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A Starday subsidiary label in Music City: the NASHVILLE label (1960-1965) – many Starday custom artists! modern Hillbilly bop
sept 5th, 2012 by xavier

After Lonnie Irving‘s 1960 success with « Pinball Machine » (Starday 486) – staying on the charts for four months, reaching Billboard’s # 13 spot -, Don Pierce realized that a lot of the custom material sent in to Starday had strong commercial potential, so he decided to set up a label that would serve as a cross between the Starday custom serie (which lasted until # 1186) and the main series. Shortly after the success of the success of « Pinball Machine » in the summer of 1961, Pierce founded a subsidiary label, Nashville Records. Just as they had a custom service, artists would generally pay for their own studio sessions. But as was the norm for the his Starday productions, Pierce would usually pay for the pressing, shipping, and promotion. The goal was to establish another successful line of singles that, similar to the rock’n'roll label Dixie, could be shopped around on a local level. Read the rest of this entry »

Johnny Tyler, the « Oakie Boogie » man (1946-1957)
juin 25th, 2012 by xavier

Lehman Monroe « Johnny » Tyler was born in Pochontas, Arkansas, on February 6th, 1918. What he made during the Thirties and how he traveled so far to California in the mid-40s is unknown, neither if he had particular talent in his youth for music. He must although have been a good seller in 1946-47, because RCA-Victor made him cut no less than 35 tracks within a year.

Randolph Cty, Ark. Pocohontas at bottom center

Read the rest of this entry »

Jimmy Johnson, a shooting hillbilly/rockabilly star from Texas
avr 16th, 2012 by xavier

The location is the Trail ’80′ Courts, a motel in Mineola, about 90 miles east of Dallas, Texas. Inside a bunch of good ole boys have gathered for a songwriters’ jam session convened by the motel’s owner, Jack Rhodes. After various jobs, among them moonshiner and a back accident, he began writing country songs and putting on his first band, Jack Rhodes’ Ramblers, in 1947. They made their first professionnal recordings the same year, backing Rhodes’ brother-in-law Leon Payne. The acetates were sent to Jim Bulleit in Nashville, who issued 6 singles during 1947-48 by Payne. But in 1949, Payne switched to Capitol Records, forming his own band,the Lone Star Buddies, which led to a failure between he and Jack Rhodes. Rhodes’ Ramblers, later also named Lone Star Buddies did include the three Hayes brothers : Joe ‘Red’ and Kenneth ‘Little Red’ on fiddles, and Leon on bass. Read the rest of this entry »

Sid King and the Five Strings: Texas Hillbilly bop and Rockabilly (1953-1957)
mar 24th, 2012 by xavier

Sid King, a ‘nom de disque‘ for Sid Erwin, was born in Denton, Texas (in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) on Octber 15, 1936. Around 1952, he formed a band in high school as an extension of his appearances on a local radio station, KDNT. « I brought Melvin Robinson [on steel guitar], Ken Massey [bass] and my brother Billy [lead guitar], and then Dave White joined us a year or so later on drums. » Shortly after the band came together, Sid made a few appearances as a solo act on the Big ‘D’ Jamboree in nearby Dallas, but eventually he decided to concentrate on working with his band. Read the rest of this entry »

early March 2012 fortnight’s favourites
mar 1st, 2012 by xavier

Hello folks. Yes I am back, having moved and from a trip in Prague. Beautiful city, yet no Hillbilly sounds over there! Anyway, let’s go back to our favorites. This time I’ve chosen 5 artists. Let’s begin with an interesting late ’40s/early ’50s one, ZEKE CLEMENTS. I know very little about him, except he had many records on Blazon, Liberty (not the L.A. pop concern), Gold Standard, even in 1960 on his own Janet label. He was a prolific songwriter, and should be noticed « Smoke On The Water » for Red Foley. Here he delivers a fine shuffling (piano and guitar led) ditty on Liberty 8, « Oklahoma Blues« .

zeke clementsliberty 8  zeke clements oklahoma blues

Early 60s and on to Cincinnati area with the rather unknown SLIM FOSTER. I posted both sides of his K-Ark single (# 613), one side uptempo, the other medium, with a lovely steel-guitar for « Never Be Untrue » and « I Wish I’d known« . Good Country bop.

k-ark 613 slim foster never be untrue

From Texas I’d assume comes now CURLEY SANDERS and a nice bopper on the Imperial label (# 8226), « Too Much Lovin’« , complete with piano, fiddle and guitar and that immediately recognizable Imperial sound. Sanders would later (1956) have a Starday issue, « Brand New Rock And Roll » in the famous custom serie (# 590): see elsewhere in the site for this side.

imperial 8226 curley sanders too much lovin'lanor 503 bill matte parlez-vous l'francais

On to Louisana, early ’60s: BILL MATTE & the Five Classics for the presumably hard-to-understand for English speakers: « Parlez-vous l’francais » (Do you speak french) is sung in Cajun patois, and myself have trouble understanding all the lyrics!

Finally another inreresting artist from the Cincinnati area, AL RUNYON, on Kentucky for a revamp of Hank Snow‘s « I’m Moving On« . Not a bad version, as Runyon was covering others’ hits, as his labelmate Delbert Barker. He was also later on Starday for the famous Jimmie Skinner’s penned « Baby Please Come Home« . His story is a bit intricated, but I hope to have it posted in the future.

kentucky 537 al runyon I'm moving onAs a bonus. I just heard BILLY STRANGE passed away on Feb. 22th (aged 81). He cut many records and played on innumerable sessions from the late ’40s ‘way into the ’70s. Here is one of my favorite trucker songs, « Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves » on Capitol 2032 from 1952.

capitol 2032 billy strange diesel smoke

Starday custom series: # 601-625 (December 1956 to March 1957) – Gospel-, Hill-, Rocka-…. -billies
jan 9th, 2012 by xavier

CIMMARON RECORDS 601 FRANK BOWEN and Dave Warren and the Ark. Valley Wranglers

Lamarr, CO                             December 1956

45-601-A – A Broken Heart45-601-B (Cimarron) Frank Bowen rock & roll blues45-601-A (Cimarron) Frank Bowen A broken heart

(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)

45-601-B – Rock And Roll Blues

(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)

The story starts with Gene Clay, founder of the Ark. Valley Wranglers, which was the most popular country band in Lamar, CO. Between 1949 and 1955, they were playing over KLMR (Lamar, CO) and performing at many local watering holes,(Spot 50 Tavern in La Junta and the Eagles Club in Lamar to name just two),  high school dances, American Legion halls etc. But in 1955 two members of the band joined the US Army and one moved to Pueblo to attend college, so the band took a break.

Meanwhile, another local band, The Rhythm Ranch Boys were performing locally and gravitating towards the Rock & Roll end of the music market. Wanting to make a record but not knowing where to start, Frank and Dave approached Gene for advice. As he had some influence at KLMR, he arranged a recording session there, but on the condition he was allowed to use his own band’s name on the record. So the Rhythm Ranch Boys became part of the Ark. Valley Wranglers.

Recorded in the fall of 1956, they recorded two of Frank and Dave’s compositions and despatched the tracks to Starday Records for pressing on their Cimmaron label (after nabbing the publishing on both sides). Boxes of records came back with postcards to be sent to radio stations that they sent to DJ’s with the hope of some airplay.

The A side is a pleasant enough country/hillbilly weeper with lovely harmony vocals on the chorus.  The B side is a nice relaxed rocker in the style of « Heartbreak Hotel« , but with a more « countryish » musical leanings and again features some nice harmonies. The band, compared to other Starday Customs, sounds very tight and professional.

After spending another year with the Wranglers, Frank moved to Denver and started another band, called the « String-A-Longs ». Later, moving to North Carolina, he worked in the insurance industry before retiring. Dave worked for the Denver police before setting in retirement in Missouri.

Huge thanks to Lisa Wheeler who kindly allowed me to plunder her excellent blogspot for the info above. For the full story of Gene Clay and the Ark. Valley Wranglers (plus two short sound clips of  the record above), visit the link below.

Pueblo City Limits

STARDAY RECORDS 602 FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchersfrank evans

December 1956

(J Dunklin / J Rowell)   (Starrite BMI)

45-602-B – If You Knew

(Bonnie Burke)   (Starrite BMI)

Recorded at WHBO with Arnold Newman (Ld Gtr), Roland Newman (fiddle), Colin Thomas (Steel Gtr), Walter Studenberg (bass) and Frank on Vocals and rhythm guitar. Although neither side stands out, they are pleasant enough to listen to more than once, but sound musically inferior to their other offerings. As the Billboard advert below shows, they were performing over WHBO 5 days a week and performing live frequently.

TREND RECORDS 603 KEN PATRICK with Chet Tant on Steel Guitar

Grand Canyon, AZ December 1956

45-603-A – Snow Flake45-603-A (Trend) Ken Patrick Snowflake

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

45-603-B – Do You Love Me

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

No info. Never actually seen or heard this record. Oct. 16th, 2012. Thanks HillbilyBoogie1, who posted the record on YouTube. I’ve heard it: a very fine fast number; the steel guitar is astonishing! The artist has another entry on Maken 9962, « Night Train« , a strong ditty from the late ’50s (see podcasts below)

MOVIECRAFT RECORDS 604 ROD BURTON

930 West 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA December 1956

45-604-A – Wedding Bells Are Ringing For The Bride

(No info)   (No info)

45-604-B – My New Sensation

(No info)   (No info)

Another musical bank. Missed a copy on a set sale list about 10 years ago and seen sight or sound of it since. The label had moved by 1957 and was located at 6766 Hawthorn Ave, Los Angeles and any correspondence was care of Gerard Enterprises.

Confusingly, I have also seen listed another disc (Drake Morgan – My Heart Believes / Are You The One – Movie Craft 605) which may or may not be a Starday Custom, or perhaps 604 isn’t one after all. Only actually seeing a copy is going to sort this one out.

COWTOWN RECORDS 605 GENE HARRELL

PO Box 1694, Fort Worth, TX January 1957

45-605-a (cowtown) gene harrell I won't be back no more45-605-A – I Won’t Be Back No More45-605-b (cowtown) Gene Harrell Mumbles

(Mary L Miller)   (Starrite BMI)

45-605-B – Mumbles

(Daphine Orme)   (Starrite BMI)

Label owned by John W Stephenson. More of a vanity / Custom Press label than a song poem concern, he did manage to release quite a few great records in amongst the dross. The label was still going through the 70′s. As for Gene, he was performing at the time at Chaylor’s Night Club in Texarkana, TX at the time of this release. For some reason, there seems to be two pressings of this disc.

STARDAY RECORDS 606HOYT SCOGGINS and the Georgia Boys

(Artist based in Rome, GA at time of recording)

January 1957

45-606-A – What’s The Price (To Set Me Free)45-606-a (starday) hoyt scoggins what's the price45-606-b (starday) hoyt scoggins the old chain gang

(J Rackey / H Scoggins)   (Starrite BMI)

45-606-B – The Old Chain GangHoytsScogginsBand

(H Stillwell / H Scoggins)   (Starrite BMI)

More jolly hillbilly from Scoggins. Both are nicely sung, nicely played. The A side sets a terrific pace, whilst the flip is more akin to a medium tempo’d blues ditty, albeit sung in a hollerin’ country manner. Hoyt was performing over WROM (TV Channel 9) and was the band leader of the Saturday Night Jamboree (Rome, GA??). In any case, it’s not « Tennessee Rock« , but it’s a mighty fine accompaniment.

STARDAY RECORDS 607             45-607-a (starday) don owens last chanceDON OWENS and the Circle « O » RanchboysJanvier 1957

45-607-A – Last Chance

(Owens)   (Starrite BMI)

45-607-B – A Thief (In The Heart Of A Rose)

(Owens)   (Hank Snow Music)

A pleasantly sung country/hillbilly song. The A side has a bit of, perhaps, « rhumba » influence. Taken at a brisk tempo, it has nice accoustic guitar accompaniment with sawing fiddles and steel guitar sharing the solo. I can hear Hank Snow singing this. Odd to mention Snow as he’s the writer of the B side. This is a ballad sung with feeling. There’s a small bio on Don on his previous Starday Custom Release (#559, see earlier entry of « Starday custom serie », # 551-575).

STARDAY RECORDS 608 LUCKY WRAY with Link and Doug Wray

January 1957

45-608-a (starday) lucky wray teenage cutie45-608-A – Teenage Cutie45-608-b (starday) lucky wray you're my song

(H Albert / C Davis / L Wray)   (Starrite BMI)

45-608-B - You’re My Song

(B Baker / J Williams / L Wray / C Davis)   (Starrite BMI)

Killer Rock-A-Billy and classy ballad from Lucky and Link. A side is fast, mean and moody with Lucky’s understated vocals threatened by Link who threatens to steal the proceedings with a flick of his pick up switch. The ballad side is a dreamy affair with Link almost sounding like a steel guitar in parts. Sadly this was their last appearance on a Starday-Custom pressed disc . Both Link and Lucky went on to bigger and better things.

STARDAY RECORDS 609 BUDDY SHAW

January 1957

45-609-A – Just Like A Fool609-A - BB Rev 9 Mar 57Buddy Shaw pic

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

45-609-B - I Belong To You

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

Two ballads from Buddy. Both are pleasant without being exceptional. Nice snippet of overloaded each just as he starts singing on the A side. I especially like Buddy’s « hick » Vocals. Band lend fair support with steel guitar being the prominent lead instrument. The artist was possibly from Kentucky. Both sides are co written with Ruth Snider – a name seen before on writers credits but can’t place where.

TARHEEL RECORDS 610      LEVON McCALL

January 1957

45-610-A - I Lose Again

(No info)   (No Info)

45-610-B - If I Don’t Change My Mind

(No Info)   (No Info)

Nothing on the above artist or label.

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 611          UNKNOWN ARTIST

January 1957

« All I Do Is Cry Over You »

« One Dark Sunday Night »

This is a blank acetate, supplied by Dave Sax. It has no artist, label or song credits. In fact, it’s totally blank. The only info is in the dead wax which has the issue number and A/B designations. As there are no titles, the ones listed here are what a few of us « think » they are – we could very well be barking up the wrong tree with these.

MARYLAND RECORDS 612 THE GOSPEL TROUBADORS  Gospel Vocal by Henry NoeFebruary 1957

45-612-A – Cry Aloud And Spare Not45-612-a (maryland) gospel troubadors Cry aloud and spare not45-612-B (maryland) gospel troubadors Ananias

(Noe)   (Starrite BMI)

45-612-B – Ananias

(Noe)   (Starrite BMI)

Record unheard

STARDAY RECORDS 613ART RODGERS with the Texas Top Hands

February 1957

45-613-A – Our anniversary

(Rodgers)   (Starrite BMI)

45-613-b (starday) art rodgers Ten thousand miles45-613-a (starday) art rodgers Our anniversary45-613-B – Ten Thousand Miles

(Rodgers)   (Starrite BMI)

Another slightly blurred label shot from another unknown artist. I found an Art Rodgers on Seven Stars Label from Cincinnati, OH from 1957, and it’s possibly the same artist, but not 100% certain. The A side is a nice mid-tempo honky-tonk song. He sounds to be about 30-40 years old. Flip side is mid tempo but more in the hillbilly vein. Nice fiddles and steel guitar. B side has some nice harmonies as well.

VAN RECORDS 614 CAMPBELL TRIO with Jerry Tuttle, Hawaian Acc.

614 North Kimball, Malden, MO February 1957

45-614-A – Satan Lost A Sinner

(Jack and Billy Campbell)   (Starrite BMI)45-614-a (Van) campbell trio Satan lost a sinner

45-614-B - God Can Do Without Your Service

(Jack and Billy Campbell)   (Starrite BMI)

Nice, delicate white gospel (with a hillbilly flavour)  from the Campbell Trio. It’s the harmonies that win me over here. A side is taken at a faster clip than the B side, but it’s the B side I prefer. Jerry Tuttle, the steel guitarist appears on a Rite Pressing from 62 (King Tutt – « Twisting At The Little Big Horn » / « Shorter Hours In School » – Starline 1001 (Flint, MI), and he had at least one release on Dot Records (« Tweedle-O-Twill » / « Bop Goes The Weasel » – Dot 16093).

NO NAME LABEL 615 HOYT SULLIVAN

Phoenix Street, Greenwood, SC February 1957615-Hoyt Sullivan Advert

45-615-A – Hoyt Sullivan’s Drug Products 1 and 2

(No info)   (No info)

45-615-B – Hoyt Sullivan’s Drug Products 3 and 4

(No info)   (No info)

Cut in records with R and B hits of the day. Hoyt ran a reasonably successful beauty products company. He later owned HSE Records (amongst others) where he recorded Gospel Music. I’m figured Hoyt was (is) black, but according to Alistair Blazaar, he was white.

HUFF RECORDS 616COWBOY HUFF

18 Southwest 27th, Oklahoma City, OK February 1957

45-616-a (huff) cowboy huff No two timin' me45-616-A – No Two Timing Me45-616-b (huff) cowboy huff what's gonna happen to me

(Huff / Raines)   (Starrite BMI)

45-616-B – What’s Gonna Happen To Me

Very little is known on this artist. Informed that Cowboy Huff is Charlie Huff, a singer, songwriter and record label owner from Oklahoma;as Charlie Huff, he cut at least one good rocker on Arlo Records (which he may have owned) {She’s My baby / Hiding My Tears – Arlo 100} which also appeared on Huff Records (#100) (both labels carry the same Oklahoma City, OK address). There’s also a Cowboy Charlie Huff LP on Northstar 1001, which may be the same guy. Also Billboard magazine mentions (25th Mar 1967) that …. »Charles « Cowboy » Huff is trying to sell all of part of his publishing firm, Record Masters« .

Also found two 4-Star Releases {4-Star 1190 « Conversations With A Mule / Sad Sack« } and {4-Star 1191 « Maybe Next Week Sometime / High Hat Blues« }, plus a couple of 45′s on North Star (727 & 729), plus a couple of later Huff Records (722 & 723).

