Portland, OR. Country rock: JOHNNY SKILES (1958-59)

skiles assisFrom Monroe, La, JOHNNY SKILES enlisted in WWII at the age of 17. After the war, he moved from Beaumont, Texas to New Orleans, constantly writing songs and playing his guitar.

His brother-in-law (from Monroe) was Jack Hammons, who co-wrote with him and recorded « Mr. Cupid » for Starday (# 197) in 1955. Col. Tom Parker came through Monroe one day, heard Hammons sing Skiles’ original compositions, and quickly phoned Jack Starnes at Starday to arrange a session.

starday 197 jack hammons - Mr. Cupid

Jack Hammons « Mr. Cupid »



Johnny Skiles was signed to a songwriter’s contract by Southern-Peer in 1955, although unfortunately nothing ever resulted from it.

Skiles then moved to Oregon (he worked for the U.S. Post Office) in the mid-to-late fifties. His first record was a Starday custom 45, « The twinkle in your eyes/Ghosts of my lonely past », released on Corvette 672 circa 1958. Bob Hill and his Harmony Ranch Hands backed Skiles on these appealing boppers. He was influenced by Hank Williams and Webb Pierce, his boyhood friend from Monroe, on his C&W material.

« The twinkle in your eyes »


« Ghosts of my lonely past »

corvette 672b johnny skiles - ghosts of my lonely pastcorvette 672a johnny skiles - the twinkle in your eyes

His next outing was Rural Rhythm 518 « Is my baby coming back/Come paddle footin’ down », cut at Portland Ace studio, and released by Jim O’Neal, the late, colorful country DJ/entrepreneur from Arcadia, California. There are distinct echoes of Johnny Cash on these Skiles Rural Rhythm sides, despite chorus. Another Rural Rhythm, EP 37 ½, had 6 tracks among them « Sundown road » [unheard] by Skiles and Bob Hill.

Then he appeared on the good bopper « Blue shadows » (Rumac OP-287).



« Is my baby coming back »


« Come paddle footin’ down »


« Blue shadows »



rural rhythm 618a johnny skiles - is my baby comin' backrural rhythm 518B johnny skiles - come paddle footin' downrumac 287 johnny skiles - blue shadows

Rockabilly fans and collectors will be more interested in Johnny Skiles’ Rumac R&R session : « Hard luck blues/Rockin’ and rollin’ » was issued on a Four Star custom pressing as Rumac OP-301 in 1959. Johnny played rhythm guitar, accompanied by his fellow Bob Hill on his custom-made 8-string Fender. « Rockin’ and rollin’ » comes as a lovely Country-rocker – good lead guitar and a lazy rhythm. Ruby Smith owned the Rumac label, although Bill McCall, the owner of Four Star, claimed co-writing credits in his usual fashion as « W. S. Stevenson ». (He was doing that possibly inspired by the « Josea-Ling-Taub » of the Modern label’s Bihari brothers, or maybe more « D.Malone », the nom-de-plume of Duke/Peacock’s Don Robey).

rumac 301 johnny skiles - hard luck bluesrumac 301 johnny skiles - rockin' and rollin'


billboard; June 6, 1959

« Rockin’ and rollin (A two tone beat)‘ »


« Hard luck blues »



Two unissued tunes, « Red headed woman » and « Rock jump boogie » were also recorded at the Ace Portland session : both are gentle Country-rockers, with Bob Hill’s inventive and agile guitar well to the fore. They sound demos. 500 copies of « Hard luck blues » were pressed, and intended also as a demo and showcase. In 1959 also, Johnny fronted vocally the group of the Echomores for « What-cha-do-in » on the Portland, OR. Rocket label # 1044). It’s a fast bopper/rocker with a very nice steel (solo), a good lead guitar and a solid rhythm throughout the song. Skiles get a girl replica near the end. A very fine record by him for the era. Thanks to CheesebrewWax Archive Youtube chain for unearthing such unknown goodies! From unknown origin/date (a Jim O’Neal recording), the White label album contained one more by Skiles,   « If your telephone rings », a fast Rockabilly type song.

