On December 11, 1951, the well-established Honky tonk singer HANK THOMPSON (« Humpty dumpty boogie » on Capitol for example, and before that on Modern, Globe and Blue Bonnet) cut in Los Angeles an all-time classic, « The Wild Side Of Life » (Capitol 1942). It was an immediate success, which eventually found its way at n°2 of the most played records by Disc-jockeys Country records for 1952. Soon there were covers, and the song was enduring versions until the ’60s.

Billboard December 20, 1952

 

 

Billboard Jan. 26, 1952

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The Texan JIMMY HEAP & the Melody Masters (and his vocalist Perk Williams) did their version (issued February 1952) on Imperial # 8105. Full of energy as usual, although this time Williams adopts a plaintive way of singing.

Jimmie Heap

Perk Williams

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In 1952 a strange version was recorded in Lake Charles, La. by SKUK RICHARD in French (« Le cote farouche de la vic » [sic]) with the vocal duty taken by Marie Falcon and issued on the local Khoury’s 621 label.

« le cote farouche de la vic »

Le cote farouche de la vic

Vous serait pas lire mes lettres, se j’ai écrit les 

Tu me demandes de pas ta appelez de sur phone 

Il ya quelque chose de vous dit, oui, asteur chere, 

Je l’ai écrit dans les mots dans c’ette chanson. 

?J’savais pas bon dieu a fait des anges honky-tonk, 

J’aurais du connaître ce que m’a jamais fait une femme, 

T’as quitte, oui, le seul l’amour qui t’aimait, chere, 

Pour t’en aller sur la borde la vie farouche. 

?Les lumière du le place du soir t’a attiré(?)

A la place ayou vin et whisky flux,

Bien, êtes-vous d’être le bébé a n’importe qui…..

Oublier l’amour des yeux que t’as jamais connu. 

?Savais pas bon dieu a fait des anges honky-tonk, 

J’aurais du connu ce que m’a jamais faite une femme, 

T’as quitte, oui, le seul l’amour qui t’aimait, chere, 

Pour t »en aller sur la borde la vie farouche. (lyrics translated by Wade Falcon)

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Billboard Feb. 14, 1953

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In January 1953 JOHNNY HICKS also made a cover, under the title « No wild side of life » for Columbia (# 21064). A permanent host of the « Big D Jamboree » out of Dallas since 1948, he had already enjoyed success with the good boppers « Curb service », and later « Hamburger hop » or « Hey now honey », all recorded by Columbia between ’49 and ’55.

5 years later Dewey Rothering vocalized well with the RHYTHM PLAYBOYS for a Rockabilly styled version on the Summit label out of Central City, KY. There is even a welcome fiddle solo.

(Rhythm Playboys)

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Late 1959 JERRY LEE LEWIS recorded the song at Sun during a semi-R&B session with saxes, but he remains lyrically true to the first version. It was then natural for him to include the song in his 1965 album « Country sounds for city folks » (Smash), which marked a turning in his career towards Country music.
(Jerry Lee Lewis, Sun)

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(Jerry Lee Lewis, Smash)

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Finally the Rockabilly Main Man, as he liked to be named, CHARLIE FEATHERS, had a preference for the song : he recorded it several times. First in studio Select-O-Hits in 1969 : energetic version, urgent vocal, sympathetic backing (wild Marcus Van Story on double-bass) ; then on various shows during the ’70s, issued at G. Paulus label Barrelhouse.

(Charlie Feathers, 1969)

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(Charlie Feathers, 1973)

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