A Starday subsidiary label in Music City: the NASHVILLE label (1960-1965) – many Starday custom artists! modern Hillbilly bop

After Lonnie Irving‘s 1960 success with « Pinball Machine » (Starday 486) – staying on the charts for four months, reaching Billboard’s # 13 spot -, Don Pierce realized that a lot of the custom material sent in to Starday had strong commercial potential, so he decided to set up a label that would serve as a cross between the Starday custom serie (which lasted until # 1186) and the main series. Shortly after the success of the success of « Pinball Machine » in the summer of 1961, Pierce founded a subsidiary label, Nashville Records. Just as they had a custom service, artists would generally pay for their own studio sessions. But as was the norm for the his Starday productions, Pierce would usually pay for the pressing, shipping, and promotion. The goal was to establish another successful line of singles that, similar to the rock’n’roll label Dixie, could be shopped around on a local level. (suite…)

early August 2011 fortnight

Howdy folks! Plain hot summer, so it’s time for a few more Hillbilly bop/Rockabilly tunes. Note that I will take holidays during this month, so next fortnight early September.

From California first, CHUCK HENDERSON and the fine, steel-guitar dominated 1959 romper « Rock And Roll Baby » on the Ozark label. No more info available.

ozark 959 chuck henderson

Big Jeff

Big Jeff

Grover Franklin « BIG JEFF » Bess is a Nashville legend. He sold beer, cure-all tonics and baby chicks on the Gallatin, TN, WLAC radio from 1946 for 16 years. Appeared in two Elia Kazan films and owned several night clubs, e. g. the famous Nashville’s Orchid Lounge Club. Virtually every major session player in Nashville was a member of The Radio Playboys at one time or another. In fact, the great Grady Martin started out playing fiddle for Big Jeff in the early days. He had records on World, Cheker (sic) and Dot, and today his 1951 « Step It Up And Go » stands as one of the most early Rockabillies. I’ve chosen his first on Dot, « Juke Box Boogie » (1004), strong guitar, and a swinging tight combo. dot 1004A big jeff juke box boogie

Indeed Bess has his own CD on Bear Family 16941 « Tennessee Home Brew« , which gathers all his issued sides, plus a lot of unissued or radio extracts. Big Jeff’s story is intended in the future in Bopping.

Then, from a Dutchman’s Collector comp’, KELLY WEST & His Friendly Country Boys and the great « Grandpa Boogie« . Don’t know anything about the original label, or which part of the U.S. it came from. I’d assume 1954-55. Fine fiddle (a solo) and lead guitar. On to Nashville again, this time late ’50s on the aptly named Starday subsidiary Nashville: KEN CLARK offers a folky « Truck Driving Joe » (very early issue on the label, 5009 – he had a 45 on Starday earlier) with a nice steel-guitar, typical of the late ’50s.

nashville 5009 ken clark Truck driving joe

From Cincinnati, OH, on the King label (# 1403) and a 4-tracks session (held Oct. 15, 1954) comes the very good « Oo-Ee Baby » by RALPH SANFORD. Typical King instrumentation for this medium uptempo Hillbilly bop. The singer is unknown to me elsewhere, here in fine form.

ralph sanford bb 26 mars 55 ralph sanford

Billboard March 26, 1955

On July 19, the famous, although long-forgotten LIL GREENWOOD passed away at 86. I enclose a Youtube snippet of a September 2007 live gig, « Back To My Roots« . She’s in real fine form! For more information on her, go to:http://inabluemood.blogspot.com/2011/07/lil-greenwood-former-ellington-vocalist.html

Enjoy the selections!

Lil Greenwood selection: