Merle Taylor, also known as Mason Dixon, was from the little town of Glen a few miles north of Tupelo, MS where he was born in May 1927. He started with a group called the Country Gospel Singers and then joined the Blue Seal Pals in 1949.
« Merle was one of the best country fiddle players around », says Quinton Claunch. « He was a good bluegrass singer too, and a super, super guy. He worked with all the big acts in Nashville, Bill Monroe, Cowboy Copas, people like that. I first me him when he joined my group the Blue Seal Pals when we moved from WMC Nashville to WJOI in Florence, Alabama. Bill Cantrell had gone to Chicago for a while and Merle – we called him ‘Red’ – came in. He worked with Buddy Bain’s band on WOMA in Corinth, MS too and Buddy came with us on Meteor’s session ».
Behind Taylor’s assured vocals on « Don’t worry ’bout nuthin’ », there is a classy band kicked off by Bill Cantrell on fiddle [so Merle Taylor is confined to vocal duty] and featuring solos by Terry Thompson on guitar and Kenneth Herman on steel guitar . Ronald Smith also played guitar using the percussive rockabilly effect achieved by damperin’ the strings with paper or a matchbox, and Dexter Johnson played the bass.
« Don’t worry ’bout nuthin’«
« I’ll never fall out of love with you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/meteor-5028-mason-dixon-Ill-never-fall-out-of-love-with-you.mp3downoad
« When Rockabilly came in, Red used to do a little section of club dates under the persona of « Mason Dixon ». recalled Quinton Claunch: »Because he was well known as a country fiddler, he did not want people to get confused. So, when it came to this recording, Red said he wanted to use the name Mason Dixon on the record too. It was not a style he was normally associated with. In fact, Les Bihari, boss of Meteor Records] liked the idea so much he called the band the Redskins, after Merle’s nickname. »
It should be noted that another singer popular in the Memphis area, Walter « Tex » Dixon from Alabama, also used the name « Mason Dixon » – which still had huge resonance in the South – on the Reed label in the late 1950s. [research on Walter « Tex » Dixon is on its way for future feature in bopping.org...]
The much more country-oriented « I’ll never fall out of love with you» sees Quinton Claunch add his walking bass style on electric guitar to the mix, underspinning Merle Taylor’s high tenor voice. Kenneth Herman takes a wonderful steel solo.
Merle Taylor had previously recorded two discs for Decca in 1952 (session probably held on Oct. 18) and 1953 (On March 23, 1953) in Nashville, largely with local musicians but including guitarist and songwriter Buddy Bain. Both records paired a slowie and a shuffler. Taylor’s wife Martha Jean Ellis wrote the songs for the second session. Then Taylor toured with Hank Williams at this time and was billed to appear in Canton, Ohio on 1rst January 1953 for the show the latter never lived to give.
« You can’t be a bride without a groom« (Decca 28496)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Decca-28496B-merle-red-Taylor-you-cant-be-a-bride-witout-agroom.mp3download
« Gimme a little sugar« (Decca 28741)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/decca-28741+-merle-red-taylor-Gimme-A-Little-Sugar.mp3download
Merle’s career in Nashville had many high points. He wrote the melody and played fiddle on Bill Monroe‘s classic « Uncle Pen » in October 1950 for Decca. Taylor also toured with the Monroe band for at least two stints between 1950 and 1955, with an interim sojourn with Little Jimmy Dickens. Then he worked with Jimmie Martin and later Ferlin Huskey. Merle played on sessions for M-G-M by Jimmie Martin and the Osborne Brothers. Fiddler Gordon Taylor has said about Red’s work with Monroe : « He did a slow brow with a lot of finger work and a funny reverse. I don’t think there would be the tunes there are now had he not played fiddle because he did something nobody else did ».
Bill Monroe, « Uncle Pen« (Decca 46283)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/decca-46283-bill-monroe-Uncle-Pen.mp3download
Bill Monroe, « Close by« (Decca 29645)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/decca-29289-29645-bill-monroe-Close-By.mp3download
Taylor continued at a high level for a few years before he quit playing with the top bands. People say that he had a really bad driking problem and that he had a serious altercation with singer Little Jimmy Dickens one time when he was drunk.
