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Late December 2014 fortnight’s favorites
déc 15th, 2014 by xavier

For this last 2014 fortnight, I’m lacking time and imagination so I’ve chosen several particular records. We begin listening to BILL HICKS and the Southerners on Fortune 188 (from 1956) for two well driven rockabillies/boppers « She’s done gone » (slow) and « Blue flame » (fast).

fortune 188 she's done gone

fortune 188 bill hicks - blueflame

« She’s done gone » download

« Blue flame »download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A real rarity now on the Family Library 1021 label : it’s GENE LAVERNE and what I think is an original « Hot rod mama » on a 6-track 78rpm record.

family 1021-A Gene Laverne

 

« Hot rod mama« download

The following artist has a long recording story behind him : he can be found as early as 1951 on Blue Bonnet, as part of the Texas Round-Up Gang. Later, DEWEY GROOM went to Mercury, then founded early ’60s his own Longhorn label, where he cut among other tunes « Butane blues » (# 517). I didn’t verify if this is the same track as Gene O’Quin‘s one.
« Butane blues« download

longhorn 517 dewey groom


Surprising Bluegrass music from Texas by PAUL HUFFMAN and « T-e-x-a-s » on the Abilene Winston (# 1034) label : nice banjo led.

Back to Louisville, Kentucky and the Pier-Wats label (# 1200), and the fast bopper (nice fiddle and steel) by F. EDDY PIERCE, « Your kisses don’t thrill me anymore ».

Finally GENE DAVIS, who meddled almost at any style of music since his beginnings in 1954 on the West coast : hillbilly, rockabilly (as « Bo Davis » on Crest), rock’n'roll (on R-Dell), finally back to Country on various labels. I’ve chosen both sides of his solitary TOPPA ’61 record (# 1110). « When he let’s her forget »[sic] and « I won’t care » are top notch California country-rockaballads (sublime Ralph Mooney on steel).

Paul Huffman « T-e-x-a-s« download
F. Eddy Pierce « Your kisses don’t thrill me anymore« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/pier-watts-1300B-F.-Eddy-Pierce-Your-Kisses-Dont-Thrill-Me-Anymore-1956.mp3download

Gene Davis « When he let’s her forget« download

 Gene Davis « I won’t care« download

 

toppa 1110 I won't caretoppa 1110A When he let's her forgetpier-wats 1200B F. Eddy Piercewinston 1034-2 paul huffman t-e-x-a-s

 

As usual, various sources : ebay, YouTube, my virtual collection. Have a Bopping Christmas !

the BLUE HEN label (1954-1958): Delaware Hillbilly and Rockabilly
déc 8th, 2014 by xavier

From the Hillbilly Researcher # 13 (late 90s)

Allan Turner. Additions by Bopping’s editor

BLUE HENdelaware delaware couleurs

 

Nothing is ever as simple as it would appear, take for example the Harrington, Delaware based BLUE HEN label. Just another independant concern would be a fair description of this particular outfit, albeit with one or two above average offerings on the label from the likes of Mel Price and Lanie Walker.

BLUE HEN was owned, according to Galen Gart’s A.R.L.D., by one Sam Short, Jr ., ably assisted by A&R man Hugh Lee Stevenson. That, and the fact that the company was located on Center Street in Harrington, is the sum total of our knowledge of the label.

Over the 6 years or so that BLUE HEN was active the company ran at least three different numerical series. There was a rather obscure 3000 series, which appears to have been the earliest ; the regular 200 series, which was the « main series » ; and an odd ball 500 series (two issues). However, it is neither the 3000 or 500 series which concern us here, but the 200 « main series ».

The first release was Betty Coral‘s « Chili dippin’ baby » (# 200), backed by Raymond McCollister. He had the same number on the Raymor label, also the flipside « Texarkana waltz ». Many master numbers were prefixed RM: does it mean McCollister was involved in Blue Hen?

blue hen 200A betty coral chili dippin_ baby

bb 54 chili dippin

raymor« Chili dippin’ baby » was very popular : it was covered by Vernon Way on the Hillbilly All Star label, and in a more Rockabilly way by Joyce Pointer on Goldenrod Records.
Betty Coral « Chili dippin’ baby »download
As for the artists who recorded for BLUE HEN were fairly obscure regional acts, altough the label did record a number of relatively well known artists. Billy Wallace, for example, probably better known as a songwriter than a singer, had a release on the label : # 210, « You can’t ride on my train ».
Billy Wallace « You can’t ride on my train« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/blue-hen-210-You-Cant-Ride-On-My-Train.mp3download

Donn Reynolds « Don’t tell me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/05-207-Donn-Reynolds-Dont-Tell-Me.mp3download
Billy Wallace « I still love you« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/12-210-billy-wallace-I-Still-Love-You.mp3download
210A you can't ride on my trainDonn Reynolds, who made something of a name for himself as a yodeling cowboy out on the East coast, also turned up on the label (# 207, « Don’t tell me ») before moving to London, England, to work for Radio Luxembourg ! Tommy Lloyd and his Strolling Cowboys, an outfit who certainly lived up to their name, having played virtually everywhere in the U.S.A. (#204 « Now I know why »), and local lad Tex Daniels (#206 « Give your heart a chance », among three or four more releases, note « Blue hen boogie » from late ’55) were two of the more experienced, yet lesser known artists to record for the label, both with a half dozen or so record releases to their credit before joining BLUE HEN. Local promoter/songwriter Howard Vokes was responsible for getting Hank King , Rudy Thacker (« Mountain guitar » ; also on Lucky) and « The Hardin County Boys » Jeffrey Null and Denver Duke onto the label. The latter, who had something of a hit on Blue Hen with their Hank Williams tribute « Hank Williams that Alabama boy » (#214) went on to enjoy some degree of success on Mercury and Starday.
Denver Duke & Jeffrey Null « Hawk Williams that Alabama boy »download

Howard Vokes, Denver Duke & Jeffrey Null « When the snow came« (#222)download

BL 222 howard vokes - When the snow came

courtesy Pasi Koskela

Was Vokes involved in the singing of the former song? A visitor told me his doubts.

