Lucky records of Cincinnati, Ohio (1957-1960)

The Lucky label was formed by the late Elmer « El » Rader, probably in early 1957, together with Countryfied music, the publishing house on nearly all issues. The label was located at 2252, Wheeler Street, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The first issue was by Bill ‘Zekie ‘ Browning : « Breaking hearts »/ « I’ll pay you back »(00001). Well to start with it now known that ‘Zekie’ and Bill were different people ! Musically 0001 has Don Boone on back-up vocal (and rhythm guitar), a country ballad, but the flip is good Rockabilly with superb vocal and two guitar breaks.lucky1a

Issue 0002 also features Rockabilly with Nelson Young’s classic « Rock Od Sputnick »/ « I’m Falling In Love ».lucky2a Young, who was originally from Richmond, Virginia, played fiddle with Dave Woolum’s Kentucky Boys, a Bluegrass band that operated over a thirty-year period locally. They had recorded for Excellent, Sage and Starday. « Rock Old Sputnick » was inspired by Russians’ space shot of 1957 and is a much sought after disc. Young also recorded for Ruby 310 (« Hillbilly Rock and Roll ») and also as the Big Whopper : « Charlie Brown’s Mule »/ « Is It A Wonderful dream » on Madison 300 (Richmond, Va., 1959). He went to Florida in 1963 and for a number of years had a band, The Sandy Valley Boys, playing Bluegrass at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

bobby-grove

Bobby Grove

Returning to Lucky 0003 was by Bobby Grove : « Jealous dreams »/ « Be Still My Heart ». Grove was born in Worley, Kentucky, in 1932, and while in school/college was an outstanding baseball player. He served over a year in the Korean war. He had his first three records issued on King (based in Cincinnati) in May ’56 and Jan. and March ’57. All six sides are top quality hillbillies. Bobby brought his clear and very expressive vocal style with him to Lucky and it is one of the finest heard, and the backing is nothing short of stunning. The date of release is probably late ’57 or early ’58 (It was reviewed in Billboard in Oct. 1958 and the smaller labels often had their discs reviewed many months after actual release). Bobby Grove moved into the Gospel field in the early sixties.  lucky 0003 bobby grove dreams


joe-lewis

Joe Cannonball Lewis

Joe ‘Cannonball’ Lewis had numerous releases on MGM from 1951 through to the Mid-Fifties and an excellent Bopper (« You’ve Been Honky Tonkin’ ») on Kentucky 574. The release on Lucky 0004 is in fact credited to Jay Cee Lewis. The titles are « Today Is Tomorrow »/ « Waltz Of The Dreams ». I have not heard this disc but I am informed that both sides are nice Hillbilly numbers.

Rockabilly appeared on the next disc with ‘Zekie’ Browning’s « Bad Case Of The blues » (0005). Boy does this one romp along well an dit sure sounds as tho’ they are really enjoying themselves. The break is split between fiddle and steel. The flip « What Else Could I Do » is quality Hillbilly.

Bill Watkins’s « Missed The Workhouse »/ « Time Will Make You Pay » (0006)lucky6a is a very rare and sought after disc, topside being very good Rockabilly, and a fine Hillbilly flip (song was covered by Roy Acuff on Hickory 1142). Bill had two other good Rockabilly tracks (« Big Guitar » and « Red Cadillac ») cut at the same session and not available until they appeared on « Cincinnati Rock and Roll » LP (Lee JRC 869). Bill owned his own Tip-Toe label on which he put out « I Got troubles » in ’65 and « Hung Up On Jesus » in ’74. Bill is a minister now.

Orangie ‘Ray’ Hubbard is one of those 50’s recording artists who was reportedly still active in the early Eighties (supposedly producing LP’s by Bill Parsons and Bill Watkins) but he has, so far, been elusive to our researchers. Orangie’s superb twin sided effort for the label was « Is She Sore »/ « Look What I Found » (0007), probably released in early ’59. « Sore » has some sharp Rockabilly work behind a good vocal with pumping piano. Admittedly there is a femme group on answer and call response but it suits the song. « Look » drops the girls and is a fabulous Rockabilly classic : shattering guitar and again pianoin the background. Also back in the 50’s he had « Sweet Love », another dynamite slab of Rockabilly on Dixie.lucky11a

Lucky 0008 : unknown disc.

The name Billy Martin can be considered a fairly common one, and a number of recordings are listed under that name. The Billy Martin who had « Angel »/ « If It’s Lovin’ That You Want » (0009) is the same one who cut « I’m Home Again » (Fortune 198) « Angel »/ « Tears I couldn’t Hide » (Bart 27) ; both labels were based in Detroit, Michigan. Around 1960, he recut « Angel » for Lucky. There was also issues on Happy Hearts, D, Cannon and Misty in the 70’s.