Bain’s profesional card. Courtesy Eddie DJ Cesc
Buddy Bain « Can we live it down« (Meteor 5027)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/meteor-5027-buddy-bain-can-we-live-it-down.mp3download
Buddy Bain « Daydreams come true« (Meteor 5027)download
After the Meteor recordings, Merle Taylor had cut two songs [in a more poppish vein] for the Bill Justis enterprises, which were issued only in 1989s on the U.K. Zu-Zazz label (# 2005) « Memphis Saturday Night ». One can forget « There’s a light », full of choruses and frankly pop; sole remains of interest the second song, « Love fever », embellished by some fine bluesy guitar and piano. These two unissued songs – not demos- do go stylistically back to 1957 or 58.
« Love fever« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/A8-Merle-Red-Taylor-Love-Fever.mp3download
Taylor also made various sessions as a sideman in Memphis and Muscle Shoals over the years, and was involved in half a dozen bluegrass and fiddle Lps on Old Homestead, Atteiran and Mississipi Trace labels. He also made a solo album produced by Bill Cantrell for Hi Records’ short-lived Hi Country label.
Merle Taylor died on May 3, 1978 in Tupelo, MS.
With thanks to American Music Magazine (Bo Berglind) for the permission given to freely use the Martin Hawkins’ article (AMM # 136, September 2014) on the Meteor label. Pictures were taken from 78rpm-world or from the AMM Magazine, or the Ace CD 885 « The complete Meteor Rockabilly & Hillbilly Recordings ». Thanks to Imperial Anglares for his help. Thanks to Ronald Keppner, who provided both label scans and music of a rare Decca 78. Thanks to Uncle Gil for the loan of Bill Monroe’s music, as the Zu-Zazz LP. Thanks to 45-cat member « Excello-2101″ for the sound to a rare Decca Merle Taylor issue. I have also used Michel Ruppli’s indispensable book : « The Decca labels – A discography, volume 5 » for details on Bill Monroe sessions from 1950 to 1954, and the two Merle Taylor sessions.
Some real rarities this time, several being medium-paced. The name JACK HOLDEN does ring a bell ? With his brother Fairley he had on the White Church (ca. 1946-48) label some issues. We find him in 1948 on the sister label RED BARN (# 1152), located in St. Louis, MO, whom he released three singles for. Red Barn « Mama I’m sick » is a fast, typical late ’40s sounding bopper. Call-and-response format, it includes a vocal backed only by a powerful rhythm guitar and a great fiddle (Wayne Miskiff?). Holden appeared on Cincinnati « Renfro Valley Barn Dance ». Love his style.
« Mama I’m sick« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Jack-Holden-Mama-Im-SickRED-BARN-1152_A.mp3download
Then in Louisiana’s West Monroe. Jiffy was a short-lived affair, however important by the quality of its issues, and the celebrity of some names, Jimmy Pickard, Tommy Spurlin or Jimmy Simpson. Here is the least known ED RAYBORN & his Southern Hillbillies, and the good medium paced « I’ll go on hurting » (# 208). Nice fiddle/steel and sincere vocal.
« I’ll go on hurting« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/jiffy-208-Ed-Rayborn-Southern-Hillbillies-Ill-Go-On-Hurting-1956.mp3download
Kustum appears to have been a subsidiary to Jiffy, yet had only one issue # 4000 (an ambitious numbering) by DAVID CRAIG and the medium uptempo « Just forget it » : nice vocal & steel. Craig was also on Imperial (« Replace my heart » # 8284): hear him on a future Fortnight.
« Just forget it« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/kustum-4000-David-Craig-Just-Forget-It1.mp3download
Late ’50s still had their goodies, here on the Starday custom Dixie 634 by RENAUD VELUZAT for « Race track boogie ». Insistant guitar boogie riff over a youngful voice. A record for Rockabilly buffs
« Race track boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Renaud-Veluzat-Racetrack-boogie.mp3download
ERNIE HUNTER next was a long-time fiddler for various Starday sessions. Here he’s the leader for the very first Houston Longhorn label ( 503) « At ease my friend » (1957). Uptempo medium paced, piano led with confident vocal and steel. Hunter also appeared on a Gold Star custom Rainbow issue (# 1203/1204).
« At ease my friend« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/longhorn-503A-Ernie-Hunter-and-The-All-Stars-At-Ease-My-Friend.mp3download
On the Rose City label (unknown location, # 1004), there’s nothing particular with « At the drug store cowboy’s ball » by ROY JACKSON. With much accordion, this record surely dates from the late ’40s. Good hillbilly bop.
« At the drug store cowboy’s ball« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Roy-Jackson-At-The-Drugstore-Cowboys-Ball-ROSE-CITY-1004_A.mp3download
There were at least two SNUFFY SMITH : one on Star Talent and own Snuffy Smith label ; the other on Western. I don’t know. Or his record which is called « Johnny Acton » is actually titled « Snuffy Smith » ? Anyway it’s great fast Rockabilly, urgent vocal backed by steel and a very nice lead guitar. Oops, Kasko label # 1644.
« Johnny Acton« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/kasko-1644B-Johnny-Acton-Snuffy-Smith.mp3download
« I’m a country boy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/toppa-1014A-Wally-Black-Im-A-Country-Boy.mp3download
Finally on the Covina, CA. Toppa label (# 1014), let’s get late ’50s Hillbilly. Very intricating : piano, bass figure lead guitar, steel (solo) and..claphands and screams. It’s « I’m a country boy » by WALLY BLACK. He had already cut for Fable « Rock and roll mama » and apparently knew how to rock.
Source: main is Youtube (my favorite chains), also own researches on the Net.
All aboard ? For a new journey in Hillbilly bop music , with some forays ito Rockabilly, and even rocking Country blues.
The Fox label did emanate from Abilene, TX, but registered in Hollywood, CA. Its early recordings include a very young LITTLE DEDON with the Tex-Mex sounding Hillbilly « My Pedrecito » (# 404). To the best of my knowledge, the girl had never had another issue.
« My Pedrecito« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Little-Dedon-My-Pedrecito-19521.mp3download
« The boy next door« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Little-Dedon-The-Boy-Next-Door1.mp3download
On the same FOX label, we find in 1954 the great « I’m a hillbilly at heart » (# 403) by GENE DUNN. A fast bopper, great bass plus piano and fiddle backing (« The Fox-Four Sevens », label’s band also backed Little Dedon). The flipside « Girl from nowhere » is a real slowie.
« I’m a hillbilly at heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Gene-Dunn-Im-A-Hillbilly-At-Heart.mp3download
Ernest « Gene » Dunn
Further on, the first ever DEAN BEARD recordings, from 1955 are pure hillbilly : « Wake up, Jacob/Red Rover » (# 405). But his next # 408 is worth the waiting : « Sing sing sing » is a Rockabilly Starday style, with a very nice lead guitar. Its flipside « Time is hanging heavy on my hands » is a lively bopper next to Rockabilly (it features a steel). Beard was to cut on Edmoral the first version of his signature song « Rakin’ and scrapin’ », that Atlantic leased from Edmoral, before leaving behind him a good amount of unissued sides at Sun Records.
» Red Rover« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/beard-red-rover.mp3download
« Sing sing sing« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/fox-408-Dean-Beard-Sing-Sing-Sing-FOX-408.mp3download
« Time is hanging heavy on my hands« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/15-Dean-Beard-Time-Is-Hanging-Heavy.mp3download
The FOX label had another interesting issue, that by CURTIS POTTER, « I’m a real glad daddy »(# 409), a bona fide Rockabilly from 1957.
« I’m a real glad daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Curtis-Potter-Im-A-Real-Glad-Daddy1.mp3download
Let’s turn now to Rocking Blues. First selection does come from Miami, and it’s a small classic, « A fool no more » (Marlin 804) by drummer and bandleader EDDIE HOPE & his Manish Boys. With an harmonica well to the fore and a solid backing, the tune reminds me of Jimmy Reed who would have turned to Rock’n'roll. The B-side « Lost child » is in the same vein !
« A fool no more« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Eddie-Hope-A-Fool-no-more.mp3download
« Lost child« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/EDDIE-HOPE-LOST-CHILD.mp3download
Final tune is sung by the veteran LEROY DALLAS (b. Mobile, Alabama, 1920). « Jump, little children, jump » and its solid rhythm guitar (done by Brownie McGhee), is a good example of the Big Apple blues on the Sittin’ in With label (# 522) from 1949.
« Jump, little children, jump« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/siw-522-Leroy-Dallas-Jump-Little-Children-Jump.mp3download
Sources : Allmusic, YouTube and various compilations. Help from DunkenHobo.
Let’s begin this new fortnight with a seemingly Virginian. CARLTON LINK had on the Freeman label (# 100) the fine uptempo bopper « Lovesick and sorrow », of unknown origin. But he issued a single on the Virginia Lark label in 1970 yet untraced (sound at least, even the actual label).
« Lovesick and sorrow« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Carlton-Link-Lovesick-And-Sorrow.mp3download
Then from Paoli, Indiana, on the Four Wheels label (# 0001) KENNY HOLIDAY with « Little heart don’t be disgusted » (1961) : an agreeable tune with a jumping little guitar.
« Little heart don’t be disgusted« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Kenny-Holiday-Little-Heart-Dont-Be-Disgusted.mp3download
J. G. MORRISON had a fruitful career with no less than 3 aliases ! As previous, he cut two good ballads, « Ace in the hole » and « Old man honest » on the Texan Maridene label (# 103). Good piano vaguely a la Teddy Reddell. This must come from the early ’60s. The same artist was also simply Jim Morrison on Curley Q. in 1963 with a version of « Ace in the hole ». Finally he was also at the turn of the ’50s as CURLEY JIM the author of some fine Rockabillies, like this « Air force blues », a very strong Rockabilly from 1958, on Mida 100 from Florida.
« Ace in the hole« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/J.-G.-Morrison-Ace-In-The-Hole.mp3download
« Old man honest« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/J.-G.-Morrison-Old-Man-Honest-.mp3download
« Air force blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/14-Curley-Jim-Air-Force-Blues.mp3download
From probably the late ’40s and Canada, RAMBLIN’ LOU and the accordion led « Seashore blues » on the Ramblin’ Lou label (# 207). He also had « Cindy » on Beaver.
« Seashore blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Ramblin-Lou-Seashore-Blues.mp3download
Down South in Houston, on the Gold Star custom serie, we find V. CECIL WILLIAMS on the Gilbert label (# 1004/1005) for the nice uptempos, « Two timin’ baby » and « Maurine », typical of the Houston sound of 1952-53, that was to evolve in the Starday sound in the following years.
« Two-timin’ baby » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/V..-Cecil-Williams-Two-Timin-Baby.mp3download
« Maurine« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/V.-Cecil-Williams-Maurine.mp3download
sources: Youtube for most part, HBR for Gilbert, 78-world,45rpm
‘I Mean, I’m Mean’, ‘Behave, be-quiet or begone’ – Roy Duke
A Country Music Anomaly
By Shane Hughes (Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame)
No picture of Roy Duke has ever surfaced. Additional content by bopping’s editor.
Roy Duke’s style was unique and not easily identifiable as either hillbilly or rockabilly. Certainly his earliest sides on Mart are overtly country in composition and treatment, yet his Reject and Decca sides expose definite rockabilly overtones, due mostly to the presence of ace picker Hank ‘Sugarfoot’ Garland. Garland’s runs are typically definitive and starkly contrast Duke’s lazy and loping vocal, particularly on cuts as Honky Tonk Queen and Hard Hearted Mama. Similarly, these recordings, in terms of lyrical content are unalloyed honky tonk. « I Mean, I’m Mean » is pure Ernest Tubb, while « Behave, Be-Quiet Or Begone » would have been well suited to Johnny Cash’s almost baritone vocal and isn’t too dissimilar to many of his Sun recordings of the period. Further, Roy’s Reject and Decca records have been sought after by rockabilly collectors for years, with his Reject disc fetching healthy sums at auction (at east $ 60-75, when copies eventually turn up). So, just who is Roy Duke and why are his recordings still so much in demand? Maybe it was Roy’s propensity for sheer originality that made him a unique and, thus, collectable artist. Today his appeal is certainly broad; probably further reaching than when he made those eclectic recordings during the early and mid-fifties (no thanks to an over active reissue market).
Roy had the potential to find success too, especially after signing with Decca in ’56. By this stage of his career Ernest Tubb had already cut a few of his songs and he was still tight with Tubb’s nephew Douglas Glenn. However, as with the trail of Douglas Tubb’s career, Roy’s tapered radically after minimal sales of his Decca releases (although Roy Junior confessed to Colin Escott that « Honky Tonk Queen » was a moderate hit in Nashville). Roy’s ill-defined style could have been the cause. Staid hillbilly fans may have heard something too progressive in Roy’s recordings, whilst southern teens probably shied away from the melodic hillbilly vocals and languorous rhythm so evident in Roy’s music. Regardless, Roy’s music has persevered and is still very much revered. It’s time his story was finally told.
