« (Help me lose the) Boogie Woogie blues »: the short recording story of BOBBY SOOTS (1950-51)

BB 28:1:51 Mercury 6326

Billboard April 28, 1951

bobby soots? (gene krupa)

 

 

 

 

 

Very little is known about Bobby Soots, except what is contained in a Tampa newspaper snippet dated Nov. 2, 1950. He was born in Alabama during the ’20s, took up the guitar when he was twelve and had his first band, the Red Wagon Boys, entertaining a local radio show in 1938. He then moved to Chicago to sing Hillbilly in the clubs, when the famous jazz drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa noticed and hired him as featured vocalist. Soots had a strong baritone voice, and Krupa used him on New York sessions for C&W tunes like Pee Wee King‘s « Bonaparte’s retreat » (June 1950), « Panhandle rag », « At the jazz band ball » or « Walking with the blues », to name just a few classic Krupa jazz sides.

 

A year later, free from his contract with Gene Krupa, Bobby Soots went solo for two sessions for Mercury records, apparently cut in Chicago. Eight tracks were recorded circa February/March 1951, whose only four were released, leaving unissued a promising « Fiddle boogie ». Among the issued tunes were Amos Milburn’s « Bad, bad whiskey » (Mercury 6326), and most of all, the immortal « (Help me lose the) Boogie woogie blues » (great steel solo!), often reissued (Mercury 6331). B-sides are less interesting, « I’m crying » and «Have you forgotten my name ». Soots did not write his own material. After these two issues, one loses his trail, and he seems to have disappeared afterwards.

BB 2 nov 50 bobby soots-krupa ret

rca 20-3766-A gene krupa bonaparte's retreat Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) « At the jazz band ball » download RCA 20-3816-A gene krupa at the jazz and hall ret

Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) « Walking with the blues » <a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Vicor-Bobby-Soots-Walking-with-the-blues.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
rca 3965 gene krupa walking with the blues

Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist), « Panhandle rag » download

mercury 6326 bobby soots whiskey ret
Bobby Soots, « Bad, bad whiskey » (Mercury 6326) download

Bobby Soots, « (Help me lose the) Boogie woogie blues » (Mercury 6331) download
mercury 6331 bobby soots boogie woogie blues

Bobby Soots, « I’m crying » download

Bobby Soots, « Have you forgotten my name » download

 

 

 

 

Bobby Soots solo discography:

(vo) with instrumental accompaniment: g, rh. g, p, steel, str.b.. Poss. Chicago, circa Feb. 1951

7208      Bad, bad whiskey                                      Mercury 6326

7209      Fiddle boogie                                              unissued

7210      I’m cryin’                                                     Mercury 6326

7211       A thousand times too many                   unissued

 

(vo) with fiddle, piano, rh. gtr, g, steel, str.b.  circa September/october 1951

7232     Help me lose the boogie boogie blues  Mercuy 6331

7233    Goin’, goin’, gone                                       unissued

7234   Lots of nothin’                                                  –

7235   Have you forgotten my name                   Mercury 6331

 

Source: Internet for the Gene Krupa records, Bobby Soots photograph and Billboard snippets. Thanks to Ronald Keppner for scan/mp3 of Mercury 6326. Discographical details from Michel Ruppli’s « Mercury label » vol. 1.

Joe Franklin & the Mimosa Boys: N.C. Hillbilly and Bluegrass gospel (also Rock’n’Roll…)

Joe Franklin and his Mimosa Boys        Joe Franklin pic

Very few information available on this North Carolina artist. He’d begin in Bluegrass style on Blue Ridge with « There’ll Be No Wedding Bells For Me », the flipside being Honky tonk: « Half Hearted Love » on Blue Ridge 401. Here he delivers a fast number with gospel overtones. His superb voice is well suited to this kind of number and aided by his Mimosa Quartet on backup harmony and a romping piano player.

blueB love

label courtesy John Burton


Then his second disc, « If I Could Just Make It In », a real stomper of a number on Blue Ridge 202, a label based in North Wilkesboro, N.C.. With a driving beat and some superb guitar and piano behind Joe’s vocal. Joe was a DJ at WMNC, Morganton, some thirty odd miles at the time. He was later to secure a contract with MGM.

north-carolina-county-map

North Wilkesboro in far North West of the state

In my opinion (Phillip J. Tricker), one of the great unknowns of Hillbilly music. A piano is always very prominent on his recordings and I wonder if indeed it is Joe who pounds the ivories. The Mimosa Boys are a very tightly knit outfit that sounds like they are been together for a long time. Excellent steel and fiddle (Jim Buchanan ?) provide solid foils to some amazing piano work which is much more powerful than the usual ‘rinky dink’ style usually associated to Hillbilly recordings from this period, 1953. « Hitch-Hikin’ Blues » slows the pace a little but is in own right a very classy Honky tonkin’ side with some lovely work from the fiddle player while the steel player underpins everything well. THE side is « Hillbilly Boy », fast and furious, fantastic piano, short steel & fiddle solo. Both on MGM 11612.

MGM 11612 refaitemgm 11612 franklin hitch

Joe has two unissued sides from this July 1953 session.

He then disappeared completely, which is a real shame!

