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Onto the first Fortnight of this Autumn 2016. SMOKEY ROGERS (1917-1993) was a personality of the West coast and bandleader for s strong number of singers (Tex Wlliams, Ferlin Huskey) and releases (Capitol, Coral, Four Star, Starday and Shasta) from 1945 to 1965. On his (apparently) own label, Western Caravan, he even cut the first ever version of the classic « Gone » (# 901) in 1952. His label lasted with a handful of issues until 1955, among them I chose the great instrumental [not often in bopping] « John’s boogie » (Western Caravan 903). A real showcase for any musician involved (including ex-Hank Penny steel player virtuoso Joaquin Murphy), and every of them takes his solo or shines a way or the other. Splendid piano, horns, guitar, and of course steel, over an irresistible shuffle beat.
Another Smokey Rogers’ record has a young vocalist FERLIN HUSKY in April 1950 for « Lose your blues » on Coral 64063 (October 1950). It’s a nice shuffler with Huskey in good voice, and again Joaquin Murphy on steel.
Billboard Aug. 5, 1950 – a proof of popularity of Red Kirk
Several months later (February 1951), RED KIRK, another singer himself modeled on Hank Williams, took at his turn «Lose your blues » for an acceptable version, quite impersonal but backed by the cream of Nashville (Zeke Turner, Louie Innis, Jerry Byrd, Tommy Jackson) , on Mercury 8257. Kirk had many other good songs, for example « Can’t understand a woman (who can’t understand her man »)(# 6288), « Knock out the lights and call the law » (# 6409), or later on Republic 7120 the double-sider « Red lipped girl/Davy Crockett blues » from 1956, , the good ballad « How still the night » on ABC-Paramount 9814, or his version of Loy Clingman‘s « It’s nothing to me » in 1957 on Ring 1503. I chose another Mercury disc, »Cold steel bues » (# 6309) from February 1951 and in the same ‘bluesy’ vein as « Lose your blues ».
From Nashville, TN to Texas and Fort Worth for an Imperial session held in September 1954. FREDDY DAWSON (vocal) backed probably by himself on steel-guitar, Billy Chamber or Buddy Brady (fiddle), Jimmy Rollins (guitar), George McCoy (bass) and Phillip Sanchez (drums) cut 4 tracks, among them the above average « Dallas boogie » (# 8274)(nice fiddle and steel). 2 tracks do remain unissued, and « Why baby why » may not be the George Jones track, an original Jones song cut in August 1955.
We stand in Fort Worth, this time in 1957 with GENE RAY on the Cowtown label # 646 and « I lost my head », a good uptempo bopper. In November he was to cut for the same label the great Rockabilly cum Rocker « Rock and roll fever » on the EP-677, which contained also the good « Love proof ». Was he the same artist as on Playboy 300, who committed on wax « Playboy boogie » ? Nevertheless as front singer of the Dusty Miller’s band, he also had the great rocker « I’m going to Hollywood » in 1960. All these tunes are to be easily found on YouTube or various compilations.
Now to the early ’60s in Orlando, Florida. WEBSTER DUNN, Jr. delivers a good country rocker on first side, « Black and white shoes » on the Dunmar (owned by DUNmar Peckam and MARy Yingst) label # 101. Echoed vocal, nice crisp guitar (+ a bridge), a welcome steel : a well-produced record. The second side has a sort of poppish vocal, although saved by the same guitar (ordinary solo) and steel : « Go go baby » is a typical Country uptempo ballad. (Record valued at $ 75-100).
Next artist seems to have possibly emananated from Dallas, Texas, as his label Amber, one out of three at the same time. It’s a 4* custom # 275 out in December 1957, and the artist is BOB GARMON, who delivers with « His Studio Combo », a neat and tight little band, one of the best Rockabillies ever, « I’m a-ready baby » (valued $ 500 to 1000). Great guitar solo, cool vocal on topical lyrics, the song has everything a Rockabilly devotee could dream of. The flipside, although bluesy, is equally good : a Rockabilly combo trying its hands at Blues for « Positively blues ». A very desirable record !
Finally a R&B rocker by one of the greats, the albino « Blonde Bomber » (remember the Little Richard-esque « Strollie Bun » on Hull?), here under his other alias, LITTLE RED WALTER for « Aw shucks baby » on the N.Y. Le Sage (# 711) label. Walter is on guitar and harmonica (1960).
The Blonde Bomber, alias of Walter Rhodes, or Little Red Walter
Enough for this time ! Sources are 45cat for label scans, or YouTube or Roots Vinyl Guide, even Rockin’ Country Style. 78Rpm-world (mainly Ronald – thanks to him). My own researches on the Net and my archives. Praguefrank’s Country discography (Smokey Rogers, Red Kirk discos). Michel Ruppli’s « Aladdin/Imperial labels » book. Values from : Barry K. John guide or Tom Lincoln/Dick Blackburn book.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
For this Xmas 2015, as a gift, you faithful visitors of bopping.org will get 13 (yes, thirteen) selections, instead of the usual only 6 ; although for several months I gradually posted more and more tunes. Merry bopping Xmas to y’all !