Read the rest of this entry »
Harmonica Fats, « Tore up« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/darcey-5000-Harmonica-Fats-Tore-Up.mp3download
The Midnighters, « Tore up over you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/TORE-UP-OVER-YOU-by-Hank-Ballard-Midnighters.mp3download
Tommy La Beff, « Tore up« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wayside-1654-tommy-LaBeff-Tore-up.mp3download
Second R&B artist is even more obscure : AL SIMMONS with Slim Green & the Cats from Fresno cut in 1957 on the (I believe) Johnny Otis‘ Dig label a great « Old folks boogie » (# 138). An half screaming/half spoken vocal over an hypnotic lead guitar and a nice sax solo for a Little Junior Parker’s/ John Lee Hooker « Feeling good » type song..
Al Simmons, « Old folks boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/dig-AL-SIMMONS-Old-Folks-Bgie.mp3download
We turn now to usual Country records in this site. EVERETT SPEARS has his own version of the Terry Fell‘s classic «Truck driving man » on the Epto (no °) label. A cool vocal , lot of echo and heavy drums do combine a very nice mid-60′s country rocker, although of unknown area.
Everett Spears, « Truck driving man« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/EPTO-Truck-Driving-Man-Everett-Spears_.mp3download
RAYMOND WEBB now is an unknown artist from the Kentucky or Tennessee. He had only two records. On Rich-R’-Tone 1063 issued in 1953, he gives us a very bluesy track, « Hot water blues » : wailing vocal and a great piano backing. The flipside, « Bucket special » noted on labeI « Instrumental boogie woogie », is a good side too. I ought not be surprised if the piano player was a Black one.
Raymond Webb, « Hot water blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ric-r-tone-1063-raymond-webb-hot-water-blues1.mp3download
Raymond Webb, « Bucket special« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/rich-r-tone-1063-raymond-webb-bucket-special.mp3download
Raymond Webb, « Wherever you are« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/kyva-102-raymond-webb-wherever-you-are.mp3download
He can also be heard 5 years later on the microscopic label Kyva [KentuckY-VirginiA] (the only other record known on this is Luke Gordon‘s) and « Wherever you are ». On a waltz tempo with a prominent steel, it’s a good record for 1958.
GEORGE STOGNER cut in Miami, FL ca. June 1953 on the Rockin’ label # 522 the great double-sider « Hard top race/Big yellow moon », arguably the best ever and the fastest hot rod type song. Label’s owners Henry Stone and Andy Razaf sold it to King’s Sid Nathan in August of the same year. The latter reissued part of the Rockin’ masters on his own DeLuxe label, hence Stogner had the honour of opening the new Deluxe 2000 serie. Back to « Hard top race », with its urgent vocal, fabulous piano and steel, it’s really a berserk wildie taken at an ultra-fast tempo, while the flip « Big yellow moon » is an uptempo ballad with sentimental words, written by Rod Morris : a good song anyway.
George Stogner, « Hard top race« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/George-Stogner-Hard-top-race.mp3download
George Stogner, « Big yellow moon« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/deluxe-george-stogner-big-yellow-moon.mp3download
Finally here is the unknown HAROLD MORRISON, who seemingly never got to issue any commercial record ; only remains an acetate of the fabulous « I gotta have her », a supercharged Rockabilly : great vocal, very fine guitar. I wonder if someone ever took notice at the time of such a talented guy.
Harold Morrison, « I gotta have her« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/audiodisc-HAROLD-MORRISON-I-Gotta-Have-Her.mp3download
Note: the indefatigable visitor Phil Watson sent about Harold Morrison (March 27): »Not sure if it’s the same man, but Harold Morrison was a respected singer/comedian who recorded for several labels including Starday. I have two LPs by him. He started out with Red Foley on the Ozark Jamboree, then worked for the Wilburn Bros for seven years, followed by six years with George Jones & Tammy Wynette, up to 1975 when a now-single Tammy fired him. » also, « Yes, according to Praguefrank, this acetate is by « the » Harold Morrison, and was his first recording in 1956. He recorded for RCA and Decca but not Starday. He died in 1993. ». Thanks Phil!
