Never read such a poorly informed biography as this, taken from the back of the Hank the Drifter Crypto album. Alas, I cannot add anything to it, and the music will speak for itself.
HANK THE DRIFTER (real name Daniel Raye Andrade) was born September 2, 1929, 72 Plain Street, Taunton, Massachussetts. As a small boy he loved country and wetsern music and he was given a small guitar to learn on by his now deceased Dad. Soon he was playing and singing up a storm and people everywhere loved his true country songs and the feeling he put into every song. Songs came pouring out of Dan and he wrote songs on every inspired moment.
Many who have puchased his records say it is like Hank Williams back from the grave. In this album you will hear the songs which Daniel Andrade, « Hank the Drifter » composed, during inspired moments. Many have called Daniel Andrade, « Hank The Drifter », the greatest living song writer and country singer in the country and western field.
Dan Andrade thrilled many, with his double tribute (on New England release n° 1012), « Hank Williams is singing again » backed with « Hank, you’re gone but not forgotten », dedicated to the memory of Dan Andrade’s idol, the late great Hank Williams, considered by many to be the gteatest living song writer in the world, and the greatest living singer as well.
Hank the Drifter, « Hank Williams is singing again »
Hank the Drifter, « Hank, you’re gone but not forgotten » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/01-Hank-Youre-Gone-But-Not-Forgotten.mp3download
This is Dan Andrade’s first country and western album recorded at Gold Star Recording Studio – Houston, Texas. At this writing Dan Andrade is hard at work on a second album which will feature 12 more songs composed by Daniel Andrade. This 2nd album will feature his Martin guitar used on his first album. The Martin guitar is one of the two models the Martin Company made, of which two were made a year, Hank Williams puchased one and Hank The Drifter the other, both guitars are identical.
Hank the Drifter, « It is honky tonk music » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/A2-It-Is-Honky-Tonk-Music.mp3<a ref= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/A2-It-Is-Honky-Tonk-Music.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
On January 1, 1968, Music City News, the leading trade magazine in the Country and <Western music field, did a full page story with pictures of Daniel Andrade. He resides in a lovely $ 20,000.00 home at 12606 Carlsbad, Houston, Texas.
Hank the Drifter, « I’m gonna spin my wheels » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/B6-Im-Gonna-Spin-My-Wheels.mp3download
Hank the Drifter was chosen January 1, 1963, in « Who’s Who, Inc. » on the merits of his song writing, singing and other accomplishments. This honor is bestowed on fifteen in each ten thousand of the country’s population who come under selective standards. Country Song Roundup and « Billboard », trade magazines, have featured Hank.
Sparton and Quality Records of Toronto, Canada, have featured many of Dan Andrade’s 45′s, namely « Cheaters never win », « Don’t you lock your daddy out », « I’m crying my heart out for you », « Cold river blues » and « Painted doll », etc. all sung and written by Daniel Andrade.
Hank the Drifter, « Cheaters never win » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/21-Cheaters-Never-Win.mp3download
Hank the Drifter, « Don’t you lock my daddy out » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/19-Dont-You-Lock-Your-Daddy-Out.mp3download
Hank the Drifter, « Cold river blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/22-Cold-River-Blues.mp3download
Hank the Drifter, « Painted doll » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Painted-Doll-Hank-The-Drifter.mp3download
« God writes all my songs and being blessed with a lovely wife, Odessa Andrade ; what more could a man ask in life », says Dan. The gifted Dan Andrade has appeared on WPEP, Taunton, Massachusetts with his own show ; on WNBH radio, New Bedford, Massachusetts on the New Bedford Times weekly. He has appeared on KTRH and KNUZ radio stations, plus Big « D » Jamboree, Dallas, Texas, « Cowtown Hoedown », Fort Worth, Texas – « Gulf Coast Jamboree » Television – « Houston Hoedown », Houston, Texas and such.
« Hank The Drifter » records are in numerous libraries on radio stations in the United States, Canada and overseas. Hank says, « I’m very homely, I know, but, look for the inner beauty and we are all pretty people ». My sincere appreciation to Fred Voelker and daughter, Sonya, of Houston, Texas, two fine musicians whom without their help, this album could not have been possible.
Andrade had his first record way back in 1955, as HANK THE DRIFTER: « Hank Williams is singing again » on his own label New England; in 1956, as « Joe Lombardie and the Cats« , he cut « Let’s all rock’n'roll« , then again the same year, as Hank the Drifter, « The Bill Collector’s blues« . 1957, a further more issue, « Don’t you lock your daddy out ».
