‘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.
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Harmonica Fats, « Tore up«
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.
En route for a new batch of goodies. I hope you will have as much pleasure to listen to them (or download) as I had chosing them.
Here we go with the same song, a Bluegrass bopper, by its originators first, DON RENO & RED SMILEY in 1957 (banjo and guitar, I’d assume) for King # 5002 : « Country boy rock and roll » combines the energy of both musics for a stupendous number. Two years later, the same tune was revived by a small Maryland duet, FRANKIE SHORT and DEE GUNTER on the Wango label # 200. A very fine version, even faster than the original.
Don Reno, Red Smiley « Country boy rock and roll« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DON-RENO-RED-SMILEY-Country-Boy-Rock-N-Roll.mp3download
Frankie Short & Dee Gunterhttp://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/wango-201-Frankie-Short-Dee-Gunter-Country-Boy-Rock-And-Roll.mp3download
We go up north now for the pure Hillbilly bop beat of « Niagara moon » (Niagara 53727) by ERIC & JOHNNY & Lincoln County Peach Pickers.
Back to Nashville and the Excello label. Indeed it was famous for its Blues and R&B releases, but it had also the odd hillbilly number, for example here RAY BATTS (# 2028) for the great relaxed « Stealin’ sugar ». Batts was also on Bullet and Nashboro.
Eric & Johnny « Niagara moon« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Eric-Johnny-Lincoln-County-Peach-Pickers-Niagara-Moon.mp3download
Ray Batts « Stealin’ sugar« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/excello-2028-Ray-Batts-Stealin-Sugar.mp3download
BILLY McGHEE may have been out of Texas, as he had several records on Imperial. Here on RCA 4727 he cut the good easy-going « I’ll copyright my baby ».
Finally from Texas on the TNT (# 136) label, the only woman of the pack, BETTY BARNES, does offer the fine rockabilly «What would you do ».
Billy McGhee, « I’ll copyright my baby« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/RCA-4827-Billy-McGhee-Ill-Copyright-My-Baby.mp3download
Betty Barnes « What would you do« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/tnt-136-Betty-Barnes-What-Would-You-Do.mp3download
Source : Internet.
Other intended features on their way: Valley label, G&G label, early Toppa label, important update of Forest Rye feature, and other articles.
Here is the new selection of this end of January 2015.
First, two records by BILL LANCASTER, on the Birmingham, AL. G.G. label . The first one « Too young to get married » (# 516) is credited to Bill Lancester. The second is « It’s saturday night now » (# 519). Both are fine Bopping billies, fast loping rhythm (fine fiddle and piano + steel).
« Too young to get married »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Bill-Lancaster-Too-Young-To-Get-Married-G.G.-516.mp3download
« It’s saturday night now »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Its-Saturday-Night-Bill-Lancaster.mp3download
From Middletown, OH comes DON JOHNSON and his « Feeling low ». I can’t believe this is the same artist as Don Johnston on Mercury (« Born to love one woman »). Fine fiddle throughout.
Don Johnson « Feeling low »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Don-Johnson-Flying-Low.mp3download
Ferlin Huskey « Slow down brother »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ferlin-Husky-Slow-Down-Brother.mp3download
FERLIN HUSKEY, also Simon Crum, also Terry Preston (on 4*) is too well known. He delivered several good Hillbilly boppers ; I chose his best-known track, the rockabilly « Slow down, brother » (Capitol 3316).
WALT McCOY is a West coast veteran, whom nothing is virtually known about, although he had a long recording career. Here he is represented with « U.S.A. » on the late ’40s Chrystal label # 292.
Finally the very elusive too T.J. SKERO and his fine « Gold diggin’ mama » from 1950 on 4* 1468.
Walt McCoy « U.S.A. »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/19-U.S.A.mp3download
T.J. Skero « Gold diggin’ mama »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/4-1468-T.J-Skero-And-The-Sunset-Play-Boys-Gold-Diggin-Mama-1950.mp3download
For this last 2014 fortnight, I’m lacking time and imagination so I’ve chosen several particular records. We begin listening to BILL HICKS and the Southerners on Fortune 188 (from 1956) for two well driven rockabillies/boppers « She’s done gone » (slow) and « Blue flame » (fast).
« She’s done gone »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Bill-Hicks-Shes-Done-Gone.mp3download
« Blue flame »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Fortune-188-Bill-Hicks-Blue-Flame-.mp3download
A real rarity now on the Family Library 1021 label : it’s GENE LAVERNE and what I think is an original « Hot rod mama » on a 6-track 78rpm record.