Tex Daniels « Blue hen boogie« (#212  )download

212 blue hen boogie

 

Mention should be made of course of Mel Price (who’s story is on this site) and Lanie Walker, of whom we know very little, who were arguably the best Hillbilly artists to record for BLUE HEN.
Mel Price « Nothing seems to go right anymore« download
Walker had 5 issues on Blue hen (and one in 1960 on Kingsport, TN Three Stars label , the stunning « 
Early every morning ») : both hillbilly boppers on # 209 (« Side-track daddy »), one gospel two-sider (« When you meet your Lord » # 218), a non-cover of George Jones‘ « Why baby why », very good Hillbilly bopper,  in 1956 (a nice bluesy « Drop in » on flipside, # 219), then a back-to-back Rockabilly/Rocker « Ennie Meenie Miney Mo/No use knocking on my door », # 230 (Mort Marker on lead guitar), finally a 1959 rocker (# 235) « Jumpin’ the gun/Tonite I walk alone ».

Lanie Walker « Side-track daddy« (# 209)download lanie walker
Lanie Walker « When you meet your Lord« download
Lanie Walker « Why baby why« (#219)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/19-219-Lanie-Walker-Why-Baby-Why.mp3download

Lanie Walker « Drop in« download

Lane Walker « Ennie Meenie miney mo« (#230)download
Lanie Walker « No use knocking on my door« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/230-Lanie-Walker-No-Use-Knocking-On-My-Door-1958.mp3download
Larry Lee (Pasake) fronted his own band, The Echo Valley Kinfolk and played locally to good reviews. Originally, the band were called the Glen Mountain Boys (according to Billboard on 24th March 1956). Larry and the band performed over WCRV, Washington, NJ about this time. It was reported that Larry drowned while trying to save the lives of a younger brother and friend when their boat capsized. This seems to have occurred sometime in september 1956. His solitary single is a good bluegrass (A-side) « Time just flies »(# 215), while « Our love affair » is good uptempo piano-led Hillbilly bop.
215A time just fliesLarry LeeTime just flies« download
Larry Lee « Our love affair« download

Another wizardry : Hank King (of Russian origin, rn Papaila) had in October 1955 « Atom bomb heart » on Chicago Blue Ribbon label. This was re-cut (re-issued?) next year on Blue Hen 221.
Hank King « Atom bomb heart« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/21-221-Hank-King-Atom-Bomb-Heart.mp3download
That more or less concludes the story of the BLUE HEN label. Virtually all the releases in the 200 series, with the exception of the odd rock & roll/rockabilly offering from the likes of Jimmy Stayton (« Hot hot mama »), Cecil Cline (« Do drop in ») and even Lanie Walker, were Hillbilly of one style or another.
Sandy Harrison  & Tommy Lloyd « A package of heartaches« (#225)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/28-225-Sandy-Harrison-A-Package-Of-Heartaches.mp3download

Earl Stuart Quintet « Action’s speak louder than words » [sic](#216)download
Millard Pressley « Jesus my saviour« (#228)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/228-Milliard-Presley-...-Jesus-My-Saviour.mp3download
Sounds from Cactus CD. Pictures from various sites: Youtube, 45cat for example.
Mel Price « I ain’t got the time« (#208)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/18-208-mel-price-I-Aint-Got-The-Time.mp3download

Hillbilly Allstar 5002A vernon way - chili dippin' mama

courtesy Ronald Keppner

listing Blue Hen label

Early December 2014 fortnight’s favorites
déc 1st, 2014 by xavier

Howdy folks, over a period of 15 years, here are the selections of this fortnight.

The earliest track on a strange label, Atlantic, mostly known for R&B and Jazz. They had a short-lived (1 year, 1949-1950) « Folk and Western series », and the very first issue was by LOY GORDON & his Pleasant Valley Boys, for a revamp of the then-popular Sticks Mchee’s original « Drinkin’ wine spo-dee o-dee » (Atlantic 721). Here they are very true to the original. No solo taken by any instrument, but a fine Hillbilly romper. A mean fiddle and steel, and a fine boogie guitar. This was billed as « Folk ballad » on the label !

atlantic 721 loy gordon

 

Loy Gordon « Drinkin’ wine spo-dee-o-dee »download

 

 

 

From Marion, Ohio, 1960. The ROUND UP BOYS (hidden identity) do offer « Rock and Roll baby » on Hark 504. Like the title says, it’s rockabilly with a chugging rhythm. The composer, a Mz . Edna Bright, doesn’t help much.

Round Up Boys « Rock’n'Roll baby »download

hark 504 Rock and roll baby

Next is by two brothers who had a career of at least 30 years, Bob & Joe, the SHELTON BROTHERS. They recorded as early as 1935 a first version of « Deep Elem blues » [the Red Light quarter of Dallas]. The song had been done in 1933 by the Lone Star Cowboys (Leon Chappelear), and was cut by numerous artists later, including a second version (there) by the Sheltons in 1947 on Decca 46008.

