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Starday custom 626-650 (April-July 1957), part 6 of this serie
fév 9th, 2012 by xavier

STARDAY RECORDS 626                                BILLIE and GORDON HAMRICK with the Low County Gospel Band April 1957

45-626-A – Gonna See My Lord Someday626A (Starday) billie & gordon hamrick gonna see my lord someday

(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)

45-626-B – Jesus Is The Name

(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)

Another slice of Gospel heaven from the talented Billie & Gordon Hamrick.

A side is a torrid Blue Grass / Gospel number with nice harmonies. Very nice banjo solos, accompanied by a fiddle player. B side is slower with a Dobro more to the fore. Perhaps this is my favourite 45 by the artists so far. Almost makes me want to go to church! (except, in England, we’d have no music like this being performed.)

STARDAY RECORDS 627                                BOB and CINDY DEAN627-A (starday) Bob & cindy dean I'm knocking at the door

May 1957

45-627-A – I’m Knocking On The Door (To Your Heart)

(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)

45-627-B – One Life To Live

(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)

I never managed to get the Cattle LP (#87) entitled « The Sweethearts Of The Air Sing Hillbilly Music », so if there’s any sleeve notes, I’ve obviously missed them. The duo appeared on the fliside of a KAY EP, with the other side being two great mumbling rockers from Link Wray.

A side of this disc is a fast hillbilly number with threads of bluegrass influence (probably because of the banjo solo). Nice harmonies from Bob and Cindy. B side is much slower and again has nice harmonies from the duo.

They’ll appear later in this series (Starday 688) (MC)

Bob and Cindy Dean were a popular Country and Western team who were based in Elkton, VA and made some stunning records throughout their musical career. Bob was born on the 26th October 1919 in Elkton (Cindy Morris was born December 24th 1924).

Bob’s musical career started in 1956/7 after he found a lead guitar picker, Leon Baxter, with whom he formed a band. Their first job was just a plain beer joint in NW Washington, DC, where they picked their music three nights a week. Through their popular live performances, Bob got a recording deal with DC Records. He remembered that in Virginia there was a good fiddle player, so he got in touch with him and talked over their would-be music venture. His name was Hank Dean and he also sang tenor. (Hank was no relation to Bob). Bob hired Hank and along with Leon, the three of them recorded “Maple On The Hill” and “I’m Sheddin’ Tears Over You” on DC 8049. The sessions took place at the Paragon Studios in Washington, DC.

DC Records were interested in releasing two more sides, as 8049 was selling well locally, thanks in part to Connie B Gay’s radio program “Town And Country Time”, and Bob’s personal appearances. Their next recordings were “Back To Old Smoky Mountain” and “I’ll take Her From The Valley” (DC 4101). By this time, Bob was opening up for acts at the Constitution Hall for Connie, being followed by the likes of T. Texas Tyler and the Sons Of The Pioneers.

627-B (Starday) bob & cindy dean One life to live

In 1948, after the death of his father, Bob (and Cindy, who was his wife – the sleeve notes don’t mention how they met) moved to McGaheysville, VA to be with his mother. Bob worked for a while at a chemical plant, but once he was laid off, he decided to get into the music business full time. By now, Cindy was singing along side him. They formed a new band featuring his old school friend Eddie Michael on fiddle and Cindy learned how to play the stand-up bass. Carroll Ray was on electric guitar.

By 1955, Bob and Cindy Dean were winning first prize on a Connie B Gay show with a song entitled “Walk, Walk, Walking Blues”. This track, along with “When You Cross Your Heart” were eventually issued on Ben Aldeman’s KAY label from Washington, DC, with the flip side of the EP being taken up by two manic vocal recordings from Link Wray (“I Sez Baby” / “Johnny Bon Bonny”). According to the sleeve notes, these tracks were recorded in 1955.

How Bob and Cindy found themselves on Starday is a bit of a mystery as it’s not really explained in the sleeve notes. According to the session details listed on the LP, these were recorded in 1958 and their next Starday release (#688) was recorded in December 57. It mentions that a Frank Merica was on banjo at the session and Carroll Ray was still on guitar.

