Excel & Rodeo: “The friendly record”. Hillbilly bop and Rockabilly in Los Angeles (1954-1960)


Founded at 1354, Wright Street, LA, California, in 1954. It is believed by Hillbilly Researcher Al Turner that the label was possibly owned by George Wilson, who wrote or co-wrote most of the material used by both Excel and Rodeo. He would have made a small fortune in royalties from writing « Hot Rod Race » for Arkie Shibley in 1951 (see elsewhere in the site for his story), certainly enough to put into a small record company. (more…)

early October 2012 fortnight’s favorites

******* REMEMBER: you can now ask for any artist or label covered in the site by pushing on the upper left buttons. Enjoy hunting! ******************

Howdy, folks. En route for a new batch of bopping billies. This time they are all fast. The first on Hep Records is LES TUCKER with the fine “Wrong Kinda Lovin” (sic)(# 2144) from Saint Paul, Minnesota. It has two nice solos of fiddle then steel, and a call and response format.

Was CLIFF DAVIS (& Kentucky Playboys) a Southerner having migrated to North? The Banana label (# 501) is from Chicago. Anyway Davis offers a strong “Hard Hearted Girl” over a solid backing. He also had a fine rendition of “Rocky Road Blues” on another label, for a future fortnight.

al barkle

Al Barkle

AL BARKLE must be a solid name on the West coast. He had a record on M&M (this original of “Jumpin’ From 6 to 6“), Vita and Frantic among others. A native of Wisconsin, where he had “Honky Tonky Mama” on the Polkaland label as early as in 1951, he cut this Odie Ervin song in 1956 on M&M 4041. The song is aknowledged now as a rockabilly classic since Big Sandy re-recorded it for his LP debut in 1994. Firm vocal, a fabulous guitar solo over a thudding bass, it has everything you could hope. Barkle had later a “Sputnick I” song.

hep tucker wrong

banana davis girl

polkaland barkle mama

m&m barkle jumpin'DON RAY must be familiar. Here he does “Step Aside” a good medium shuffler on the New Orleans Meladee label (# 118). He probably is the same artist who appeared on Rodeo (“Imogene“) on the West coast in 1959.

Completely unknown, with a un-familiar name, ULYSSES L. BAXTER nevertheless offers on the Rue label (# 725) the superior double sider “Beautiful Woman/Congratulate Your Son“. The A side is a cross between bop and rockabilly, while the flipside with its insistent guitar is a very nice white rock.

Finally you can hear CHARLIE CONRAD and Black Mountain Boys on Spec 125. A great double-sider too: “Dizzy Love/Night Club Blues“, two rockabillies from I don’t know where..



meladee ray step



rue baxter womanspec conroad night











Addition from a regular visitor, DrunkenHobo: Al Barkle M&M (CA) 45 – 4041 (1957 is a recut of M&M (CA) 45 – 3036 (1956) THe 1st version is good Rockabilly as well and has not a piano break. Thanks, Dean!

early September 2012 fortnight’s favorites

A NEW HEADER HAS BEEN PUT AT THE UPPER RIGHT: every artist or label cited in bopping.org since the beginning is this way all of a sudden within easy rich.

Hi! to everyone, for this new entry in the “fortnight’s favorites” serie in the bopping.org site. If you came in by accident, or while searching on the web for particular things, you are welcome! This is the site of happy, well-living hillbilly bop music – anyway the form is: hillbilly, rockabilly, country boogie or later country-rock. This article is published bi-weekly and contains 6 selections of what I noticed and liked recently.

All 6 selections have something in common: I nearly know nothing on the artists involved neither few on the labels they recorded on. So all things do come from records themselves!

First on the Detroit, MI.  based Fortune label. It is very well known now that many an artist from the Southern states, once established in the Motor City, did record for small labels over there, the most important being Jack & Deborah Brown‘s Fortune label. This said, I know NOTHING on the Tennessee Harmony Boys, except what is written on their Fortune # 209 issue label. It’s a cross between Bluegrass and Hillbilly, with a foot firmly set on the religious side. Instrumentally one can only be stunned at two thrilling mandolin solos of “I’m A Millionaire“. Remember this came as late as 1956-57.

fortune tennessee-harmony-boys millionnaire

dixie nash wise

meladee ray step

Second selection, on the Dixie label. No one can seem to find the end of this one, although their mainstay was from ca. 800 to 1100 – maybe different labels. I kept this time Malcolm Nash and the great  “I Guess I’m Wise” (# 833) . Acc. by the Putnam County Play Boys: Putnam Cty is located in the NY state, on the lower Hudson River region. Is this helping? Musically, this is a duet vocal, in the cross manner of Memphis, TN, Sun label Howard Seratt (for rhythm guitar and harmonica) and Doug Poindexter (for the shuffle beat). Very strange and excellent item, maybe from 1956.

On to New Orleans, and the Meladee label. You know Luke McDaniels had, as Jeff Daniels, one of his best-ever rockers (“Daddy-O-Rock“) on this label. Surprising Don Ray. Here it’s a fine shuffling Hillbilly bop/Rockabilly, “Step Aside“, with good steel. Ray apparently was to have 2 records on the Los Angeles Rodeo label in 1956 (“Imogene/Those Rock’n’Roll Blues“). Later on the Rodeo/Excel labels soon!

clif wayne listen

cevetone speaks boyboyd miller door



Returning North, in Shreveport, La. on the tiny Clif label with Roy Wayne (“Honey, Won’t You Listen“, # 101). Good lead guitar, on an insistant drum backing. Clif also had issued T.V. SlimFlat Foot Sam“, which was picked up by Checker in Chicago, before being re-cut by Louisiana Tommy Blake on the Memphis Sun label. If I manage well, Sun Records may be the secret link between all numbers!

From New Jersey state comes Verlin Speeks on the Cevetone label (# 1866, “Mountain Boy“). Fast hillbilly bopper, nasal vocal, on backing of mandolin, banjo and fiddle (brilliant solo). I could hear that type of music all the time!

Finally, early ’60s, in Oklahoma on the Boyd label (# 3297); Sonny Miller belts out “Through That Door” on heavy bass and fiddle Bakersfield influenced country rocker.

Hope you will enjoy all the selections.

Remember to take a look through the “contact me – I’m selling CDs header: there are a lot of CDs and vinyl albums for sale, at bargain prices.

Till ‘then, bye-bye!