On the flip side they had their own « Just because », revived in 1955 by Guess Who. Chugging rhythm, great mandolin. Next Decca 46009 was another nugget : « Ida Red » later renamed « Maybelline » by Chuck Berry. That’s how popular the Sheltons were.

Shelton Brothers « Deep Elem blues »download
Shelton Brothers « Just because »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/decca-46008B-Shelton-Brothers-Just-because.mp3download decca 46008B shelton deep elem blues

decca 46008A Shelton Just because

A Gene Simmons production then from Memphis on the Tupelo label (# 2984) from 1964, a good rockabilly by CHARLES K. « The Right bird ».

Way up North in Detroit on the Michigan label Elm 724 : BETTY PARKER does offer « Love is even colder », a fine Bopper backed by Eddie Jackson & Swingsters (of « Rock’n'roll baby » fame on Fortune). Piano led, steel, guitar, an organ solo. Whole thing reminds me of another artist of the area, Palford Brady.

Finally PAUL MIMS, from Louisiana. He delivers « I blowed my top », a call-and-response format, medium paced ditty (long guitar solo and fine steel) on the Shell 121 label.

Charles K « The right bird« download
Betty Parker « Love is even colder« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Love-Is-Even-Colder.mp3download
Paul Mims « I blowed my top« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/shell-121-Paul-Mims-I-Blowed-My-Top.mp3download

tupelo 2984 charles K - right bird babyElm 742bshell 121 paul mims I blowed my top

FOUR STAR OP- : a custom serie (1950-58)
nov 5th, 2014 by xavier

The Four Star custom series were, as did Starday from Beaumont or Houston, known to include many Rock’ & Roll sides played by Hillbilly bands and it was a music that most artists would easily relate to, including the older musicians who had been playing boogie and blues for years anyway. Countless bands were active and the only way they could relate to was release their records on Four Star OP (Other People) custom records.
The tapes would then be sent in and the widely advertised custom service would handle, for a fee, the manufacture of the records and distribution of a number of copies to selected radio stations. Otherwise than this, promotion and distribution was a left up to the the artist or his agent. The number going to the radio stations was probably a percentage of the total number pressed, which varied considerably. Some were produced in relatively large quantities while other artists ordered as few as 99 copies. The rarity of these records varies widely as, of course, does the quality of the music (but not in the same condition). The artist coud choose his own label name, which hopefully often also gives a location. They could also have the record issued under the company’s own logo (as in the case of « Texas » Bill Strength), perhaps at extra cost. Several record labels started as custom pressings before becoming actual independant companies later. Example : Erwin and Rural Rhythm (not represented in this selection). All are generally uptempo sides, with prominent fiddle and walking bass. It must also be noted that many artists were one-off, i.e. they had only one record issued by Four Star OP- service, and never had the chance to cut another one.
HBR did issue two volumes of Four Star OP- custom records. I deliberatly chose to issue unknown sides from 1950 to 1958, and various Western regions (Oklahoma to Oregon), not to exclude Eastern areas like even Florida.
Eddie Snell (on the aptly named Promotional # 242 label) has more of a West coast sound to him, with a « Rockin’ rhythm » similar to Sammy Masters’ early sides. Alden Holloway had also famous releases on Dixie and Starday (« Blast off » or « Swinging the rock »). Here is what he recorded in 1956 seemingly on the West coast for Northwest # 263 : « Woodpecker love ». He had previously issued on # 214 « Beaumont blues » as Shorty Holloway. Veteran Dick Bills, also later on Crest (« Rockin’ and rollin’ » in 1961 with nephew Glen Campbell on lead guiar ) had on Vicki « Beggars can’t be choosers »  (# 198, 1954-55). Went also on Morgan (with vocalist Buz Burnam).
OP-242 (Promotional) Eddie snell OP-263 (Northwest) Alden Holloway OP-198 (vicki) dick bills

Eddie Snell « Head over the hills »download

Alden Holloway « Woodpecker love »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/01-Alden-Holloway-Woodpecker-Love.mp3download


Dick Bills « Beggars can’t be choosers »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/vicki-198-dick-bills-his-arizona-drifters-beggars-cant-be-choosers.mp3download

A favorite of Ray Campi, « Quit your triflin’ (on me) » (Hi-fidelity 211), from 1954-55 by Gene Snowden, is a good uptempo probably of West coast origin, while Hank Crow and his Raven River Ramblers do come surely from California: the fine « Baby, baby me » on Southwest 204 from 1954.
Gene Snowden « Quit your triflin’(on me »downloadOP-121 (Hi-fidelity) Gene Snowden
Hank Crow « Baby me, baby »download OP-204 (Southwest) Hank Crow

From Texas, Doc Bryant & National Jamboree Gang on his own Doc Bryant label (# 155) for « Cotton pickin’ boogie », from 1952-53. In 1958, an « old » Texas artist – he first recorded in the late ’40s for Macy’s, i.e. « Cornbread boogie » -, Art Gunn had on his own (?) Arga (# 288) label the fine relaxed « Pickin’ ‘n singing ». He had also previously cut for Revel and V&G Records. The mysterious Phantom Rider Trio does « Peekin’ thru your window » on the K-Pep label # 264 from San Angelo.
Doc Bryant « Cotton pickin’ boogie »download
Art Gunn « Pickin’ ‘n singin’ »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/17-Art-Gunn-Pickin-n-Singin.mp3download
The Phantom Rider Trio « Peekin’ thru your window »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/24-The-Phantom-Rider-Trio-Peekin-Through-The-Window.mp3download OP-155 doc bryant

OP-288 (arga) art gunnOP-256 (K-pep) The Phantom Rider Trio

OP-254 (Du Ro) Candy rowellOP-262 (Keen) Al sweattOP-154 (Sky line) Pal Thibodeaux
Candy Rowell « Ain’t gonna say hello »download

From Florida, Candy Rowell on the Du Ro #254 label with « Ain’t gonna say hello ». Oklahoma is represented by Al Sweatt and « Fo-Mo-Co » on Keen 262, from 1956. Indeed he was to have the two rockers later « I hate myself/Let’s paint the town red » (Keen 288). Al Sweatt « Little Fo-mo-co »download
From Louisiana Pal Thibodeaux and an earlier issue (# 154) « Port Arthur Boogie ». on Skyline (partly sung in French).