Joe Lombardie & the Cats, « Let’s all rock’n'roll » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Joe-Lombardie-Lets-All-Rock-And-Roll-.mp3download
Hank the Drifter, « The Bill Collector’s blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/B5-The-Bill-Collectors-Blues.mp3<a ref= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/B5-The-Bill-Collectors-Blues.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
In 1961, after several years, he revived his label and nom de plume, and reissued masters of the ’50s era. Between March 1961 and 1964, he had this way 9 New England records.
The Burdette Land label out of Richmond, KY, must have been one of the scarcest to the day: it issued only two discs in 1960, although one was even reviewed (Pratt Bros.) in the August 29th, 1960 C&W edition of Billboard. So the promotion has surely have been correctly made, since NYC critics did get the record.
First issue was by HUBERT BARNARD (# 3000-1/2-A/B) and coupled one country side, « The man of the road » (partly written by Burdette Land), an unheard tune, and a more interesting side, « Boy She has gone« , rockabilly/rocker, which even found its way on a European compilation (« Hillbilly jukebox »).
Hubert Barnard, « Boy she has gone » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/17-Hubert-Barnard-Boy-She-Has-Gone.mp3download
Second and last issue for the label was by the PRATT BROS. apparently Eugene (writer of both sides) and vocalist Vernis, backed for the rockabilly side by « The Rocking 5″. I didn’t hear « Go find your love« , apparently a rocker, thus « The wind told me so » was average rural rockabilly. Hear them. And that was it. A really short affair in time.
Pratt Bros. & the Rocking 5, « The wind told me so » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/burdette-30002-Pratt-Brothers-The-Wind-told-Me-So-Rockabilly.mp3download
Source: 45rpm.com, the Dan DeClark site for Ohio Valley records. Also RCS.
Forest Rye’s trail from Detroit to the ‘Grand Ole Opry’
Forrest Rye, 1930s
By craig maki
A long line of men dressed in rugged suits filed past iron gates on Manchester Street in Highland Park, Michigan, as they did every morning, into the . One by one, they flashed their Ford badges at the guard stationed in a small shack. Ford Motor Company facility Outside the gate, a 15 year-old boy stood near the shack, hands in his trouser pockets, chatting with the uniformed man inside, who interrupted the conversation every so often to check someone’s identification.
“I brought ya some apples,” the young man said with a Tennessee drawl, and handed a paper sack to the guard, who gave one apple back. After sharing a snack together, the young man asked, “Say, what are my chances today? Like I said before, I’m ready to work at anything.”
The guard tolerated his daily appearances, eventually warming up to his friendly personality and persistence. It was obvious the young man, who showed up at the morning whistle every day, intended to stay in Detroit. “Well,” said the guard while keeping his eye on workers entering the property, “There’s a small opening in the fence about sixty feet east of here. It may be wide enough for you to slip through. I reckon I can’t stop you, if I don’t see you.” He took his eyes off the shuffling plant workers long enough to look the kid in the eyes and say, “I know you won’t cause me no trouble.”
“No, sir!” The wide-eyed young man continued chewing apple.
“I just happen to know a foreman who’s looking for a welder,” said the guard. “If you get in, look up Fred Walker.” The young man thanked the guard, who nodded, too preoccupied to look up. Then he strode east to the gap in the fence, slipped through, and secured a position at Ford.
Working man, day and night
Trained on the job as a welder, Forest Rye had grown up in Erin, Tennessee, west of Nashville. Born December 19, 1910, Rye learned to play fiddle and guitar before he left home in 1924. When Rye was a small boy, champion fiddler Walter Warden, from McEwen, Tennessee, and an early influence on Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, schooled him in music. Warden lived up the road from the Rye household, and thought so highly of Rye that he gave him a fiddle. When Rye came to Detroit, he found a room in a boarding house, and doggedly spent about a week talking his way into Ford’s Highland Park facility.
A pioneer country music bandleader in Detroit, Rye entertained at house parties through the 1930s, eventually leading groups of musicians in local cafes and bars. In 1937 he married, and moved back to Erin, where he started a grocery with his savings. He visited friends in Detroit occasionally, and after divorcing in 1939, Rye returned to Detroit’s east side, near Chrysler facilities where he worked the day shift.
The area surrounding East Jefferson Avenue near St. Jean included neighborhoods of white Southerners who had moved for work in local factories. In this environment, Rye formed Rye’s Red River Blue Yodlers, and gigged steadily at the Torch Club on East Jefferson. They may have performed on Detroit radio as well.
In early 1942, the band cut a record for the Mellow Record Company, based in the Mellow Music Shop a few blocks away from the Torch Club. “You Had Time Think It Over” backed with “On Down The Line” were pressed on the Hot Wax label (with Mellow catalog number 1616 – it was pressed on Mellow, too). Vocals on the Hot Wax label were attributed to “Conrad Brooks,” a fake name Rye used on the record – perhaps to avoid public association with the hot lyrics of “On Down The Line,” a risqué song made strictly for jukebox plays in bars. The band included Rye’s fiddle, Hawaiian (lap) steel, rhythm guitar, and bass. Side 1 (« You had time ») was uptempo while the B-side (« On down the line » was medium paced.
Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « You had time to think it over » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-You-had-time-to-think-it-over-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-You-had-time-to-think-it-over-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>downloaddownload
Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « On down the line » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-On-down-the-line-netoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-On-down-the-line-netoyé.mp3 » target= »_blank »>download
Rye’s stage show included humor, and as early as 1942 he was making appearances on the WSM Nashville radio’s “Grand Ole Opry” as comedian Little Willie Rye. This made him the first Detroiter to perform with the “Opry.” Many Detroit musicians would follow Rye’s path, beginning with the York Brothers after World War II. Not to mention a few musicians who moved to Detroit after first performing at the “Opry” (e.g., Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, Okie Jones, and Chick Stripling).
Rye moved back to Tennessee in 1945 and married again. He returned to Detroit in 1947 as his family began to grow, remaining through 1955. Soon after this third move to Michigan, Rye secured a gig at WXYZ radio with his Sage Brush Ranch Boys, a band that included bassist Earl “Shorty Frog” Allen, who led his own band in Detroit several years later.
Around 1945/46 he cut with his group two sides for the Detroit based Universal company (the York Brothers also recorded for this label). Yet Rye still handles the vocals as disguised « Conrad Brooks« , and very assured. Steel guitar is wild, and Rye is even yodeling a bit. Both sides are very nice uptempos for the era. « Snake bite blues » and « Don’t come crying around me mama« , both written by Rye.
Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « Snake bite blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Universal-1002-Ryes-Red-River-blue-yodelers-Snake-bite-blues-nettoyé.mp3download Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « Don’t come crying around me mama » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Universal-1002-Ryes-Red-River-Blue-Yodelers-Dont-come-crying-around-me-mama-Conrad-Brooks-vo.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Universal-1002-Ryes-Red-River-Blue-Yodelers-Dont-come-crying-around-me-mama-Conrad-Brooks-vo.mp3 » target= »_blank »>download
For a couple of years during the late 1940s, Mountain Red appeared with Rye’s Sage Brush Ranch Boys in Pontiac area nightclubs as a featured singer. Red also appeared with Rye on WXYZ, when he wasn’t performing his solo programs at WCAR radio Pontiac.
Sage Brush Ranch Boys, late ’40s – Rye on fiddle
Rye often let other musicians sit in with his band in Detroit nightclubs. Joyce Songer recalled performing with the Sage Bruch Ranch Boys several times, when she and husband Earl started their musical career, around 1949.
Early 1951 Rye cut four sides in Detroit, apparently, for Mercury, two uptempos « Crying my eyes out » (# 6328) and « Won’t you give me a little loving » (# 6329), coupled with the great medium-paced « Midnight boogie blues » (great steel solo!) and « After all these tears ». These 4 sides have not been reissued, except « Midnight boogie blues » on some English compilation.
Forrest Rye, « Crying my eyes out » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-Crying-my-eyes-out-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-Crying-my-eyes-out-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Forrest Rye, « After all these tears » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-After-all-these-years-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-After-all-these-years-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Forrest Rye, « Midnight boogie blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Midnight-boogie-blues-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Midnight-boogie-blues-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Forrest Rye, « Won’t you give me a little loving » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Wont-you-give-me-a-little-loving-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Wont-you-give-me-a-little-loving-nettoyé.mp3 » target= »_blank »>download
Rye maintained ties to Nashville, including relationships at WSM with announcer George D. Hay and many performers. Singer Pete Pyle, a 1940s recording artist (Bluebird label) and one-time member of the Bill Monroe and Pee Wee King bands, was a fast friend, eventually moving next door to Rye’s house in Taylor, Michigan. They appeared together in local nightclubs, such as the West Fort Tavern on West Fort Street in Southwest Detroit. In 1953, Rye and Pyle cut sessions for Fortune Records. Rye’s “Wild cat Boogie” and Pyle’s “Are You Making A Fool of Me?” were combined on a single record (Fortune 172). Al Allen (el. g) and Chuck Hatfield (steel) were present on Pete Pyle’s session.
Forest Rye, « Wild cat boogie » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/frtune-172-A-Forest-Rye-Wildcat-boogie.mp3download
In 1955 Rye and Pyle moved their families back to Tennessee. As Little Willie Rye, Rye worked on Nashville radio as a solo comedian, and with the band of Big Jeff Bess. He wrote songs, operated a song publishing company (Geraldine), produced and made his own recordings, and issued music on his own record label (Forest – 3 known records by other artists in a 5600 serie) , besides playing music in studios and on stages. He also booked acts for WSM radio and Nashville area venues. In 1967 Rye left behind his activities in country music to become a Christian preacher. He passed away April 24, 1988.
Little Willie Rye, « Road of happiness« , http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PACE-1007.1-little-willie-Rye-road-of-happiness.mp3download
Little Willie Rye, « Make believe girl » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PACE-1007.2-rye-make-believe-girl.mp3download
Reprinted from carcitycountry.com, the site of Craig Maki See http://carcitycountry.com/2013/forest-ryes-trail-from-detroit-to-the-grand-ole-opry/. Additions by Xavier (Mercury, Universal), bopping editor.
Thanks to Ronald Keppner of Frankfurt am/Main, Germany, for the loan of his rare Forrest Rye ’78s on Hot Wax, Universal and Mercury. Without him, this article would have proved impossible to write. Thanks also to Allan Turner, out of England, for getting me the mp3/scans of the rare Pace 45.
Howdy, folks! En route for the new cartload of bopping Hillbillies/Rockabillies and white rockers (this time), plus the usual R&B rocker. First two tunes are by WEBB FOLEY, from Fort Wayne, Indiana it seems. He had « Bee bop baby » on Emerald 2013 in 1957 (flip side is « You ought make records« , listed as « C&W », alas I didn’t trace it). Rockabilly and that’s all, topical lyrics, good rhythm. Next year he was to have a white rocker « Little bitty mama » (Emerald EP 750), a good one. BUT, beware of his sides on the M label (« Strange little girl/One by one » and « Little town Xmas »), they’re awful! More on Emerald next fortnight.
Webb Foley « Bee bop baby » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Webb-Foley-Bee-Bop-Baby.mp3download
Webb Foley « Little bitty mama » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Webb-Foley-Little-Bitty-Mama.mp3download
Next artist must have been a local one, as his label: Royal 100, for COUSIN KEITH LOYD (sic). He cut « Dangerous crossing » (1955?) certainly having in mind Billy Strange’s « Diesel smoke » from a pair of years earlier. Cousin Keith Loyd « Dangerous crossing » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Cousin-Keith-Loyd-Dangerous-Crossing-1955.mp3download
I return to MARVIN RAINWATER. I did celebrate his death last month with one of his most known tracks, « Mr. Blues« . Now I’ve chosen « So you think you’ve got troubles » (MGM 12420), cut a coupe of years later, and a fast good side of its own.
Marvin Rainwater « So you think you’ve got troubles » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Marvin-Rainwater-So-You-Think-Youve-Got-Trouble.mp3download
BILL LOWE was from West Coast, and cut for the interesting small label Sundown. There he had at least two issues, the one here (# 117), « You set my heart on fire« , a very nice late ’50s hillbilly. Lowe had a duet with TOMMY GUESS, also on Sundown, « Foolish heart » (# 106 – I include it in the podcasts, having copied it from an old Tom Sims’ cassette).
Bill Lowe « You set my heart on fire » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/sundown-117-Bill-Lowe-You-Set-My-Heart-On-Fire-1959.mp3download
Tommy Guess & Bill Lowe « Foolish heart » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/tommy-guess-foolish-heart3.mp3download
courtesy Udo Frank
inspired by John Burton
Finally a great R&B Rocker by FLASH TERRY, « She’s my baby » on the Southbay label (# 500), obviously a S.F. issue. Just take a look at the logo: Southbay must have been inspired by Starday (3 stars). Flash Terry « She’s my baby » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/southbay-500-Flash-Terry-Shes-My-Baby.mp3download
Enjoy the selections. Any comment or addition/correction welcome!
Warning: I am experimenting html language, so to set the audio podcasts up beside their texts. This language isn’t that easy. Sorry for inconveniences!
Allstar Record Co.