WILLIE NELSON RECORDS 628 WILLIE NELSON628-A 'Willie nelson) willie nelson no place for me628-B (willie nelson) willie nelson lumberjack

Vancouver, WA May 1957

45-628-A – No Place For Me

(Willie Nelson)   (Starrite BMI)

45-628-B – Lumberjack

(Leon Payne)   (Hill and Range BMI)

Willie Nelson was born 30th April 1933 and is by far, one of the most well known artists to cut a disc for the Starday Custom series. After studying music at home, he joined the Bohemian Fiddlers as their singer and guitar player. After graduating from high School in 1950, he joined the Air Force where he was eventually discharged for having back problems. After stints as a musician (he played bass for Ray Price) and as a DJ, he signed a contract with Pamper Music as a songwriter. He wrote some of the best known country classics, such as « Funny How Times Slips Away« , « Hello Walls« , and « Crazy« .

But back to this little gem. Both sides are dominated by an acoustic guitar (presumably by the man himself) and the vocals have a fair slab of echo added to it, giving it a slight haunting feel. There is a steel guitar nestled in the background – well, almost in the next room to be honest. The flip is okay; a nicely sung cover of a Leon Payne song. But it’s the A side that really sticks out.

FAITH RECORDS 629 THE RELATIVE QUARTET

Conover, NC May 1957629-A (faith) the relative quartet A home for my soul

45-629-A – A Home For My Soul

(J Q Deal Jr. / Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)

45-629-B – Heavenly City

(Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)

Lovely far-back-in-the-hills Gospel from what sounds like a white quartet. I can only hear an accoustic guitar being played, no other instruments and no solos. No personnel details, except perhaps the names listed as song writers.

The FAITH label turns up a fair bit later in the series with various addresses. I’ve wondered if FAITH was the gospel version of the DIXIE label. Can’t be sure.

DALE RECORDS 630                                                    DARNELL MILLER

Bluefield, VA May 1957630-A (Dale) darnell miller waiting game for love630-B (dale) darnellmiller gettin' out of the woods

45-630-A – Waiting Game For Love

(D Miller) (Starrite BMI)

45-630-B – Gettin’ Out Of The Woods

(Cecil Surrat)    (Starrite BMI)

I’m assuming this is the same Darnell Miller who recorded for Starday Records (# 349, « She’s gone/Cardboard Sweetheart », 1958 and « Royal Flush« , # 422, 1960), as they sure sound similar. A side is a slow weeping hillbilly song; probably not one for the memory banks, but Darnell sings with feeling. Flipside is a medium tempo ditty with fine vocals from Darnell, ably backed by some fine fiddle playing.

STARDAY RECORDS 631                                              KEN CLARK and his Merry Mountain Boys

May 1957

631-A(starday) ken clark ho! ho! love 'em Joe631-B (Starday) ken clark quit fool45-631-A – Ho! Ho! Love ‘Em Joe (Clark)   (Starrite BMI)

45-631-B – Quit Fool (Mama’s Lookin’) (Clark)   (Starrite BMI)

Okay, so I know darn all about Clark, except he recorded for Starday main series (« Buckskin Coat/Pretty Love », # 442, 1959), and for the Nashville label (assoc. with Starday) : « Truck Driving Joe » (# 5009).

A side is a nice uptempo number with fiddles, steel guitar, dobro and lead guitar and some lovely Starday sounding echo. Some call it country, some call it Rock-A-Billy. Whatever the musical tag, it’s a lovely record. B side is more country/hillbilly and there’s a little less echo. Another uptempo side and very nice it is too. Cowboy Copas recorded at least one song of Clark’s.

KENTUCKY records 632                                               MAC O’DELL

Garrard, KY                                                        May 1957

45-632-A – It Was Springtime (When I Met You) (Walter Brock) (Starrite, BMI)

45-632-B – When I Was Young (Dewey Brock) (Starrite, BMI)

Untraced. O’Dell recorded prolifically, e.g. on King (« Penicillin »), Intro (« Diesel Smoke ») and Exclusive.

GULF Records 633                                                        TRICE GARNER

Route 4, Tupelo, MS                                            May 1957633-b (gulf) trice garner lover's hill

45-633–A – Tombigbee (Garner) (Starrite, BMI)

45-633-B – Lover’s Hill (Garner) (Starrite, BMI)

Artist already unknown. The A side has yet to be heard. B side is a very fast Bopper, some could say Rock’n'Roll, but it has no drums, only two very effective guitars (no solo). Vocal is very impressive, fine Southern accent, words almost impossible to understand for me, French speaking !