Pal Thibodeaux « Port Arthur boogie »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/07-Pal-Thibodeaux-Port-Arthur-Boogie.mp3download
Arizona is represented with the very first recording Duane Eddy was involved in, and it’s a duet with Jimmy Delbridge on the Phoenix label Preston #212. « Soda fountain girl » and « I want some lovin’ baby».
OP-212 (356 Preston) Jimmy & Duane Jimmy & Duane « Soda fountain girl »download

Unknown origin : Alaska 194 by Betty Jo and Johnny Starr « Peach pickin’ time in Georgia » (# 194).OP-194 (alaska) betty jo « Peach picking’ time in Georgia »download

Archie Jefferies « G.I. Talking blues » (Blue Flame # 107) « G.I. talking blues »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/blue-flame-107-Archie-Jefferies-The-Blue-Flame-Boys-G.I.-Talking-Blues.mp3downloadOP-107 (blue flame) archie jefferies. Majesty 251 by Tommy Farr (« If »).
Also Buddy Thornton on his own Thornton OP-186 « Ole Santa is coming to town ». »Ole Santa is coming to town- »downloadOP-186 (Thornton) Buddy Thornton
Four Star OP- serie continued well over until the late ’50s with the odd Hillbilly bop issued : Sonny LeBarron and « Jack and Jill » (#Mecca 252), Paul McGhee (« You are my sunshine » Flame 305) or 267 Sonny Thibodeaux (Pacific), Leo Gosnell from 1959 on Mountain 298/299, to name just a very few.
Several early issues did appear untraceable although highly desirable, like Tex Bloye’s « Talkin’ blues » on Gavotte 116 (a version of Robert Lunn’s song on Mercury, 1949), or Frank Ole’Shay, who appear to be one of the greatest from his song on a Dixie/Collector CD, « My baby’s not here tonight » (Blue mountain). Addition (Dec. 2nd): Tex Bloye, « Talkin’ blues » (Courtesy Ronald Keppner)Gavotte OP 116A tex bloye - talkin' blues download

Late October 2014 fortnight’s favorites
oct 15th, 2014 by xavier

Here it is, a new selection of hillbilly bop goodies, mostly from the early to mid-60s.

RED MANSEL is the earliest, from 1957, on a very early All Star label issue (# 7160) . This is hillbilly rock at its best, topical lyrics.

allstar 7160 red mansel
Red Mansel « Johnny on the spot« download

 

RED LEWIS on the Kasko label (# 1643), from 1965. « I’ll move along » sounds well 7 or 8 years earlier. Great slapping bass, guitar all along. A discrete steel takes a fine solo.

Red Lewis « I’ll move along« download
kasko 1643
dixie 1056 frank zolton

 

 

 

 

 

From Michigan and 1963 on a Starday custom Dixie label (#1056) comes FRANK ZOLTON and « Cats eyes ». A medium ditty with an unusual for the era accordion solo.

Frank Zolton « Cats eyes« download

Valparaiso, Florida. HAL ANDREWS offers « Brown-eyed girl », a medium opus, on the Choctaw label (# 6001).
choctaw 610L

Hal Andrews « Brown-eyed girl »download

arcade 163B rex zario
Rex Zario « It’s nobody’s fault but your own« download

 

 

REX ZARIO even had a full album on Arcade. Here he delivers the fine « It’s nobody’s fault but your own » from 1959-60 (# 163). Indeed in 1956 he had had « Go man gone ».

Finally a wonderful rural duet by the VANDERGRIFT BROS. On the Cozy label from W.Va., « Sitting here a-crying » (# 447).
Vandergrift Bros. « Sitting here a-crying« download

All selections taken from the net.

cozy 447 vandegrift

Jitterbugging baby: the short story of David Ray Smith (1956-58)
oct 9th, 2014 by xavier

David Ray, a top singer and song stylist of Texas/Oklahoma Rockabilly and Honky-tonk, was born Oscar Ray Smith in Duncan, Oklahoma on March 14, 1934. When he was at an early age, his faùily moved to Roswell, New Mexico. At age 8, he learned to play guitar, and in his youth became friends with Lefty Frizzell, who on many occasions invted David to his recording sessions. In 1950, the family moved back to Duncan, and David formed a country music band. Early employment included aD.J. Program on radio station KRHD, and a live show on Channel 12, KXII-TV. How he got the forname « David » is unknown.

David Ray got his first records on Heart (# 245), a Four Star custom label out of Oklahoma, in 1956. Two fine sincere Hillbilly duets by himself and Johnny Doggett, « Farewell goodbye » and « Maybe I should have cheated too » ; then two Rockabillies (Ray Smith solo) « Gone baby gone » and « Swinging boogie », both fine rockers (# 250). Many thanks to John Burton (53jaybop) for posting these songs on Youtube.
heart 244 farewell

heart 244 maybe

heart 250 gone baby gone

heart 250 swinging boogie
Johnny & Ray « Farewell goodbye« download
Johnny & Ray « Maybe I should have cheated too« 
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Johnny-And-Ray-2-Maybe-I-Should-Have-Cheated-Too-HEART-RECORDS-OP-244-45.mp3download

Ray Smith « Gone baby gone« download

Ray Smith « Swinging boogie« download

In 1957 he signed a recording contract as David Ray with Gainesville, Texas recording executive Joe M. Leonard, Jr. His early recordings of « Jitterbugging baby » and « Lonesome baby blues » (Kliff 101 and 105) were instant successes on the Kliff Records label. Not only did Ray’s first records releases sell well in the United States, but they attained immense success in Europe when reissued by Ronnie Weiser on his Rollin’ Rock label. Personal for these sessions were Johnny Baggett or Joe Dean Evans on guitar and Paul Jorgenson on bass, including a wild piano player.

kliff 101 lonesome baby

 

kliff 105 jitterbugging baby

 

kliff 105 lonesome feeling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Ray « Lonesome baby blues » (original version)download

David Ray « Lonesome baby blues »(Kliff)download

David Ray « Jitterbugging baby« download

 

 

Other songs were « Lonesome feeling » and the less fast, almost poppish « I’m a fool », while « All the time », « Why can’t you and I », « No, oh no », all ballads, « Too fast, too wild » and the original gutsy, less fast « Lonesome baby blues » were withheld until their release on Collectables.
David Ray « Lonesome feeling« download

David Ray « Why can’t you and I« download
In 1962 Ray Smith had a Country-rocker « A place within my heart » on the Toppa label (# 1071)
, honest honky tonk, a far cry from his Kliff sides (Thanks to Uncle Gil to have provided this song). Alexander Petrauskas points out this may be a different artist, because of songwriting credits. Thanks, Alex!

toppa 1071

 

Ray Smith « A place within my heart« download

Since David Ray’s voice has remained strong and vibrant over the years, Leonard productions decided to record him on some new Texas songs. In August 1993 a session was held in Tyler, Texas. The songs were « Long cold winter », « You make my day », « Ways of a woman » and « Package deal ». The musicians were Ronnie Redd (keyboards), Jim Holley (bass), Greg Hough (drums), Bobby Garrett (steel guitar), Donny McDuff and Jerry Tiner (electric guitars), Ken Shepherd harmonica and rhythm guitar) as well as Lonnie Wright (producer, engineer and rhythm guitar). Back-up vocalist : David’s ex-wife, Lavinia Smith.

David Ray « You make my day« download

 

David Ray was then living near Ft. Worth, Texas, where he continued to compose and entertain. He died in 1997.

 

Freely adapted from the notes to Collectables CD 5770.david Ray Smith

early July 2014 fortnight favorites: traveling way up north from Mississipi to Nebraska, via Kentucky and Indiana!
juil 1st, 2014 by xavier

Howdy folks,
Hope you’re all well and ready to visit some more boppers and rockabillies. The name JAMES MASK isn’t that familiar (he had not big hits), although he appeared on Bandera (Illinois), Arbet (Tennessee, « I miss my teen angel », a teen rocker), and later (1972) on MGM-Sound of Memphis (the country rocker « Humpin’ to please »).
Here we find him on the Pontotoc, MS (where he was born in 1932 – Tupelo area) Tom Big Bee label (# ) with a fine early ’60s version of the Rocky Bill Ford‘s classic, « Beer drinkin’ blues ». Honest country rocker. He had some tunes (unissued in the ’50s) on an old White label LP  2305 « Mississipi R’n'R ». The Dutchman wrote there that Mask was backed by his two brothers Charles and Willie.

tom big bee
James Mask « Beer drinkin’ daddy » download

Let’s stay in Mississipi with an otherwise very well known artist, at least in Europe (he drives, latest news, a taxi at Chicago Int’l Airport), Mr. HAYDEN THOMPSON. I offer his first record, on the Booneville, MS, label, Von [which issued Lloyd McCollough and Johnny Burnette's first records,] « Act like you love me«  b/w « I feel the blues coming on« . (original in 1951 by Elton Britt, although not credited on the label) Great slow Hillbillies, whispering vocal over confident backing. Same last tune was done (but it’s a different song) by Loy Clingman on the Arizona Elko label in 1956. Penned byLee Hazlewood, it’s a soft Country-rock effort. The third Thompson track is taken from his sessions at Sun in Memphis, and he retains the same feeling with « Blues, blues, blues » (U.K. Charly 605B) – although more echo, as usual from Sam Phillips’ manner.

Von B 1001

von A1001605B

Hayden Thompson, « Act like you love me« download

Hayden Thompson, « I feel the blues coming on« download

Hayden Thompson, « Blues, blues, blues« download
Elton Britt « I feel the blues coming on » (RCA, 1951)download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s get up north in Lancaster, KY, and with HAROLD MONTGOMERY. His fine sides on Sun-Ray were documented in the site (see « Sun-Ray » label). Here he comes once more with a good side, similar style, on Wolf-Tex 103, « How much do you miss me », from the ’60s. Great mumbling vocal, similar to early Elvis!

