I got a rocket in my pocket Warning: I am trying a new way of setting the podcasts up, but encountering some problems. Sorry for inconvenience!
There were several country singers who cut rock’n'roll records pseudonymously in the mid-to-late ’50s. There was George Jones who barely disguised himself as ‘Thumper’ Jones, Webb Pierce who tried it on as ‘Shady Wall’ (« The new raunchy » on Decca 30539), Buck Owens who was ‘Corky Jones’ for a while on Pep…and a few more. It was a ploy that never really worked in a commercial sense, so no one had to figure out what they would do if they actually had a hit under the new name. The one who looked likeliest to score big under a pseudonym was Jimmie Logsdon, who recorded some wholly convincing rock’n'roll as ‘Jimmie Lloyd’. His rock’n'roll records were a better class because, like Elvis and Carl Perkins, he had a natural feel for the rhythm’n'blues that underpinned the music.It was although not a new tune for him, as he sounded good, as pretty good as earlier a hillbilly singer too. The son of a preacher man, Jimmie Logsdon was born on April 1, 1922, in Panther, Carroll County, Kentucky (he would be 91 today). Music, for the first fifteen years of Jimmie’s life, was gospel music. He and his sister sang in the choir. They put on shows and entered amateur contests. Then, when the family lived in southeastern Kentucky, Jimmie heard blues singers and secular country music at ice cream socials and weinie roasts. Later, he latched onto R&B, and especially remembered Erskine Hawkins’ « After hours » as a record that made a deep impression on him. Glen Miller, Gerschwin and the popular music of the day also had an impact, but not as much as blues and country. His record collection did range « from Mahalia Jackson to Jimmy Reed to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee to Frank Sinatra to…whatever. »
Carroll Cty, Ky
In 1940, Jimmie graduated from high school in Ludlow, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati, and in the fall of that year he married his first wife. He started working for Schuster & Schuster in Cincinnati installing public addresses, then selling appliances. In 1944 he went to war in the Air Corps, but never got further than technical training school in Madison, Wisconsin and an air base near San Antonio where he repaired the wiring on B-17s. Down in Texas, he heard Ernest Tubb and the other Texas honky tonk singers. Out of the service, Logsdon started a radio shop in La Grange, Kentucky, 25 miles northeast of Louisville on the Cincinnati highway. He picked up records to re-sell, and, after two years, decided tat he would take a stab at the music business. After borrowing other people’s guitars for a while, he finally bought one. He learned a few basic chords, then cut some demos on an old recording machine he had in the radio shop. « I went to WLOU in Louisville in 1950,» says Jimmie, « and I asked for the leader of the country band that performed on the station. He listened to my acetates and introduced me to the announcer, and they asked me to sing with the band. » The band was led by Howard Whited, a blind guitarist, who later led Jimmie’s band. After a year of no pay but plenty of exposure on WLOU, Jimmie switched to WINN, playing the honky tonks around Louisville. With the help of Art Rhoades, a furniture store owner in La Grange, and three hundred dollars, Jimmie cut his first record at the E.T. Herzog studio in Cincinnati (where Hank Williams had cut « Lovesick blues » a couple of years earlier) and issued 5 hundred copies of the Harvest label, mostly sent to D. J.s. class= »alignleft wp-image-9721″ alt= »harvest401B jimmie logsdon it’s all over now det » src= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/harvest401B-jimmie-logsdon-its-all-over-now-det.jpg » width= »256″ height= »256″ /> It’s all over (Harvest)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/harvest-Its-all-over1.mp3Download Hank Williams introduced Logsdon for an appearance at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium in 1951, and told him he’d talk to someone down in Nashville for him. It was also around this time that he hooked with songwriter Vic McAlpin, who secured him several months later a contract with Decca, which lasted a good one year and a half, from October 1952 to February 1954, and 5 sessions resulting in 17 songs, nearly all issued at the time. McAlpin became Jimmie’s agent. One must mention a point: when other people were slowing up the tempo and did ballads, Logsdon cut bluesy things, like « You ain’t nothing but the blues« , « These lonesome blues« , or later (Dot) « Midnight blues » and « Folsom prison blues » (Jimmie Logsdon Sings 1004). First Decca session featured acoustic guitar breaks, something of an anomaly on country records at that time, and probably an idea of Owen Bradley, who A&R’d Jimmie’s sessions. « I wanna be mama’d » was issued in early December 1952. http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28502-mamad.mp3Download Then Hank Williams died, and Jimmie decided to put his feelings into a song he wrote :mg Hank Williams sings the blues no more http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28584-HW-blues1.mp3Download The death of Hank Williams http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28584-death-HW.mp3Download « Hank Williams sings the blues no more », because most of all Logsdon idolized Williams and considered him the ultimate in country and a blues singer. The song was issued with a cover version of Jack Cardwell’s « The death of Hank Williams » ; Logsdon began to edge his sound a little closer to Hank’s. It was evident during the next session in August 1953, backed by the Drifting Cowboys