As for this record, the A side is a fast(ish) hillbilly number with fiddles taking the solo and what sounds like an accoustic guitar taking the place of a stand-up bass. B side is more of the same really. Huff’s vocals has got that Texas/West Coast drawl to his voice.

HUFF RECORDS 617 COWBOY HUFF

18 Southwest 27th, Oklahoma City, OK February 1957

45-617-A – Lover’s Waltz45-617-a (huff) cowboy huff lover's waltz

(Huff / Raines) (Starrite BMI)

45-617-B – Patonia (Pride Of The Plains)

(Arr: Huff) (Starrite BMI)

More of the same here from Huff. A side is indeed a waltz with fiddles taking the lead. Flip is faster and more like the previous two sides.

STARDAY RECORDS 618BUDDY SHAW

March 1957

45-618-a (starday) buddy shaw no more45-618-A – No More

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

45-618-B – The Breath Of Life To Me

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

Buddy’s back with another offering by him and Ruth Snider. « No More » is ALMOST rockabilly. In fact, if you cut out the steel and added a guitar, it’d be darn close to being really good. But as it is, it’s darn fine hillbilly. Flip is a ballad which, apart from the fine vocals by Buddy, is a little pedestrian for my tastes.

CRESTWOOD RECORDS 619 MARVIN JACKSON with the Battreal Boys

Cadet, MO

March 1957

45-619-A – Honey, If You Love Me

(M Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

45-619-B – World Of Make Believe

(M Jackson)   (Starrite BMI)

Here’s Marvin Jackson’s first record. Now, Marvin may not be household name around these parts, but thanks to White Label / Collector Records, there’s a whole CD of his stuff floating around out there. He cut some rough and ready rockabilly tracks (« Gee Whiz, Miss Liz » on Crestwood 200), a few instrumentals (Marvin plays lead guitar) and some nice country stuff (« Dippin’ Snuff » on Mar-Lee). Marvin got this and his follow up disc pressed by Starday – 300 hundred copies and perhaps some promotional material (which was either post cards to send to DJ’s or – in Red Moore‘s case (# 840 « Crawdad Song ») – a stamper which you could stamp « Play This – It’s Hot » on the paper sleeves.) His third disc was pressed by King who only pressed 200 copies. The artist was based out of Cadet, MO at the time of these recordings., and Crestwood was his own label.

A side is pretty much country, but Marvin’s got that voice that easily skips the fence of Country into the green fields that is rockabilly, so it’s an early example of what he’s gonna sound like later on. B side is a ballad. Quite nice steel guitar featured on both sides. I’ll have some more info on him by the time we reach his next release (#644, in the next « Starday customs serie)

CAROLINA RECORDS 620              RENE McCALL and her Candy Ranch Boys

Rt 7 – Box 474, Charlotte, NC March 1957

45-620-A – We’re Strangers Now

(C Johnson / R McCall)   (Starrite BMI)

45-620-B – The Waltz In The Rain

(Preston Miller)   (American Music Inc)

Another record I haven’t seen or heard.

JAMBOREE RECORDS 621               BILL and BOB // BILL BOLAN and the Country Melody Boys

4213 Rose Ave, Lyons, IL March 1957

45-621-A – Falling Apart At The Seams

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

45-621-B – Country Music

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

No info on the artists. Musically, the A side is a weepy country ballad with that sad steel guitar sound throughout. There’s a fiddle player in the background who takes a brief solo. The B side is a faster, fiddle & steel guitar led hillbilly song. Bill sounds like a real southerner when he sings, despite the label location of IL.

STARDAY RECORDS 622LUCKY HILL

March 1957

45-622-A – Fickle Baby45-622-a (starday) lucky hill fickle baby45-622-b (starday) lucky hill It's comin' home to you

(Lucky Hill)   (Starrite BMI)

45-622-B - It’s Comin’ Home To You

(Lucky Hill)   (Starrite BMI)

Billboard review on 29th April 1957.

A side is a hillbilly song, kinda like an early Lattie Moore King 45. Fiddles are the main instrument here. B side is slower and more bluesy (in a typical hillbilly sort of way). More of a Hank Williams type song, and the tune bears a passing resemblance to « You’re Gonna Change Or I’m Gonna Leave« .

As for Lucky himself, he appeared on the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial celebration in Meridian, MS, held over May 21st-22nd in 1957. He wrote in Billboard advertising this disc can be acquired from him from an address in Tiffin, OH. By July 57, having come back from an Armed forces tour of North Africa, Lucky could be found as a staff announcer over KDRO-TV, Sedalia, MO. In December 1957, Billboard also announced that his piano player (Denny Bolin) had broken his neck in a car accident near Joplin, MO.

There was a Lucky Hill who recorded for TNT. Andrew Brown confirmed that the Lucky Hill on TNT is the same artist as the Starday Artist.

JAY RECORDS 623 BOB COLE

New Orleans, LA April 1957

45-623-A – Face To Face

(B.Cole)    (Starrite BMI)

45-623-B – You Lied

(B.Cole) (Starrite BMI)

Bob had his own radio show broadcast over WARB, Covington, LA and appeared as the MC and a singer on the « Old Country Barn Dance », which was held at the Ann Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA. (He was still appearing at the Ann Theatre in 1958, but after that I have no idea.)

A side is a slowish country ditty; a little like an early Hank Williams. (To be honest, most songs of this type always remind me of Williams). Nice dreamy steel guitar and tic-tac guitar. Guitar solo is a simple run around on the melody. The B side is faster and has a nice catchy melody. Again the guitarist skips along with the melody in the solo. If anybody has this 45, label shots would be most welcome.

DIXIE RECORDS 624 TOM CROOK and the Rock And Roll Four

Rome, GA April 1957

45-624-a (dixie) tom crook my heart don't lie45-624-A – My Heart Don’t Lie45-624-b (dixie) tom crook weekend boogie

(Crook)   (Starrite BMI)

45-624-B – Weekend Boogie

(Crook)   (Starrite BMI)

A side is a slow number, sung with a hillbilly flavour. Tom has that great « hillbilly twang » to his voice. There’s some nice guitar gently supporting Tom whilst he’s crooning his love song.

Flip the disc over and you get a great relaxed Rock-A-Billy/Hillbilly/Country hybrid ditty with an accoustic guitar taking the lead with fine support from a steel guitarist. Oh, the joys of the weekend (unless, of course, you’re unemployed – in which case, to quote Morrisey,   »every day is like Sunday »).

According to Terry Gordon (Rockin’ Country Style), the artist was from Rome, GA.

COOSA RECORDS 625            ERNEST PAINTER

Shannon, GA April 1957

45-625-A – No One But You

(Painter)   (Starrite)

45-625-B – Whispering Heart

(Painter)   (Starrite)

Sadly, no info on the artist. Nor have I heard either side. Oct. 16th, 2012. Thanks HillbillyBoogie1 (YouTube), I’ve heard « No One But You« , a rather slowish honky tonker. Nice but average one.

As for the previous Starday custom series, a generous use has been made of Malcolm Chapman’s excellent blogsite « Starday customs » (just do search through google). My thanks to him, reprinted with permission. All label scans were taken from his site, except # 601 (Frank Bowen), which was provided by John Burton, thanks a lot, john.

Starday custom series: # 576 to 600 (July to November 1956) — more Rockabilly to come…
jan 5th, 2012 by xavier

H&C RECORDS 576 AL CLAUSER and his Oklahoma Outlaws

Tulsa, OK (July 1956)h&c 576-a al clauser cloudy loveh&c 576-a al clauser cloudy love

45-576-A - Cloudy Love

(Goldie Hood / T Conrad) (Starrite BMI)

45-576-B - Who’s Fooling Who

(Goldie Hood) (Starrite BMI)

Alas, although I have label shots, I have yet to hear either side of the disc. But at least I have some info, courtesy of the excellent and informative sleeve notes on the Bear Family Nashville Hillbilly Box Set. Clauser was first heard of playing with bands in Preoria, IL in the mid twenties and first recorded for ARC Records. He was based most of the time (at this point) around Cincinnati, OH and played on WCKY before relocating to Tulsa, OK, with a stint in Fort Worth, TX. After recording for Bullet Records, he also had releases on Arrow and Skyline from Tulsa. (Anybody got any details on these?). He also launched the recording career of Patti Page.

Backed by his Oklahoma Outlaws, he self released this fine Western Swing / Hillbilly disc on his own H&C label for local promotional purposes. What happened to him after this disc is a mystery to me.

STARDAY RECORDS 577 LUKE GORDON (July 1956)

Washington DC Area

HD-577-A - Is It Wrong

(Unknown Credits) (Starrite BMI)

HD-577-B - What Can You Do?

(Unknown Credits) (Starrite BMI)

Not seen or heard this disc as yet.

Dave Sax said…

This is his rarest in the series and, as the others, is superb if you love Gordon’s music. In some ways it’s the best with the walking bass played softly with the amp turned high. Shimmering fiddle and closer to the Sun sound than the others. Super songs from a top artist.