« Hot rod mama« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/family-libraey-1021-gene-Laverne-Hot-Rod-Mama-Gene-Laverne.mp3download
The following artist has a long recording story behind him : he can be found as early as 1951 on Blue Bonnet, as part of the Texas Round-Up Gang. Later, DEWEY GROOM went to Mercury, then founded early ’60s his own Longhorn label, where he cut among other tunes « Butane blues » (# 517). I didn’t verify if this is the same track as Gene O’Quin‘s one.
« Butane blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/longhorn-517-Dewey-Groom-Butane-Blues.mp3download
Surprising Bluegrass music from Texas by PAUL HUFFMAN and « T-e-x-a-s » on the Abilene Winston (# 1034) label : nice banjo led.
Back to Louisville, Kentucky and the Pier-Wats label (# 1200), and the fast bopper (nice fiddle and steel) by F. EDDY PIERCE, « Your kisses don’t thrill me anymore ».
Finally GENE DAVIS, who meddled almost at any style of music since his beginnings in 1954 on the West coast : hillbilly, rockabilly (as « Bo Davis » on Crest), rock’n'roll (on R-Dell), finally back to Country on various labels. I’ve chosen both sides of his solitary TOPPA ’61 record (# 1110). « When he let’s her forget »[sic] and « I won’t care » are top notch California country-rockaballads (sublime Ralph Mooney on steel).
Paul Huffman « T-e-x-a-s« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/winston-1034-Paul-Huffman-T-E-X-A-S-Winston-1034-1.mp3download
F. Eddy Pierce « Your kisses don’t thrill me anymore« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/pier-watts-1300B-F.-Eddy-Pierce-Your-Kisses-Dont-Thrill-Me-Anymore-1956.mp3download
Gene Davis « When he let’s her forget« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Gene-Davis-When-he-lets-her-forget.mp3download
Gene Davis « I won’t care« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/I-Wont-Care-Gene-Davis.mp3download
As usual, various sources : ebay, YouTube, my virtual collection. Have a Bopping Christmas !
From the Hillbilly Researcher # 13 (late 90s)
Allan Turner. Additions by Bopping’s editor
Nothing is ever as simple as it would appear, take for example the Harrington, Delaware based BLUE HEN label. Just another independant concern would be a fair description of this particular outfit, albeit with one or two above average offerings on the label from the likes of Mel Price and Lanie Walker.
BLUE HEN was owned, according to Galen Gart’s A.R.L.D., by one Sam Short, Jr ., ably assisted by A&R man Hugh Lee Stevenson. That, and the fact that the company was located on Center Street in Harrington, is the sum total of our knowledge of the label.
Over the 6 years or so that BLUE HEN was active the company ran at least three different numerical series. There was a rather obscure 3000 series, which appears to have been the earliest ; the regular 200 series, which was the « main series » ; and an odd ball 500 series (two issues). However, it is neither the 3000 or 500 series which concern us here, but the 200 « main series ».
The first release was Betty Coral‘s « Chili dippin’ baby » (# 200), backed by Raymond McCollister. He had the same number on the Raymor label, also the flipside « Texarkana waltz ». Many master numbers were prefixed RM: does it mean McCollister was involved in Blue Hen?
« Chili dippin’ baby » was very popular : it was covered by Vernon Way on the Hillbilly All Star label, and in a more Rockabilly way by Joyce Pointer on Goldenrod Records.
Betty Coral « Chili dippin’ baby »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/01-200-Betty-Corral-Chilli-Dippin-Baby.mp3download
As for the artists who recorded for BLUE HEN were fairly obscure regional acts, altough the label did record a number of relatively well known artists. Billy Wallace, for example, probably better known as a songwriter than a singer, had a release on the label : # 210, « You can’t ride on my train ».
Billy Wallace « You can’t ride on my train« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/blue-hen-210-You-Cant-Ride-On-My-Train.mp3download
Donn Reynolds « Don’t tell me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/05-207-Donn-Reynolds-Dont-Tell-Me.mp3download
Billy Wallace « I still love you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/12-210-billy-wallace-I-Still-Love-You.mp3download
Donn Reynolds, who made something of a name for himself as a yodeling cowboy out on the East coast, also turned up on the label (# 207, « Don’t tell me ») before moving to London, England, to work for Radio Luxembourg ! Tommy Lloyd and his Strolling Cowboys, an outfit who certainly lived up to their name, having played virtually everywhere in the U.S.A. (#204 « Now I know why »), and local lad Tex Daniels (#206 « Give your heart a chance », among three or four more releases, note « Blue hen boogie » from late ’55) were two of the more experienced, yet lesser known artists to record for the label, both with a half dozen or so record releases to their credit before joining BLUE HEN. Local promoter/songwriter Howard Vokes was responsible for getting Hank King , Rudy Thacker (« Mountain guitar » ; also on Lucky) and « The Hardin County Boys » Jeffrey Null and Denver Duke onto the label. The latter, who had something of a hit on Blue Hen with their Hank Williams tribute « Hank Williams that Alabama boy » (#214) went on to enjoy some degree of success on Mercury and Starday.
