What do hardcore collectors expect from a GOOD Rockabilly or vintage Rock’n'Roll record ? Wild vocals ? A driving beat ? Numerous and extended guitar/piano breaks ? Yes, and the whole lot will be even closer to the mark ! However, one can also dig laid back vocals, a more relaxed beat, unobtrusive choruses and sax or steel guitar soli.
Now, in the two TOMMY PEDIGO singles, the main feature is the presence of THREE guitar breaks in three songs out of four (‘Memphis Town Blues‘ – alas, untraced, containing only two breaks). Thus, those highly distinctive latter-day Country Rockers find their place in any Rockabilly collection. They’re also definitely distinctive because of Tommy’s very nasal and laid back vocals (certainly Bob Dylan’s influence can be felt there) and thanks to the lead guitarist’s clear, treble and slightly echoey sound (I bet he used a Fender Telecaster). The songs, four Pedigo originals very similar in sound and structure, might have been cut at one same session but they were issued on two different labels, OLO and ANA (three letters each!), both based at the same address (Box 7831 – Nashville, Tennessee) and distributed by Sound Of Nashville. Olo 103 sees Tommy backed up by The Ridge Runners whereas Ana 106 credits The Barren River Boys as backing band ; they’re obviously the same outfit. Unless Tommy plays one of the instruments, the band is comprised of an electric lead guitar, an acoustic rhythm guitar, an electric bass and a snare drum (beaten with brushes).
‘Redheaded Woman‘ (Olo 103) is probably the pick of the bunch among Rockabilly lovers but the flip, ‘Memphis Town Blues‘, grows on you with each new spin. ‘Trouble‘ (Ana 106) is my own favorite (by a hair, really) ; the other side, ‘Whiskey, Women & Wild Living‘, is the most ‘Countryfied’ of the four. There’s a date written in the dead wax of Olo 103 : ’4/27/66′, proving to the most rabid collectors that the Sixties did not ring the knell of Rockabilly. Hear « Trouble », too : fine fast Rockabilly, nothing to do with Presley’s classic.
Tommy Pedigo had his own start in 1959 on wax : Atwell 100, a fine rural rockabilly, « She’s Gone », from Lafayette, TN. and under the name of the Pedigo Bros. They have another 45 on Atwell 101.
A survey of Ana/Olo label (taken from I forgot where)
OLO Records (Record No. 100) “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” and “LOVE IS BLIND” (Tommy W. Pedigo) REBECCA MAY & TOMMY with The Cumberland Coasters. The Cumberland Coasters were Rebecca & Tommy Pedigo playing guitars, Leonard Perry Whiteaker on bass fiddle, Melvin (Hezzie) McCormick on banjo and Rayburn Simmons, fiddle.
ANA Records (Record No. 101-a) “LOVE IS BLIND” (Tommy W. Pedigo) CHARLES REED and Rebecca Pedigo with The Cane River Boys. The band members were Delmus Neal on electric guitar/singer, Rayburn Simmons playing fiddle, and Mac Simmons on the bass fiddle. (Record No. 101-b) “GOODBYE OLD SAINT LOUIS” (Tommy W. Pedigo) CHARLES REED & DELMUS NEAL with The Cane River Boys.
ANA Records (Record No. 102-a) “I LOVE YOU” (Tommy W. Pedigo) Rebecca Pedigo & Delmus Neal with The Cane River Boys. (Record No. 102-b) “YOU HAVE WON MY LOVE” Rebecca Pedigo & Charles Reed with The Cane River Boys.
OLO Records (Record No. 103-a) “Red Headed Woman » and No. 103-b) “Memphis Town Blues” (Tommy W. Pedigo) Tommy Pedigo with The Ridge Runners. Band members were Delmus Neal on electric guitar, Robert Reed on bass and Billy Hillis on drums.
ANA Records (Record No. 104-a) “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” and (Record No. 104-b) “GREYHOUND BLUES” (Tommy W. Pedigo) REBECCA ROGERS with The Country Classics. The band members were Billy Yearwood on steel guitar, Johnny Sutton on electric guitar, Clint Walden on drums and Hank Rowland playing bass.
ANA Records (Record No. 105-A) “LITTLE BITTY DEVIL » and (Record No. 105-B) “SINGING THE BLUES AGAIN” (Tony Williams) TONY WILLIAMS with The Nashville Nighthawks.
ANA Records (Record No. 106-A) “WHISKEY WOMEN AND WILD LIVING” (Tommy W. Pedigo) and (Record No. 106-B) “TROUBLE” TOMMY PEDIGO with The Barren River Boys. Band members were Delmus Neal on electric guitar, Robert Reed on bass and Billy Hillis on drums.
ARTISTS REVUE Records (Record 1A) “MEMPHIS TOWN BLUES” (T. Pedigo) and (Record 1B) “SLAP HAPPY JAIL” (J. Austin) DEXTER, artist.
ANA Records (Record 108-A) “NASHVILLE BLUES” (Tommy W. Pedigo) COUNTRY CLASSIC ESQUIRE. Band members were William (BILL) Hardin singer and on sax, Rebecca Rogers on keyboard and backup singer, Mike Johnson on electric guitar, Jimmy Payne on bass and Jerry Cole on drums. (Record No. 108-B) “I LOVE YOU” (Tommy W. Pedigo) COUNTRY CLASSIC ESQUIRE. Band members were Rebecca Rogers on keyboard and singer, Mike Johnson on electric guitar and singer, William (BILL) Hardin on sax, Tommy Pedigo on bass and Jerry Drums on drums.
J&P CO. “SLAP HAPPY JAIL” and DON’T BOTHER ME, JIM” (J. Austin – P. Capshaw) Sung by Former Jailer DIAMOND JIM AUSTIN
ANA Records, “LITTLE BITTY DEVIL” (Tony Williams) JAMES & PATSY AUSTIN. Band members were Rebecca Rogers on keyboard, William (BILL) Hardin on sax, Mike Johnson on electric guitar, Tommy Pedigo on bass and Jerry Cole on drums. “START ALL OVER” (James Austin) JAMES AUSTIN, artist. Band members were Rebecca Rogers on keyboard, Mike Johnson on electric guitar, Tommy Pedigo on bass and Jerry Cole on drums.
Reprint of Paul Vidal’s BigVJamboree site for most of the information. The idea of the article come from when I visited Paul during the ’80s, and he made me familiar with Tommy Pedigo.