STARDAY RECORDS 578 « COUSIN ARNOLD » and his Country Cousins

(July 1956)Cousin Arnold  13 Oct 56 st 578starday 578-a "cousin arnold" heart of fantasystarday 578-b "cousin arnold" sweet talking daddy

45-578-A - Heart Of A Fantasy

(B McCraven / A E Baynard) (Starrite BMI)

45-578-B - Sweet Talking Daddy

(A E Baynard) (Starrite BMI)

Second (and at this point in time) final offering from Cousin Arnold. A side is a pleasant enough hillbilly disc, whilst the flip is again bordering on Rock-A-Billy, although this was possibly unintentional. With « Cat Music » hogging more and more of the radio airwaves, these country artists were forced to at least try to be sounding like they were keeping up with the times.

SPACE RECORDS 579 DON COLLINS (August 1956)

Lafayette, INspace 579-a don collins why am I lonelyspace 579-b don collins too late to be sorry

45-579-A - Why Am I Lonely

(Collins) (Starrite BMI)

45-579-B - Too Late To Be Sorry

(Fred Crawford) (Starrite BMI)

Untraced but the label shots.

FAME RECORDS 580 MACK BANKS and his Drifting Troubadors

Box 552, Houston, MS (August 1956)

45-580-A - You’re So Dumb

(M Banks – R Forman) (Starrite BMI)

45-580-B - Be-Boppin’ Daddy

(M Banks – H Brown) (Starrite BMI)

fame 580-a mack banks you're so dumbI could prattle on about this record, but instead I’ll let Mack tell you himself ….

« I wrote « You’re So Dumb » in 1954 and Houston, MS, USA radio station (WCPC) recorded it with one microphone, Hook Brown (lead guitar), Luther Foreman (standup bass), Charles Rome (fiddle) and me singing and playing rhythm guitar. It was number 1 at WCPC 19 weeks in a row. Dropped to 2 or 3 for a few weeks and back up to number 1 for a total of 26 weeks at number one. It was the number one song of the year in 1956. « Be-Boppin’ Daddy » was 4 to 6 months behind « You’re So Dumb » with Hook Brown (Lead guitar), Luther Foreman (stand up bass), and Tommy Coffee (drums) and me (vocals and rhythm guitar). It was number 1 for 7 weeks. The radio station sent these tapes to Don Pierce at Starday records and released it on Fame Records which I and the radio station owned but never registered the Fame name. My friend Rick Hall of Muscle Shoals, AL picked it up and registered the name about a year later. I have re-released these songs on CD MEB 0019. To my knowledge only 350 of the Fame 580 were pressed. »

fame 580-b mack banks be-boppin' daddy

Both sides are killer rock-a-billy in the highest degree! In fact, the intro to « You’re So Dumb » is goose-pimple inducing madness! What a darn fine record! Only 350 pressed! Of course Rick Hall wasn’t the only guy to use the FAME Record label – Jimmy Heap‘s Texan label springs to mind off the top of my head. But then again, nothing matters once you slap this disc onto your turntable.

BEVERLY RECORDS 581 THE SOUTHERN SPIRITUALS

Kinston, NC (August 1956)

45-581-A - Since I Laid My Burden Down

(No info) (Golden State BMI)

45-581-B - If I Leave

(No info) (Golden State BMI)

Untraced

STARDAY RECORDS 582 JIMMY AND DOROTHY BLAKLEY

starday 582-a jimmy blakley no one but youstarday 582-b jimmy blakley standing in line (for your love)jimmy blakley FC(August 1956)

45-582-A No One But You

(J Blakley)   (Starrite BMI)

45-582-B Standing In Line (For Your Love)

(J Blakley)   (Starrite BMI)

Dorothy played on quite a few Starday sessions. Some copies have ST-2656 & St-2657 in the dead wax. (These are probably 2nd pressings.) 582-A was also recorded by Neal Merritt on Starday 260.

Starday 583 unknown artist – acetate –

I’ll Fly Away With An Angel (?)

Cherished By A Song (?)

Del-Mar 584 DELMAR WILLIAMS SINGERS

Moorhead, KY

I Wanna Walk A Little Closer

The Gates Will Swing

Untraced

DEL-MAR RECORDS 585 THE DELMAR WILLIAMS SINGERSdel-mar 585-a delmar williams singers my journey home

Moorhead, KY (August 1956)

45-585-A - My Journey Home

(D Williams / L Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

45-585-B - The Last Love Letter

(G Williams / D Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

Judging from the writers credits, I would suggest that the Delmar Williams singers are a family affair. Not heard this disc.

PLOW RECORDS 586 TENNESSEE GEORGE and the Pennsylvania Plowboys

Bangor, PA (August 1956)

45-586-A - Cry baby

(No info)   (No info)

45-586-B - Butter BallPlow 586 - Billboard 16 Apr 55(mp)plow 586-b tennessee george butterball

(George Dry)   (Starrite BMI)

Never heard the disc. 586-A was re-recorded by Dave Dudley on Starday 364.

STARDAY RECORDS 587 ANDY DOLL – 6 Men and 16 Instruments

(Artist based in Oelwein, IA) (August 1956)

45-587-A - Goodbye Mary Ann

(A Doll)   (Starrite BMI)

45-587-B - Honey Dew

(A Doll)   (Starrite BMI)

Compared to most of the artist featured on Starday Customs, Doll is one of the more prolific artists. He had many discs released on his own AD label from Oelwein, IA, mostly pressed by RCA and by 1962, we find him the proud owner of the « Coliseum Ballroom » until 1973. He also toured extensively and backed up such luminaries as Pee Wee King.

BB 17 Nov 56 - Andy Doll(bb)andy dollstarday 587-b andy doll honey dewstarday 587-a andy doll goodbye mary ann

Anyhow, the A side is a nice song, set at what I guess is a waltz tempo, whilst the flip is more uptempo with a western swing flavour. All very pleasant to be sure, but not something that would set my heart racing. His later recordings on AD bordered on Rock-A-Billy in some places, but not on this occasion.

COXX RECORDS 588 SLIM COXX and his Cowboy Caravan

So. Coventry, CT (September 1956)

45-588-A Mockingbird Specialcoxx 588-a slim coxx mocking bird special

(S Coxx / B Dee)   (Starrite BMI)

45-588-B Lonely Nights

(S Coxx / J Albert)   (Starrite BMI)

Still waiting to hear the B-side. Slim’s real name was Gerard A Miclette. He played with his younger brother, Roland « Rocky » Miclette in various bands. By the time Roland came back from serving in the Navy, he joined Slim (who played fiddle like his father, George) playing bass in Slims’ Kentucky Ramblers. Eventually they came to the attention of the Down Homers, which featured Bill Haley (and Kenny Roberts) and joined them on the tidy sum of $200 a week wages. Once the Down Homers had disbanded, Slim & Rocky were playing at Lake Compounce in Slims new band, The Cowboy Caravan.

Rocky died on the 6th of May 2004 and Slim passed away October 13th 1999.

« Mocking Bird Special » is a pleasant enough fiddle instrumental. This was reissued on Starday EP 295 and Starday LP 114, and subsequently reissued again on Nashville LP 2015 (Album release credited to « Slim Cox. ») Haven’t heard the flip, but the lead vocalist is Jimmy Stephen.

SAN RECORDS 589 JOE BROWN and the Black Mt. Boys with Curley Sanders and the Santones (September 1956)

W.B.R.T, Bardstown, KY

45-589-A Midnight Rhythmsan 589-a joe brown midnight rhythmsan 589-b joe brown fishin' fever

(Sanders / Shirley)   (Starrite BMI)

45-589-B Fishin’ Fever

(Joe Brown)   (Starrite BMI)

Once again, nothing known about Joe Brown and his band. Curley Sanders will be covered next as he has his own release after this disc. Recorded at WBRT from Bardstown, KY so perhaps Joe was a DJ there.

« Midnight Rhythm » is a nice instrumental with fiddles and a nice guitar picker (Ody Martin?) doing a fine Chet Atkins impression. (Ody was name checked by Curley in a Billboard segment.) « Fishin’ Fever » is the slightly better side with fine vocals and fine support from the Black Mt. Boys and the Santones.

JAMBOREE RECORDS 590 CURLEY SANDERS

Buffalo, KY (September 1956)

45-590-A - Why Did You Leave Mejamboree 590-b curly sanders brand new rock and roll

(J R Sprawls / C Sanders)   (Starrite BMI)

45-590-B - Brand New Rock And Roll

(C Sanders)   (Starrite BMI)

Label states « A Product Of Sprawls Enterprises ». Label was owned by Joel Ray Sprawls.

Curley Ray Sanders was born in 1935 in St John, KY. he was a DJ on WCTO (Campbellsville, KY) in 1956, and on WBRT (Bardstown, KY) in 1958. WBRT is where he recorded with Joe Brown on San Records, possibly paid for by Curley. He was a regular on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance (KY) in 1958.

I may not know much about Curley but I found quite a few records by him. He  shows up in about 1949/50 on Star Talent from Dallas, TX (#749 – Last On Your List / Penny For Your Thoughts). There was a Curley Sanders (assuming it’s him) appearing on the Saturday Night Shindig over WFAA (Dallas) in the early 50′s. Then I find two discs on Imperial (#8197 – Love ‘em Country Style / My Heart Is Yours Alone – Mid 53), (#8226 – Too Much Lovin’ / I’m Reaching For Heaven – Dec 53/Jan 54).