1953: 3116 Garrow St., Houston TX
1958-1959: 2106 Orean Street, Houston 17, Texas
1960: Allstar Music Enterprises, 8029 Gulf Freeway, Houston 17, Texas
1961-1966: 1110 Washington, South Houston, Texas
also: Allstar Distributors
Allstar Records, a quasi-song-poem label with a slightly more plausible claim to legitimacy than most its song-sharking peers, was the brainchild of Houston country musician/ »singer » Daniel James Mechura. The ambitious Mechura started out as the frontman of a local outfit, the Sun Valley Playboys, enjoying one release on the Starday label (which they paid for themselves) in 1955. By that time, Dan had discovered the seedy underworld of songwriter’s clubs and, sensing an opportunity ripe for exploitation, soon began doing business as president of « The Folk Writers Co-Operative Association, » generously offering « every songwriter the help which is necessary to succeed in this competitive field, » as stated in one sales pitch. A record label of their own was the logical outgrowth of this « co-op. »
Read the rest of this entry »
Born Bobby Musgrove in 1932. No biographical data have been gathered except those skin-deep, D.J.s only biographical facts on the « not for sale » King issues.
His career began under his real name on the Kentucky label with with « Dollar sign heart » (#584) in 1954, when he returned from U.S. Army. It’s a very nice hillbilly bopper, pushed by a fine guitar. A very rare issue on the Audio Lab label, seemingly a part of the Carl Burkhardt’s empire of Kentucky/Gateway/4 Big hits cheap labels: Grove had an EP (thanks to Allan Turner to have unearthed and shared this scarce issue) of 4 tracks, one being penned by Walter Scott of « I’m walking out » (Ruby 100) fame. In 1956, he dropped his name to « Grove » on the King label, where he cut 4 records, all of whom are good hillbillies, the best are « No parking here » (# 4946), and the echoey (fast, almost rockabilly) « Whistle of the gravy train » (# 5007). Also worth of hearing: « I saw here first » (# 5027). He’d redone his Kentucky tune as « Dollar sign« . During the latter part of 1957 he had his last single on the Cincinnati new label Lucky, # 003 « Jealous dreams/Be still, my heart« . Again two fine bopping sides.
Bobby Grove reappeared later in 1962 as minister and cut many religious albums with much success (several shots on YouTube). That’s all I know about him.
1963 issue of a 1956 track
With thanks to Allan Turner and John Burton for the loan of rare label scans and mp3, the others taken from the web.
George & Earl
They were two very different singers who teamed for a brief two years to make some of he most interesting duet recordings of the 1950s. Normally vocal duos were kinfolks who had sung together since the cradle but George McCormick from Tennessee and Earl Aycock from Mississipi did not meet until they were in their early twenties.
George McCormick was born on June 16 1933 and spent his early life near Carthage, the hilly area north of Nashville. The life was tough in rural Tennesseee ; George took an interest in music and formed a string band with two friends, the Thomas Brothers, playing in the local area. They left to Nashville, hoping they could find work with Carl Tipton – what they did, in 1947, but he wouldn’t geting much work and they couldn’t make no money. So the partnership ceased. Next step was a meeting with Big Bess (Jeff), and it paid $ 45 a week. The Thomasses worked four, five or six different shows every morning between 5:30 and 8:30 with any WLAC artist from Bob Jennings to Andy Wilson or Mac O’Dell.
Big Jeff Bess
For several years George played guitar and bass alongside a number of up and coming musicians who passed through Big Jeff’s Playboys band, until too the lead in some shows and was even allowed to make his first recordings as a vocalist : as George Mack on one of Jeff’s Dot Records discs in 1952, he played and sang « I courted an angel » and « I don’t talk to strangers » (Dot 1096). He left in 1953 to play in Martha Carson’s band on WSM radio and the Grand Ole Opry and got a contract with M-G-M Records, for whom he cut 12 tracks within less than one year between August 1953 and July 1954. His first two singles were « Fifty-fifty honky tonkin’ » (MGM 11598) and « Hi there sweet thing » (MGM 11656). « Fifty-fifty » was a song Fred Rose had apparently written especially for Hank Williams, a tale of relationships and nightlife brimming with homespun insights.
McCormick really does sound like Hank on this, without being a ‘soundalike’ : he had the spirit and the style and a hard edge to his voice but a degree of originality too. Musicians Jerry Byrd and Tommy Jackson did their best to recreate the trademark Drifting Cowboys licks and the rhythm section of Chet Atkins, Ray Edenton and Lightning Chance takes the performance along at an appropriately jaunty pace. This first song bas backed by « Don’t add an ex to your name » a clever song written by Knoxville’s Arthur Q. Smith. The disc was a good territorial seller and it could have easily been a major hit. « Hi there sweet thing » was another catchy Hank-ish song and it also gained good reviews.