Flash! I came today (July 21, 2011) on 3 more discs by Joe Franklin. Via the « Starday-Dixie Rockabilly vol 2 » on  (UK) Ace, I found he was vocally fronting the Hi-Liters in 1958 for a (probably) Don Pierce production on Mercury.  Both  sides (« Dance Me To Death » and the unissued-at-the-time « Big Bad Wolf« ) are to be found on Mercury  71342 from 1958.  mercury 71342 hi-liters dance me


Strangely Michel Ruppli’s book « The Mercury label » gives the recording location as Universal studio in Chicago. Great rockers, a voice similar to the MGM artist of 5 years before, with again that rollicking piano (some could say a la Little Richard) in the background. The original flipside of « Dance Me To Death » is sung by a Daryl Petty (« Cha Cha Rock« ). « Too Late For Tears » (Daryl Petty, vocal) remains unissued.

Then billed as « Joe Franklin and the Hi-Liters« , he had two more discs between 1959-60 on the Durham, North Carolina Renown label. They are of far lesser interest. The Renown 113 « Who Put The Pep In The Punch/True Blue » (latter song written by Darryl Petty) is billed as « white vocal group » by 45rpmrecord.com blogsite. Franklin returns to his bluegrass roots with « The Belle Of Tennessee » (Renown 114), although more pop/folk than real Bluegrass. « Swanee River Rock« , the final side, is a sax led instrumental, with again fine piano in the background.

renonwn 113 franklin who put

Sources: Boppin’ Hillbilly serie (3 volumes), Youtube, 45rpmrecords.com.

Final note: Mr. David Hill wrote me this message on Feb. 20th, 2012: « I was saddened to hear that Joe Franklin had passed, but I appreciate the info from your site. I have a newspaper article around 1958, Bristol, VA concerning Darrell Petty, who was Joe Franklin’s piano player and his association with Joe, and the sale of Petty’s song A MILLION MILES FROM NOWHERE. I would like to share all my info with those interested. I would like to know what happened to Darrell Petty.  Sincerely, David Hill ». So now we know who was the piano player on these discs! In a second message, Mr. Hill sent me scanned the article from « Bristol Herald Courier », which gave more details on Darrell Petty. He had only 9 fingers, having been injured at 10 in a saw mill. The drummer was Mel Taylor, who later went with the Ventures, and another Franklin’s musician was Joe Buchanan (unknown instrument). It seems that anybody lost their trail after 1959-60. Here it is the first ever picture of Darrell Petty, tanks to Mr. Hill.

darrell petty

Flash (Friday, May 25, 2012), the excellent and undefatigable Mr. David Hill sent me a message as follow: « Here are some more photos and info I obtained from Burke County Public Library in Morganton, NC. This was Joe’s hometown. Daryl Petty passed away in the 70’s with cancer. I have been in touch with Joe’s sister. There is a display in the Burke County Museum on Joe and The Hi-Liters. I plan to visit there one day soon. Still bopping, David Hill ». Below are the press snippets of the Morganton, N.C. News Herald he sent me, from the beginning of 1958, also the Joe Franklin obit from 2001. Thanks, Mr. Hill!

Morganton N.C. News Herald, Jan. 21, 1958

Morganton, N.C. News Herald, Jan. 1, 1958

Morganton News Herald, Feb. 27, 1958

Latest news (Jan. 9th, 2013) : message from Jim Buchanan, fiddler/drummer for Joe Franklin (1951-1959)

I was the eleven year old Fiddler/Drummer with Joe Franklin beginning in 1951. I performed on the Ed Sullivan TV Show with Joe and daily live TV Shows at WCYB Channel 5 in Bristol Va.during the early Fifties. If you want to know anything about Darryl Petty, Ray Austin, James Duckworth, Charlie Connley or any other Mimosa Boys/Hi Litersn, ask the only living Member of the Band. I was there a part of it from the beginning. I have Audio recordings of the Mimosa Quartet recorded at WTOE Spruce Pine NC while Joe was a DJ there. I also have all the major news paper articles published during the time that I was with Joe Franklin. The Burke County Museum has the Suit that I wore on the Ed Sullivan Show as well as other articles such as pictures of me while with Mel Tillis performing at President Ronald Reagans inaugural ball in 1980. I left Joe Franklin in 1959 to work with Arthur Smith in Charlotte NC at WBTV. Later into Bluegrass Music with Jim and Jesse and the Virgina Boys WSM in Nashville. Mel Tillis during the 70s and part of the 80s.

David Grisman in San Francisco. George Jones in the 90s till 2008. Now teaching from Home in Franklin TN. Also a recording studio and producing and publishing. Church Band each

Sunday and simi retired from touring with groups. I can now do it my way….. after 60 yrs.

 

Yours truly, Jim Buchanan –  jim buchanan@live.com. Thanks, Mr. Buchanan! Now we know the name of Joe Franklin’s musicians.

late April 2010 fortnight

Howdy folks, here we go for the latest fortnight with JESSE ROGERS (born 1911, active in the Saint-Louis and Philadelphia areas), very popular artist during the 30s and 40s. Here he covers (RCA, 1948) BILL NETTLES’ « Hadacol Boogie ». Then two Mercury issues (6000 serie), first by NETTLES & His Dixie Blue Boys, from Monroe, Louisiana: « Push & Pull Boogie » – lazy vocal and fine backing. LOUIS (sometimes also called LOUIE) INNIS, from Indiana, had a string of Hillbilly Boppers, among them I chose the romping « Stomp That Thing » from 1949. The next three are all from Texas. PECK TOUCHTON, fiddler who recorded for The Sarg label out of Luling, had the fine « You Changed Your Tune » in 1954; famous CHARLENE ARTHUR was a crossover between Hillbilly and Rockabilly, and recorded in Dallas « Burn That Candle » in 1955. Finally the prolific RILEY CRABTREE,  a follower to Jimmie Rodgers, and his « Tattle Tattle Tale » (Country Picnic) from 1957.