By 1956, Curley’s obviously incorporated some « Cat Music » in his repertoire and he’s found here hollering for all he’s worth (well, not quite hollering, but there’s an urgency in his vocals). The A side I’ve yet to hear. Flip is a stop/start rocker with cool lyrics and some fine accomp. by his band (who I presume are the Santones.) I think there’s an under recorded mandolin or something playing through the solos but the guitar is drowning it out. Anyhow, it’s a fabulous track. Almost awesome!

Curley springs up on the Concept label twice after the issue here and records another disc on Jamboree (which isn’t pressed by Starday). (Concept #897 – Dynamite / You’re Smiling (I’m Crying) 1957 – Elizabethtown, KY), (Concept #898 – Walking Blues / This Time – 57/8), (Jamboree 1833 – Heartsick And Blue / I’ll Obey My Heart - 57/58 – still located in Buffalo, KY and featuring the Kentucky Rangers). After that …

MECCA RECORDS 591 GENE STERLING

920 Third Ave, Seattle, WA (October 1956)

45-591-A - Living A Liemecca 591-b gene sterling I won't be back no moreMecca 591 - BB 15 Dec 56 gene sterling

(No info)   (Mecca Enterprises BMI)

45-591-B - I Won’t Be Back No More

(No info)   (Mecca Enterprises BMI)

Born in Arkansas, Gene was a truck driver by day and a singer and DJ by night. In 1953, he was DJ’ing over KRSC in Seattle, WA and appearing on Seattle’s « Junior Ranch Show ». He was signed to Vogue Records in 1953 and had at least one release (Vogue #1022 – « So Do I » / ???). Billboard thought it routine, but then they weren’t always right.

By 1956, Billboard finds him recording the disc above. Again, they are not glowing in their praise, but as I haven’t heard it, I can’t say if they’re right or not.

BIG STATE RECORDS 592 ROLAND (R.A.) FAULK

468 Third St, Port Acres, TXbig state 592-a (78) roland (R.A.) Faulk my baby's gone

Oct 56  (BMI Clearance on 11th January 1957)

45-592-A - You’ll Never Know

(R A Faulk)   (Starrite BMI)

45-592-B - My Baby’s Gone

(R A Faulk)   (Starrite BMI)

big state 592-b (78) roland (R.A.) Faulk you'll never know

The A side is a nice typical Texas honky-tonk / hillbilly song. Flip side is a thunderous rocker with heavy double bass and biting guitar. One of the best examples of the Starday rockabilly sound. The ending of the song is one of the most chaotic pieces of music every pressed into shellac as the musicians don’t seem to know where to end. So they all seem to try to end at once with little success. (Sadly, nobody seems to have signalled to the bass player they’re stopping!). This makes the side even better for it in my opinion.

Both Roland and his brother (Autry) were veterans of the Port Arthur, TX scene. (Port Acres is slightly west of Port Arthur). Kirby London recorded one of Roland’s songs on D 1174.

This disc was pressed on both 45 and 78rpm formats.

LUCKY 593 Northwest Troubadors (Oct 1956)

Hey Mister Copper

Jolly Old Fellow

Untraced

STARDAY RECORDS 594 DOROTHY BLAKLEY

Oct 56  (BMI Clearance on 4th January 1957)

45-594-A – Piano Bells (ST-2658)

(Blakley)   (Starrite BMI)

45-594-B – Yodelin’ Ivory Waltz (ST-2659)

(Blakley)   (Starrite BMI)

More ivory tickling from Dorothy. This disc was even assigned Starday Matrix numbers. ST-2658 was reissued on Starday EP 295 as « Raggin’ The Piano« , while ST-2659 was retitled « Tickle The Ivories« .

BIG STATE RECORDS 595 JIMMY SIMPSON and his Oilfield Boyssimpson

Box 1113, Greggton, TX

Nov 56  (BMI clearance on 11 Jan 57)

45-595-A – Can I Come Home

(Jack Rhodes / Jimmy Simpson)   (Starrite BMI)

45-595-B – Memories Of You

(Jack Rhodes / Jimmy Simpson)   (Starrite BMI)

Jimmy D Simpson was born on 24th March 1928 in Sullivan Hollow, near Ashland City, TN. After stints in the Army (and Navy and the Paratroopers), he moved to Robert Lee, TX (near San Angelo) with his wife and made a living as a pipeliner. He became a DJ over KERC (Eastland, TX) and sang at the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. A career as an artist for Republic Records was cut short by the labels bankruptcy. He also recorded on Hidus Records (owned by Bill & Buddy Holman) based in a jewelry store in Springfield, TN. See in this site for his full story, using the « research » button top-right.

big state 595-a jimmy simpson can I come homebig state 595-b jimmy simpson memories of you

Before he took off for Alaska as a contractor, he teamed up with Jack Rhodes and found himself on this release. The A side is bordering on rockabilly; nice vocals and a fine guitar dragging the band along at a fair clip. There’s a steel guitar adding some nice fills in the background and it shares the solos with the guitar. Flip side is a ballad. These were recorded at a West Monroe, Louisiana radio station. Same session that produced Simpson’s Jiffy single.

STARDAY RECORDS 596 TRUITT FORSE

Nov 56

45-596-A – Chicken Bop

(Forse)   (Starrite BMI)

45-596-B – Doggone Dame

(Forse)   (Starrite BMI)

A monster, 2-sided rockabilly killer from Truitt, (Donald Truitt Forse), a cousin of Beamon Forse (See Rodney 514, « Starday Custom » part 1, in this site). A side is a fast guitar-led rocker with some nice rinky-dink piano. Truitt belts out both sides with gusto (as Billboard might have said) and the biting guitar solos remind me of Hal Harris on high-octane caffeine. Flip is slower, bluesier but not in the least inferior to the topside. Truitt  had some ’60s / ’70s C&W singles out under the name Don Force.

starday 596-a truitt forse chicken bopstarday 596-b truitt forse doggone dame


PEACH RECORDS 597 LEON HOLMES and his Georgia Ramblers

Box 111, Jefferson, GA

Nov 56  (BMI clearance on 11th Jan 57)

45-597-A – She’s My Baby

(Leon Holmes)   (Starrite BMI)

LEON HOLMES and JOHNNY GARRISON and the Georgia Ramblers

45-597-B – You’re Not Mine At All

(Leon Holmes)   (Starrite BMI)

Possibly one of my favourite discs in this series. Great stop-start vocals through the verses with a nice hint of rock-a-billy mumbling through the choruses! But it’s the guitar breaks that have always grabbed my attention (for obvious reasons I guess). Slightly understated with a smattering of Carl Perkins with a lovely cascade of notes at the end. It sounds to me that right at the end of the song, the guitarist must hit his pick-up switch by accident as the tone changes slightly. I could probably listen to this all day and not get bored. In fact, sometimes I think I do!

peach 597-a leon holmes she's my babypeach 597-a leon holmes she's my baby

Leon appears later in this series on Starday Records and also again on Peach Records. Perhaps he was a Georgia native.  Not heard the flip, but even if it was a ballad, I’d probably like it!

ROCK-IT RECORDS 598 GENE TERRY and his Kool Kats

Port Arthur, TX

Nov 56  (BMI clearance on 11 Jan 57)

45-598-A – The Woman I Love

(Kid Murdock / Lila Hargiss)   (Starrite BMI)

45-598-B – Tip, Tap And Tell me

(Kid Murdock / Lila Hargiss)   (Starrite BMI)

rock-it 598a gene terry The woman I loverock-it 598-b gene terry Tip, tap and tell me

Gene Terry was born Terry Gene DeRouen in Lafayette, LA on January 7th 1940, but raised in Port Arthur, TX, where his main musical influence growing up was his father and grandfather performing Cajun songs. He also attended house and barn dances with his uncle, R. C. DeRouen, a Cajun musician. His uncle taught him how to play guitar and eventually Gene accompanied him on stage. Gene formed his first band, the Kool Kats, in the mid-’50s, doing mainly country and western songs but they gravitated toward rock and roll, eventually changing their name to The Downbeats. Gradually rhythm and blues began to enter the band’s repertoire as Gene became influenced by Little Richard, Elvis Presley and local KTRM deejay J. P. « the Big Bopper » Richardson. Word spread to Lake Charles, LA gaining the attention of local club owners and a five year contract with Goldband Records. Gene Terry and the Down Beats recorded several singles for Goldband including classic « Cindy Lou« .

Top side is a fast rocker with a nice long guitar solo (although he seems to have not been expecting the first part of the solo because he’s a little under-recorded). Flip is more mid paced with a nod towards « Heartbreak Hotel« . Awesome!

HUGHART RECORDS 599 BURT HUGHART

Rt 3, Stigler, OK

Dec 56  (BMI clearance on 11 Jan 57. BB rev = 7 Jan 57)

45-599-A – Our Last Goodbye

(No info)   (No info)

45-599-B – Memories I Can’t Forget

(No info)   (No info)

No info on Hughart, nor have I seen or heard the record.

