early July 2010 fortnight

Hello folks, here I am again, back in wonderful Vallée du Rhône (where I lived for more than 40 years): Roman monuments, wines, goat cheeses, near Lyon, the second city of France (rivalling Marseille). Here in Vienne we have one of the foremost Jazz Festivals all around Europe (1rst fortnight of July), held in a marvelous Roman theater (fantastic acoustic!). Among all artists will be this year Joe Cocker – he’s not a Hillbilly yet, you know, but one of the truly Soulful artists ever. The show is booked…

All my records are still in boxes, and the library has yet to be set up, later this Summer. So this early July fortnite will be made up of tunes stored on my Macintosch for accidental use like this one. No label pictures, no spare time left to research in my files, only the music. After all, it’s only music we all love that got importance, isn’t?

Here we go.First from Indiana (Ruby label) comes WALTER SCOTT and the fine Hillbilly bop « I’m Walkin’ Out » (1956) complete with swirling fiddles and steel-guitar. Then to Texas, I think (I may be wrong!), with the great HYLO BROWN, whose career was firmly dept in Bluegrass but flirted with Hillbilly at times. I’ve chosen his 1951 rendition of « Lonesome Road Blues » (Four Star). Down in Louisiana, here comes the Pope of Cajun accordion, NATHAN ABSHIRE and one of his first records (although he had already recorded in 1939) under his name, the fine instrumental « Lu Lu Boogie » (Khoury’s label, 1947). On to Nashville, and JIMMY MARTIN, one of the founding members of the Bluegrass style (he’s been once guitar player for Bill Monroe). The song herein is Bluegrass, indeed, but Jimmy has hiccups in his voice…that predate (in my mind anyway) Rockabilly! « Hop, Skip and Wobble » (Decca) Complete with fiddle, banjo, string-bass. Back to the real roots of Hillbilly of the Thirties: (Tom) DARBY & (Jimmy) TARLTON – the haunting « Sweet Sarah Blues » (may be from 1928? 1931? I cannot verify at the moment). Great, strange vocal, and wild dobro.

We finished with two very different tunes, separated by at least 50 years. BIG MACEO (Merryweather) was a fine piano player and intimate vocalist of Chicago in the early 40s. Hear his « I Got The Blues » (backed by Tampa Red on the fluid electric guitar). Then MAURA O’CONNELL (late 1990’s) and the beautiful (both melody and lyrics) « It’s A Beautiful Day ». Enjoy, folks!

RUBY Records (Hamilton, Ohio)

 

The story of RUBY RECORDS (Larry Short)winnie-boogieimg

I started in operating « Ruby Records » in February 1955. Before that I played the electric steel guitar for several years. Later on I met Esta Dodds, and worked as her A&R man, on « Esta records ». She was several years my senior and I felt she was satisfied moving at a slow pace. This irritated me and I became to be dissatisfied, so decided to start my own recording service, « talking letters » (Short recorded weddings, speeches and cut demos – in the same manner as did Sam Phillips in Memphis during the late 40’s).

Receiving satisfaction from this facet of recording, it prompted me into seeking my own label. I wanted to register it as « Rainbow Records », but there was a « Rainbow » label in Memphis, Tenn. Rather than be a part of an infrigement act, my wife gave written permission, without involvement to her, to use her name. The name « Ruby » was placed in a two dimensional diamond figure, with simulated glitter…with stars emitting from the glitter – which formed the logo. Then I was successful in getting it registered at the principal register in Washington. Wherein « Ruby Records » was given birth. (suite…)