themselves. Best songs were « Where the old Red River flows » (often sung by Williams on radio shows), an old Jimmie Davis song Paul Cohen, Decca A&R man, wanted Logsdon to record. Alas, Logsdon could not yodel like Hank. Where the old red river flows http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28864-river.mp3Download two pop hits tunes of the day he turned into very nice country boppers : « Papaya mama » and « In the mission of St. Augustine ». The last Decca session didn’t produce the breakthrough single and Cohen dropped Logsdon, who was still on radio and playing clubs around Louisville before getting a year later another contract on Dot. Pa-paya mama http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28913-pa-paya-mama.mp3Download Midnight boogie http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-29075-midnight1.mp3Download Again Vic McAlpin landed the deal with a label less and less committed to country (and increasing with Pat Boone and the Hilltoppers). Jimmie brought his own band from Kentucky. « Midnight blues » (# 1274) showed he was still on his Hank Williams kick. « Cold, cold rain » had an hiccupy vocal that seemed to predate Buddy Holly. The single went nowhere. Jimmie got another one-off on Starday though, thanks to Jimmie Skinner. The songs « No longer do I cry » and « I can’t make up my mind » were recorded in April 1956 in the bedroom of Jimmie’s fiddle player Lonnie Peerce. Logsdon wanted a Johnny & Jack Latin percussive sound so Peerce filled up a baby bottle warmer with beans and shook it. Pappy Daily, whom Skinner introduced Logsdon to, issued 500 copies, which they sold off the bandstand and used to promote the band. Cold, cold rain http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dot-1274-cold-rain.mp3Download Midnight blues http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dot-1274-midnight-blues.mp3Download Can’t make up my mind http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Starday-286-can_t-make-up-my-mind.mp3Download In 1956, Jimmie left WKLO for health reasons. After recovering, he was back in business, and Vic McAlpin secured him a deal with Roulette and its short-lived country serie. Logsdon had got the idea for « Rio de Rosa » when he was down in San Antonio during the War. He gave a half-share of the song to McAlpin in exchange for the Roulette deal and working up the arrangement. He told « I wrote the song in 1951 with Moon Mullican in mind ». « « Where the Rio de Rosa flows » (7001) was a big hit in several markets, including Memphis where Carl Perkins obviously heard it because he covered it on his first Columbia album a few months later. Jimmie was brought down to appear on Wink Martindale’s TV show. « We went in, and Wink was on the air. He looked at me and turned white. He put a record on, shut down the microphone, and he said, ‘I thought you were black. I’ve got you a room at the black hotel here.‘ Broke me up. » Another promotional foray took Logsdon and McAlpin to the Louisiana Hayride. On the way back, they wrote « I got a rocket in my pocket » (Roulette 4068) . « It was just a nonsense thing », he says. It was a joint decision of Jimmie and McAlpin to issue the Roulette records under the pseudonym ‘Jimmie Lloyd’, because of the loyalty of country fans, and the way Jimmy sang so differently. Where the Rio da Rosa flows (Roulette 7001) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/roulette-7001-rio-.mp3Download Roulette dropped Jimmie after the second single. He realized that, at 35, he was too old to rock’n'roll. It took another five years before he went back into the recording studio, for King Records (one album, « Howdy neighbors » LP 843, and some singles). He was dee-jaying from 1962 to 1964 on 50,000 watt WCKY in Cincinnati, then for the next decade, as he had always done, moving from one to another station. He launched his own record label Jimmie Logsdon Sings in 1962, cutting no less than 23 songs, some religious, on 6-tracks EPs. In 1963 he went to Rem Records, for an EP of Hank Williams’ songs. Finally he cut a Jewel album (83021) in 1981 with old compere Rusty York (« Now and then, I think of the 50s ») comprising standards of his or others. Particularly good are his renditions of his unissued-in-the-’50s-Decca-recording of « One way ticket to nowhere » (really bluesy), Slim Harpo’s « Rainin’ in my heart« , and the traditional « Midnight special« . Less interesting were his versions of Bill Monroe’s « Rocky road blues » or the traditional « Match box blues« . Nevertheless a nicely backed (piano, harmonica) album. Already a collector’s item in Europe. Making believe (King 5827) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/King-5827B-jimmy-logsdon-Making-Believe.mp3Download Truck drivin’ daddy (King 5795) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/B3-Jimmy-Logsdon-Truck-Drivin-Daddy.mp3Download When God comes and gathers his jewels (JLS 1002B) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/jimmie-logsdon-When-God-comes1.mp3Download One way ticket to nowhere (Jewel LP) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/14-One-Way-Ticket-To-Nowhere1.mp3Download Trouble in mind (Clark Country 1031) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/clark-ctry-1031-jimmy-logsdon-trouble-in-mind.mp3Download
note « JimmY » on King
« Logsdon died Sunday October 7, 2001 at his daughter’s home in Louisville, Ky. », reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. He was 79. The cause of his death was not given. From the notes of Colin Escott to Bear Family CD « I got a rocket in my pocket » (1993). Label scans mostly from Anthony Biggs. Thanks Tony! Also Pierre Monnery for the loan of Rem sides scan.