ROBIN Records 634                                                       ZEKE WILSON & the Prairie Playboys

Macon, GA                                                         May 1957

634-A – My Heart Needs A Vacation (F J Beskidniak)(Starrite, BMI)

634-B – I’ve Just Said Goodbye (F J Beskidniak)

Vocal on A side is by Zeke Wilson and Lenn Dries ; on B side, Zeke Wilson solo.

Untraced record.

NIGHTHAWK Records 635 JIMMY STEWART & The Nighthawks

Argo, IL                                                            May 1957

635-A (night hawk) jimmy stewart dream world45-635-A – Dream World (J Stewart) (Starrite, BMI)635B (night Hawk) jimmy stewart nuthin' but a nuthin'

45-635-B – Nuthin’ But A Nuthin’ (J Stewart) (Starrite, BMI)

A side has yet to be heard, while the B side is one of the greatest Rock-a-billies ever comitted to wax. Cool vocal, some growling, a very nice lead guitar and sparse backing of acoustic and bass. Stewart also had another slab of Rock’n'Roll with « Rock On The Moon » in 1959 on the Eko label.

OLD DOMINION RECORDS 636                               SLIM and ORNA BALL

June 1957

45-636-A – Mother’s Prayers (Were Not In Vain) (No info)

45-636-B – When I Get Home (I’m Gonna Be Satisfied) (No info)

STARDAY RECORDS 637                                         MEL PRICE & his Santa Fe Rangers

June 1957

45-637-A – I Miss You So637A (starday) mel price I miss you so637b (starday) mel price midnight whistle blues

(John Suite / Mel Price)   (Starrite BMI)

45-637-B – Midnight Whistle Blues

(Mel Price)   (Starrite BMI)

Mel (or Melvin) Price had only fine records on Blue Hen (« Nothing Seems To Go Right Anymore » and « I Ain’t Got Time« ), regular Starday (#186 and 226, respectively « The Pace That Kills » and « Gonna See My Baby« ), Dixie (« Until » and « Little Dog Blues« ) and Regal (« For You My Love« ). His story is intended for a future issue. The record although here is unheard.

DEL-MAR RECORDS 638                               DELMAR WILLIAMS SINGERS

Dayton, OH                                                          June 1957

638-A – Lonely Tomorrow

(D Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

638-B – I’m Not Angry Now

(D Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

RALPH JOHNSON RECORDS 639                                   RALPH JOHNSON & the Hillbilly Show Boys

Box 4, Minden, WV                                                June 1957

45-639-A – Reality639-b (ralph johnson) ralph johnson henpecked daddyralph johnson

(M Pack) (Starrite BMI)

45-639-B – Henpecked Daddy

(M Pack) (Starrite BMI)

Ralph Johnson was born in the Clinch Mountains of south West Virginia.  He began developing his musical career at the age of six, after receiving his first guitar.  At the age of fifteen, his singing and musical talent had developed enough to enable him to put together his own band.  Ralph and his band auditioned for a radio show in Richlands, VA. They landed the job on WRIC radio.  During this time, his band played schools, halls and theatres in the area.  They later auditioned for a spot on a new TV station in Bluefield, WV.  Some time later, they had earned the privilege of performing two shows on WOAY in Twin Oak Hill, WV.  It was here that he recorded his first record, « Henpecked Daddy« .  After appearing on different radio and TV stations throughout the country, he moved his operation to Baltimore. MD.  While in Baltimore, he launched Wedge Records, Dome Records and Fleet Records.  Along with all of his record labels, he opened his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.  He released all types of music from the Washington and Baltimore areas.  He later moved his operation to Vineland, NJ where he became the co-owner of WDVL Radio.  As a DJ, he played country music five hours a day, every day.  He went on to develop and book country music acts from Nashville, TN into Palentein Park every Sunday.  In 1976, he decided to move to Nashville, TN, where he proceeded to record and promote records on his Wedge Entertainment record label.  He used songs from his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.

MISSOURI RECORDS 640                                        ERNIE NOWLIN and Blue Shadow Boys

5508 Wells Ave, St Louis, MO                           June 1957

E Nowlin45-640-A – Tally Ho640A (missouri) ernie nowlin tally ho

(Nowlin) (Starrite BMI)

45-640-B – Tell Me Why

(Nowlin) (Starrite BMI)

A fine Hillbilly bop, in the average category. Duet vocal at times, a borderline rockabilly with fine inventive guitar on a solid beat (snare drum). Flip unheard.

