Early August 2021 bopping fortnight’s favorites

It's hot outside, as the music included in this post. As usual, very various things for your own enjoyment.

As on early August I’ll be far from home (holidays), I post this fortnight with two days before the actual date.

On the Kentucky Acme label first, JESSE COATES does provide us with a fast fiddle-led ditty, his personal version of the old-timey « Columbus Stockade Blues » (# 1235A). He goes on, this time for both sides of his solitary Headine issue (# 101) in 1955 : the fast bopper « Nobody Can Take My Baby » and flip « You Gotta Be Good » : nice fiddle and steel. Barre, Vt.

Next artist is not an unknown one. JACK CARDWELL (1927, Georgiana, Alabama – then Mobile) made many fine sides during the early ’50s for King. Here he is with one of my faves « You’re Looking For Something » # 1269 (rec. Dec. 2Nd, 1952, probably cut at WCAB radio in Shreveport or at a Mobile station). A nice steel throughout . 5 years later he was back on Starday # 310 for the medium uptempo bopper « Once Every Day », very nice to be heard. During his stay in Mobile he became good friends with Luke McDaniel and even had a television show.

en from Kentucky on the very small Dixiana concern, launched around 1953 and which seems to have disappeared within several months. Nevertheless the owners released some first class Hillbilly music by the likes of Cliff Gross, Odis Blanton or this JIMMY SMIH and his « It Ain’t No Fun To Say I Told You So » (Dixiana 107) : good steel, rinky dink piano and fiddle. A brutal ending, sorry..

Down in Florida with JIMMY KELLER and « Brush Pile Burn » on Trail 1777 (also seen as #288) from 1964. It changes hands for $ 400-500 and it’s a real piece of hard Rock’n’Roll ! Great vocal and urgent guitar.

The never warysome CLIFF CARLISLE, who’d yodel, to quote Nick Tosches (« Unsung Heroes of Rock’n’Roll ») « the longest and the best» was also an acomplished lap-steel guitar player and produced very strange sounds, i.e. In « Shanghai Rooster Yodel # 2 » on Conqueror 8140 (don’t miss the sublime steel solo, alas too short near the end). Carlisle was also ahead of his time with the use of a wild slapping bass player in the classic « Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad » (Oriole 2860).

A complete change now in Philly on the Arcade label (1957) and the TRAVELAIRES, « Chopped Liver (part 1). Not really spectacular : a tight combo (with sax) doing a strong dance rocker. For more Arcade, see the excellent «AnorakRokabilly – Small independant 45rpm labels », the blog of Dean C. Morris (Drunken Hobo)

From Illinois, the sax player/singer JIM GATLIN provided the Western tinged « The Way You’re Treating Me » on Mar-Vel 505. A fine, lazy swinging record.

To sum it up, a recent (actually issued in 1985) fast Honky Tonker by DON HALL and his troupe for « You Rescued Me » (NSD) : a tour-de-force for a great rocking combo.

With thanks to Kent Heineman from Sweden, who sent the «NSD » label scan.

Early January 2020 – regular bopping sides and seasonal greetings..

Rex Zario & Country All Stars

Howdy folks ! I sincerely wish you all a happy New Year full of good mood and bopping exciting music.

The first artist ends up the alphabet : REX ZARIO & the Country All Stars did release in 1968 for the Philly Arcade label (# 202) a very fine double-sider. « Blues Stay Away From Me » is sung in unison vocal, on a strong rhythm guitar and a discreet lead guitar (which has itus own solo). The flipside « I Saw You Cheatin’ Last Night », an uptempo is a good bopper, despite an electric bass. The lead plays its solo on the bass chords for good effect, and the vocal is relax. A good disc to begin the year.

Leon Payne

Then the veteran well-known blind singer/songwriter (also as « Pat Patterson » on early Starday releases) LEON PAYNE for an all-time classic (even Hank W. had his version) from October 1948 on the Nashville’s Bullet label (# 670). « Lost Highway » is a very fine bopper, done as a shuffler : great steel and a fiddle solo. Singer is convincing to say the least.