Very little is known about this Texas artist, except the information on labels and two comments after his solitary 1952-53 issue as published by Andrew Brown’s « wired-for-sound.blogspot » site.
« Ramblin’ Fool » is a Gold Star pressing, dating from around 1952-53. Glen Barber, whose band provides the music here, was probably still a student at Pasadena High School when he cut this. The steel guitarist is « Dusty » Carroll, and the fiddler is Charlie Frost. Musically, this is far from great, but hey, it’s a group of teen-agers. Cut them some slack. Flipside « Let me show us how » is an uptempo weeper. Young Glen Barber is invited to do his (very tame) solo.
In 1956 for a label of the same name (Premium 344), Bashful Vic Thomas (note his entire name) had « Rock and roll tonight« , a prime example of a country band thinking that they could jump on the rock and roll bandwagon by simply writing a song that had the words « rock and roll » in the lyrics — leaving the steel and fiddle intact. I suspect that teenagers at the time weren’t impressed, but the honky-tonkers probably thought they were being « hip » by dancing to it. Flipside is Hank Williams‘ « You’re gonna change (or I’m gonna leave », well done and very fast in the Thomas manner – copyrights go to Thomas. Actually « You’re gonna change » sound like an entirely new song and I wonder if Thomas only got the tune’s title from Hank.
Bashful Vic lived up to his name — I’ve never heard anyone on the Houston ’50s scene mention him at all. After re-cutting « Ramblin’ Fool » for Applause, an Omaha, Nebraska label in 1960, he disappears from the vinyl map completely except for the Memory 45. Flipside of the Applause 45 was a modern and energetic (for the times being) revamp of his 1956 « You’re gonna change« .
The Memory 45 is from 1961, and originate from Chula Vista, California, a fact which indicate Vic Thomas was a well traveled artist. It’s a Starday custom double sider of lovely but forgettable country ballads, « A fool in love » and « I wonder« . Thanks to Allan Turner to have provided the label scans as well as sound files. Vic Thomas later in his life moved to Florida and eventually was committed to an asylum for his depression. Originally from New York City, Vic was attracted to the sweet sounds of West Texas troubadors and aspired to be one himself.
It is almost certain that the Vic Thomas of « Marianne » fame, a white doo-wop song from 1963-64 on Philips, is a completely different artist.
Notes and sources: Boppin’ hillbilly Vol. 2002 and 2022 for short snippets on Vic Thomas. Comments on Premium 101 « Ramblin’ fool » on Andrew Brown’s « Wired-for-sound » bloodspot. Thanks to Allan Turner for providing rare scans and sound files. Music and scans of Applause from somelocalloser bloodspot (2013).
Douglas Clifton Bragg was born on April 13, 1928, in the small East Texas town of Gilmer. He was among four children born to Bonnie and James Claudie Bragg. He attended Gilmer public schools and developed an interest in music during his teen years. He started performing in and around Tyler during the late 1940′s. His first marriage produced five children, all of whom were boys. By the early 1950′s Doug was appearing on the Big « D » Jamboree and working days as a meat cutter. Read the rest of this entry »
Howdy folks! This is maybe the last fortnight I’ll be posting before mid-February, as I am moving; so all CDs and material are stored. ’till then, another batch of goodies.
Who came first? I’d assume JOHNNY BOND, who penned « Drink Up And Go Home » along with Joe Maphis – whose version was untraceable. Instead I found 1955-56 FREDDIE HART‘s, the demo by CARL PERKINS (cut 1957, with brother Jay B. on duet vocal, unissued until the ’80s), then a ’60s version by the Human Jukebox, SLEEPY LA BEFF. Hear them 3 versions, whose I include the lyrics below of.