BLUE GRASS RECORDS 641                                         BOB VARNEY and Stone Mt Boys

31 Pine St, Logan, WV                                         June 1957

45-641-A I Hear You Calling

(No info) (No info)

45-641-B Stoney Mt. Boogie641b (blue grass) bob varney stoney mt. boogie

(B Varney)   (Starrite)

B-side : good boogie guitar instro, fine southern vocalizing from Varney. Whole thing is propelled by a strong rhythm guitar.

STARDAY RECORDS 642                                              BUDDY SHAW

June 1957

45-642-A – Don’t Sweep That Dirt On Me642a (starday) buddy shaw don't sweep that dirt on me

(Ruth Snider / Buddy Shaw) (Starrite BMI)

45-642-B – Second Place

(Ruth Snider / Buddy Shaw) (Starrite BMI)

Fast Hillbilly bop, again bordering on Rockabilly. Welcome tinkling piano (fine solo), urgent lead guitar (two solos). A classic ! Shaw had « No More« , a fine CountryBilly on Starday 618 (see elsewhere in the site for this number)

LINCOLN RECORDS 643                                            CARL TRANTHAM and the Rythm All Stars (sic)

Peoria, IL                                                        June 1957

45-643-A – Where There’s A Will (There’s A Way)643A (lincoln) carl trantham where there's a will

(Trantham)   (Starrite BMI)

45-643-B – After I Go Away

(Trantham)   (Starrite BMI)

A side : Hillbilly bop/rockabilly. This is where Hillbilly boys were doing Rock’n'Roll, nice guitar licks a la Scotty Moore, cool vocal (some hiccups), fine bass, and an almost unheard drum kit. Another classic ! For the B side, the boys return to a more Hillbilly approach, this time with a good steel. Vocal changes too, in a more rural way of phrasing. Again that fine lead guitar. Trantham also had « Deedle Deedle Dum » on Starday 336 (1958), a very fine Country rocker.

CRESTWOOD RECORDS 644                                      MARVIN JACKSON

Box 49 Route 1, Cadet, MO                                 July 1957644A (crestwood) marvin jackson someday you'll be sorry

45-644-A – Someday You’ll Be Sorry

(Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

45-644-B – My Crying Heart

(Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

Unheard record. Jackson had « Gee Whiz, Miz Liz« , a good rocker, on Crestwood 200 (backed by Ozark Toppers). Collector records issued a full CD of Rock’n'Roll sides of his, fine although average rockers.

STARDAY RECORDS 645                                     FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchers

(Artist based in Tampa, FL)                           July 1957

45-645-A – Pull The Shades Down Ma645A (starday) frank evans put the shades down ma

(Jimmy Dunklin)   (Starrite BMI)

45-645-B – Would You Believe Me

(Owen Wilson)   (Starrite BMI)

« Pull The Shades Down Ma » is Fifties country music of the sheerest excellence. « Now this city’s dwellin’ just ain’t cut out for me… » sings Frank in his most exuberant vocal on record and the band lays down an infectious rhythm that complements the lyrics perfectly. The song is reminiscent of the cool stuff Little Jimmy Dickens was cutting at the time: fun, full-blooded country that was uncompromisingly rural sounding.

COWTOWN RECORDS 646                                           GENE RAY

Fort Worth, TX                                                    July 1957

45-646-A – I Didn’t Mean (To Fall In Love)

(No info)

646B (cowtown) gene ray I lost my head45-646-B – I Lost My Head

(Miller)

B side is a fine shuffling Hillbilly with stop-starts, steel, guitar (uninspired solo) and fiddle. Singer is in fine voice however. Ray had an EP on Cowtown 677 (moreover in the serie) with « Rock’n'Roll Fever ».

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 647 (UNKNOWN ARTIST)

July 1957

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 648 (UNKNOWN ARTIST)

July 19 57

KHOURY’S RECORDS 649                                     NATHAN ABSHIRE and his Pine Grove Boys

Lake Charles, LA                                           July 1957

45-649-A – Boora Rhumba

(None)   (None)

45-649-B – Carolina Blues649A (khoury's) nathan abshire boora rhumba649B (khoury's) nathan abshire carolina blues

(None)   (None)

Unheard record.