ALABAMA GOSPEL RECORDS 600 TOM HARMON TRIO

AL

Dec 56  (BMI clearance on 11 Jan 57)

45-600-A – My Secret Affair

(No info)   (No info)

45-600-B – Get Away, Satan

(No info)   (No info)

I’ve still yet to see or hear this disc.

As for the previous Starday custom series, a generous use has been made of Malcolm Chapman’s excellent blogsite « Starday customs » (just do search through google). My thanks to him, reprinted with permission. All label scans were taken from his site.

early December 2011 fortnight’s favourites
déc 1st, 2011 by xavier

Hello folks! This is the new serie of mostly obscure Hillbilly bop and/or late ’50s Country-rockers. About the majority of the artists, they disappeared into obscurity without leaving any trace, just after the release of their record. Anyway, most important is the music they left behind them, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I chose the tunes.

We’re beginning with LEE NICHOLS on the Allied label for a nice shuffling Hllbilly bop from 1954, « Baby, You’ve Got Everything » (# 5016). Just where Nichols came from or even label’s location I have been unable to find any snippet. To add a little more confusion, the name Allied must have been pretty common for, I bet, a Southern record label.

allied 5012 lee nichols baby you've got everythingA less unknown artist was LUCKY BOGGS. I don’t know exactly where he came from, but it seems, from the spare details I’ve got on him, that he very often traveled through the U.S., from Ohio to Texas, then Georgia and Texas to Michigan. Here, taken from hillbilly-music.com, his biography:

When he was just 16, Lucky Boggs began his professional musical career in 1946, working with a band called the Rhythm Rascals over WPAY out of Portsmouth, Ohio. From there, he moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1947. In 1948, he was working with Chess Davis’ Chicago Follies and touring throughout the south. Later, he moved to Saginaw, Michigan and to radio station WKNX, playing with Don Boots’ band. In 1949, he was playing with Chuck Bridges’ Ohio Playboys over WHTN in Huntington, West Virginia. and later at KRIC in Beaumont, Texas. Lucky then formed his own band and became a member of the staff at WSAZ-TV in Huntington, West Virginia then moved to WNXT in Portsmouth, Ohio again. February of 1956 saw him sign a three year record contract with Buddy Record Corporation in Marshall, Texas. They said his first single included « Once I Went To Town » b/w « Tears In My Heart« , that was released in April of 1956. In that same month, Lucky rejoined WSAZ-TV in Huntington and was the vocalist with Dean Porter and the Country Rhythm Boys and was also on the Saturday Nite Jamboree show. Note that Buddy records saw also first Tommy Blake release (« Kool It », a crude Rockabilly), same guy was later to cut marvelous Rock’nRollers for Sun in Memphis.

lucky boggs pic

Lucky Boggs

Here I am offering his great shuffler from 1959, « Drillin’ Rig Boogie » (label unknown).

Next artist is now more well-known than during his short life (he died at the early age of 26). IRY LEJEUNE was  born 1928 in a modest sharecropping farm near Church Point, La. Unable to work in fields because of a bad sight, he began at an early age playing accordion, and made his life’s earnings entertaining for local sharecroppers in his area. WWII years were tough, as work was missing, all the troopers being gone. When they returned, they were angry to hear their own Cajun music, and Iry LeJeune was ready to satisfy them. This induced him to record in 1948, along with the fiddler Floyd LeBlanc, « Evangeline Special« , a loud, heavy piece of Cajun  accordion-led hillbilly, on Opera 105, in Houston, Texas (backing provided by Virgel Bozman’s Oklahoma Tornadoes). His career was well on its way. Alas, on October 1955, he was killed upon returning from a gig; in Eddie Shuler‘s own words: « They had a flat where they were widening the highway and they couldn’t pull off. They were trying to change the tire when a guy came along going about 90 MPH. He hit him (LeJeune) and knocked him into a field. That was the end of Iry. »

opera 105b iry lejeune evangeline specialiry lejeuneThe name of HARMONICA FRANK is indeed familiar to many ’50s music lovers. Born 1908, he toured extensively with the last medicine shows during the ’30s, and set up a sort of one-man show, singing, playing guitar and blowing harmonica, all at the same time! He recorded first in 1951 for Sam Phillips, who leased tapes to Chess in Chicago, because he sounded black. « Howlin’ Tomcat » (Chess # 1494), cut December 1951 (just 60 years ago) is a nice piece of folk-blues. Floyd had a fine voice, and his growlings are very convincing. Phillips used to call him « his favorite son« , and actually hired Elvis 3 years later in seach of a new Frank Floyd.

chess1494A Howlin' tomcatharmica frank

log cabin 6171 Hoyt StevensFrom Madisonville, TN, comes the completely unknown (to me, at least) HOYT STEVENS on the obscure Log Cabin label, for the good Rockabilly  »55 Chevy » (# 617). A lot, thousands, dozens of thousands of those artists were to record a one-off record at the turn of mid ’50s, then disappeared; and someone very often finds a gold nugget – thanks to internet, the collectors do offer now very freely their finds.

starday 341 nelson young sunriseFinally, NELSON YOUNG is a relatively well-known artist, whose career was concentrated in the Cincinnati, OH area. He had in late 1957 the famous « Rock Old Sputnick » out on the Lucky label. In 1958, he offered us a more Hillbilly bop tune, although Bluegrass flavored, on Starday 341, with « Sunrise« .

That’s all, folks, for this time! Enjoy the selections, and, as usual, comments welcome. Bye-bye

The pictures below (Iry LeJeune with Virgel Bozman‘s band in 1947) couldn’t find their room at the right place:

iry lejeune+nathan

Iry Lejeune & Nathan Abshire

iry lejeune+virgel bozman band, 1947

Jimmy (Fautheree) & (Country) Johnny (Mathis), the most enduring non-sibling Hillbilly/Rockabilly duet
nov 30th, 2011 by xavier

jimmy & johnny pic

Fautheree (l) & Mathis (r)

The mainstay of this ensemble was Jimmy Lee Fautheree. Born (James Walton Fautheree) on April 11, 1934 in Smackover, Arkansas. When he was 12 years old, his aunt bought him a guitar and he was fortunate that his parents wanted him to be an entertainer : so Fautheree became an accomplished guitarist at the age of 16 He spent many hours and dayspracticing guitar and singing with two of his younger brothers, Lynn and Jackie, both of whom in adulthood would follow him in musical pursuits. Their father was an oilman and moved his family from town to town as jobs became available, but settled in Dallas in 1946. The family was very musical minded, so Jimmy came by it honest. Jimmy liked and was around most phases of music : blues and hillbilly were his favorites, but country and gospel also fell into place. Ernest Tubb and Jack Guthrie were big influences, but Merle Travis left a definite impression on Jimmy with his distinctive finger-picked electric guitar style.

Following a successful appearance on the Big « D » Jamboree, Jimmy Fautheree was soon a regular feature of the Dallas Country music scene. ‘Country’ Johnny Mathis, not to be confused with the pop crooner of the same name, hailed from Maud TX, where he was born in 1935. Mathis is arguably the most notable of the many individuals that made up the other half of the Jimmy & Johnny guise. Mathis had already garnered some experience in the recording field, having waxed a handful of sides for the JB [an extra-Bullet outfit of Jim Bulleit] in 1951 and Talent (Dallas, Texas) (1949) labels. Jim Bulleit acted also as manager for Jimmy Fauthereee (see below Billboard snippet).

j-b 1500 johnny mathis Me for you and you for metalent 738-a mathis tell me why

In 1951, the boys were invited on to the Louisiana Hayride and very quickly became part of the house band which was then run by bassist Tillman Franks (more on him in the article devoted elsewhere in this site to the early days of Webb Pierce in Shreveport). Recently unearthed tapes of the Hayride concerts stand testament to their talent. Shortly after joining the prestigious show, Fautheree was signed to a recording contract with Capitol records. His first Capitol session took place at the Louisiana Hayride in 1951 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Four songs were recorded – « Go Ahead and Go » (a Jimmy Lee original), the fine uptempo « I’m Diggin’ A Hole To Bury My Heart » (# 2153) and here, Fautheree was also renamed « Jimmy Lee« . He went on to be a great star in the hillbilly field. One of his Capitol records is interesting, »Blowin’ And Goin’ » as it includes a muted trumpet, an unusual instrument in early ’50s Country, but in Lee Bond‘s Republic sides, e.g. « How About A Date« , cut at the same time as Jimmy Lee (see elsewhere for this label’s story)

