Valley Records, Knoxville, Tennessee (1953-54)

 

Valley Records was owned by Jack Comer and Dave Garrison and located somewhere in Knoxville, east of Tennessee.

 

The label lasted for a little more than twelve issues from 1953 to 1954, then several years later changed to Valley’s Meadowlark, taking the same numbering system since the start (not avoiding confusion).

 

Best records were done by Lonnie Smith, Reese Shipley and Shorty Long. Its biggest hit came in 1954 with Darrell Glenn and the weeper « Crying in the chapel », written by his father Artie. But even Glenn did some hillbilly too.

 

Lonnie Smith offers a lovely Hillbilly bop tune, « You’re my honky tonk angel » (# 103) : swirling fiddle and a good steel. Flip is nice too : « Gal’s below the Mason Dixon line » (sic). « In the valley by the mountains » (# 100) by Archie Campbell is a fast ditty with yodel vocalizing while its flipside « Blue memories » is an average medium paced one.

Valley 103B lonnie smith you're my honky tonk angel

Valley 103A lonnie smith gal's below the mason dixon line

« You’re my honky tonk angel »

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« Gal’s below the Mason Dixon line »

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« In the valley by the mountains »

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Valley 100B archie campbell in the valley by the mountains

 

 

Another double-sider uptempo comes with SMOKEY WHITE : « You cheated your way into my heart » and « Just be sure » are good although average boppers (# 102). 

Valley 102A smokey white - you cheated your way into my heart

Valley 102B smokey white - just be sure

« You cheated your way into my heart »

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« Just be sure »

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Born February 7, 1928. JOE STUART was the most versatile bluegrass musician ever. He was the son of Joe,Sr. and Rena Best Stuart. His musical career started out in Knoxville, TN on shows such as Cas Walker’s radio program. From there he went on to work as Bass Fiddler for Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and their Foggy Mountain Boys. Along the way, he worked with about all the GOOD bands and finally landed a job with Bill Monroe as a Blue Grass Boy on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville,Tennessee.Joe played all the bluegrass instruments and due to a broken collar bone, Joe’s first job was as a fill-in Mandolin player. Later he played and recorded on all the other instruments with Bill Monroe. Joe was not only a « picker »; he was a terriffic « picker-upper. » He always had a smile and kept everybody in good spirits on the road, regardless of the situatioAlthough he never made great fame or fortune, he was nearby in the shadows of many of those gleaning the glory. Joe once tried professional stock car racing but quit after he had fairly won at Talladega, only to be disqualified by crooked officials.

Joe fought cancer, appearing to win that battle for a while, but succomed to head tumors in September of 1987. Ironically, he passed away on Bill Monroe’s birthday. He left behind a wonderful wife, Kathy, and two lovely daughters, Jenny Lynn and Brendaline. Joe had often told us, « I want Bill Monroe to sing John Henry at my funeral; and sing all the verses. » As Joe had requested, Monroe sang 25 verses at the funeral at the Forest Lawn chapel just North of Madison, Tennessee on Dickerson. His remains are buried there. Joe’s own number, « It’s A Lonesome Road To Travel On » tell his story best. The photo of Joe was made at Bean Blossom, Indiana around 1974 by Jim Moss. Joe died September 13, 1987..(additions by Boppin’s editor on Feb. 26th, 2017)

valley 101 joe stuart - shoot again mr. cipidvalley 101 joe stuart - we named all the stars

« Shoot again Mr. Cupid »

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« Don’t let me down » (# 107) has Darrell Glenn a bit crooning in a rather good medium-paced Hillbilly bopper. « Hang up that telephone » (# 105) is quite good too.
Valley 107A darrell glenn Don't let me downvalley 107 hang up that telephone

« Don’t let me down »

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« Hang up that telephone »

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His other sides are in the « Crying in the chapel » vein. He had later on Dot 15476 his own Rock’n’roll version of « My little red wagon ». I much prefer REESE SHIPLEY‘s sides, « Catfish boogie » and « Middle-age spread » (# 106), both very fine Boppers, the former having nothing in common with Tennessee Ernie‘s song. Both songs have a fine and clear lead boogie guitar over a nice piano, « Catfish boogie» being to me the better of both not to forget a stunning (although too short) steel solo.

« Catfish boogie »

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« Middle-age spread »

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Roy Sneed « I’ll be so blue tomorrow »

downloadvalley 111 I'll be so blue

ROY SNEED is also a crooner in « I’ll be so blue tomorrow » (# 111), but has a nice guitar. He was also on a Four Star custom , Scenic OP-238, with « Blue hillbilly ».. Finally the fast « I’ll never tell » by Mary Jane Johnson retain the feeling of Darrell Glenn with a fine guitar.

bb 17 avril 54 mary jane

Billboard 4-17-54

« I’ll never tell »

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valley 108 who saidWe’ll forget « Angels in the sky », (#113), one of the very first efforts by Buddy Cunningham (later on Phillips Int’l). And I kept one of the best for now, Shorty Long (#108) and his amusing « I got nine little kisses » (guitar, piano soli), coupled with « Who said I said that ». It’s the same style as Bill Haley on Essex : no surprise, they were neighbors in Philadelphia. Shorty Long’s story is in this site.
« I got nine little kisses« 

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Valley of Knoxville had nothing to do with the other Valley labels, e.g. Fletcher Hanna in Raymondsville, Texas (« Hepcat boogie », # 101).

 

 

Research done with help from Ronald Keppner. Internet was a good source too.

 

 

 

Roy King, yodeler in Detroit and Chicago (1949-51)

photoRoy King is a completely unknown artist from the very early ’50s, who acted in Illinois (Peoria, WWXL), and whom about anything is unknown today about. London16031 roy king freight train blues 

London 16031B roy king everybody knewLondon 16049B roy king new tennessee babyLondon16049 roy king mule skinner blues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

« Yodelin’ way up there » download

 

« Rambling » download

He had a string of releases, probably cut in Detroit, MI, or Chicago, on the London and Mercury labels between 1949 and 1951, and disappeared after this year. He was billed as a yodeler, and eventually yodeled a lot throughout his records, « Yodelin’ way up there » or « Yodelin’ polka ». He was backed by a regional outfit, Hal Fuller’s Tennessee Ho-Downers, usual guitar, bass, fiddle, and steel. Billboard cited him as a promising artist between April and October 1951, although there were no hits. He used to sing old favorites, as Jimmie Rodgers ‘s « Mule skinner blues », Roy Acuff’s « Freight train blues », a fine hillbilly shuffler, « Rambling » or old-timey songs like « St. James infirmary ». His voice is always smooth, a lead guitar is well to the fore, but the whole thing is certainly not hillbilly boogie, although nice yodeling songs. Indeed his style is similar to that of Kenny Roberts.

mercury 6338B yodelin'Mercury6401 roy king st. james infirmary

Any help to document this artist would be welcome!

As usual, Ronald Keppner’s help was indispensable. Thanks Ronald. Also Peter Mohr of Switzerland for the disco and support.
« Freight train blues« download

« Mule skinner blues« download

 

 

 

 

 

Roy King-Billboard-Aug-51