« Red headed woman »


« Rock jump boogie »


The Echomores (Johnny Skiles, vo) »What-cha-do-in »


rocket 1044 echomores -what-cha-do-in

After that, Skiles and Bob Hill teamed with Leighton Atkins on organ and Gene Cipolloon on guitar for a serie of Country instrumentals, which were released on some EP’s by Jim O’Neal, sent to D.J.s in the manner of Starday. This way Skiles received a little money, more than from his records. These Eps were used by D.J.s to segue from one segment of commercial to the next, and were released on Rural Rhythm and, yes another O’Neal label, Honey-B. I include a solitary Honey-B 102 issue for the interesting « Comin’ home to you », a medium-paced Rockabilly, despite the girl chorus by the Tonettes.

« Comin’ home to you »


« If your telephone rings »


Skiles and his group kept on performing throughout the 60s and 70s on the Pacific Northwest. That’s all is known of him.

skiles & group


From the notes (by Cees Klop apparently) of the album White label 8967 « The original Johnny Skiles », published 1991. Additions by bopping Editor. Original labels from 45-cat. Thanks to UncleGil to have provided me the WL album.

BILL MORGAN a.k.a. BILL CARROLL: Feel so good


No image available of the boys neither of Bill Morgan at the moment. Maybe someone has one picture? Pease help!

This Bill Morgan has nothing to do with the Columbia songwriter and artist (1954-55), brother to George Morgan.

By the mid-1955, Texans Bill [Morgan, rhythm guitar] and Carroll [Hunt, lead guitar] came from Beaumont, Texas, to Lake Charles’ (La.) Goldband recording studio and cut their first sides. They were issued on Goldband 1034 early 1956, comprised of two Hillbilly boppers tunes : « Love me just a little bit » has harmony vocals in the bridge, the rest goldband-1034a-bill-carroll-love-me-just-a-little-bitgoldband-1034b-bill-carroll-my-blue-letter

« Love me just a little bit »


« My blue letter »





being sung by Bill Morgan ; fine backing of fiddle and steel by the Netche Valley Boys; « My blue letter » is faster and equally good. The boys try with brio to sing harmony all along the track. Again great aggressive fiddle, as on « Honest to goodness baby » (Goldband 1053) issued 1957. The B-side « Love grown cold » is a slowie ; the vocals are plaintive but the spirit (a piano is added) of the other sides remain intact.


« Honest to goodness baby »


« Love grown cold »


Departing from Goldband Bill & Carroll left behind them 5 unissued songs only published in France and U.K. during the late ’80s. A first version of the future Dixie classic « Feel so good« , a perfect example of Hillbilly bop heading towards Rockabilly (great guitar and fiddle backing).The medium paced « Shadow on my heart » is reminiscent of « Love grown cold », but a little faster. Enters even an accordion player. Some mambo rhythm for « Boo hoo », then « Hold me baby » is a fast number, quasi-rockabilly (at least for the guitar playing), a bit Everly-ish. The last tune, « Bluff city rock » is pure rock’n’roll, with heavy drums and tickling piano, and again that fine guitar.

« Feel so good« (1956 version)


« Shadow on my heart »


« Boo hoo« 


« Hold me baby« 


« Bluff city rock« 


Next step was on Madison, TN, Dixie label. Both of the guys were reunited under the name « BILL CARROLL » for a second version of their previous « Feel so good » (Dixie 2010) – a sharp lead guitar, and a firm vocal. This is the best ever of their product – value $ 300-400, and one would hear their B-side « In my heart » , not available since its November 1958 issue.


« Feel so good »



courtesy Udo Frank

From then on, it seems that both of them went separate ways, as further recordings are all assigned to « BILL MORGAN ». First in 1959 (reviewed by Billboard in August) on Pappy Daily’s « D » label (# 1092) . « Your wicked love » is a fast bopper: clear voice, nice backing of piano and an ordinary guitar, probably not by Carroll Hunt. Things are slower for the flipside « At home with mom », full of echo. Next step is on the Dart label (a sublabel to « D ») for « Red hot rhythm combo » (# 137) in 1960 : a good jumping little rocker. The guitar riff is fine and insistant, and Morgan is in good voice.