Way north a little further. Muncie, Indiana on the Poor Boy label. A small one, but important artists, the best known being its owner Wayne Raney (« We need a whole lot more of Jesus (and a lot less of Rock’n'Roll »!) ; others are the Van Brothers (« Servant of love », to name only one) and Les & Helen Tussey (already recently posted in fortnight’s favorites).
Harold Montgomery, « How much do you miss me« download

The artist was named DANNY BROCKMAN & the Golden Hill Boys, on Poor Boy 107. First side is Hillbilly bop, « Stick around » from 1959, when Brockman was D.J. at WTMT in Louisville, KY. Great Starday sound, a powerful rhythm guitar, great interplay between lead guitar and steel during the solo, fabulous (altho’ too short) fiddle solo. A ‘must ’ record for Starday sound lovers. The flipside is sung in unisson duet with a certain Carl Jones. Nothing exceptional with « Don’t you know it’s true », a real Everly Bros. -alike. With fine steel and fiddle solos. Brockman also appeared on Dixie 859 (« Big big man »), more on him in a future fortnight.
Danny Brockman, « Stick around » download

Danny Brockman & Carl Jones, « Don’t you know it’s true« downloaddanny brockman

Finally in Omaha, Nebraska (frontier to Canada). 1958, with the wild double-sider « The itch/Baby doll » by CARL CHERRY on the Tene label. « Baby doll » is a typical White doo-wop rocker, good although average. THE side is the garage Rockabilly « The itch » (Tene 1023), prettily sensual. Cherry has got the feel and itch, and the drummer and lead guitar player (RaB HOF says the guy was legally blind!)  too ! Fantastic garage sound…They don’t play this way anymore, even with the wilder neo-rockabilly European bands.

Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries, « The itch » download
Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries, « Baby doll »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tene-1023A-CARL-CHERRY.-BABY-DOLL..mp3download

tene CarlCherryphoto1

Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries

late June 2014 fortnight’s favorites + 1935 hillbilly!
juin 15th, 2014 by xavier

Howdy folks ! Hope you will enjoy those selections of the present fortnight. Now it’s very hot in southern France, so is the music I choose.

From Harrington, KY., do come GORDON SIZEMORE on the Alvic label (no #. Thanks Mr. Dean C. Morris for the scan of the label!).  « Waddlin baby » [sic] is a Country, near Rockabilly from 1962. The voice of the singer is nasal and sounds a little old. The guy must have been the perfect Country boy. He his backed by (apparently) two brothers, Johnny and Casey Jones. One of them does a fine fiddle solo. The record, if you find it, will cost you between $ 100 and 200 !

arvic no# cool 135 label

Gordon Sizemore « Waddlin baby »download

Tom Wilson « Why’d you pick on me »download

 

To learn more about the COOL label, go to Dean C. Morris blogsite: http://anorakrockabilly45rpm.blogspot.co.uk

On the Harrison, NJ. Cool label (# 135B) we go now to TOM WILSON and « Why’d you pick on me », a fast Rockabilly flavored Country rocker, with fine slapping bass. The name of the singer sounds familiar to me, I know at least another Tom Wilson on the Crest label out of California, surely a different person. The disc is from 1960.

 

Next two tracks are sung and played by BUDDY ALLEN and his Drifting Vagabonds on the Driftwood label (# 1001) from Waynesboro, PA. « Driftwood on the river » is the side for hillbilly bop fans : a medium paced ditty, with a nice mellow voice, backed by a fiddle and steel-guitar (a solo). A great record from, I’d say, 1955. Allen had another issue, « Allegheny moon » on Driftwood 1002 (untraced)

The flipside is totally different. « God loves His Children » is a fast sacred hillbilly with a good touch of bluegrass : a mandolin solo per example. Hear the most the great falsetto vocal ! Is the singer the same Buddy Allen who did « Shine, shave, shower » on Tennessee 748?

driftwood labelBuddy Allen « Driftwood on the river »download

Buddy Allen « God loves His children »download

 

 

From Louisiana next two tracks by a relatively famous HOLLIS ALBIN, for the minor classic « Vee-eight Ford boogie » on the Hammond label, out of Baton Rouge (1959). Loud drums, nasal vocal, topical lyrics, all these make of the track a gem, a classic. (# 106A). The flipside is, in my mind, equally good, altho’ in a different manner. « Uncle Earl don’t stand alone » is a medium hillbilly bop, with a backing of banjo and fiddle, over amusic lyrics.

 

Hollis Albin, « Vee-Eight Ford boogie download

 

Hollis Albin, « Uncle Earl don’t stand alone »download

hammond earlhammond Vee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally two tracks by the legendary PRAIRIE RAMBLERS. They were Texans, but recorded (during a tour?) in NYC for the ARC label. First « Gonna have a feast here tonight » (on the reissue label Melotone 13412-B) is an exuberant number sung by Salty Holmes, who holds also the harmonica. Tex Atchison plays the fiddle. The orchestra sings in unisson on this song cut on April 18, 1935. Second, their greatest classic, « Deep Elem Blues » (about the events in the ‘hot’ quarter of Dallas) cut on August 15, 1935, has clarinet (solo), banjo, fiddle. The whole thing is a mess! (Melotone 5-11-51). What a slap bass, by Jack Taylor, ahead by 20 years on Sonny Fisher‘s « Rocking Daddy »…Same session saw also the first cut of « Just because« , later sung by Elvis on Sun!

melotone feastmelotone blues

 

Prairie Ramblers, « Gonna have a feast here tonight »
download

 

Prairie Ramblers, « Deep Elem blues »

download

 

 

 

Enjoy the selections, you can always post comments, corrections or additions. If you prefer a direct link, go to my email address : xavier.maire@free.fr. Bye, till next fortnight.

Early May 2014 fortnight’s favorites
mai 1st, 2014 by xavier

Howdy folks, the first serie of the two selections for May.