Next disc is Lucky 0010 by Mac White, « A Gambler’s Life »/ « One Heart ». Billed as The Singing Switchman, he was obviously inspired by Jimmie Rodgers (minus yodel). The backing is of extremely high standard, especially the steel. White also appeared on Ark 276 during the 60’s.

Zekie’ Browning arrives back with his great double-sided instrumental release « Spinning Wheel Rock »/ « Creepin’ And Crawlin’ » (0011), one of the best instrumental records ever made. « Spinning » has got some super guitar pickin’ from Zekie, ably assisted by a tremendous piano man, Dot Rice – he informs us he went on tour with Conway Twitty’s band. The bass and drums lay down a rock solid support. « Creepin’ » in fact does exactly the opposite and moves on at a good pace.

Rudy Thacker was born in Hindman, Kentucky, in 1931. His disc on Lucky 0012 « Black Train »/ « The Dream » has Larry Dale on vocal an is yet a good Rockabilly type disc.

lucky12a

Rudy Thacker And The Stringbusters – Black Train
Lucky Records 0012

According to Rockin’ Country Style, Rudy Thacker was born in 1931 in Hindman, Kentucky and was a staff musician on the World’s Original Jamboree (WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia). He was a highly acclaimed guitarist and soon moved from the Jamboree to form his own band, the Stringbusters which included Sam Duckett.

Black Train was his first release on the Lucky Records imprint and was released in May 1960 with Larry Dale on vocal duties and a hot band that featured some haunting, train whistle steel and some lovely picking from Thacker. The Buckeyed Beat website says that around this time Thacker and the Stringbusters hosted a weekly show at the Dennison Theatre, a Saturday night show that included touring acts along with the Stringbusters.

Over the next couple of years he had a couple of releases on Blue Hen (Mountain Guitar) and Whirl (Stringbuster), before giving up music and moving to Texas, where he passed away in 2005.

The last known release finds Pal Brady « Love (Is Just That Way ») / « When You’re Gone » (0013). A very superior Country Bopper that is quite close to being Rockabilly ; he cut the same two sides on Clix out of Troy, Michigan, and appeared on numerous labels in 60’s like Conteste, Bragg, Carl and Clark, sometimes using his full name of Palford Brady.

(article based on Philip Tricker’s « Spotlight on Lucky », Roll Street Journal, May 1983)

 

 

 

Lucky Records

2252 Wheeler St?Cincinnati, OH??Owner: Elmer « El » Radar??Notes:

NO.

ARTIST

PRESS

MATRIX#

SONG TITLES

MUSIC

VALUE

YEAR

NOTES

0001

Bill Zekie Browning

with Don Boone

RITE

1581

1582

Breaking Hearts

I’ll Pay You Back

C&W

RAB

200-300

1958

BB rev. 8/11/1958

0002

Nelson Young

RITE

1585

1586

Rock Old Sputnick

I’m Falling In Love

RAB

C&W

200-300

1958

BB rev. 8/11/1958

0003

Bobby Grove

RITE

1621

1622

Jealous Dreams

Be Still, My Heart

C&W

C&W

20-40

1958

BB rev. 11/17/1958

0004

Jay Cee Lewis

RITE

2048

2049

Today Is Tomorrow

Waltz Of The Ozarks

C&W

C&W

20-40

1959

0005

Zekie Browning

RITE

1957

1958

Bad Case Of The Blues

What Else Could You Do

BOP

C&W

50-75

1959

0006

Bill Watkins

RITE

130*

2135

2136

Missed The Workhouse

Time Will Make You Pay

RAB

C&W

500-600

1959

BB rev. 9/14/1959

0007

Orangie Hubbard

RITE

130

2137

2138

Is She Sore

Look What I Found

RAB

RAB

600-800

1959

BB rev. 9/14/1959

0008

Dwight Hill

RITE

130

2283

2284

Blue Waltz

Crying

C&W

C&W

50-75

1959

0009

Billy Martin

RITE

130

3003

3004

Angel

If It’s Lovin’ That You Want

C&W

RAB

60-80

1960

0010

Mac White

RITE

130

3431

3432

A Gamblers Life

One Heart (Has Been Broken In Two)

C&W

C&W

20-40

1960

0011

« Zekie » Browning

and The Dynamics

RITE

130

3001

3002

Creepin’ And Crawlin’

Spinning Wheel Rock

IN-RAB

IN-R&R

80-120

1960

BB rev. 3/7/1960

0012

Rudy Thacker

and The Stringbusters

RITE

130

3291

3292

The Dream

Black Train

C&W

RAB

200-300

1960

BB rev. 5/2/1960

0013

Pal Brady

NA

KB-585

KB-586

When You’re Gone

Love (Is Just That Way)

C&W

RKR

100-150

1960