Ramblin’ Red Bailey

Next records by RAMBLIN’ RED BAILEY on a Starday Custom from April 1957, Peach 653. Side A offers a mid-paced, very melodic « The Hardest Fall » ; good piano and vocal, a too-short guitar solo. Side B in complete contrast, is really very fast. The guitar player does a real showcase of his dexterity on « You’ve Always Got A Frown », in my mind an inferior track to side A. Bailey had also an EP on Peach, then turned out on Heap Big and Bethlehem labels between 1957 and 62 (untraced).

Lee Bell

Cut in 1953, the already unknown LEE BELL releases « Beatin’ Out The Boogie (On The Mississipi Mud) » (RCA 20-5148). A fabulous gas ! What a romping piano ! A great boogie guitar (plus a fantastic solo) ; steel and fiddle have also their solos ! Bell also did « I Get The Biggest Thrill » (RCA 20-5024), also interesting, but less than the first side reviewed. He was also to have two issues on Imperial, 8000 serie (untraced).

Lonnie Smithson

« Quarter In The Juke Box » was sung on the Louisiana Hayride in 1958 by LONNIE SMITHSON. The original, a bit like Johnny Cash, was released earlier on Starday 359. The guitar player sounds consciensly like Luther Perkins !

Finally we get to Louisiana, with two latter tracks. In 1967 the BALFA BROTHERS (Dewey, lead vocal and fiddle) released on the « Earl Gibson Transport, Inc. » a good « Indian On A Stomp ». Good Cajun music (let’s get attention to the rhythm given by the ‘ti’fer’ (= small iron triangle).

Robert Bertrand

And now the rollicking « Mowater Blues » (sung of course in French) by the multi-instrumentist ROBERT BERTRAND from 1971-72 on the Goldband label # 1221 (Lake Charles, La.) : “Cajun style” steel guitar, fiddle, el. bass, accordion and solid, impeccable/implacable drums + great vocal and fiddle by Bertrand .

That’s it, folks.

Sources : Gripsweat for Lee Bell second issue ; YouTube for Lonnie Smithson, Leon Payne and Rex Zario ; Starday project for Ramblin’ Red Bailey ; 45cat and 78-worlds ; my own archives

Bopping in Philly: the Gordon Jennings sound (1954-1959)

Very little is known about GORDON JENNINGS. He seems to have spent some time in Philly as well as West VA. , Tennessee and Missouri. He was for sure D.J. for certain stations in Saint-Louis, MO (KMOX and WEW), and Bluefield, W.Va. (WHIS and WKOY). He made between 1954 and 59 four records in a Hillbilly style and all four are very good boppers.

West Va. bordering Ky, Tn. and Pa.

Bluefield, Mercer Cty, bottom of the State of W. Va.

 

Jennings Gordon

 

 

What follows is what « Johnn Maddy », seemingly from Arkansas, wrote about Jenning’s « I saw you cheatin’ last night » (Skyrocket) in his YouTube chain :(additions in [] by bopping’s editor)

« A tune Gordon co-wrote with two other artists, and released on a Skyrocket single in 1959. He was born on Oct. 21st 1916 and came to a very serious Bluegrass group called The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers back around 1938-39. Together they really became popular on W.H.I.S Radio in Bluefield West Virginia [but they never recorded on discs at this time]. Jennings had several Radio shows out of St Louis as well, when is unknown, but we did find another single Gordon done in 1958 for another label in Philly called ”Arcade”, but that is the extent of what we learned of Gordon Jennings and his singing career, friends, but still looking for more. Enjoy it Folks, I’ve heard this one done by several artists [Rex Zario on Arcade 202 – other versions by Skeets Yaney and Marty Collins have different credits], but now hearing Gordon the lead composer do it, a good one it is.!!! »