52 jimmy lee

Billboard 1952 snippet

capitol 2153 Jimmy lee I'm diggin' a hole to bury my heart

In 1953, the pair Fautheree-Mathis recorded « If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will » for Feature (a Crowley, La. Jay D. Miller label), but it wasn’t until the following year, when they re-recorded the song for Chess, that it made the n°3 spot and became their only hit record. Jimmy Lee continued working and recording under the name of Jimmy & Johnny (Decca), albeit now with his brother Lynn. The new duet cut superb Rockabillies : the furious « Sweet Love On My Mind » (written by Wayne Walker, and shortly thereafter recorded by Johnny Burnette and the Rock’n'Roll Trio on Coral)(# 30061), the lazy uptempo Hillbilly bop bordering Rockabilly  « Sweet Singing Daddy » (# 29772), the equally good « What ‘Cha Doin’ To Me » (# 30410), while the latter’s flipside, « I’ll Do It Everytime » was titled « Skiffle-Billy Beat » ! They were featured on Faron Young‘s band – Faron Young & The Deputies, on to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, performing there many times on the famous stage. Jimmy was featured in many shows of Elvis Presley’s early years, with Elvis being Jimmy’s opening act several times. Wow, how many can say that has happened for them ? Fautheree also did teaming up on Chess with Wayne Walker for the major 1955 Rockabilly classic « Love Me » with its furious steel-guitar and Fautheree’s own raucous, gutbucket bluesy guitar. In addition, he made later some solo recordings : in 1958, he cut the out-and-out rocker « Teen-Age Wedding » for the Vin label in New Orleans under the name Johnny Angel.


feature 1092-a if you don't (mathis)chess 4859 (78) j & j if you don't (7662)chess 4862 (78) Jimmy lee & johnny mathis The fun is over (7714)KWKH was a radio studio, also the only recording studio in Shreveport. Its studio was built as a room within a room : about two ft. away from the outside walls of the building, another wall was constructed stuffed with fiberglass. The only windows faced the annoncer’s booth and an area in front of the studio where the coffee machine and several chairs and tables were situated. The dimensions of the studio were approximately 25×30 ft. with a 12-foot ceiling, which was similar to the Dallas’ Jim Beck’s studio facility. Nevertheless, engineer Bob Sully excelled in being able to make the most out of what was available. For instance, he discovered that an echo effect was possible through feeding the output back into the board. Which he did, with Jimmy Lee & Wayne Walker « Love Me ».

JIM & JOHN-SHEET MUSIC If you don't

chess 4863 (78) jimmy lee & wayne walker Love me (7769)Mathis teamed early in 1955 with a Dallas club owner, Les Chambers, who put on several singles on Starday by himself. The pair issued two nice fast Hillbilly boppers : « Everybody Else Does (Why Can’t I ») (Starday 181), as an answer to « If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will », and « Give Me A Little More » (Starday 206).starday 181 les chambers & johnny mathis everbody else does (sic)

Chambers soon disappeared, recording-wise, while Johnny Mathis switched naturally under the protection of Starday, when this label and Mercury went to a common venture early in 1957. There he had «One Life » (# 71273), as several tracks on various artists albums, e.g. « Hillbilly Hit Parade ». He even cut uncredited for the

low-budget Dixie label a nice version of the, I believe he was

dixie 526-B Mathis non crédité I thought I heard you call my name

J&J 1958 Minneapolis

Minneapolis, 1958

mercury 71273 johnny mathis One life (mars 58)

starday 206A les chambers & johnny mathis give me a little morethe originator, Porter Wagoner song « I Thought I Heard You Call My Name » (# 526). Later in 1958, he recorded Rockabilly on ‘D’ as Les Cole and the Echoes (« Bee Boppin’ Daddy /Rock-A-Bye-Baby», # 1010). He and Fautheree were reunited in the late fifties for a couple of releases on ‘D’, (« My Little Baby » , # 1089 ) and one for the Los Angeles Republic label (« Knock On Wood », # 2014), in 1961 before finally dissolving the act, and once again each one going their own way.

d 1010a les cole bee boppin' daddyvin 1004a johnny angel teen-age wedding


JIMMY & johnnyDuring the 1960s, Jimmy Lee recorded for the Paula label in Shreveport : a more modern version of « Can’t Find The Door Nob » (sic, # 239) (1966) and one very tough, fine guitar-led instrumental: « Box Full Of ‘Git’ »  Next year, he cut the nice, loud rocker   »Overdue  » (also on Paula 279), then on the Lodema label, more instro with « Project X-9 » and the awesome country bopper « Laziest Man In The World » (Lodema # LR 101, 1983).

Jimmy produced several Gospel albums, his first in the late 1970′s. Lynn Fautheree died in 1989 from asbestosis. It would not be before 1995 jimmy lee & johnny mathisthat Jimmy & Johnny performed again together for the first time in 35 years, when they recorded a gospel tune « It Won’t Be Much Longer« , released on the Dallas based TIMA Records in 2000. It was their last recording together. It was however their last recording as Johnny became ill in 1999. Hewas invited to come backfor a reunion on the Louisiana Hayride show on June 27 and 28, 2003, titled « One More Ride », at the original Municipal Auditorium, 706 Elvis Presley Ave., Shreveport, Louisiana. Jimmy opened the Friday night show by singing one of his recordings, « Unknown Legends« , written by Johnny Mathis. That song was perfect for the night, and as many of the original performers such as Kitty Wells, Johnny Wright, Bonnie, Maxine, and Jim Ed Brown, Billy Walker, just to name a few, were present to once again perform their talents, and could say, « we are home once again« .

Also last year (2003), Jimmy performed a Rockabilly Show, « The Ponderosa Stomp », in New Orleans, Louisiana, backed by Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics Band. That performance went so well that Deke invited Jimmy Lee to his Fort Horton studios in Austin, TX., to record with the band. The result is: « I Found The Doorknob« , Jimmy Lee’s first recording in forty years! The new CD features the hit « I Found The Doorknob » (answer song to « Can’t Find The Doorknob« ), and many others including « Gotta Get You Near Me Blues« , « Overdue« , « Box Full of Gits » (Jimmy’s admirous guitar picking), « I’m Diggin a Hole« , « Big Mamma Blues« , « Nine Pound Hammer« , and many more. This CD is available through the web site – dekedickerson.com, his first album for nearly 30 years.

Jimmy went to Rye, Sussex, England, and performed the Rockabilly Rave Show on March 7, 2004, doing an outstanding performance playing his guitar and singing to many a fan who never thought they would get to see their favorite artist in person. This was also the first time he ever did perform in Europe. Three months later, he lost his battle against cancer : he passed away at his home in Dallas TX, on June 29, 2004.

As a solo artist, Johnny Mathis released several singles for D, United Artists and Little Darlin’. His final charting single was « Please Talk to My Heart, » released in 1963. He also encountered significant success as a songwriter, penning songs for Johnny Paycheck, George Jones and Webb Pierce, among others.

Mathis suffered a stroke in February 1999, and was no longer able to perform. He died on September 27, 2011, one day prior to his 78th birthday

There was also a release on TNT which is by a different Jimmy & Johnny duet; a Jimmy Lee has « Look What Love Will Do » on Vin 1010, and a record on Feature is by a Jim & Johnny, once again no relation to Messers Fautheree and Mathis.

decca 30061A sweet love on my mind (Wayne P. Walker)decca 29954 détouré another man's namedecca 30410 dj what 'cha doin' to me


d 1004 jimmie & johnny I can't find the door knob (1008)

republic 2014 dj j&j knock on wood (mathis)d 1027 johnny mathis I've been known to cry (1059)

hilltop 3008-A C. J. Mathis My carolina sunshine girlua 396 C.J.Mathis thinking too far behindpaula 239a jimmy fautheree can't find the door nob (sic)

little darlin' 0015 C.J. mathis Sugar thiefd 1152a CJM When I came thru town

Biography based on Dik De Heer work (www.rockabilly.nl), Walter Stettner’s own, from « Steel Guitar Forum » (published on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame site), and, most of all, from the very fine and indispensable book « Cowboys, Honky-tonks and Hepcats » written and published by my good friend Tony Biggs. Nearly all pictures were provided by Tony, too. And all the music comes from his fabulous collection…Thanks-a-lot, Tony!

JIMMY & JOHNNY AD (harmony guitars)


decca 29772 sweet swinging daddy

Bill Browning, or Bill « Zekie » Browning? Two Rockabillies in Ohio (1957-1961)
oct 31st, 2011 by xavier

bill browning

Bill or Zekie?

Article of Phillip J. Tricker reprinted from ‘Roll Street Journal’ n° 1 (1981)

all additions are in brackets [...]

The name Bill Browning had been one that I had seen on a few lists over the period of quite a number of years. He seemed to be on interesting labels but I had never been fortunate enough to hear any of his records until November 1977.

Yes I remember it very well indeed. It was my first trip the the USA looking for records, and in a Texas warehouse I came across three copies of Bill Browning‘s « Don’t Push-Don’t Shove » (Starday 432). Back at my motel that evening I became a Bill Browning fan and I have spent the five years since trying to obtain his records.

A native of West Virginia [real name Wilmer L. Browning. Born 1931 in Wayne County, W.Va. Died in 1978 – maybe cancer], Bill formed his first band known as the »Kanawha Valley Band » when he was in his mid teens, and they had a radio show on WTIP in Charleston, West Virginia, for some years.

When he was 24, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1955. He then formed another group, the « Echo Valley Boys » [comprising Art Fulks, Merl Hoaf, Jackie Wooten, Roy Barker and Marshall Looney], and they appeared regularly in the area. It was about this time that Bill got into recording for the first time and from there the story takes an unusual twist.

