JERRY IRBY: 2nd part (1949-1975)

The latest M-G-M’s, then Humming Bird, 4* and Daffan Records (1949-1956)

When the recording ban was lifted, late in 1949, Irby was back in the studio recording once again for M-G-M. However, his days with M-G-M were numbered. He cut just two sessions for the company before leaving the label in search of pastures new. His search for a new recording contract took him first to BillMcCall’s 4 Star label, where he cut two singles, then to his old friend H. B. Crowe in Houston, who had just formed his own label – Hummingbird .

Irby was reunited wih an old friend, Ted Daffan, a few years later, when he joined the rost of artists who had been signed by Daffan. Irby recorded for his new formed Daffan label: according to the era’s trends, he recorded Rock’n’Roll (“Clickety Clack”) and a revamp of his oldie “Forty Nine Women” on Polly records.

Following his span on Daffan, Irby recorded for a slew of small concerns, most of which were based in the Houston area, like Hi-Lo, Polly, J+B and Jer-Ray.

Then there followed a period of inactivity, as far as the recording scene was concerned, before Irby resurfaced in the early ’70’s cutting material for Bagatelle. Unlike his earlier recordings, Irby’s Bagatelle material was of a non secular nature. Irby had become a born again christian and was using his talent as a singer/songwriter to praise the works of the Lord . Why after all, as someone once said, should the devil have all the good tunes.

When Jerry Irby died in 1983, he left behind him a wealth of recorded material, that makes out of him one of the great Western Swing performers.

Sources: for the mot part (1942-1951) the 78rpm (sound files and label scans) do come from the huge, amazing Ronald Keppner’s collection. Thanks, Ron, for the help and care taken with the fabulous 78rpm sound. YouTube was used for later 45rpm, as well as Hillbilly Researcher (Humming Bird, # 06) for Irby and Pete Burke sides. Gripsweat for “Hurricane” (Jer-Ray, 1959).BF for “The Daffan label”. 45cat for label scans. Anonymous biography (certainly from Allan Turner’s hand) from Boppin’ Hillbilly series, volume devoted on Jerry Irby.

From “Uptown Swing” to “Clickety Clack”: and “Hillbillly Boogie”: a story of JERRY IRBY, a Texas entertainer (1941-1975) — 1rst part

Gerard « Jerry » Irby ‘s career in Country music spanned almost forty years. The list of the artists he worked with during that time reads like a Who’s Who of Western swing. It ranges from the links of Thero Eugene « Ted » Daffan to less known Western swing performers such as Bill Mounce And The Stars Of The South. In 1937 Irby was « pickin’ and singin’ » with The Bar-X Cowboys, a first rate Houston based outfit which featured among its number Elmer and Ben Christian, and singer/guitarist Chuck Keeshan, the latter having worked with Leon « Pappy » Selph, and who is to be found, along joined Ted Daffan’s band The Texans.
During his tenure with The Bar-X-Coyboys, and the Tune Wranglers, Irby recorded with these outfits for Decca. He was also the featured vocalist on at least one of Bill Mounce’s Bluebird releases.

America’s entry into the WW II in 1941 heralded the end of an era. A number of Western swing outfits disbanded as members of those bands were drafted. The recording ban that followed in 1942 further compounded matters. However, all was not gloom and doom. With industry on a war footing, the economy boomed. The public at large, having shrudded off the last vestiges of the depression, wanted to be entertained. As the way drew to a close the recording industry, which hitherto had been monopolised by a handful of record companies, started a grind in action again when the recording ban was lifted. Small independant record companies sprang up across the country to challenge the monpoly that major labels like Decca and RCA-Victor had once enjoyed. It was these small independant companies who more or less set the trend in the post-war years.

One of the first recording companies to be set up in Texas was Bill Quinn’s Gulf label. Based at 3104 Telephone Road in Houston, Gulf made its debut on the scene in the fall of 1945. Quinn, who later ran the legendary Goldstar studio, and label of the same name, recorded fairly well-known local Western swing acts, including Al Clauser, Moon Mullican, and Jerry Irby. It was Irby’s waxing of fhis self penned ditty cover. « Nails In My Coffin », a classic song which is now a standard number in country music, was a regional hit, albeit a modest one, for Irby. « Nails In My Coffin » has been recorded, with varying degrees of success, over the years by countless Country singers.

The Los Angeles based Globe label, another newly formed, independant recording company, latched on to Jerry Irby’s success with « Nail In My Coffin » and promptly signed him to a recording deal. They wasted little time in having Irby re-record « Nails In My Coffin » for release on Globe. Irby ‘s band at that time, The Texas Ranchers, including his old compatriot Elmer Christian, steel guitarist « Deacon » Evans,and pianist Pete Burke.

The latter musician is worthy of special mention as his distinctive performance on the pianoforte is to be heard on scores of Irby’s recordings. Burke himself later made some solo recordings for the Hummingbird label. It is also likely that Irby and his band are featured on Elmer Christian’s Globe recordings.

Around this time, Irby made some more recordings for two small concerns: Cireco, in 1947. “You Can’t Take It With You”, an old favorite, and “49 Women”, a tune that he re-recorded later at least two times. Then for the microscopic record label Hillbilly Hit Parade.

Houston record distributor H.B. Crowe was the next person to take an interest in Irby. In 1947 Crowe recorded Irby, and Elmer Christian, at a session in Houston for Mercury. Guitarist/fiddler Woodrow « Woody »Carter joned the line-up of Irby’s band for this session. Carter was to remain with Irby’s band for a little over eighteen months or so before embarking on his own, short lived, solo career.

When Lewis R. Chudd lauched his Imperial label out on he West coast in 1947, one of the first Country/Western swing artists he recorded was Jerry irby. Dring his relatively bried sojourn with Imperial, Irby cut some twelve sides for the label. He was also the featured vocalist on Elmer Christian’s Imperial release, on which he was backed by The Bar-X Cowboys.

All notes and sources are rejected at the last part of the feature.

Jerry Irby

 

Jerry Irby (from Al Turner’s sleeve notes to « Jerry Irby » Collector CD2851)jerry-irby-propreglobe irby super


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Gerald « Jerry » Irby’s career in Country music spanned almost forty years. The list of artists he worked with during that time reads like a WHO’S WHO of Western Swing. It ranges from the likes of Ted Daffan to lesser known Western swing performers such as Bill Mounce And The Stars Of The South. In 1937 Irby was « pickin’ and singin’ » with the Bar X Cowboys, a first rate Houston based outfit which featured among its number Elmer and Ben Christian, and singer/guitarist Chuck Keeshan, the latter having worked with Leon « Pappy » Self, and who is to found, along joined Ted Daffan’s band, The Texans. Irby also spent sometime, in the late thirties ans early forties, with another Houston based ensemble, The Texas Wranglers. This outfit comprised of a number of noted Western swing musicians, including steel guitarist Bob Dunn, bassist Hezzie Bryant, vocalist/guitarist Dickie McBride, Leo Raley (mandolin), Gary Hester (fiddle) and Johnny Thames (banjo). These boys, at one time or another, had played alongside the likes of Floyd Tilman, Aubrey « Moon » Mullican and Cliff Bruner.

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