Jennings Gordon  "Quit Teasin' Me"His first record was done in Kingsport, Tennessee for the famous, although quite Jennings Gordon  "The Telephone Girl"scarce now, tiny Kingsport label, primarily devoted to Bluegrass (Jimmy Gregg), with some advances towards Hillbilly bop (Reece Shipley, L. C. Smith). It’s the last record of the label, cut around 1954 (#112), and it combines a great bopper    « Quit teasin’ me » (uptempo – a bluesy guitar led and a boogie piano – and a nice vocal) and « The telephone girl » (unheard, Allan Turner collection). How Jennings came to this Tennessee label is unknown: one can speculate a leasing of masters by Kingsport label due to radio relations. Anyone has got an idea ?

Quit teasin’ me

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Billboard 15 May 1954

Billboard December 17, 1955

Jennings Gordon "Three day pass"Jennings Gordon  "Drivin' home"His second offering was cut in Pittsburg for the tiny Alba label (# 400), and coupled two good sides again, backed by a « String quartet » : the mid-paced « Drivin’ home » and the faster «Three day pass ».

Three day pass

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Drivin’ home

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Well-assured vocal fronting a solid backing. The Alan Schafer named in the credits could have been the label’s owner as well as co-writer of the songs. The short Billboard snippet is learning that the disc was going strong in the Pittsburg area.

We jump to 1958 for a third Jennings issue on the famous Philly label Arcade. « Is it yes or is it no » (# 146) is a fine bopper, and has, for the first time in a Gordon Jennings record, a steel guitar, while the lead plays on the bass chords for good effect. The flip side « I wonder if you miss me too » is unheard (Allan Turner collection = unavailable).

Billboard June 9, 1958

Is it yes or is it noJennings Gordon "Is It Yes Or Is It No"Jennings Gordon "I wonder if you miss me too"

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Next and final record is to be found again in Philadelphia on the new up-and-coming Skyrocket label, in 1959 [other good records are Rex Zario’s « Go man go, get gone »(# 1001) and Ray Coleman’s « Toodle-oo mambo » (# 1002)]. First side of the Jennings’ disc bears a very good version of Hank Williams’ « My sweet love ain’t around » Jennings Gordon "My Sweet Love Ain't Around"(Skyrocket 1003), and the flipside is an original, written by Jennings, aided by Tex Zario (himself being an artist and owner of the label) and the unknown to me Lucky Taylor. The song « I saw you cheatin’ last night » is a nice country-rocker (insistant drums) backed Jennings Gordon  "I Saw You Cheatin' Last Night"by a good embroidering steel guitar, the lead guitar is fine too over a wave of fiddle.

Billboard December 8, 1958

My sweet love ain’t around

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I saw you cheatin’ last night”

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So popular must this song have been that in 1968 on Arcade 202 it was revived by Rex Zario (it’s unclear if Rex and Tex are the same person) in a more rocking style: drums are louder, the steel is more discreet (a short solo), the vocal is a bit smooth.
Rex Zario, “I saw you cheatin’ last night

downloadZario Rex  "I Saw You Cheatin' Last Night"
In any case, Gordon Jennings had disappeared from the music world since 1959, at least in terms of known recordings.

Sources : YouTube (Johnn Maddy, CheesebrewWax Archives) ; Hillbilly Researcher (Alba) ; 78rpm-worlds (Kingsport) ; 45rpm-cat (Arcade and Skyrocket) ; my own record (Rex Zario) ; Hillbilly-music.com for radio stations and Gordon Jenning’s picture; Billboard archives for personal data.

Note (Jan. 22nd, 2020). Adam Komorowsky points out a second Alba issue (# 411): “Monday Morning Blues”/”Strolling’ Home With Mary”. Anyone has got this record? An mp3 recording would be fine. Just let me know in the Comment section. Thanks beforehand! Xavier, bopping.org editor.