The exuberant « It always happens to me » by RUFUS SHOFFNER & JOYCE SONGER (wife of Earl) cut in Detroit in 1962 seems stylistically go back to the mid to late ’50s. It’s a great fast bopper (piano, guitar and an energetic rhythm, and an exulting duet vocal), which  was issued on Fortune’s label subsidiary Hi-Q 14, and can still be found on various recent compilations, as in Boppin’ Hillbilly vol. 5. Shoffner made several fine sides on Hi-Q or Fortune, or earlier on Kentucky’s Countryside label. More on him later in this site.       »It always happens to me » download

rufus shoffner

Rufus Shoffner

More famous from the West coast is TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD (1919-1991),who cut a fine string of Hillbilly boogies from the end of the ’40s (« Milk ‘em in the morning blues« ) to the mid-50s, when he crossed the marked with the top-seller « Sixteen tons » (written by Merle Travis). Here he delivers from July 1950 on Capitol 1295 the much acclaimed « The shot gun boogie » (which had many, many versions later by others, even during the R&R era, f.e. Jesse Lee Turner), backed by the Cliffie Stone crew, among them the excellent Speedy West (steel), Billy Liebert (piano) and Jimmy Bryant (ld guitar).

220px-Tennessee_Ernie_Ford_1957

T. Ernie in 1957

T. Ernie Ford « The shot gun boogie » download

 

hiQ 17 rufuscapitol  1295 shotgun boogie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the rest  of the selections, we’re turning to obscure artists. From Pennsylvania in 1958 on the Skyline label (not to be confused with the Indianapolis label: the Blankenship Brothers) # 106 comes BOB ENGLAR and  » Always dreaming« , a very nice bopper (guitar/steel/fiddle solos). FRANK DARRIS had in 1963 the same energy as Englar for an honest Rockabilly, his personal version of Marty Robbins’ « Ruby Ann » on the Roy label. The wizardry is the same two-sided disc came on two other labels, Thunder and Advance. Another Rockabilly we find from Alabama, early ’60s, « Baby I don’t care » (not the Elvis’ song) by DAVID GREGG on the McDowell label.

Bob Englar « Always dreaming » download

Frank Darris « Ruby Ann » download

skyline 106B

 

 

roy 1030mc dowell

 

 

David Gregg, »Baby I don’t care » download
Dempsey Sims, « Blue eyed baby » (Sam version)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Dempsey-Sims-Blue-Eyed-Baby-Country-Bop-45-Sam-Version.mp3download

Dempsey Sims, « Blue-eyed baby » (Huber version)download

Finally the same song, « Blue eyed baby » is a yodeling bopper first issued in 1956 on Esta 284 (untraced)and  later recorded twice by DEMPSEY SIMS in 1957 on Huber (time 2’39″) and Sam (time 2’07″). The Sam version seems more polished. Dempsey later had « Blues tomorrow » in 1967 on the Nashville label.

I feel sorry for the light defaults of the scans: my sight is failing (too much reading microscopic master numbers on records!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sam 122huber 1003

 

 

 

 

Carl Smith and the Tunesmiths: « Go boy go » – rockin’ Nashville hillbilly (1953-55)
avr 19th, 2014 by xavier

He was an enormously successful and popular country music star, a man who recorded over 90 chart hits with a unique style that wasn’t exactly rockabilly, but certainly influenced the shape it hillbilly rockers to come. He was related to hillbilly royalty through his marriage to June Carter, not to mention that his daughter became a country music hit maker in her own right. You know who I’m talking about of course – the one and only Carl Smith. (He also wore black on occasion, but to the point…)
maynardvilleBorn in 1927, and hailing from Roy Acuff’s hometown of Maynardville, Tennessee, Carl Smith grew up like many Southern boys of the depression, idolizing singing cowboys in the movies and hillbilly musicians on the radio. Acquiring his first guitar at the age of ten, Smith took advantage of any opportunity to play music at local dances, socials and school programs. He found work as a professional musician while he was still in high school in various bands centered around Knoxville and Cas Walker’s radio show on station WROL. But his pursuit of a fulltime music career was temporarily interrupted by his stint in the U.S. Navy in 1945-46.carl smith pic
After returning from the service, Smith found fulltime work as a musician in the Knoxville area where WROL was becoming a triple-A farm team of sorts for the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and a prime location for record companies to discover up-and-comers in the hillbilly scene. In 1950, with Hank Williams selling records hand over fist for MGM, every major label was looking for stars that could deliver the new, post-war, hard-edged honky tonk style. For Columbia Records, the then 23 year-old Carl Smith was just what they were looking for. Smith found himself in the fast lane to hillbilly stardom, signed to both the Grand Ole Opry and Columbia Records in less than a month. While he might not have been the tortured hillbilly poet that Hank was, Smith had many other assets including a strong, clear voice, his country boy good looks, a head full of wavy hair, and perhaps best of all, he lacked the self-destructive tendencies that were constantly derailing Williams’ career.Smith quickly proved himself a master of just about any form of hillbilly music he set his sights on — from Eddy Arnold-style crooners to Hank Williams-style honky-tonk heartbreakers, to heartfelt gospel that any mother would approve of. But the style that Smith really made his own came from Saturday nights, not Sunday mornings. It was “honky-tonk stomp.” Up-tempo slices of hillbilly bravado and swagger like “(When You Feel Like You’re in Love) Don’t Just Stand There,” “Trademark,”  “Hey Joe!” , « Dog-gone It, Baby, I’m In Love » and “Back Up Buddy” where Smith really made his mark on the evolving palette of hillbilly music.

col 21129 hey joe!

col 21197 dog-gone it baby

col 4-21226 back up buddy

 

 

 

 

It was a style that Hank Williams had pioneered with songs like “Honky Tonkin’” and “Mind Your Own Business” and that he referred to as “sock rhythm.”  But ole Hank’s “sock” was just the 2-4 backbeat that had marked the dividing line between white and black popular music for so long, and that more and more hillbilly musicians were picking up on in the late forties. Smith was a natural for this younger, hipper and hotter form of hillbilly music, but he never came across as the threatening rebel. “The Country Gentleman,” as he became known, could deliver a heartbreaking ballad that brought tears to the eyes of the bluest blue-nose and then toss off a stomper that thrilled the budding teeny-bopper crowd with his down home machismo.

