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).
Eddie Snell « Head over the hills »
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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Gene-Snowden-Quit-Your-TriflinOn-Me-HI-FIDELITY-OP-121.mp3download
Hank Crow « Baby me, baby »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/southwest-204-Hank-Crow-Baby-me-baby.mp3download
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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Doc-Bryant-National-Jamboree-Gang-Cotton-Pickin-Boogie-Doc-Bryant-OP-155.mp3download
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
Candy Rowell « Ain’t gonna say hello »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/20-Candy-Rowell-His-Western-Swingsters-Aint-Gonna-Say-Hello.mp3download
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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/keen-OP-262Al-Sweatt-Little-Fo-Mo-Co-Rockabilly-45.mp3download
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».
Jimmy & Duane « Soda fountain girl »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Jimmy-Delbridge-Duane-Eddy-Soda-Fountain-Girl-PRESTON-212-4-Star-OP-acetate.mp3download
Unknown origin : Alaska 194 by Betty Jo and Johnny Starr « Peach pickin’ time in Georgia » (# 194). « Peach picking’ time in Georgia »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/alaska-OP-194-Betty-Jo-Johnny-Starr-Peach-Picking-Time-In-Georgia.mp3download
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.mp3download. 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- »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/thornton-OP-186-Buddy-Thornton-Ole-Santa-Is-Coming-To-Town.mp3download
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).
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.
Red Mansel « Johnny on the spot« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ALLSTAR-7160-Red-Mansel-...-Johnny-On-The-Spot-...57-Hillbilly-Rock.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/KASKO-1643-Red-Lewis-Ill-Move-Along.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/45-1056A-Dixie-frank-zolton-cats-eyes.mp3download
Valparaiso, Florida. HAL ANDREWS offers « Brown-eyed girl », a medium opus, on the Choctaw label (# 6001).
Hal Andrews « Brown-eyed girl »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/choctaw-8004-hal-andrews-brown-eyed-girl.mp3download
Rex Zario « It’s nobody’s fault but your own« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/arcade-163B-rex-zario-its-nobodys-falut-but-your-own.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cozy-447-Vandergrift-Brothers-Sittin-Here-A-Crying.mp3download
All selections taken from the net.
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.
Johnny & Ray « Farewell goodbye« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Johnny-And-Ray-Farewell-2Goodbye-HEART-RECORDS-OP-244-45.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ray-Smith-Gone-Baby-Gone.mp3download
Ray Smith « Swinging boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ray-Smith-Swinging-Boogie.mp3download
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.
David Ray « Lonesome baby blues » (original version)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Lonesome-baby-blues-ORIGINALE.mp3download
David Ray « Lonesome baby blues »(Kliff)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Lonesome-baby-blues-.mp3download
David Ray « Jitterbugging baby« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jitterbuggin-baby.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Lonesome-feeling.mp3download
David Ray « Why can’t you and I« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Why-cant-you-and-I.mp3download
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!
Ray Smith « A place within my heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Toppa-1071-Ray-Smith-A-Place-Within-My-Heart.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/You-make-my-day-aout-93.mp3download
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.
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.
James Mask « Beer drinkin’ daddy » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tom-big-bee-James-Mask-Beer-Drinking-Blues.mp3download
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.
Hayden Thompson, « Act like you love me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Act-Like-You-Love-Me.mp3download
Hayden Thompson, « I feel the blues coming on« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/I-Feel-The-Blues-Coming-On.mp3download
Hayden Thompson, « Blues, blues, blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/605B-Hayden-Thompson-Blues-Blues-Blues1.mp3download
Elton Britt « I feel the blues coming on » (RCA, 1951)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Elton-Britt-I-feel-the-blues-coming-on.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/wolf-tex-103-Harold-Montgomery-How-Much-Do-You-Miss-Me.mp3download
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/poor-boy-107-Danny-Brockman-And-The-Golden-Hill-Boys-Stick-Around-.mp3download
Danny Brockman & Carl Jones, « Don’t you know it’s true« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Poor-boy-107B-Danny-Brockman-Carl-Jones-Dont-You-Know-Its-True.mp3download
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Tene-1023B-Carl-Cherry-The-Itch.mp3download
Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries, « Baby doll » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tene-1023A-CARL-CHERRY.-BABY-DOLL..mp3download
Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries
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 !
Gordon Sizemore « Waddlin baby »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/alvic-Gordon-Sizemore-Waddlin-Mama.mp3download
Tom Wilson « Why’d you pick on me »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/cool-135B-Tommy-Wilson-Whyd-You-Pick-On-Me.mp3download
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?
