Howdy, folks! Here we go first with a romper, the fast BILLY SCOTT « You’re Braggin, Boy » on a Tee-Vee, OP 4 Star label (#225). Great steel and piano, and call-and-response format. Then in Nashville for the Marty Robbins’ owned Robbins label (# 1005) by the typical hillbilly duet of TOMMY & JOHNNY. They do « I’ll Go On » (#1004), tinkling piano, sawing fiddle and steel -all have their solos, but nothing exceptional!
Nashville on the Bullet label. I couldn’t find any picture of the label (# 706) of « Walking Up Stairs« , by Texan PAUL BLUNT, which, according to Kevin Coffey, could well be the the forerunner of the young Eddie Cochran for « Twenty Flight Rock » six years later. Steel and piano (Blunt was at ease with both) for this fine bopper. Blunt was a renowned session player (Lefty Frizzell, Bill Boyd) since the ’40s and had records on Columbia and Imperial too. Thanks go to Michel Ruppli! Thanks to DrunkenHobo, a faithful visitor, here is the label!
Ohio based AL WINKLER on his own Winkler label (# 45-88) for this « Show Boat Boogie« , along with the Warren County Band. It’s a belter (call-and-response), two guitars, it rolls.
From California and a Tom Sims’ cassette (unable to find a label scan), for a Bluegrass wildie: The GOLDEN STATE BOYS on the Ivory label (same as Tex Holland). Powerful banjo and mandolin. Chorus, then urgent vocal on « Always Dreaming« .
Finally the and only BUFFALO JOHNSON. The name can seem not that familiar. He had a long string of releases on Mercury, Gateway (« T’ain’t Big Enough« , # 520, with Jimmie Ballard on vocal) among others in the late 40s/early 50S. Here he offers a good guitar picking bopper. I still do research on him.
Republic records started when Tennessee left. Bill Beasley had law troubles with Decca Records, who wanted Del Wood masters, and Decca won (but Del Wood went later to RCA). So Beasley started Republic. Billboard (March 1953) announced that “Republic company had to legally acquire the master recordings from the formerly Tennessee label”. By July 1953, there were well over 50 singles on the new label.
Significantly, Republic was launched in August 1952 with a pop singer, Snooky Lanson. This trend continued with Del Wood, Jimmy Sweeney and Pat Boone, but half the Republic catalog remained Country. Beasley transferred such Tennessee stalwarts J.T. Adams, Allen Flatt, Lee Bonds and Sonny Sims to his new label. There were a few new names on Republic like Ted West and Jimmy Simpson. Beasley also continued to record R&B and gospel: Edna Gallmon Cooke, Christine Kittrell, who had hits on their own. Bernard Hardison cut “Too Much”, a hit for Elvis in ’57. Apparently Beasley wrote most of the songs, published by a New York group, under the names of Norris/Beasley/Richards, or Rosenberg, the latter being Lee Rosenberg, Beasley’s secretary.
In June 1953, Alan Bubis connection came to an end. Bubis went to construction, coin machines and liquor stores, far more predictable thanrecord business.
In 1955, Beasley moved Republic to 714 Allison Street, and concluded with Murray Nash (ex-Acuff-Rose and Mercury staffer). Nash engineered most of the Republic sides.
The Republic name and logo was bought in 1957 by Ray Scrivener, and along with Gene Auytry, launched Californian Republic label..
After Republic folded, Dot bought Pat Boone’s contract. Other labels (Chess, Vee-Jay) bought Republic masters. Read the rest of this entry »
Lee Bonds (1924-Present)
By Tony Biggs (thanks Tony: he’s the bass-player of the Rimshots, Gene Gambler & The Shufflers, Bill Fadden & The Rhythmbusters and Ponchartrain)
Lee Bonds was born in Albertville, Alabama on April 22, 1924. At a very young age he became interested in Honky Tonk music and by the age of 18 decided to leave his dad’s farm and head down the musical road. He toured throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida for five years. On his return to Alabama he secured a slot on local Radio station WGWD in his home town city of Gadsen, where he became a regular performer. He joined the ‘Midway Jamboree’ show in 1951 that was relayed by WGWD and became their resident bassman.
Bonds and his band, The Shady Lane Playboys, made their first recording sessions in Nashville during early 1951 for the newly formed Tennessee Records (also based in Nashville).
His style was typically Honky Tonk, but alongside his very rural voice, Bonds incorporated a trumpet into his music giving it a slight bluesy feel. His self-penned ‘Uh-Huh Honey’ was later covered by several artists including Charlie Feathers.
Bonds only saw two releases for the label before Tennessee Records folded under inauspicious circumstances.
Sometime in 1952 he ventured to California and guested for ‘Walkin’ Charlie Aldrich and
Spade Cooley in the summer.
second release Read the rest of this entry »
Howdy folks! Here are my ‘new’ favourite tunes of early this month. As usual I try to give you oddities to illustrate the music, although lacking of inspiration and enthusiasm this time!
Red and Lige, The TURNER BROTHERS, were a duet group from Tennessee. I don’t know if they were related to the more famous brothers, Zeke and Zeb (King and Bullet labels). They offer here a strong Country-boogie with »Honky Tonk Mama » on the Radio Artist label (the one which issued Jimmie Skinner first sides). Circa 1950.
PECK TOUCHTON, a native of Texas, had a solitary release on Sarg (« You’ve Changed Your Tune« ). He also recorded for Pappy Daily’s Starday label, without seeing any issue, following a mixing of label stickers during a car wreck! The whole story was told by Andrew Brown in his excellent site, Wired For Sound. See it here:
Touchton’s record, « Let Me Catch My Breath » was finally issued under the name of George Jones (Starday 160).
