupled with Horton/Barton duet on the  other.

At  this time, he was recording as Hillbilly Barton and would persevere with this name for a further two issues

abbott 166 before simplifying his name to Billy Barton for his remaining six Abbott platters. Although none of these records became mammoth sellers, the Country press was full of praise and D.J.s were giving them plenty of spins. One side of each of his last two Abbott discs were duets with Wanda Wayne, who he would go on to marry shortly afterwards, in December 1954.th_bbarton

Whilst on the honeymoon the couple cut at least one session for the King label of Cincinnati, but it was most probably two separate sessions in a matter of days. The penultimate of the songs is Wanda Wayne’s « Turn Your Fire Down », which is an excellent Hillbilly bopper.king 1466 wanda wayne turn your fire down

It was 1957 before we know of him recording again and then it was for the obscure Stars Inc. company. After that the next two seem to have been custom pressings from the same plant, the first under the banner of a music publisher%

early June 2010 fortnight
mai 31st, 2010 by xavier

Howdy folks! I am moving on June 11th. So, before my entire library/computer is set up, I may be out ’till this end of June. I’ll do my best to give you some more music in the meantime.

We begin with JAMES O’ GWYNN, Star of the Louisiana Hayride, here in 1955 (Azalea label) with the fine, amusing « Ready for Freddy ». Great hillbilly phrasing. Go ahead with Cincinnati, Ohio, KING’s recording artist BOBBY GROVE. Fine « No parking Here » (double-entendre lyrics!) with the cream of Ohio musicians backing. Then down South. You are for a treat…BADEAUX & LOUISIANA ACES, 1962 (Swallow label) and the classic « The Back Door » – even for me, French speaker, the words aren’t easy to understand. Honky tonk life…Back to Texas with GLEN REEVES and « That’ll be love » (Decca), good Hillbilly bop/Honky Tonk from 1956. 1936, Dallas, LEON SELPH and « Swing Baby Swing » (Decca)(proto-Hillbilly Bop!). A real phenomenon: ROD MORRIS. Although he had had a recording career (Capitol among other labels – he came originally from Missouri), he was a songwriter. Here he is singing a song taken from Americana tradition about trains and drivers, « The Ghost of Casey Jones », a mix-up of Rockabilly/Rock’n'Roll (Ludwig label, 1958).

Rod morris - ghost of casey jones

CD Rod Morris

leon selph BlueRidgePlayboys 1936

Leon Selph & Blue Ridge Playboys, 1936

amos milburn pic

Amos Milburn & Chickenshakers, 1956

As a bonus, a great wildie, AMOS MIBURN pounds the 88-keys on « Amo’s Boogie » (Aladdin, September 1946) – on the West Coast. Enjoy the music, comments welcome. Bye…

azalea 106 o'gwynn

Bill Carlisle
mar 16th, 2009 by xavier

carlisles she a leg 70351


BILL CARLISLE (By Kevin Carey)bill-carlisle-photo1

Born 19 December 1908, Wakefield, Kentucky
Died 17 March 2003, Nashville, Tennessee

One of country music’s founding fathers, Bill Carlisle’s 70 (yes, seventy!) years in the music business began in 1931 when he made his first impromptu performance on the local radio station in Lexicon, Kentucky.

When discussing or writing about Bill Carlisle, it is impossible to ignore the influence of his older brother, Cliff, who at four years Bill’s senior, both encouraged Bill and joined him on many early recordings. Cliff’s own career, while cut short by his premature retirement in the late 40′s, had seen him record some of the finest early hillbilly sides and proving an inspiring figure in his slide guitar style.

Following his brother’s lead, Bill started recording in July 1933 on the Vocalion label (an offshoot of the ARC group of labels, to which Cliff had been signed). Bill’s first release, Rattlin’ Daddy, would prove to be one of his strongest and, in its 1947 guise (re-named Rattlesnakin’ Daddy) showed more than a hint of the rockabilly style that would follow.

Recording details from this period are sketchy, although a number of recordings were released on Vocalion, some with support from Cliff, and others that appeared on Bluebird, while the labels would also list Bill variously as « Smiling Billy Carlisle », « Bill Carlisle’s Kentucky Boys », or « The Carlisle Brothers ». Mainly these recording would fall into the Jimmie Rodgers genre, although Bill was as happy, if not happier to be recording both humourous and slightly risqué lyrics.

Moving to Decca in 1938, the brothers output slowed, but continued in a similar vein with much interplay between Billy and Cliff, with some tracks credited to Billy which were mainly Cliff, and vice versa! Just to make matters even more confusing, several tracks would also feature Cliff’s son, Tommy.

With the outbreak of WW2, it wasn’t until 1944 that both Cliff and Billy were signed to the fledgling King label, and hits followed in 1946 with Rainbow At Midnight, which peaked at number 5 (as The Carlisle Brothers), and in 1948 when ‘Tramp On The Street’ peaked at number 14.

A lean period then followed, which may have been coincidental with Cliff’s retirement, and it was only when Bill tempted Cliff to return to the business in 1951, with the formation of The Carlisles, that the hits returned, this time on the Mercury label, where they now performed in a more energetic style and had hits with Too Old To Cut The Mustard in 1951, and had their most successful year in 1953 with the brilliant No Help Wanted (featuring Chet Atkins on guitar) which peaked at number 1, Knothole, T’aint Nice, and Is Zat You, Myrtle?

Cliff retired in 1953, before recording the quartet of hits, and would pass away in 1983.

Bill last success on Mercury came in 1954 with two hits which followed in the same humourous vein, but the lack of further chart success prompted the bands departure from Mercury in 1956.

Continuing to record on various labels, The Carlisles saw only one more chart entry, when the innuendo filled ‘What Kind Of deal Is This’ reached number 4 in 1965.

As far as stage performances were concerned, Bill kept The Carlisles format running, despite numerous personnel changes, which would eventually see his children included in the act.

Always famed for his energetic stage act, which would see Billy doing the splits while singing, the nickname ‘Bounding’ or ‘Jumping’ Billy Carlisle were well earned. The act would continue thus through to the 90′s when Billy slowed down on personal appearances, although he would occasionally appear on stage, complete with zimmer frame, where he would perform a couple of songs holding on to the frame, before throwing it over his shoulder and marching off stage to rapturous applause.

Bill was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame in November, 2002 and was the oldest regular performer at The Grand Ol’ Opry – his final appearance there (in a wheelchair) coming in February 2002.

Billy died, aged 94 on March 17th, 2003 following a stroke.

Recommended listening -

Rough & Rowdy Hillbilly of the 1930′s (Collector) – Bluebird/Vocalion recordings
Tramp On The Streets (Cattle) King/Decca sides
Duvall County Blues (BACM) – Bluebird/Vocalion recordings

bill-carlisle-lp

Hickory LP of Bill Carlisle (I DID own, but sold!)

Busy Body Boogie (Bear Family) – Mercury/RCA/Columbia sides
carlisles-bear-family

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