STARDAY RECORDS 650                                       CLARENCE BAKER

July 1957

650-? – Hear My Plea

(No info)   (No info)

650-? – Soon I’ll Hear My Saviour Calling

(No info)   (No info)

Unheard record.

As usual for these series, many details do come from Malcolm Chapman’s site devoted to Starday Customs. This time, label pictures were easier to find than music: actually this serie does not contain, but exceptions, rockabilly classics, so many records escaped to reissue programs. Note a good percentage of sacred recordings.

early December 2011 fortnight’s favourites
déc 1st, 2011 by xavier

Hello folks! This is the new serie of mostly obscure Hillbilly bop and/or late ’50s Country-rockers. About the majority of the artists, they disappeared into obscurity without leaving any trace, just after the release of their record. Anyway, most important is the music they left behind them, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I chose the tunes.

We’re beginning with LEE NICHOLS on the Allied label for a nice shuffling Hllbilly bop from 1954, « Baby, You’ve Got Everything » (# 5016). Just where Nichols came from or even label’s location I have been unable to find any snippet. To add a little more confusion, the name Allied must have been pretty common for, I bet, a Southern record label.

allied 5012 lee nichols baby you've got everythingA less unknown artist was LUCKY BOGGS. I don’t know exactly where he came from, but it seems, from the spare details I’ve got on him, that he very often traveled through the U.S., from Ohio to Texas, then Georgia and Texas to Michigan. Here, taken from hillbilly-music.com, his biography:

When he was just 16, Lucky Boggs began his professional musical career in 1946, working with a band called the Rhythm Rascals over WPAY out of Portsmouth, Ohio. From there, he moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1947. In 1948, he was working with Chess Davis’ Chicago Follies and touring throughout the south. Later, he moved to Saginaw, Michigan and to radio station WKNX, playing with Don Boots’ band. In 1949, he was playing with Chuck Bridges’ Ohio Playboys over WHTN in Huntington, West Virginia. and later at KRIC in Beaumont, Texas. Lucky then formed his own band and became a member of the staff at WSAZ-TV in Huntington, West Virginia then moved to WNXT in Portsmouth, Ohio again. February of 1956 saw him sign a three year record contract with Buddy Record Corporation in Marshall, Texas. They said his first single included « Once I Went To Town » b/w « Tears In My Heart« , that was released in April of 1956. In that same month, Lucky rejoined WSAZ-TV in Huntington and was the vocalist with Dean Porter and the Country Rhythm Boys and was also on the Saturday Nite Jamboree show. Note that Buddy records saw also first Tommy Blake release (« Kool It », a crude Rockabilly), same guy was later to cut marvelous Rock’nRollers for Sun in Memphis.

lucky boggs pic

Lucky Boggs

Here I am offering his great shuffler from 1959, « Drillin’ Rig Boogie » (label unknown).

Next artist is now more well-known than during his short life (he died at the early age of 26). IRY LEJEUNE was  born 1928 in a modest sharecropping farm near Church Point, La. Unable to work in fields because of a bad sight, he began at an early age playing accordion, and made his life’s earnings entertaining for local sharecroppers in his area. WWII years were tough, as work was missing, all the troopers being gone. When they returned, they were angry to hear their own Cajun music, and Iry LeJeune was ready to satisfy them. This induced him to record in 1948, along with the fiddler Floyd LeBlanc, « Evangeline Special« , a loud, heavy piece of Cajun  accordion-led hillbilly, on Opera 105, in Houston, Texas (backing provided by Virgel Bozman’s Oklahoma Tornadoes). His career was well on its way. Alas, on October 1955, he was killed upon returning from a gig; in Eddie Shuler‘s own words: « They had a flat where they were widening the highway and they couldn’t pull off. They were trying to change the tire when a guy came along going about 90 MPH. He hit him (LeJeune) and knocked him into a field. That was the end of Iry. »

opera 105b iry lejeune evangeline specialiry lejeuneThe name of HARMONICA FRANK is indeed familiar to many ’50s music lovers. Born 1908, he toured extensively with the last medicine shows during the ’30s, and set up a sort of one-man show, singing, playing guitar and blowing harmonica, all at the same time! He recorded first in 1951 for Sam Phillips, who leased tapes to Chess in Chicago, because he sounded black. « Howlin’ Tomcat » (Chess # 1494), cut December 1951 (just 60 years ago) is a nice piece of folk-blues. Floyd had a fine voice, and his growlings are very convincing. Phillips used to call him « his favorite son« , and actually hired Elvis 3 years later in seach of a new Frank Floyd.