Out of Texas or West Louisiana, and at one time associated as a singer with Bill Nettles, DANNY DEDMON had records as early as 1947 on Imperial. Here is his « Hula Hula Woogie« , typical Texas Honky-tonk of the late Forties, with a touch of Western swing. The Rhythm Ramblers were actually Nettles’ band.
George McCormick (he had discs on M-G-M, for example, « Fifty-Fifty Honky Tonkin’ Tonight ») and Earl Aycock teamed as GEORGE & EARL in 1956, and had a string of Rockabilly releases on the Mercury label. I’ve chosen one of their most dynamic sides, « Done Gone« . Nashville musicians behind them. The duet folded shortly afterwards.
Out of Nashville came CLAY EAGER on the Republic label. Although he was a celebrity as D.J. in the St.Louis/St.Paul, MO, area, he had cut this fine « Bobbie Lou » in Nashville. We finish with the wild, rasping young ETTA JAMES on the West Coast. « Tough Lover » is backed by the ubiquitous Maxwell Davis.
Lou (Louis) Millet was born April 1926 in Baton Rouge, La. Read the rest of this entry »
Roy Hall, Pumpin’ and Drinkin’!
James Faye « Roy » Hall was born on May 7, 1922, in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. An old colored man taught him to play piano, and to drink. By the time Roy turned twenty-one, he knew that he was the best drunken piano-player in Big Stone Gap, and armed with the pride and confidence that this knowledge gave him, he departed the town of his birth to seek fame. Roy made it to Bristol and farther, pumping boogie-woogie in every Virginia, Tennessee, or Alabama beer-joint that had a piano. He played those pianos fast and hard and sinful, like that colored man who had taught him back in Big Stone Gap; but he sang like the hillbilly that he was. He organized his own band, Roy Hall and His Cohutta Mountain Boys (Cohutta was part of the Appalachians, in the shadows of whose foothills he had been raised up). It was a five-piece band, with Tommy Odum on lead guitar, Bud White on rhythm guitar, Flash Griner on bass, and Frankie Brumbalough on fiddle. Roy pounded the piano and did most of the singing; but everybody else in the band sang too. Read the rest of this entry »
Jimmy Simpson : Ramblin’ Blues (reprint of A.J. Nightingale’s article in RSJ 7, 1984)
Many people regard the state of Tennessee as the cradle of Country music and I suppose that it was only appropriate that one of the finest hillbilly singers of the Fifties, JIMMY (J.D.) SIMPSON have been born in the state, at Sullivan Hollow, Ashland City, some twenty odd miles from Nashville on 24th March, 1928. His father, it seems, owned the Simpson Construction Co. « My parents were hard-working, honest, and religious people », Jimmy recalls in his book A Vanishing Breed. « This was the Depression era and we learned early in life to cope with hard times. We didn’t have a radio, but an old wind-up Victrola that played 78 rpm records, and that’s was our entertainment. »
A big man, six feet tall, Jimmy had definite stage presence and a gift of gab that enabled him to enjoy a side-career as a disc-jockey for most of the fifties and early sixties. His records were released on an array of small labels that continue to fascinate collectors – Republic, Hidus, Jiffy, Big State, Caprock, and his own Sourdough – but included a brief run with Starday as well. Along the way he managed to get in appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, the Louisiana Hayride, and the Big ‘D’ Jamboree, with a wide array of country music characters, musicians, songwriters and disc jockeys : Jim Denny, Jack Rhodes, Harlan Howard, Slim Willet, Hank Harral, Tillman Franks, Willie Nelson, and Don Pierce, to name a few. Read the rest of this entry »
Though highly revered within hillbilly and rockabilly circles, the name of Lattie Moore is practically unknown outside auction lists. Even there’s a tad mysterious, Eddie Bond’s « Juke Joint Johnnie », Jerry Reed’s « If The Good Lord’s Willing » and George Jones’ « Out Of Control » have been reissued on CD but they were probably more familiar than Lattie’s versions even before they were readily available. Yet, arguably, Lattie’s records are more rewarding. His experience-laced vocals have far more expression than Jerry Reed’s or the affectless Eddie Bond and the countrypolitan elements which often diluted George Jone’s 60’s music are almost entirely absent.
Lattie’s voice is absolutely perfect in a coarse, grainy, ragged sort of way and there’s the odd device like a half yodel when he sings about doleful effects of drink. Country traditionalists go for the light, twangy vocals on hillbilly songs like « Don’t Trade The Old For The New ». Rockabilly enthusiasts bid big bucks for Lattie’s very scarce records on Arc and Starday. Lattie, however, admits to singing about drink more than anything else. Read the rest of this entry »
First we have a boogie by Dick Lewis (Imperial, Los Angeles, 1947) « Beale Street Boogie » – Is this about Memphis’ most famous alley? Let’s stay in Memphis with Ernie Chaffin for a strong Country-rock on Sun records, « Laughin’ and Jokin’ » (Pee Wee Maddux on steel). Then to Nashville with Dick Stratton, a 1951 romper, « Fat Gal Boogie »(Nashboro label). From Florida comes Joe Asher « Photograph Of You » (DeLuxe label) – I dig interplay between fiddle and steel. Then on to Texas, Jimmy Heap’s « That’s That » (Imperial, 1949) energic & never reissued! We come to an end with the York Brothers and their « Monday Morning Blues »; Hope you enjoy, and post your comments if any…