Four days after Christmas in 1953 George McCormick was back in the studio with the same band. Almost a year after Hank Williams had died the featured song was « The sundown train », with McCormick perfecting the keen edge to his voice until he sounded almost more like Hank than Hank. The flipside was « Flutter bug », a Fred Rose song that still recalled the honky tonkin’ Williams sound and rambling cowboy themes but which had some smoother edges and more crafted lyrics than many of his contemporaries.
George was called for his third six-monthly MGM session on 1 July 1954. This time the musicians took their sound from Hank’s band : in fact they were Hank’s band, the Drifting Cowboys. Sammy Pruett on guitar, Don Helms on steel, Jerry Rivers on fiddle and Cedric Rainwater on bass. The session saw issued the rollicking « Don’t fix up the dog house » (written by Don Helms), and recalling some of Hank’s earliest songs where the dog house had been the indicator of wife troubles. Perhaps the best recording was held back from release and didn’t see the light of day for three years. It was « I’ll keep your name on file ». By the summer of 1954 George had three singles on MGM and had been gone some months from the Jeff Bess show. He had started regularly with Martha Carson, when they arrived in Alabama and did take a new bass player, name Earl Aycock.
Sidney Earl Aycock was born in Meridian, Mississipi in 1930. He took an interest in hillbilly music at a young age and played guitar/bass with local bands of east Mississipi, even joining Bill Nettles’ Dixie Blues Boys and playing bass on « Hadacol Boogie ». After a stint in USAF he worked as a DJ before auditioning for Martha Carson. Towards the end of 1954 he teamed up with George McCormick to sing duets as part of the Martha Carson Show. According to the latter, « Earl liked Carl Smith. My favorite was Hank Williams. That’s one reason Earl and I sounded so good together ; our styles had a nice blend. Generally Earl sang the lead and I sang tenor harmonies. »
Before long the new duo started to think about making records. They heard Mercury’s A&R man Dee Kilpatrick was looking to sign a duet act. The deal was made in January 1955, and in next February George and Earl were in the studio for their first Mercury release. All in all, the duet recorded twelve songs ; Mercury issued them over a period of a year and a half. From the opening few seconds of the first session it was clear that the legacy of Hank Williams was not going to frame the sound of a George and Earl record. Earl had a clearer diction ; Chet Atkins, at home with raunchier stuff, had brought another lead guitarist, Joe Edwards, who had a more driving style. This was echoed by the attacking approach of fiddler Benny Martin. Rhythm section (Bob Moore and Ray Edenton) was augmented by drummer Buddy Harmon and Floyd Cramer on piano. This was an altogether ‘bigger’ sound with something of the new rockabilly styling McCormick had heard when playing with Elvis Presley on package shows.
The prime song was « Got anything good », a gloriously tight recording that fit right between uptempo honky tonk and rockabilly. The song was written by Detroit-based country singer Rufus Shoffner (« Mother-in-law boogie » on Fortune). The flipside, « Can I » was about a woman leaving her man. Again there is a good balance between country and rockabilly with a take-off guitar solo from Chet Atkins and fiddle runs setting the pace as much as the drums. « Billboard » review of April 1955 was good and before long Mercury issued the other two tracks of the session. « Sweet little miss blue eyes » is introduced by a fiddle riff and develops onto a fast-flowing love song where the singers take substantial solo parts as well as their duet sections. The song was something of a hit and has become a minor standard as recorded by Carl Smith, Bill Monroe, Ray Price, Vince Gill. The song was given to them by Don Helms and Merle ‘Red’ Taylor (the man who cut in 1955 « Don’t worry about nuthing » in Memphis on Meteor records, as Mason Dixon). In contrast, « Going steady with the blues » has a more modern stop-time sound and features Joe Edwards on guitar behind an exclusively harmony vocal.
Sometime in the summer of 1955 the hot new vocal duo was back in a Nashville studio for Mercury although the details and the musicians are not known. The instrumentation is similar to the first session ; just add Shot Jackson on steel guitar and almost certainly Del Wood on piano. « Heartaches » opens with a full-throated duet that gives way to a solo lead by Aycock and a modern-sounding take on the fiddle and the steel solo duet. It was backed on the third George and Earl single by « Don’t don’t don’t », provided by Louisiana-based record producer J. D. Mller. A fourth single coupled Autry Inman’s « Take a look at my darlin’ » with « Cry baby cry », a song written by Gene Davis (later Bo Davis on Crest) and inspired by « Why baby why ». It is kicked off in trademark style by fiddler Benny Martin and the duo sing strongly over a tinkling piano until the piano and fiddle take solos. Earl has a more ‘country’ voice, while George has moved further away from Hank’s style.