You sit there a-crying, crying in your beer
You say you’ve got troubles, my friend listen here
Don’t tell me your troubles got enough of my own
Be thankful you’re living, drink up and go home
I’m fresh out of prison, six years in the pen
Lost my wife and family, no one to call friend
Don’t tell me your troubles, got enough of my own
Be thankful you’re living, drink up and go home
Back there sets a blind man, so blind he can’t see
Yet he’s not complaining, why should you or me?
Don’t tell me your troubles, got enough of my own
Be thankful you’re living, drink up and go home
Then we go to a certain HAROLD ZAHNER, backed by Johnny Smith and the Missouri Two, on the Missouri Smith label, who offers a good version of « Shake Baby Shake« . Is this the Rock’n'Roll classic (Johnny O’Keefe, Jesse Lee Turner or the Killer), I don’t know. Full of rural energy anyhow. BILL CHAMBERS do come with the good « She’s Treatin’ Me Bad » on the Sun-Nell label (a RCA custom pressing of 1958), and we come to an end with VIRGEL BOZMAN (also BOZEMAN) for the fine little classic « Blues For Oklahoma » on his own O.T. label (# 109).
This O.T. label was originally based in Westlake, a small town on Highway 10 in the Southwestern corner of Louisiana. The initials O.T. stood for Oklahoma Tornadoes, a group run by Virgel that had recorded for Bill Quinn’s Gold Star label. Among the members of this short lived, but important band, were Bennie Hess, and Cajun fiddler extraordinaire Floyd Le Blanc. . His brother, Harmon recorded Rockabilly on the Texas Sarg label. Another Bozman O.T. release, when the label was relocated to San Antonio, is the fine, more Western Swing in style, « Troubles, Troubles » (# 113), backed by the Circle C Boys. It’s driven along by a bass player who enjoys himself enormously.
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.
Howdy folks, here I am back with some goodies. First, Ole’ Buck is back for a song he recorded late in career for kids, IF YOU CAN’T FIND A REASON TO BE HAPPY. Romping Country rocker à la Buck Owens, of course! Then back to late 50s, early 60s, the unknown (to me) Doug Davis on the obscure Nite Star label (from Texas, I think) and the beautiful Country-rockaballad ALL BY MYSELF – lot of nice steel and heavy bass, rich vocal too. Joe Franklin next had a rich career by himself, and I still wonder what instrument he plays here, since the piano is to the fore – maybe him? The nice HITCH-HIKIN’ BLUES on MGM (1953). A romper now with Hardrock Gunter and his first version (on Bama, out of Birmingham, Alabama, 1951) of GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT (he recut the same track in 1954, and leased it to Sun). In 1950 there were Country singers chanting « Gonna Rock and Roll, gonna dance all night », yes sir! Something different now. A fine duet Bluegrass style, already a classic of the genre, ROAD OF BROKEN HEARTS, by the Webster Brothers, from 1954. We come to an end with a Prestige recording of Otis Spann – he lays down a very atmospheric OTIS IN THE DARK on the 88; Enjoy the selections!
Donnie Bowshier Read the rest of this entry »
Welcome back to the recent finds in my collection! First we have Bluegrass/HIllbilly Bop with JIMMY MARTIN, former guitar player in Bill Monroe’s band, and the fine 1954 (Decca label) « Hop skip & Wobble ». ,Then onto ANDY WILSON for his fast 1952 version (Dot records) of the Delmore Brothers’ classic « Hillbilly Boogie » – done Hillbilly Bop style, very Nashville sounding. More Hillbilly Bop wit the torrid « I’m Turning Over A Brand New leaf » (King, Cincinnati, 1955) by the prolific (HILL) BILLY BARTON, who cut early in career with Johnny Horton. Still Country flavored Rock’n'Roll, this time, with West Coast’s GENE BROWN and « Big Door » (Four Star). Back to Delmore, a recent version of their classic « Blues Stay Away Away From Me » by BILLY & TERRY SMITH.Finally Black R&R with RON HOLDEN for « My Babe » (nothing in common with L. Walter) on Lost Nite records. Enjoy the sound!
Lucky records of Cincinnati, Ohio (1957-1960)
The Lucky label was formed by the late Elmer « El » Rader, probably in early 1957, together with Countryfied music, the publishing house on nearly all issues. The label was located at 2252, Wheeler Street, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Read the rest of this entry »