« Your wicked love »


« Red hot rhythm combo« dart-137-bill-morgan-red-hot-rhythm-combo


The man moved again to Texas, and had a good amount of recordings until 1972, when his trail goes cold. On Delta Records, he had late 1962 # 501 « I need your love » picked up by Chess and reissued on # 1841, a good little rocker. Then on Delta 504 in 1963, « She gave me lovin’ », once more a fine rocker. Then on Gem (1964-65) a similar instrumentation for the energetic « Tennessee moon » (# 5) or the lovely (female chorus) « Land of the midnight sun » (# 7)(not posted here). I did not hear further recordings on New World, Stoneway and Myra, so cannot comment neither podcast them.



« I need your love »



« She gave me lovin' »



« Tennessee moon »


Another Bill Morgan appeared on Rebel 249 (VA.), who had nothing apparently to do with this artist. Indefatigable visitor (and corrector) DunkenHobo points out a different version of « I need your love »(Chess) by a BOBBIE MORGAN on (Tx) Blackbird 505. It is aurally not an alternate of the Chess issue; a seemingly female vocal; no speeded up tempo I’d assume; and this time a good piano. Producer Bill Morgan, says DrunkenHobo. So maybe Bobbie was his wife? Here it is for what it’s worth:blackbird-505-bobbie-morgan-i-need-your-love

Sources: 45rpm.com site; notes to Goldband LP 107 « Bop stop rock »; notes to BF 16408 « D & Dart »; YouTube.(53jaybop chain for the Goldband 1034 label scans)

Early September 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Back from Summer holidays, we begin with the incomparable MERLE TRAVIS with a little known opus cut on December 4, merle travis1952, « Louisiana boogie » (flipside « Bayou baby »), which permits the pianist Billy Liebert (long-time musician at Capitol sessions) to shine with a boogie 12-bar pattern. This side can be found on Capitol # 2902. Two fiddles are also heard, these of        « Buddy Roy » Roy and Margie Warren, while Travis is in good form both on guitar and vocals.

« Louisiana boogie »

download   capitol 2902 travis - louisiana boogie



lou graham pic










LOU GRAHAM was one of the earlier rockabilly-style artists to show up on record, courtesy of Ivin Ballen’s Philadelphia-based Gotham Records. Born in rural North Carolina, and one of 10 children, his full name may have been Lou Graham Lyerly. He showed an early interest in country music, and following a hitch in the United States Navy, he entered radio as a singer and disc jockey. Vocally, he was similar to his somewhat older contemporary Hank Williams. Graham spent 18 months at WPWA in Chester, PA, he made the acquaintance of Bill Haley, leader of a locally-based country band called the Saddlemen, who helped Graham get a recording contract with Gotham. Graham cut « Two Timin’ Blues » and « Long Gone Daddy » at a 1951 session with an unknown backing band, but early the next

« Please make up your fickle mind »


« My heart tells me »

downloadgotham 433a lou graham- please make up your fickle mindgotham 433b lou graham- my heart tells me

year, he was backed by Bill Haley‘s Saddlemen on a quartet of sides, « I’m Lonesome, » « Sweet Bunch of Roses« , « Please make up your fickle mind » and « My Heart Tell Me. » all issued on Gotham 429 and 433. Graham kept busy working as a deejay at WTNJ in Trenton, NJ, and on television as an announcer, on WDEL in Wilmington, DE. By the late 1950’s, he was also working regularly in nightclubs, parks, and western jamborees playing country and hillbilly music, playing on the same bills with Webb Pierce, Hank Thompson, and Ernest Tubb. In 1957, he made his most lasting contribution to recordings with his single « Wee Willie Brown » for the Coral Records label.

Salty Holmes and Jean Chapel

court. Imperial Anglares


SALTY (HOLMES) & MATTIE (O’Nell) had a long, long career, either as single artists, either in duet, like with this « Long time gone » (M-G-M # 11572, recorded July 7th, 1953). In fact, Salty only wails his harmonica, while Mattie has the vocal duty on this marvelous fast Hillbilly bopper (good picking guitar a la Merle Travis and a steel reminiscent of Hank Williams’ Don Helms). Of course Mattie O’Nell was also known (RCA, Sun) as JEAN CHAPEL.




« Long time gone »


mgm 11572 dj salty & mattie - long time gone(11-7-53)



We jump in 1963 on the K-Ark label # 296 (Cincinnati, OH) with HARVEY HURT and his « Stayed away too long ». An aggressive vocal on the front of a chorus (handclaps during the solo), and a nice guitar+steel solos, make this a very agreeable record, even not listed in 45rpmrecords.com.