Buddy Allen « Driftwood on the river »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DRIFTWOOD-1001A-Buddy-allen-driftwood-on-the-river.mp3download
Buddy Allen « God loves His children »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DRIFTWOOD1001B-buddy-allen-God-loves-his-children.mp3download
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 http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/hammond-106-HOLLIS-ALBIN-Vee-eight-Ford-Boogie.mp3download
Hollis Albin, « Uncle Earl don’t stand alone »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/hammond-106B-HOLLIS-ALBIN-Uncle-Earl-Dont-Stand-Alone-.mp3download
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!
Prairie Ramblers, « Gonna have a feast here tonight »
Prairie Ramblers, « Deep Elem blues »
Enjoy the selections, you can always post comments, corrections or additions. If you prefer a direct link, go to my email address : firstname.lastname@example.org. Bye, till next fortnight.
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/rufus-shoffner-it-always-happens-to-me.mp3download
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).
T. Ernie in 1957
T. Ernie Ford « The shot gun boogie » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/capitol-1295.mp3download
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Bob-Englar-amp-The-Southland-Playboys-Always-Dreaming-Hillbilly-45.mp3download
Frank Darris « Ruby Ann » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Frank-Darris-Ruby-Ann-Rockabilly-45.mp3download
David Gregg, »Baby I don’t care » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/David-Gregg-Baby-I-Dont-Care.mp3download
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)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Dempsey-Sims-Blue-Eyed-Baby-Country-Bop-45-Huber-Version.mp3download
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!)
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…)
Born 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.
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.
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! » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Carl-Smith-Hey-Joe.mp3download
« 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.
Sammy Pruett left to Hank
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.
« Baby, I’m Ready » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/25.-Baby-Im-Ready.mp3download
Ricky Van Shelton « Baby I’m ready » (1987)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ricky-van-shelton-baby-Im-ready.mp3download
Also take a listen to the proto-rockabilly (by rhythm and lyrics) « Go Boy Go » or « No, I don’t believe I will »
« Go, boy go » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/columbia-21266-carl-smith-go-boy-go.mp3download
« 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.
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.
Nothing to do with Jimmy Carter’s supposed brother ! That Bill Carter was a member of the Big Jim DeNoone’s Rhythm Busters.
His story begins on December 12, 1929, when he was born in Eagleton, Arkansas, one of ten siblings, the son of an itinerant share cropper. By the time he was nine years old, he was singing on KGHI out of Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1937 , the family moved to Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Bill’s father got a job with the Southern Pacific Railroad in Indio, California, in 1943, and the family headed west. Bill’s interest in music was encouraged, and he took voice lessons during his teens, as well as performing on radio stations KRBO (Indio) and KROX (Modesto), modelling himself on Eddy Arnold. After graduating from Coachella Valley High school, Bill gained employment with the Johnson lumber Company in Grass Valley, and confined his performings to weekends.
In 1949 he joined USAF, and whilst stationed at Lackland and subsequently Parks AFB in Calfornia, Bill formed several bands, playing with the likes of Shorty Lavender (lead guitar and fiddle), Slim Roberts (fiddle), and Bob Cooper (drums). His music was firmly strenched in C&W and performing at NCO clubs kept his hand in. Whilst still in the Air Force, he got to perform with Cal Smith’s band in San Leandro, as well as playing dates in the San Francisco area, and venturing as far afield as San Antonio, Texas radio stations to perform. Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s begin this new favorites selection with the first (?) record by an artist who would have much, much later fame as Boxcar Willie. Here he’s named MARTY MARTIN on the Honeycomb label and he sings a good « Mobile, Alabama blues ».
Marty Martin « Mobile, Alabama blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/24-Marty-Martin-Mobile-Alabama-Blues.mp3download
Les & Helen Tussey « They went around » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Les-Helen-Tussey-They-Went-Around-Rockabilly-45.mp3download
From Indiana in 1960 we find on the Wayne Raney‘s label Poor Boy LES & HELEN TUSSEY doing the nice rockabilly « They went around« .
Next is a famous ARTHUR SMITH on a rare French MGM Issue for the instrumental « Guitar and piano boogie ». Title says it all.
Arthur Smith « Guitar and piano boogie » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/MGM-4070-arthur-smith-guitar-and-piano-boogie.mp3download
Finally, thanks to a Mr. Noel T, I put my hands on two rare JESS WILLARD disks. First the completely unknown G&G 107 double-sider « I’m branding my darling with my heart » (earlier cut by Jack Guthrie) and « Hillbilly heaven » (this is apparently not Eddie Dean’s song). Both sides are gentle hillbilly boppers from 1957. G&G was a parent label to Ka-Hi which Willard had « I’m telling you » on. Second is the Sundown 126 « Cops and robbers/Night time is cry time » from 1959, posthumously issued. Alas, both sides are completely pop.