Early weeks of 1956, that was the third Mercury session. Musicians unknown, but could be largely the same again. « Remember and regret » is a plaintive love song written by Wayne Walker, one of in-house songwriters employed by Nashville publishers. This is a country-sounding record with fiddle solos and embellishments well to the fore but it retains the tinkling piano and the drum-augmented beat.
The next song was different entirely : out of nowhere comes a pop vocal leading to a cheerful and impossibly catchy lyric about « Eleven roses ». Originally a song poem and cut by a NY doo-wop group : quite how the song made its way into a hillbilly session in Nashville is a mystery.
The two last songs were in fact issued first : « Done gone » and « Better stop look and listen ». « Done gone », written by Don Helms was intended to be a hit. McCormick remembers : « It had a rocking style and Joe Edwards really played up that rockabilly guitar ». The Mercury label had equally high hopes on the other side, provided by J. D. Miller (and also recorded by Johnny Jano , although unissued at the time). It opens with a hurrying duet leading into an Elvis Presley-styled lyric from Earl and a ringing and rocky guitar solo probably by Joe Edwards. Just at the time Earl Aycock moved to Texas (the origin state of his wife, who wanted him to stop touring around) to become again a disc-jockey, so the duet ended overnight. The story of Earl Aycock will come separately.
George McCormick carried on for a while with the Martha Carson Show, but she wanted to go to New York and work up there. He said : « She had a big following including a lot of Christian people and she was a big star in country gospel music. » He told Martha Carson : « I’m not going to the city, I’m staying right here in the country ».
When he finally severed his connection with Martha Carson’s show, George needed new work and a new record label. He then worked for two years with the Louvin Brothers, whom he had backed up on the Opry show for a couple of years in 1952-1953. He played rhythm and sang (baritone) wih them, touring all around the country.
The new record label was MGM and his session took place on January 12 1957 at the RCAVictor studio in Nashville. Fiddle and steel sounds of earlier MGM sessions are long gone ; it seems to be Joe Edwards on guitar and Buddy Harman on drums. Pianist, bass player and chorus are unidentified. The session produced four songs, although George’s final single, « Doubt », was backed by « I’ll keep your name on file » from three years ago. The first single coupled the Joe Gibson’s moody « The blues moved in this morning » with the Bryants’ « After all we’ve been through ». « Blues » has a fine guitar solo but is marred by an irritating, repetitive piano figure while « After all » moves close to a pop ballad sound. Last track « Ain’t got nothing but the blues » is lost.
George’s vocals on this session are self-consciously less country than in former years and it is clear he was capable of many different vocal performances. MGM although did not exercise their option for another session, and George probably didn’t know it would be several years before he recorded again as a solo vocalist : actually Hank Williams tribute sessions in 1963 for two low-budget labels. He toured extensively in the East with Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper until 1965, when Porter Wagoner hired him in his Wagonmasters. He appeared in many of the 686 episodes of the Porter Wagoner TV show. Then his last three singles were in 1968-69 on the Stop label : best seller being « Big Wind ». Then he went to work with Billy Grammer and along the way for controversial Alabama Governor George Wallace, before he left after an incident, and went with Grandpa Jones. He stayed with Jones twenty-two years and retired in 1996.
Porter Wagoner TV show
Article based on notes of Martin Hawkins for the BF George & Earl CD « Better stop look and listen ». Some label scans do come from John Burton, Udo Frank or Dean C. Morris : thanks to them. Music from various sources, including a Tom Sims’ cassette. Pictures from the records or from the web.
Billboard Aug. 19 1957 "Blues moved in this morning"
Geore & Earl's worst record
Bear Family LP 15173 (1985)
Howdy folks! Hot, hot summer over there (south of France). Lot of hot music one more time for this fortnight.
First not really a newcomer, although not so well known. RED GARRETT on Decca 29742 seems to use Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys for this fine fast hillbilly, « Papa Joe’s place« , which reminds me a lot of Hank’s « Jambalaya« . Strange guitar sound.
Three tracks then by VERNON CLAUD. I don’t know where he came from, but his records were issued between 1957 and 1958 on Decca. First a medium bopper « Jungle of cement and stone« , an average hillbilly altho’. Then let’s embark for a Johnny Horton type (whom Claud wrote for) country song, « Daylight angel« . Last one is a minor classic, « Baby’s gone« , full-blooded rockabilly all along.
Michigan’s JIMMY WILLIAMS on the Drifter label for two issues (1955-56), I like the rural sounding voice of Williams on « Can you face yourself » and « If you could love me« .