chess1494A Howlin' tomcatharmica frank

log cabin 6171 Hoyt StevensFrom Madisonville, TN, comes the completely unknown (to me, at least) HOYT STEVENS on the obscure Log Cabin label, for the good Rockabilly  »55 Chevy » (# 617). A lot, thousands, dozens of thousands of those artists were to record a one-off record at the turn of mid ’50s, then disappeared; and someone very often finds a gold nugget – thanks to internet, the collectors do offer now very freely their finds.

starday 341 nelson young sunriseFinally, NELSON YOUNG is a relatively well-known artist, whose career was concentrated in the Cincinnati, OH area. He had in late 1957 the famous « Rock Old Sputnick » out on the Lucky label. In 1958, he offered us a more Hillbilly bop tune, although Bluegrass flavored, on Starday 341, with « Sunrise« .

That’s all, folks, for this time! Enjoy the selections, and, as usual, comments welcome. Bye-bye

The pictures below (Iry LeJeune with Virgel Bozman‘s band in 1947) couldn’t find their room at the right place:

iry lejeune+nathan

Iry Lejeune & Nathan Abshire

iry lejeune+virgel bozman band, 1947

early July 2010 fortnight
juil 1st, 2010 by xavier

Hello folks, here I am again, back in wonderful Vallée du Rhône (where I lived for more than 40 years): Roman monuments, wines, goat cheeses, near Lyon, the second city of France (rivalling Marseille). Here in Vienne we have one of the foremost Jazz Festivals all around Europe (1rst fortnight of July), held in a marvelous Roman theater (fantastic acoustic!). Among all artists will be this year Joe Cocker – he’s not a Hillbilly yet, you know, but one of the truly Soulful artists ever. The show is booked…

All my records are still in boxes, and the library has yet to be set up, later this Summer. So this early July fortnite will be made up of tunes stored on my Macintosch for accidental use like this one. No label pictures, no spare time left to research in my files, only the music. After all, it’s only music we all love that got importance, isn’t?

Here we go.First from Indiana (Ruby label) comes WALTER SCOTT and the fine Hillbilly bop « I’m Walkin’ Out » (1956) complete with swirling fiddles and steel-guitar. Then to Texas, I think (I may be wrong!), with the great HYLO BROWN, whose career was firmly dept in Bluegrass but flirted with Hillbilly at times. I’ve chosen his 1951 rendition of « Lonesome Road Blues » (Four Star). Down in Louisiana, here comes the Pope of Cajun accordion, NATHAN ABSHIRE and one of his first records (although he had already recorded in 1939) under his name, the fine instrumental « Lu Lu Boogie » (Khoury’s label, 1947). On to Nashville, and JIMMY MARTIN, one of the founding members of the Bluegrass style (he’s been once guitar player for Bill Monroe). The song herein is Bluegrass, indeed, but Jimmy has hiccups in his voice…that predate (in my mind anyway) Rockabilly! « Hop, Skip and Wobble » (Decca) Complete with fiddle, banjo, string-bass. Back to the real roots of Hillbilly of the Thirties: (Tom) DARBY & (Jimmy) TARLTON – the haunting « Sweet Sarah Blues » (may be from 1928? 1931? I cannot verify at the moment). Great, strange vocal, and wild dobro.

We finished with two very different tunes, separated by at least 50 years. BIG MACEO (Merryweather) was a fine piano player and intimate vocalist of Chicago in the early 40s. Hear his « I Got The Blues » (backed by Tampa Red on the fluid electric guitar). Then MAURA O’CONNELL (late 1990′s) and the beautiful (both melody and lyrics) « It’s A Beautiful Day ». Enjoy, folks!

Nathan Abshire, « pope » of Cajun accordion
août 9th, 2009 by xavier

NATHAN ABSHIRE

 

abshire_n Read the rest of this entry »

Hillbilly Boogie!
mar 18th, 2009 by xavier

HILLBILLY BOOGIE !