Jess Willard « I’m branding my darling with my heart » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/gg-107-jess-willard-Im-branding-my-darling-with-my-heart-Jess-Willard-G-G-107.mp3download
Jess Willard « Hillbilly heaven » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Hillbilly-Heaven-Jess-Willard-G-G-107.mp3download
Jess Willard « Night time is cry time » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/sundown-126-A-Night-time-is-cry-time-Jess-Willard-Sundown-126.mp3download
Jess Willard « Cops and robbers » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/sundown-126-BCops-and-robbers-Jess-Willard-Sundown-126.mp3download
Hu-se-co was founded by Odell Johnson in Hobart, Oklahoma. The label apparently lasted from late 1956 to early 1958, and the main issues were issued in 1957. No label listing does exist, so I don’t know if my presentation is complete, as Hu-se-co was a pretty small label for the time being.
First record was cut in Autumn 1956 by DERAL CLOUR and Charley Drake and coupled the very fine primitive Hillbilly bopper/Rockabilly « Sundown (boogie) » with the ballad « Winter (in my heart) ». Clour has said in an interview published by the RockaBilly HOF that the record was cut at Gene Sullivan’s studio on Capitol Hill in Hobart. Deral Clour was to appear at Ernest Tubb’s in Nashville in 1959.
Deral Clour & Charley Drake
Deral Clour and Charley Drake « Sundown (boogie) » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Deral-Clour-And-Charley-Drake-Sundown-Boogie.mp3download
Deral Clour and Charley Drake, « Winter (in my heart) » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Deral-Clour-And-Charley-Drake-Winter-In-My-Heart.mp3download
Then in 1957, three singles of equal musical value. Most important is the rollicking/jumping//western sides by DOYLE MADDEN, backed by Merl Lindsay‘s Oklahoma Nightriders, « Gonna learn to rock » and « Tonights the night for love » (1-757), both written by Lindsay and one Vonnie Mack. The latter (rn Yvonne deVaney) was at one time Yvonne O’Day on Capitol, then in 1956 Vonnie Mack in 1956 on Columbia, where she turned more or less pop. Later she fronted vocally Merl Lindsay’s band.
Doyle Madden « Gonna learn to rock » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hu-se-co-757-1BDoyle-Madden-Gonna-Learn-To-Rock.mp3download
Doyle Madden, « Tonights the night for love » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hu-se-co-757A-Doyle-Madden-Tonights-The-Night-For-Love.mp3download
Second record backed by Merl Lindsay’s Oklahoma Night Riders is by JIM RAY: average ’50s country/honky tonk, main instruments being fiddles and steel. « A little too late » and « My heart belong to you » are on (# A-557).
Jim Ray, « My heart belongs to you » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hu-se-co-557-Jim-Ray-My-Heart-Belongs-To-You.mp3download
Jim Ray, « A little too late » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hu-se-co-557-Jim-Ray-A-Little-Too-Late.mp3download
The third 1957 issue (if the « 57 » sequence has some sense) is a very nice country rocker by FLOYD ANDREWS, « Buy myself a rubber doll » (3-757), with strong guitar and steel to the fore. Floyd Andrews, « Buy myself a rubber doll » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hu-se-co-757-Floyd-Andrews-Buy-Myself-A-Rubber-Doll-1957.mp3download
One issue by COWBOY (Charlie) HUFF escaped to my antennas, « Swingin’ alone tonite/Tulsa town waltz » (757). It’s the same man who had records in the Starday custom serie (»No two timin’ me »).
Cowboy Huff « No two timing’ me » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/45-616a-Cowboy-Huff-No-Two-Timin-Me-huff-02-57.mp3download
And we nearly reached to the end of label with the 1958 issue by BILL & BINK ( with drummer Dwight), whose two-sided « Bed bug boogie/Do and don’t blues » (1358) could be described as primitive bluesy hillbilly/rockabilly.
Bill & Bink, « Bed bug boogie » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Bill-Bink-Bed-Bug-Boogie-Rockabilly-45.mp3download « Do and don’t blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Bill-Bink-Do-And-Dont-Blues-Rockabilly-45.mp3download
The indefatigable and faithful DRUNKENHOBO has found three more HU-SE-CO records! Thanks Dean.
A Bluegrass rockabilly flavored « If you’re after my heart » by the group RAMBLIN RASCALS on Hu-se-co. Flipside unheard « We both love the same girl ».
Ramblin Rascals « If you’re after my heart » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/The-Ramblin-Rascals-If-Youre-After-My-Heart-Rockabilly-45.mp3download
Then WESLEY (Sleepy) MOORE and « Old mother Nature » (Hu-se-co 1257)(flip side « If you’d say you care ».
Wesley Moore « Old mother Nature » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/HU-SE-CO-1057-Wesley-Sleepy-Moore-Old-Mother-Nature-...-56-Hillbilly-Bop.mp3download
Dean finally mentions a third disc by HURSHUL CLOTHIER, which proves untraceable. Clothier was an Oklahoma ace fiddler, backed by the Oklhahoma Travelers (founded 1953), who had « Will you please » on Hu-se-co 2-757.