Late October 2016 bopping Fortnight’s favorites (1945-1964)

Howdy folks ! En route for a new batch of bopping billies, mostly from the late ’40s-early ’50s, with the occasional foray into the early ’60s.

We begin this fortnight with an artist I’d already post a song in March 2011 – that is more than 5 1/2 years. CURLEY curley-cole-picCOLE was a D.J. in Paducah, KY and a multi-instrumentist. Here he delivers on the Gilt-Edge label (a sublabel to Four Star, as everyone knows) the fine bopper « I’m going to roll » (# 5028). It’s a proto-rockabilly in essence, as a train song, from 1952. Cole also had another on Gilt-Edge 5016, « I’m leaving now/For now I’m free » (unheard).

« I’m going to roll« gilt-edge-5029-curley-cole-im-going-to-roll

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The second artist of this serie also appeared in January 2016, but with different tracks. DON WHITNEY was a D.J. for don whitney picRadio KLCN out of Blytheville, AR. in 1951 when he cut for Four Star « I’m gonna take my time, loving you » (# 1548), again a nice bopper. Later on, he had the romper « G I boogie » (# 1581) in late 1951. Minimal instrumentation (lead guitar, rhythm, bass [it even got a solo], a barely audible fidde) but a lot of excitement. At the beginning of this year I’d posted both his «Red hot boogie » and « Move on blues ». 

« I’m gonna take my time, lovin’ you »

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« G I boogie« 

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Billboard April 14,1951

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Billboard May 10, 1952

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From Vidalia, GA. Came in 1960 the group Twiggs Co. Playboys for a (great for the era) Hillbilly bopper, « Too many ». Very nice interplay between fiddle and steel (solos) over an assured vocal (Gala # 109). This label is now more known for its rockers (Billy « Echo » Adkinson, The Sabres, Otis White) than for Country records.

gala-109-twiggs-co-playboys-toomany« Too many »

« Too many »download

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Hank Penny

It is useless to present HANK PENNY. To quote the late Breathless Dan Coffey in a very old issue of his magazine « Boppin’ news », and a feature on Jerry Lee Lewis : « If you don’t know what happened to him, you shouldn’t read this mag ! ». From the heyday of his discographical career (which spanned from the late ’30s until 1969), actually of a constant highest level on a par with his popularity, however I was forced to choose two songs he cut for King Records between 1945 and 47, but released on the same 78rpm, King 842, late 1949 or early 50. « Now ain’t you glad dear », cut in Pasadena, CA. in Oct. 1945 at the same session as « Steel guitar stomp » and « Two-noel-boggs-hill-musictimin’ mama », is a fast brillant Western bopper backed in particular by Merle Travis (lead guitar) and Noël Boggs (steel). The other side, recorded in Nashville two years later, and penned by Danny Dedmon (Imperial artist and member of Bill Nettles‘ Dixie Blue Boys) isn’t not at all a slow blues : « Got the Louisiana blues » is equally fast as the B-side, and showcases James Grishaw on guitar, Louie Innis on bass and Bob Foster on steel. A great record.

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billboard Feb. 25, 1950

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« Now ain’t you glad dear »

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« Got the Louisiana blues »

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From Atlanta in 1947 comes on piano LEON ABERNATHY & his Homeland Harmony Quartet for « Gospel boogie », a fine call and response romper on the White Church 1084 label.

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« Gospel boogie »

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Next artist, whom I don’t know much on, is called CLAY ALLEN, from Dallas, Texas. He had two Hillbilly sessions between April and July 1951 for the Decca label (« I can’t keep smiling »,# 46324, is maybe scheduled for a future clay-allen-hill-musicFortnight). He was part of the Country Dudes on the Azalea label in 1959 with the very good rocker « Have a ball »). Later on, he cut several discs between 1961 and 1964 for the Dewey longhorn-547-clay-allen-one-too-many64Groom‘s Longhorn label, « Broken heart » (# 516) for example. I’ve chosen « One too many » (# 547) as his great deep voice backed by a bass chords playing guitar comes for a great effect. Maybe later I’ll post the flipside « I’m changing the numbers on my telephone », but lacking space this time.

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Country Dudes guitar player (Clay Allen?)

« One too many »

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To round up this serie, here are two tracks by the Atlanta guitar virtuoso JERRY REED, early in career which he began on Capitol Records. From October 1955, there’s the traditional « If the Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise » (# 3294), done in a fast Hillbilly bop manner making its way onto Rockabilly. Both steel and fiddle have a good, although jerry-reed-pic-hill-musicshort solo, while Reed is in nice voice. He comes once more, this time recorded in January 1956 : « Mister Whiz » is frankly Rockabilly (# 3429) but the Hillbilly bop feeling is retained : a nice fiddle flows all along, while the guitar player may be (to my ears at least) Grady Martin. Capitol files and Praguefrank are silent on the personnel of Jerry Reed sessions, a pity.