From Avery, Texas, Chucklin’ CHUCK SLOAN offers his « Too old to Rock’n’roll » (Cowtown # 806) cut in 1961 . A fast Rockabilly/Country-rock novelty issue : very, very fine guitar, indeed influenced by blues guitarists. The song appeared long ago on a Swedish Reb bootleg.

k-ark 296 harvey hurt - stayed away too long (63)

« Stayed away too long »


« Too old to Rock’n’roll »

download  cowtown 806 ch. Chuck sloan - too old to R&R(61Avery Tx)

More from Fort Worth, Texas in 1958 on Majestic (# 7581). J. B. BRINKLEY (aka Jay Brinkley) gives a splendid bluesy                « Buttermilk blues »: really biting and agile guitar, backed by a solid piano, over a powerful voiced singer.

« Buttermilk blues »


 majestic 7581 J.B. Brinkley - buttermilk blues(FtWrth58)

Brinkley also had previously issues on Dot (# 15371 « Crazy crazy heart/Forces of evil » – both pop rockers) in March 1955, and Algonquin 712/3 (a New York label) (« Go slow baby », a fine bluesy rocker, with a thrilling guitar) in 1957, plus some instrumentals. first on Kliff 100 (1958) , the good « Guitar smoke » which reminds one of Bill Justis‘ monster « Raunchy » ; then on Roulette 4117 (« The creep/Rock and roll rhumba »).

« Go slow baby« 


« Guitar smoke »


alconquin 712 go slow babyklliff 100 jay brinkley guitar smoke

Brinkley had actually begun his career as singer/guitarist fronting the Crystal Springs Ramblers in 1937 for « Tell me pretty mama », Vocalion 03707) with Link Davis on fiddle, and a full Western swing combo. More with the Light Crust Doughboys in 1941, or backing (electric guitar) Patsy Montana for her 1941 Decca sessions. He even cut at a Al Dexter session in 1941. Seems he was in great demand..He was part of recordings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area by the number of litterally hundreds during the ’50s and ’60s. Just an example : Andy Starr on his Kapp sides (« Do it right know ») from 1957. The perfect replica to Houston’s Hal Harris !
vocalion 03707 crystal spring ramblers - tell me pretty mama


DAYTON HARP cut records as soon as 1952: his « Foot loose and fancy free » (Gilt-Edge 5038) is a good dayton harp bopper with excellent mandolin over a really ‘hillbilly’ vocal. He hailed from Florida, and he recorded there a duet (with Dot Anderson who gives Harp the replica) in 1958 for the Star label (# 695) « Man crazy woman » : a nimble guitar and a too short steel solo. A really good record. The flipside sees Harp alone : « You’re One in a million » is a fine uptempo ballad with the same instrumentation (really good guitar!). Both these tracks were issued as Starday customs.

« Foot loose and fancy free »


« Man crazy woman »


« You’re one in a million »




gilt-edge 5038 dayton harp- foot loose and fancy free(51)


star 695a dayton harp (dot anderson) man crazy woman(58,Fla)star 695-B dayton harp - you're one in a million (58)


Sources : the Capitol label discogaphy (Michel Ruppli a.o.) ; 45rpmrecords.com ; YouTube ; Terence Gordon’s Rockin’ Country Style ; 45-cat ; rocky52.net ; Tony Russell’s « Country music » (1921-1945) ; Bruce Elder’s Lou Graham biography on Allmusic.com.

Late July 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites, and the « Daydreamin' » saga!

Late July 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites, and the « Daydreamin' » saga!

This fortnight’s favorites feature will be separated in two sections. First we will be wandering between some artists of various importance. Second we will hook up on a familiar theme in 1954-55, that of « Daydreamin’ »…

First comes the very unknown from the early days, WALLY MOORE & His Tennesseans. He cut seemingly first for the R&B indie Acorn (a subsidiary of N.J. giant Savoy label), which had its Hillbilly serie : « A dream lives on » (# 317-B) in 1951. A sweet little jumping bopper with good voice from Moore. The steel is uninspired, but the guitar takes a fresh short solo. Earlier he had been on the big concern Savoy – again in its 3000 Hillbilly serie – for the proto-Rockabilly « Down at the picture show » (# 3025). He had also a good disc on # 3023, « Tie a little string around your finger » (announced by 7th Jan. 1950 Billboard issue); I include the reverse side, « A vision of yesterday« , a weeping ballad for a change, because of the mandolin accompaniment and the Hawaii style steel (which sounds like Jerry Byrd, according to the provider of this 78rpm, Ronald Keppner). Finally Moore had another record on Regent 170 [unheard] then he disappeared from my researching antennas.

acorn 317B Wally Moore - a dream lives on

« A dream lives on »


« Down at the picture show »


« Tie a little string around your finger »


« A vision of yesterday »



Galen Gart’s ARLD gives the date of Savoy 3024 (wedged in between the two Wally Moore issues) as issued in January 1950, and Acorn 316 on March 1951.

savoy 3025A wally moore - down at the picture show
savoy 3023B wally moore - tie a little string savoy 3025B wally moore - a vision of yesterday


BB 18-2-50 Wally Moore

Billboard Feb. 18, 1950



curley sanders

Curley Sanders











The name CURLEY SANDERS surely rings a bell to many. He had first waxed for Dallas’ Star Talent label (« Last on your list », # 749), then he came to Imperial in 1951, Concept later, finally on Jamboree. That’s when in 1956 he cut his most famous track « Brand new Rock’n’Roll », a fiery slice of wild Rockabilly (# 590). I’ve chosen his second issue on Jamboree (# 1833A) « Heartsick and blue », again with the Kentucky Rangers : backing of piano, a rockabilly picking guitar solo, a good steel solo and a welcome mandolin solo over a urgent vocal. Sanders story was told in this site in March 2013.jamboree 1833A curly sanders - heartsick and blues



« Heartsick and blue »


From West Monroe, La. comes the back-to-back Dos record by AL DOSS (# 944). Fine uptempo of « That’s my baby ». Quieter is the double-voiced flipside « Everytime you waltz again ». A nice little record. Doss had another good record on Dos # 945 with two boppers: « Why do dont » and « Everytime you waltz« .



Both sides have a « GS » written in wax; so a Gold Star recording location (Houston) is probable.


« That’s my baby »


« Everytime you waltz again »


doss 78-945 al doss - why do don't

« Why do don’t »



dos 78-945 al doss -everytime you waltz


« Everytime you waltz »

all doss BB 5-5-56

Billboard May 56. Thanks to SomeLocalLoser

thanks to Ronald Keppner who had posted the  78 issue of AL DOSS in 78rpm-world. The disc was released in May 1956.



Then we enter the « Daydreamin’» saga.daydreamers pic

In 1954 on Meteor # 5014 BUD DECKLEMAN had a mammoth hit with « Daydreamin’ », the quintessential Hillbilly bop heard even in New Orleans [n° 2 in Cashbox charts], or Des Moines (Iowa), not to say Memphis [n° 1] of course. Sam Phillips had previously turned down Deckleman and was bitterly biting his fingers..Les Bihari (Meteor label’s boss), who had renamed Daydreamers the label’s house-band (for Jess Hooper, Barney Burcham and Jimmy Haggett), was very cutup when Deckleman agreed to the offer made by M-G-M, still in the hunt for another Hank Williams. Bud Deckleman waxed a dozen sides [all were released] between 1955 and 1956, and athough he had a small success with « No one dear but you » (M-G-M 11952, March 1955), his style really out of date at the time being eluded him the renewal of his contract with M-G-M. Here it is « I gotta find a way », the very last song he cut for M-G-M on October 18, 1956 (# 12419), and the penultimate issue (before # 12552, « I done fell too fer/As long as I can dream », a prophetically title !). Good, excellent bopper, very confident and driving. The story of Bud Deckleman can be found in this site, as it has been told in May deckleman2009. Unfortunately Deckleman’s career gradually came at its end in 1957, because he was out of date and, according to Q. Claunch « You’d never be quite sure you could rely on him ». Final record in 1961 on Stompertime # 1400, « I’ll be the one/I’m sorry now », a fine swansong in the M-G-M days mould. Deckleman died in February 1998.