It has been claimed that the Bill Browning who recorded for Island and Starday, among others, is a different artist from the Bill « Zekie » Browning, who had records issued on Ruby and Lucky. What follows is just one man’s opinion and the reasons for arriving at them. The earliest date I can place on a record by A Browning is the one on Ruby, # 220, which is credited « Rainbow Rhythmaires – vocalist Zekie Browning ». The years 1957-1960 find all the discs as by Bill Browning, usually with Echo Valley Boys. Next woud appear to come the Stardays (# 432 and 488), and here we find an interesting clue. On Starday 488B (Country Strings), credited to Bill Browning, there is a line in the song which goes :

«  Zeke picked on the country strings »

Now the highly distinctive style of guitar playing on this record is also to be heard on both sides of Lucky 0001 (I’ll pay You Back/Breaking Hearts), credited to « Zekie » Browning.

Another strange occurrence was that « Breaking Hearts » was issued under both names on Island and Lucky 0001. When I finally got hold of the Lucky issue, I was somewhat stunned that they were not even the same songs. Not even similar. Against the mid tempo Island bopper, the Lucky song is a Hillbilly weeper (with a duet vocal with Don Boone)(the song remains untraced, and was not reissued by White label on the « Lucky label » LP, not even available on Youtube, where it’s always confused with the Island tune of the same name).

There is a similarity on SOME of the records vocally, but when it comes down to the final analysis, I feel that the biggest clue is in the guitar work. On all the records I have managed to obtain/hear, the quality of the guitar work is of a uniform high standard. It is highly probable that he played on other artists records, and as lead guitarist [It is claimed on the sleeve of the « Cincinnati Rockabilly » Lee LP, that he played lead on Nelson Young's « Rock Old Sputnick », Lucky 0002. In return, Nelson Young played in Zekie Browning's band].

As a final thought. the names of Bill and Zekie Browning are both used as recording credits, but, and this is I think important, only the name Bill Browning appears as a song writing credit. ALL of the eight sides on the four records I own credited to Zekie Browning have got Bill Browning as the composer. I believe they are one and the same. An artist whose Rockabilly records excite me, and who’s more Hillbilly tracks show a true love of Country music. He was never a big star, but I bet he brought happiness into many lives. [One final note : Tapio Väänanen found that the rights to Bill Browning songs were owned by his family, who seems to hold the rights to Zekie's too. Strange...On final analysis, maybe they were distant relatives...Who knows ?

++++++++++++++++++++++++

According to Tapio Väänanen, of Finland, Bill "Zekie" Browning was born March 25, 1925 in Hyden, Kentucky and raised in Wooton.

He lived and performed in Hamilton and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Finally he died November 29, 1999.

Once more according to Mr. Väänanen, Bill Browning was born 1931 in Wayne County, W.Va. He moved later to Cleveland, Ohio. He died in 1978.

So it seems that Mr. Tricker's 1981 speculations were wrong. Just a serie of strange and amusing coincidences...

Kentucky and W. Va maps browning affiche

About the music (notes from Bopping's editor)

Either one of both Brownings do offer superior Rockabilly music, from 1957 to 1960. Bill Browning (Island, Starday) has more records, even an LP (2 tracks) and an entire LP ('60s), the best and available tunes are disposable on podcasts below. Best tracks are :

« Ramblin' Man » (Island 1) is a very fine Rock-a-ballad, propelled by a strong rhythm guitar. A good mandolin player takes a short solo. Singer is in fine form, and the guitar player seems to enjoy doing some licks.

island 1 echo valley boys Ramblin' manisland 2 echo wash

« Wash Machine Boogie » (Island 2), a classic in its genre. Again a strong rhythm, a boogie guitar (an agreable solo). Echo Valley Boys do sing in unison with Browning for the refrain. A piano player has his own solo. Amusing lyrics.


« Dark Hollow » (Island 7) is a really fine side. Train song, very well sung, with emotion. This is the original version to Luke Gordon (see elsewhere in this site for his story), and of course the best-known one by Jimmy Skinner.

island 7b dark hollowisland 7 borned

« Borned With The Blues » (Island 7), as the title suggests, is a medium-paced blues. Again the singer is at ease. The guitar takes a nice solo. Good atmospheric blues record, as Rockabillies sometimes did : Gene Vincent (« Vincent's Blues »), Bob Luman (« Amarillo Blues »), to name just a few.


« Let The Bible Be Your Guide » (Island 8) is nothing but a plain sacred country song. It anyway adds something new to Bill Browning's range of songs.

island 8 let the bible

« Breaking Hearts » (Island 10). Again a nice bopping disc, this time adorned by a good steel player and fiddle (both take short solos). The voice of the singer is a bit high-pitched for a good effect.

island 11 sinful


island 7 breaking hearts



« Sinful woman » (Island 11), again this very effective interplay between steel and fiddle, for a very nice fast Hillbilly bopper.

« Down In The Holler Where Sally Lives » (Island LP), a fast, unison sung bopper ; good Rockabilly guitar.

« Love Left Over » (White label 8814)(Island unissued), a fine Rockabilly fast side – prominent mandolin, and a short but good guitar solo. A lot of echo on the vocal.

« Answer To Your Telephone » (White label 8814) (Island unissued), again a fast side. Steel player to the fore. Very good guitar solo. Fiddle present. May come from the « Breaking Hearts » session.

«    "Don't Push Don't Shove » (Starday 432), from 1958-59. A fast drum intro, very good out-and-out Country-rocker. Strident guitar and steel. Browning in nice voice shape.

«    Down In The Hollow » (Starday 488), from 1960. The theme must have been a favorite of Browning, as it is note-for-note the Island recording, leased to Starday.

"   "Country Strings" (Starday 488 B), a fast, superior Bopper.

starday 432starday 488starday 488B


60 lucky 0011 "zekie" (instros) I did separate from the tracks above the followings : « Hula Rock », « Makes Me Feel-A- So Good » and « Gonna Be A Fire », spoiled by obstrusive choruses, too commercial and pop-oriented, at least to my ears.

he Later he had records on Marpone, Alsta, among other labels.

And that's it for the first Bill Browning.

Bil Bill Zekie Browning recorded first for the Hamilton, Ohio Ruby label (# 220), « I'll Agree » (1955 ? or later ?), and, although the record is now untraceable, it's also forgettable : I have heard it moons ago, and it was a hell of a slow Hillbilly weeper...

NoThen on Lucky 0001, « I'll Pay You Back » is superior ! What I could call, in search of a better term, a fast bluesy Rockabilly, complete with slapping bass and a very good guitar solo. Singer (named here «Bill "59 lucky 0005 "zekie" bad case of the blues Zekie » Browning) has a somewhat husky voice, perfect for this kind of song. A minor classic, which reminds me of Jess Hooper (« Sleepy Time Blues » on Meteor!

«    "Breaking Hearts » remains untraced, so I cannot comment. According to Phillip Tricker, it's a Hillbilly weeper on a waltz tempo.

lucky 0001 I'll paylucky 0001a breaking heartslucky 0011 creepin'enola 313 glass of wine (walter scott)

BB 7-3-60 lucky 0011 "zekie" (instros)

Billboard March 7, 1960


«

« Bad Case Of The Blues » (Lucky 0005), a superior Bopper for 1959. This time a pianist and a drummer add their touch, while steel and fiddle do shine all way through.

He then had a double-sided instrumental on Lucky 0011, « Spinning Rock Boogie/Creepin’ And Crawlin’ », backed by the Dynamics. Original record untraced and forgotten (I am unable to find at this time my copy of the White label LP « The Lucky label » WLP 8858!)

Later he was to be found on Enola, during the ’60s, for two 45s. « Glass Of Wine » (# 313) is a nice ’60s Country-rocker with strong guitar. This song was credited to Walter Scott, I’d assume the same man who had « I’m Walkin’ out » on Ruby in 1956 (posted in a past fortnight’s favorite). Enola 312 « Loser’s Blues » looks promising, but does escape to my searching antennas.

As usual, label shots were taken from Terry Gordon’s RCS site, or YouTube. Music from « Ramblin’ Man », a bootleg LP devoted to Bill Browning on Island and Starday. TRG in Holland issued a bootleg called « Hula Rock : The Island Recordings », which gathers every issue of this short-lived label. Then, old White label 8817 (« Island recordings ») and 8858 (« The Lucky label ») complete the lot. Then nothing more.

        A message from Bill Zekie Browning grandchild: « This story is not all correct on the Bill « Zekie » Browning part, he is my grandpa he died when I was 19 years old. There is not a picture of him on this site, that must be another Bill. He was an amazing musician he could play every instrument. He loved the guitar, harmonica and banjo the most. He played music for me and my family all the time, especially at Christmas. He always kept his harmonica in his left shirt pocket. He was an awesome grandpa, we spent alot of time together, I am his first born grandchild. My grandma, his wife Phyllis is a gentle, kind beautiful woman, just turned 70 years old, living healthy and well, she was much younger than my grandpa. » Please send us a picture of the actual Bill Zekie Browing!

bill_b10 Thanks to visitor DrunkenHobo (Dean C.) who pointed out two major errors in this article on November 4, 2011.

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