Finally from Cincinnati on the Acorn label (not the Savoy blues sub-label) for another JIMMIE WILLIAMS and the fine uptempo « Hey, hey, little dreamboat« . Sawing fiddle and a nice guitar.
Howdy folks! Let’s begin in Ohio with a native (Portsmouth, 1919), HOWARD PERKINS, early in 1960 on the Shawnee label (# 102) for the fine fast, energetic « It’s A Cryin’ Shame » – nice rhythm, welcome short guitar & steel solos. Shawnee 101 was Lucky Boggs‘ « Drillin’ Rig Boogie« . Later in 1964, « It’s A Cryin’ Shame » reappeared (re-recorded with a lovely fiddle well to the fore – long guitar solo) on Bob Mooney’s Rem (# 346) Lexington, Ky. label. Finally PERKINS had another goodie with « Under control » on the Indianapolis Juke label (# 2012, 1969).
Now a real stomper perfectly sung and played: that’s how a real honky tonk should sound in 1956. WYNN STEWART, fronting the Skeets McDonald Orchestra with the solid « Slowly But Surely » (Capitol 3515).
Very near to Rock’n'Roll, the Rockabilly tinged « I won’t be able to make it » by GLENN CANYON on the Cincinnati Adco label (# 781) from 1965. Stinging guitar, haunting riff.
Back to early ’50s with JACKIE DOLL and the topical « When They Drop The Atomic Bomb« . A fast classic honky tonk: piano, guirar, steel, even a landolin solo. It’s on the Mercury label # 6322 (1952)
Now an excellent fast atmospheric Hillbilly Rockaballad « Courtin’ Under The Moon » by RONDELL BARKER (Excellent 804). Great steel & guitar.
Finally on Philly’s Arcade 163, « It’s Nobody’s Fault But Your Own » by REX ZARIO. A medium steady rhythm over a firm baritone vocal. Zario deserves to be researched.
P.S. Thanks Drunken Hobo for sending me the second version (Rem) of Howard Perkins’ « It’s A Cryin’ Shame ».
Howdy folks! Ready for a new musical trip? This time, very various things. First, the famous SHAGMAR BULLNASTY in 1963 on the Trash label doing « Tapping That Thing« . It’s a risqué lyrics song they say, I don’t know why. The same song with a slightly different tempo came out as BOLIVER SHAGNASTY on Quartercash (Tennessee label). It is rumoured that these names disguise rockabilly Mack Banks, and that the original version came from J. C. Cale (Youtube carries the story to the tune). Anyhow I offer the original version cut during the 40s by YANK RACHELL on the Bluebird label.
Tapping That Thing
Well listen little kids I’m going to sing a little song
It goes like this and it won’t take long
I’m tapping that thing (tapping that thing)
Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing
Well Ma and Pa was laying in the bed
Ma turned to Pa and then she said
Start tapping that thing (tapping that thing)
tapping that thing (tapping that thing)
It’s a little old thing all covered with fuzz
The best damn pussy there ever was
Well I touched her up high and I touched here down low
I touched her in the middle and she didn’t let go.
Say tapping that thing (tapping that thing)
Well I got it in the kitchen and I got it in the hall
I got it on my finger and I swing it on the wall
Well I took here in and I laid here on the floor
The wind from her ass blew the cat out the door
Said tapping that thing (tapping that thing)
Let’s tap a little now
Mama’s in the kitchen and Papa’s in the jail
Sister’s on the corner hollerin’ pussy for sale
Sayin’ tapping that thing (tapping that thing)
Well I cut it once and I cut it twice
The last time I cut it cut it deep and nice.
Now six times six makes thirty six
I’m only going to hit it about six more licks
Yeah tapping that thing (tapping that thing)
Yeah everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing
(thanks to Mark Freese, who transcribed the lyrics)
From Alabama too came OTHELL SULLIVAN. He cut hillbilly on the Southern label in 1952, then in 1960 this fine uptempo « There’s Sure To Be Goodbyes » on the Reed label.
Another Hillbilly turning up to Rockabilly: BILL BLEVINS. During February 1953, he cut at the Holford Studio in Houston a session for Trumpet’s owner, Lilian McMurray. She issued « A Day Late And A Dollar Short », typical Hillbilly bop of Mississipi, backed by Jimmy Swan’s band. This is the forerunner to Billy Barton’s song. Blevins resurfaced in 1957 on the very small National label for two rockabillies « Crazy Blues » and « Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin‘ », both threatening medium tempos.
Finally NORMAN SULLIVAN. He’s best known for a 1960 version of « Folsom Prison Blues » on the Roto label. Here is the flip side « She Called Me Baby ».