« Deep Elem blues » was first recorded by the SHELTON BROTHERS (Bob & Joe on vocals and mandolin/guitar) in February 1935 in Chicago (Decca 5422), before the Prairie Ramblers gave their own version in August of the same year. The song refers to the black quarter in Dallas, where you need 50 $ because of the red headed women there. It was an immediate success, revived by others over the years, namely by JERRY LEE LEWIS, whose 1957 version remained unissued in the Sun archives for 40 years ! Same year saw the WILBURN BROTHERS‘ version (Decca 29887) : Doyle & Ted do a fine job on this song. Later on Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) and Levon Helm had their versions too, outside the scope of this blog, as they say.
Howdy folks! Hope you are well!! Thanks to you, more than 78. 600 visitors can not be wrong, so I will keep up the good work with confidence. Latest posts on the site: the ALLSTAR label from Houston, the JACOBY Brothers from San Antonio. In the process of a huge project on BILL NETTLES & His Dixie Blue Boys. More research on Buffalo Johnson, Billy Hughes, list is endless. I found new friends and contributors, first Herr Ronald Keppner from Frankfurt, Germany.
Here we go first for sad news. Surely you have heard sudden death of MARVIN RAINWATER on September 17. What a great loss, as he was one of the greats in Hillbilly/Rockabilly/R&R of the ’50s. Two tracks there. His original version (later done by the Maddox Brothers) of « I Gotta Go Get My Baby » on 4 *. Then his great (mumbling vocal, and a great slap-bass) « Mr. Blues » on M-G-M 12240 from 1956.
I gotta go get my baby (1954) Download
Harry Choates i946 « Jole Blon » had many sequels, including Floyd Tilman‘s « Slippin’ around with Jole Blon« . Here I offer what is supposed to be the original version by BUD MESSNER (with the co-writer of the song, Bill Franklin on vocal) on the Abbey label. In due course, there is the flipside, a nice shuffler called « I died all over you ».
Bill Franklin, « Slippin’ around with Jole Blon » (Abbey 15004) Download
Bill Franklin, « I died all over you » (Abbey 15004) Download
Back to old friends:the GEORGIA CRACKERS. Their story (and that of the younger brother of the Newman trio, BOB NEWMAN) has been told earlier in this site. I recently put my hands on one of their early renditions (1947) on RCA-Victor, « That’s the way it’s gonna be » (RCA 20-0038). Fine bopper. Hope someday RCA will reissue all their output. Georgia Crackers, « That’s the way it’s gonna be »Download
Now for two sides from the multi-faced SONNY JONES. From New Orleans or vicinity, he was at one time called SKINNY DYNAMO (on Marlin and Excello). Here are his very first sides cut with Salvador Doucette on piano in 1952 for Specialty. Great swooping Louisiana Rocking Blues! Later he went on Imperial.
Howdy folks! Here is my new selection. First GEORGE KENT from Texas. He must have cut « Don’t Go Back Again » circa 1961-62: heavy bass, weeping steel and fiddle solo, on the Maverick label (# 1001). The whole has been influenced by Wynn Stewart and reminds me of the Bakersfield sound. Now from Kansas City and a real hillbilly boogie on the Red Barn label, « Bad Daddy Blues » by BOBBY COOK & BUDDY NELSON with the Texas Saddle Pals. Chorus on a guitar/fiddle/mandolin backing.
A pleasant hillbilly on the Ohio Esta label from 1956, « Within These Four Walls » by one SYBIL GIANI. 2 guitar solos, but nothing spectacular though. Esta from Hamilton was better known for its Rockabilly sides.
Then from Nashville, a veteran from the Bullet label, RAY BATTS. It’s on the Ernie Young’s R&B Excello label, a rare opportunity to hear bop music on a « black » label » (the other notable in this case being « I’m The Man » by Al Ferrier). Anyway, « Stealin’ Sugar » (# 2028) is a fast number, with nice guitar soloes on a solid piano backing.
On the big Carl Burkardt concern of low-budget labels, here Big 4 Hits, we find PRESTON WARD and « New Green Light« . I don’t know who cut the original version, anyway here is top class backing over a fine vocal.
Finally two Rocking blues wildies by GAR BACON. On Okeh first, he does the rasping Bo-Diddley-beat « Marshall, Marshall ». On the Baton label, « There’s Gonna Be Rockin’ Tonight » strangely sounds like a white singer. You’ve got to hear both to compare.
I will be out of town circa May 15, so next fortnight on June 1rst, ok?