Denver Duke & Jeffrey Null « Hawk Williams that Alabama boy »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/13-214-Denver-duke-Jeffrey-Null-Hank-Williams-That-Alabama-Boy.mp3download
Howard Vokes, Denver Duke & Jeffrey Null « When the snow came« (#222)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/24-222-Cowboy-Howard-Vokes-When-The-Snow-Came.mp3download
courtesy Pasi Koskela
Was Vokes involved in the singing of the former song? A visitor told me his doubts.
Tex Daniels « Blue hen boogie« (#212 )http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/11-212-Tex-Daniels-Blue-Hen-Boogie.mp3download
Mention should be made of course of Mel Price (who’s story is on this site) and Lanie Walker, of whom we know very little, who were arguably the best Hillbilly artists to record for BLUE HEN.
Mel Price « Nothing seems to go right anymore« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/201-mel-price-Nothing-Seems-To-Go-Right-Anymore.mp3download
Walker had 5 issues on Blue hen (and one in 1960 on Kingsport, TN Three Stars label , the stunning « Early every morning ») : both hillbilly boppers on # 209 (« Side-track daddy »), one gospel two-sider (« When you meet your Lord » # 218), a non-cover of George Jones‘ « Why baby why », very good Hillbilly bopper, in 1956 (a nice bluesy « Drop in » on flipside, # 219), then a back-to-back Rockabilly/Rocker « Ennie Meenie Miney Mo/No use knocking on my door », # 230 (Mort Marker on lead guitar), finally a 1959 rocker (# 235) « Jumpin’ the gun/Tonite I walk alone ».
Lanie Walker « Side-track daddy« (# 209)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/07-209-Lanie-Walker-Side-Track-Daddy.mp3download
Lanie Walker « When you meet your Lord« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/218-Lanie-Walker-When-You-Meet-Your-Lord.-45.mp3download
Lanie Walker « Why baby why« (#219)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/19-219-Lanie-Walker-Why-Baby-Why.mp3download
Lanie Walker « Drop in« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/20-219-Lanie-Walker-Drop-In.mp3download
Lane Walker « Ennie Meenie miney mo« (#230)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/230-Lanie-Walker-Eenie-minie-miney-mo.mp3download
Lanie Walker « No use knocking on my door« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/230-Lanie-Walker-No-Use-Knocking-On-My-Door-1958.mp3download
Larry Lee (Pasake) fronted his own band, The Echo Valley Kinfolk and played locally to good reviews. Originally, the band were called the Glen Mountain Boys (according to Billboard on 24th March 1956). Larry and the band performed over WCRV, Washington, NJ about this time. It was reported that Larry drowned while trying to save the lives of a younger brother and friend when their boat capsized. This seems to have occurred sometime in september 1956. His solitary single is a good bluegrass (A-side) « Time just flies »(# 215), while « Our love affair » is good uptempo piano-led Hillbilly bop.
Larry Lee ‘Time just flies« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/15-215-Larry-Lee-Time-Just-Flies.mp3download
Larry Lee « Our love affair« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/16-215-larry-Lee-Our-Love-Affair.mp3download
Another wizardry : Hank King (of Russian origin, rn Papaila) had in October 1955 « Atom bomb heart » on Chicago Blue Ribbon label. This was re-cut (re-issued?) next year on Blue Hen 221.
Hank King « Atom bomb heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/21-221-Hank-King-Atom-Bomb-Heart.mp3download
That more or less concludes the story of the BLUE HEN label. Virtually all the releases in the 200 series, with the exception of the odd rock & roll/rockabilly offering from the likes of Jimmy Stayton (« Hot hot mama »), Cecil Cline (« Do drop in ») and even Lanie Walker, were Hillbilly of one style or another.
Sandy Harrison & Tommy Lloyd « A package of heartaches« (#225)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/28-225-Sandy-Harrison-A-Package-Of-Heartaches.mp3download
Earl Stuart Quintet « Action’s speak louder than words » [sic](#216)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/17-216-Earl-Stuart-5tet-Actions-Speak-Louder-Than-Words.mp3download
Millard Pressley « Jesus my saviour« (#228)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/228-Milliard-Presley-...-Jesus-My-Saviour.mp3download
Sounds from Cactus CD. Pictures from various sites: Youtube, 45cat for example.
Mel Price « I ain’t got the time« (#208)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/18-208-mel-price-I-Aint-Got-The-Time.mp3download
courtesy Ronald Keppner
listing Blue Hen label
strangely Raymor is located in Kansas, far drom Delaware…