mgm 12419 deckleman - I gotta find a way

« I gotta find a way »


« I’m sorry now »



And that’s when the story of « Daydreamin’ » begins, thanks to its writers, Mrrs. Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch. (respectively guitarist and fiddler on the  « Daydreamin’ » session) : led by Sam Phillips in astray, they wrote the follow-up,   « Daydreams come true » for Maggie Sue Wimberly at Sun (# 229) and Buddy Bain, Kay Wayne and Merle (Red) Taylor at Meteor (# 5027). Note that both of them played on the two sessions!

maggie sue wimberly pic

sun 229 maggie - daydreams come true


Maggie Sue Wimberly, « Daydreams come true »


Buddy Bain, Kay Wayne & Merle (Red) Taylor, « Daydreams come true »

downloadbuddy bain





meteor 5027 45 buddy bain - daydreams, come true








In the meantime « Daydreamin’ » had been covered at least 7 times, first by Jimmy Newman (Dot), who hit to # 7 in early 1955 with it; then by Wanda Jackson, Carl McVoy, and later by Tibby Edwards (on Todd) or Warren Storm. I include the version made very early by DOUG BRAGG on Coral (# 61364) – recorded January 1955, it’s a carbon copy of Deckleman’s, which went unsuccessful. He liked the theme, as he even had also his sequels to                 « Daydreamin’ » on Houston, Tx. D Records 3 years later : « Daydreaming again » (# 1018)[with little yodels..] and its reverse, « If I find my dream  girl » ! Of course Bragg also recorded for Dixie and Skippy. His story was told in this site in December 2012.

Doug Bragg, « Daydreamin' »


Doug Bragg, « Daydreaming again »


Doug Bragg, « If I find my dream girl »


doug bragg pic

Doug Bragg


coral 61364 doug bragg - daydreamin' D 1018B doug bragg - dream girld 1018A doug bragg - daydreaming again










Sources : my own archives ; notes by Martin Hawkins to Ace CD « The complete Meteor rockabilly and hillbilly recordings » ; 45cat and 78rpm-world. Michel Ruppli’s « The M-G-M label » (session details). As usual thanks to Ronald Keppner for his precious help on Wally Moore 78rpm. Thanks DrunkenHobo for the press snippet.

ROY MOSS: Rockabilly & Country-rock (1955 to 1994) [Mr. ACTION]

ROY MOSS: Rockabilly & Country-rock (1955 to 1994) [Mr. ACTION]

70858 45 roy moss -corinne, corinnaBorn August 1929, Plainview, Arkansason stage

Roy Moss started out in country music just in time to get caught up in rock’ n’roll when it began taking hold in 1954-55. Elvis Presley helped him get onto the Louisiana Hayride during his early days (uncertain detail). Roy got his first big break when he appeared on radio WNOP in Newport, Kentucky, and met up with the host, Jimmie Skinner. Skinner (1909-1979) was an important country singer who scored his biggest hits between 1957 and 1960, on Mercury (for example, « Doin’ my time » or « I found my girl in the U.S.A.« ).

In November 6, 1955, Roy Moss played a big country show in Cincinnati with Pee Wee King, The Stanley Brothers, Jimmy William, Betty Foley and Jimmie Skinner acting as emcee. He was then managed by Lou Epstein of Jimmie Skinner’s Music Center. Around that time Moss signed to Mercury.

Skinner got Moss signed to that label in 1955 and at the tail end of that year, Roy was taken to Nashville for his first recording session. Four songs were recorded, two of them written by Skinner and all four were released on two singles : « You’re My Big Baby Now« / »You Nearly Lose Your Mind » (Mercury 70770, released January 1956 – value $ 60-75) and « Corrine Corrina« / « You Don’t Know My Mind » (Mercury 70858, May 1956 – value $ 75-100). Authentic rockabilly with an effervescent acoustic quality. These four Mercury sides have all been reissued on the Bear Family CD « That’ll Flat Git It, Vol. 11 » CD (BCD 16101), devoted to the Mercury label. Alas, sales must have not been interesting enough, because Roy Moss’ contract with Mercury Records was not renewed. In the meantime, Moss was a regular of the Jimmie Skinner Show aired by WNOP from Newport, KY. 

It was a 1000 watts radio station working daytime.  (suite…)