« hey Joe! » download
« Dog-gone it baby, I’m in love »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Carl-Smith-Dog-Gone-It-Baby-Im-In-Love-1954.mp3download
« Back up buddy »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/columbia-21266-carl-smith-BACK-UP-BUDDY.mp3download

While seldom acknowledged as such, Carl Smith, along with other honky-tonk stompers like Webb Pierce, Faron Young and Hawkshaw Hawkins were adding the final ingredients to the musical gumbo that would spit out rockabilly in just a few years. The young, hot shot attitude, combined with a driving beat and the good looks of many of these honky tonkers provided true swoon appeal to a generation of corn-fed gals, whose younger sisters would be screaming for the “Memphis Flash” and his fellow rockabilly cats in just a few short years. But of course you gotta have a hot band to play hot music, and that’s exactly what Smith assembled with his road band, The Tunesmiths. Featuring top session men like Junior Husky (on bass) and Buddy Harman, but most especially the master steel guitarist, Johnny Silbert (then 17 years old), the Tunesmiths developed a hot style that drew from both Western Swing and the nascent rock’n’roll beat. Other Tunesmiths’ members included drummer Farris Coursey, ex-Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys Sammy Pruett on lead guitar or future Jordanaires’ Gordon Stoker on piano. There’s never been any fiddle in Smith’s hillbilly boppers, another sign of him being ahead of his time.

juniorhuskey03

johnny-silbert

han-sp

Sammy Pruett left to Hank

sammy pruett

Sammy Pruett

gordon stoker

Gordon Stoker

A perfect example of the musical style that Carl Smith and the Tunesmiths developed is their 1955 recording of “Baby I’m Ready.”  It’s a song that both swings and rocks as Smith declares his readiness to show his lady a hot time on the town. And all with a charm that probably left the young lady’s mother and father smiling and waving from the front porch as that “good boy” took their daughter out for a night of hillbilly whoopee.

col 21411 baby, I'm ready

 

 

 

 

« Baby, I’m Ready » download

Ricky Van Shelton « Baby I’m ready » (1987)download

Also take a listen to the proto-rockabilly (by rhythm and lyrics) « Go Boy Go » or « No, I don’t believe I will »

col 21226 go, boy go

« Go, boy go » download
« No, I don’t believe I will »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/13-Carl-Smith-No-I-Dont-Believe-I-Will.mp3download>download
In June of 1952, Smith married June Carter, daughter of musical matriarch Maybelle Carter. The couple settled just north of Nashville in the suburb of Madison. Smith cut several gospel recordings with the Carter Sisters, and in 1954 the couple cut a pair of novelty songs with June playing comedic foil to the more straight-laced Smith in sort of gender-switched hillbilly version of the shtick that Louis Prima and Keely Smith were conquering Vegas with. The couple’s next collaboration, their daughter, and future country star Carlene Carter arrived in 1955.
But even among hillbilly royalty, matrimony is not without its challenges. The couple split in 1956 with Smith marrying fellow Grand Ole Opry star, and hillbilly music’s first “glamour queen” Goldie Hill the following year. Smith left the Opry near the end of 1956 in a swirl of behind-the-scene politics to take top billing on the Phillip Morris Country Music Show, a free traveling revue sponsored by the cigarette company that ran through 1957 and ’58, often playing the same cities and dates as the Opry-sponsored road show. Smith then made the leap to TV stardom as the co-host of Five Star Jubilee and later the Canadian-produced Carl Smith’s Country Music Hall.
The Tunesmiths: « Oh! stop »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/columbia-21386-The-Tunesmiths-Oh-Stop.mp3download
The Tunesmiths: « Doorstep to Heaven »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/columbia-21522-CARL-SMITH-WITH-THE-TUNESMITHS-doorstep-to-heaven.mp3download

Although his hottest period was in the pre-Elvis era, Smith continued to produce solid country hits through the sixties and early seventies. He even managed to hold the strings and vocal chorus of the then popular “Nashville Sound” at bay on his recordings, staying true to a more traditional honky tonk sound. He left Columbia Records in 1973 and after a short stint on Hickory Records made the rare move of voluntarily retiring from the music business in 1978.carl smith
He spent his later years enjoying the fruits of a country boy’s dream, on his 500 acre horse and cattle ranch in Williamson County, Tennessee. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. His wife Goldie, passed away in 2005 with Smith following her in January of 2010 at the age of 82.
Reflecting on his decision to retire from the music business Smith told Tim Ghianni in a 2003 interview for the Tennessean, “I just wanted to play cowboy. My philosophy is doing what I want to do.”  A darn good philosophy for a country boy, but of course we can all be grateful that for a time, bringing a hot beat, a snarl and a swagger to country music was just what Carl Smith wanted to do and what he was best at.

 

Biography and pictures taken from the net. Scans and music mostly from private collections.

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