Essential component of Rock’n’Roll, this Country stream goes as far as the 30’s. Following the Boogie Woogie wave (1928, Pinetop Smith), everyone includes a boogie in his repertoire : swing big bands (Count Basie : « Basie boogie »), western swing orchestras (Spade Cooley : »Three way boogie », or smaller combos – Country (Tennessee Ernie Ford : « Shot gun boogie », 1951) or Blues (Amos Milburn : « Amo’s Boogie », 1946 – one of thousand artists). And the phenomenon will last a good twenty years. Fast tempo is good for dancers, as in « Hillbilly Boogie » (Jerry Irby, 1949 –Pete Burke at the piano).

Piano style was transposed to

- guitar (Arthur Smith, « Guitar Boogie », 1945),

- harmonica (The Milo Twins, « Truck Driver’s boogie », 1949),

- mandolin (The Armstrong Twins, « Mandolin Boogie », 1949),

- violin (Curley Williams, « Fiddlin’ Boogie », 1949),

- steel-guitar (Speedy West, « Stratosphere Booie », 1954),

- accordion (Nathan Abshire, « Lu Lu Boogie », 1947),

- banjo (The McCormick Brothers, « Red Hen Boogie », 1954),

- vocal too of course (Wesley Tuttle, «Yodelin’ Boogie », 1949).

pee-wee-king

You can recognize a Hillbilly boogie by the presence of a powerful stand-up bass, often slapped : you can hear here the monumental « Bull Fiddle Boogie » by PeeWee King (Redd Stewart on vocal)(1949).

Numerous other instruments can be found in hillbilly boogie such as saxophone, muted trumpet or clarinet.

donnie-bowshier-tight-shoe-boogiebobby-soots-boogie-woogie-blues
hardrockmy-honky-tonk-baby
milo-twins-truck-drivers-boogie

And until now I’d only speak of titles including « boogie » ! There were thousands others on this tempo, not always fast, but « uptempo ». Finally it became the standard in hillbilly music, what we call now Hillbilly Bop. One example between hundred is  Downie Bowshier’s « Tight Shoe Boogie » (King, 1953). The song complains about shoes too tight to dance to the bop. It is doubly ironic, since Bowshier was confined to a wheel chair.

Recommended listening :

We are well treated these times, because there is a plethora of compilations.

- « Country boogie 1939-1947 » (Frémeaux et associés 161) – 36 classic recordings just before and after WWII, from « Oakie Boogie » (Jack Guthrie) to « Square Dance boogie » (Johnny Lee Wills), to « Saturday night boogie » (Al Dexter). A good choice from Gérard Herzaft, the famous compiler.

- « Hillbilly Bop, Boogie & The Honky Tonk », a serie of 3 double-CDs from Jasmine (UK) at bargain price. Buy in confidence, you won’t be sorry !hillbilly-bop-jasmine

- « Hillbilly Boogie » Proper (UK) boxset (4 CD). 100 tunes for £ 10.99. All the greats are here.

- « King Hillbilly Bop’n’Boogie » (UK Ace 854) does concentrate on one of the genre’s best postwar labels. Many uncommon tracks.

king-hillbilly-bop-Hillbilly Boogie » (Columbia Legacy 53940) – 20 essential tracks (1990)  hillbilly-boogie-cd

- If you are looking for something else, try to find (remoted from current catalog) « A Shot In The Dark – Tennessee Jive », a 7-CD Bear Family boxset devoted to Nashville’s small labels from 1945 to 1955.

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Nathan Abshire
mar 6th, 2009 by xavier

 

NATHAN ABSHIREabshire_n

 

         He was, after Iry LeJeune, too soon deceased (in 1955), the pope of traditional Cajun accordion, and, today, he remains a reference for numerous artists such as Jo-El Sonnier or, even more recently, Wilson Savoy, lead accordionist for the Pine Leaf Boys. He held a dominating position in the 70’s during the big revival of Cajun music, due to his very long association with the Balfa Brothers (Dewey, Rodney and Will). His most-widely known track, « Pine grove blues », first put on wax in 1949, and re-recorded several times later on, was a big regional hit, and even made a mark on people such as Steve Cropper and on the debuts of Memphis soul music : « Last night » by the Markeys is directly inspired from it. Read the rest of this entry »

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