Sources : Raymond Webb material provided by Allan Turner – thanks to him ! Other selections from my collection (Harmonica Fats and Tommy LaBeff, George Stogner reissues). Label scans as usual from 78rpm-world or YouTube.
Comments or corrections/additions welcome !
Texas Bill Strength (Aug. 28, 1928 ~ Oct. 1, 1973): Although much better known for his career as a radio personality, Texas Bill Strength also cut a series of country and rockabilly efforts, including a session for the legendary Sun Records backed by former Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore. Perhaps his biggest success came as a songwriter, having penned the blockbuster hit, « He’ll Have to Go » for Jim Reeves [actually written by J. Allison & A. Allison].
Born August 28, 1928 in Bessemer, Alabama, Strength was sixteen when he won an amateur contest at Houston’s Joy Theater. Local station KTHT was in the market for a cowboy act and soon he was working part-time on the air. In 1945 Strength began working as a DJ full-time for St. Joseph, Missouri station KFEQ, followed by a stint singing for Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio KSOO. After tenure with Denver’s KMYR, he returned to Houston, in quick succession appearing on KLEE, KATL and KNUZ. During that time, Strength also cut a serie of minor singles for the 4-Star label. Among them were « Who’s the lucky one » and « I’m doing a peach of a job ». By September of 1949 Bill was in Birmingham, Alabama doing daily radio programs at WRBC, which was a network of thirty-seven stations throughout the Southeast. In late 1949, Bill’s career had taken him back to Houston, Texas. Bill was one of the mainstays at a new venue in Houston along with others such as Floyd Tillman and Leon Payne. In early 1950 he was hired by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) to promote the organization via radio and convention.
Howdy folks ! Everybody’s back from holydays ? Ready for stomping hillbilly !
The first artist chosen is BILLY RAY, born William H. Ray. He was living in Baton Rouge when he was signed by Columbia in November 1952. He cut 8 songs during two sessions. « Tired of talking to the blues » was issued on Columbia subsidiary Okeh 18009. It’s a real blues number with a spare instrumentation (guitar, piano and bass) probably cut in New Orleans. The second interesting song from the next session is « You gotta pet me baby » (Okeh 18030), a nice uptempo hillbilly. Alas, sales were poor, Columbia did not renew the contract and Ray disappeared. Maybe he’s the same on Titan in 1960.
« Tired of talking to the blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ok18009-billy-ray-Tired-of-Talking-to-the-Blues.mp3download
« You gotta pet me baby« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/okeh-18030-Billy-Ray-You-Gotta-Pet-Me-Baby.mp3download
James « OTIS » PARKER was a Tennessean (1920-1992), whose career began in 1949 on Rich-R’Tone. How he came to have in 1955 a record issued on Covington, California’s New Star label # 529 (a Starday custom) is a mystery. « They don’t have to operate (they just pull the zipper) » is a comedy-hillbilly not so far from Homer Clemons of 5 years before on Modern (« Operation blues »). Good fast proto-rockabilly. Previously he also had an issue in 1951 on Holyday (untraced).
« They don’t have to operate« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/new-star-529-Otis-Parker-They-Don_t-Have-To-Operate-They-Just-Pull-The-Zipper-1955-.mp3download
DON TEAGUE is a completely unknown artist from the Lexington, KY area. I picked up his two records on the Rains label from 1963. First is billed as « Don Teague with Pap and the Young’uns » and gives a radio station WZEJ indication : « Oh, how bad I feel » (Rains 103) is a fast hillbilly – lot of fiddle, a rockabilly guitar solo, a nice dobro, and an assured vocal. The second (Rains 108) has no connection indication, just « Don Teague with the Blue Valley Boys ». Much slower (« Pure country music » on the label), « I’ll take a walk » is nevertheless a very nice tune, with good dobro and fiddle.
« Oh, how bad I feel« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rains-103-Don-Teague-Oh-How-Bad-I-Feel..mp3download
« I’m gonna take a walk« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rains-103-Don-Teague-Im-Gonna-Take-A-Walk-1963.mp3download
Just for a change, a R&B rocker by (Napoleon) CHICO CHISM on the Shreveport, La. Clif label (# 102) – the very same that beared T.V. Slim‘s first issue of « Flat foot Sam ». « Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que » (1957). Enjoy all !
« Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/clif-102-chico-chism-Hot-Tamales-_-Bar-B-Que.mp3download
Sources : 45rpm.com (Dan De Clerk), Youtube, Okeh 18000 (Willem Agenant), malcychapman.blogspot (Starday customs)
Howdy folks ! I should have given myself a big kick, when I posted Ralph Pruett’s « Louise », last fortnight, and not having thought of the other record of the man, RALPH PRUITT, from Florida. He cut indeed the great haunting Rockabilly « Hey Mr. Porter », first on Lark 1506, later transferred on Meridian (same number # 1506).
« Hey, Mr. Porter« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/meridian-1506-Ralph-Pruitt-Hey-Mr.-Porter1.mp3download
Another well-known Hillbilly bop/rockabilly man whose I told the story a mere several years ago of was LOU MILLET. Until very recently I didn’t know his offering on Ekko 1024 from 1956 , which predates his solitary Republic 45 ’ (« Shorty the barber/Slip, slippin’ in » (# 7130). So here are his « Chapel of my heart » and « When I harvest my love », both ballads ; the B-side is more solid.
« Chapel of my heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ekoA-CHAPEL-OF-MY-HEART.mp3download
« When I harvest my love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ekoB-WHEN-I-HARVEST-MY-LOVE.-.mp3download
The remaining selections are all by HUB SUTTER. He had a rich discographical career between 1946 and 57. Hubert Sutter, legally blind since childhood, was adept to both saxophone and clarinet and began his professionnal career in 1941. Later we found him as vocalist for the popular Jesse James in Austin (4* Records), before going solo on Lasso (a version of « New Frankie & Johnny« ), billed as Hub Sutter & his Galvestonians (actually Jesse James’ band in disguise). In 1950 he formed his Hub Cats and was signed with the upcoming Freedom Records in Houston. There he had two issues. « I don’t want my baby back » (# 5015) has an agile electric mandolin and possibly Herb Remington on steel. The rocking « Tellin’ my baby bye bye » (# 5030) was recorded with R. D. Hendon‘s Western Jamboree Cowboys, probably at the same session that produced Charlie Harris‘ « No shoes boogie » (# 5033).
« The craziest feeling« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/4-1520-The-Craziest-Feeling.mp3download
« New Frankie and Johnny« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/lasso-102B-Hub-Sutter-THE-NEW-FRANKIE-AND-JOHNNY.mp3download
« I don’t want my baby back« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/freedom-5015-hub-sutter-i-dont-want-my-baby-back1.mp3download
« Tellin’ my baby bye bye« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/freedom-5030-hub-sutter-tellin-my-baby-bye-bye1.mp3download
Later on Sutter dropped the steel guitar and added a second saxophone. He then worked extensively with Floyd Tillman, Link Davis, Sonny Hall and Glen Barber.
In 1957, he re-cut « I don’t want my baby back » on the Columbus label (# 103). The rollicking flipside « Gone goslin » is here. Columbus was owned by Eddie Eddings and Sonny Fisfer.
« Gone Goslin« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/columbus-103-hub-sutter-gone-goslin.mp3download
Sources : Internet, and the notes to CD « Heading back to Houston » (Krazy Kat). With help from Drunken Hobo. Of interest also was the Hillbily Researcher blogspot and the entry to « Columbus Records » or Terry Gordon’s invaluable Rockin’ Country Style.
Note (Jan. 13th, 2016). A ‘new’ Hub Sutter record has been found on 4* 1359 by THOMMY THOMPSON: « Dinner with Jole Blon »: written and sung (waltz tempo) by Hub Sutter, the song follows the « Jole Blon » rage, initiated in 1946 by Harry Choates.
07 – Dinner With Jole Blond« Dinner with Jole Blon »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Dinner-With-Jole-Blond-Tommy-Thompson.mp3download
The Van Winkle Brothers (Arnold and Lee) were musically prolific from 1956 to 1962 . Nobody seems to have any informaion on their childhood, although U.S. 1940 Census gives for Arnold a birthdate in 1935 ; but the birthplace is in Tennessee, when they made their careers as far as Indianapolis.