« If the Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise »

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« Mister Whiz »

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Sources: mostly 78rpm-world or my archives; John E. Burton YouTube chain (Twiggs Co. Playboys); various researches on the Net. Countrydiscographies.com (Praguefrank) for Hank Penny and Jerry Reed data.

WILEY BARKDULL, Louisiana piano man

WILEY BARKDULL

Born circa 1927, Forest Hill, Louisianawiley barkdull pic

The musical career of singer / pianist Wiley Barkdull is virtually inseparable from that of the brothers Rusty and Doug Kershaw.

Barkdull’s main instrument was the piano, but he may have played rhythm guitar as well, possibly at his live performances. A deep voiced Lefty Frizzell soundalike, he performed over Crowley’s KSIG alongside Jimmy Newman, Jim Toth and the Kershaws. Rusty, Doug and Wiley all started recording for legendary Crowley producer Jay (or J.D., if you prefer) Miller’s Feature label in 1953 or 1954. Very few of these recordings were issued at the time, but most of them (plus some KSIG radio transcriptions) finally appeared on the UK Flyright label in 1991. Barkdull’s record for Feature was « I’ll Give My Heart to You » (soon to be rerecorded for Hickory)/ »Living a Life of Memories » (Feature 2006), which appeared in early 1955. It was the last release on the label, crediting the backing to Rusty & Doug and the Music Makers.  feature 206 wiley barkdull  I'll give my heart

After Feature was wound down, Rusty and Doug were signed by Hickory Records in Nashville and Barkdull was also signed as an artist in his own right. Wiley’s deep bass voice contributes to many of Rusty and Doug’s recordings and so much so that his name was credited on almost all of the Rusty & Doug sides on which he appeared as a vocalist. In some cases, these harmonies are downright spectacular (« Kaw-Liga« , for instance). These fine Hickory recordings benefited in no small measure from a first-class accompaniment by the Nashville A-team, sometimes enhanced by the fiddle of Rufus Thibodeaux.

hickory 1065 wiley barkdull Too manyhickory 1074 wiley barkdull I ain't gonna waste my timehickory  1074B wiley barkdull hey, honey

Barkdull’s solo recordings for Hickory (8 singles altogether) are a mixture of country in the Lefty Frizzell style, western swing and rockabilly. Songs in the latter category include the great two-sider « Hey Honey« / »I Ain’t Gonna Waste My Time » (Hickory 1074) and « Too Many« , which was covered by Ocie Smith (whose version got a UK release on London, while the original went unissued in the UK). « Too Many » (written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant) was my first Barkdull experience, in the mid-80s [via the U.K. Magnum Force album « Hillbilly Rock  – 20 Rare Tracks From The Hickory Vaults »].

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It features a great guitar groove by Hank Garland and Ray Edenton, fine percussive sounds by Buddy Harman and Lightnin’ Chance (on bass) and a piano solo by Floyd Cramer. Most of Wiley’s Hickory material was written by J.D. Miller, with just one Barkdull co-writer’s credit. Rusty and Doug scored five country hits between 1955 and 1961, but for Barkdull’s solo recordings there was no chart success, in spite of their quality. His final Hickory release was a nice up-tempo treatment of Melvin Endsley‘s « Keep A-Lovin’ Me Baby« . After this last Hickory session Barkdull moved to Houston, and started to record for the All Star label in 1961, gaining seven releases by the time the label closed in 1964. The last anyone heard of him was that he was residing in Nederland, Texas, still playing the beer joints.

allstar a-7297 wiley-jessie barkdull I'll always love youallstar b-7297 wiley-jessie barkdull that's one broken hearthickory 1092 45 wiley barkdull keep a lovin' me baby


Recommended listening:

– Rusty and Doug Kershaw with Wiley Barkdull, Louisiana Men: The Complete Hickory Recordings. Ace CDCH2 992 (2 CD-set, 56 tracks). Released June 2004. Informative liner notes by Dave Sax.

– Rusty & Doug with Wiley Barkdull, The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions. Flyright FLY CD 35. Issued in 1991. 21 tracks.

Story by Dik De Heer, www.rockabillyeurope.com (Blackcat Rockabilly)

all star ?? Wiley Barkdull - When you go