Late February 2017 bopping fortnight’s favorites

First two selections for this late February 2017 fortnight do come from Florida. Absolutely nothing is known from the vocalist/bandleader JOE ASHER. Apparently unknown on the Net, and not associated to another of the same name, he was a one-off record man. His record was first issued at Rockin’ # 515 in 1953, then reissued by DeLuxe ( # 2001) for a perfect Bopper, « Photograph of you », a fast, fantastic tune : very assured vocal, great solos – fiddle, guitar and steel. The flipside, « Daddy dear », a mid-paced opus, is just as good (steel is prominent). I wonder why this guy never recorded more, at least under his name.

rockin' asher photographdeluxe asher DearPhotograph of you

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Daddy dear”

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Next selection : BOB DEAN & the Travelaires give a solid rocker for October 1958, issued at the Philly label Arcade (# 195). « Hot Rod Daddy », of course a car song, has a guitar a la Chuck Berry, a prominent piano and a great vocal. This Bob Dean was also on a much later label, Artisty (’70s), and is not to be confused with Bob Dean of the « BOB & CINDY DEAN » Bluegrass duet from Virginia. They had more than a link with guitarist Link Wray : they shared an EP with him, and issued on their side « Walk, walk, walkin’ blues » (Kay EP 3690) from 1957, a good mix of Bluegrass and Rockabilly. They were also on Starday custom serie # 627, “I’m knocking at the door (of your heart)” – excellent driving banjo. Bob Dean had previously released in 1947 on the Lilian Claiborne D.C. label (# 4101) a very rural outing “I’ll take her from the valley” [for a future fortnight’s favorites].

Hot rod daddy

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Walk, walk, walkin’ blues

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I’m knocking at the door (of your heart)

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arcade Dean Hot kay Dean bues

Then to early ’60s in Birmingham, AL. with OTHELL SULLIVAN & the Southern All-Stars (are they the house band of the label?) on Reed 1053. The song is written by Leon Bowman, a prolific songster and singer in is own right. « There’s sure to be goodbyes » is a jumping tune, sympathetic backing (steel and discreet drums) over a good vocal : a nice tune for 1961. Sullivan had had already « Call me, baby » on Wonder (unheard) in 1958 ; later he joined the Longhorn stable (# 513).

reed Sullivan Goodbyes

“There’s sure to be goodbyes”

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JIMMIE STONE (acc. by Coy McDaniel guitarist) had on the New Jersey Cross Country label 45-22 a great Country jimmie stonerocker, « Found » in April ’56. Strong lead guitar and good backing over an cross-country Stone"Foundassured vocal (lot of echo). The disc must have had a certain impact under chart-angle, because the big N.Y. concern Gone reissued it next year as it was on Gone # 5001. The flipside « Mine » is an insipid slowie, largely forgettable.

Found

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From Indiana on a rather devoted to Blues/R&B label, Falcon, here’s to be found the Hillbilly bopper/Rockabilly of CURLEY SHELTON (# 609) « with Doug Oldham & his Dixie 6 ». « Have you seen my baby » is a medium bluesy tune, assured vocal and an embroidering very good guitar.falcon Shelton Babyivory Hollandr Ways

Have you seen my baby

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From the Hometown Jamboree on the West coast, the next track by TEX HOLLAND. He does a fine job with the mid-paced hard-driven « Why don’t you change your ways » on Ivory 103. 

Why don’t you change your ways

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Finally a song, « Hillbilly wolf », wrongly attributed to Dave Dudley on a low-bdget album cover, is actually sung and played by LINK WRAY. A medium uptempo, good vocal but rather uninspired guitar. This tune may come from the late ’50s or even the early ’60s.

Hillbilly wolf

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Sources : 45cat.com and 78rpm-world, Rockin’ Country Style, Hillbilly Researcher compilations, YouTube and my own archives.

Early January 2017 bopping and rocking R&B fortnight favorites

This is the first fortnight’s favorites section for 2017, and we begin with a curious record : by CLIFF FERRÉ, « A cocky cowboy » on the Kem label (California). It’s a fast Western swing flavored number.kem -ferre cowboy

“A cocky cowboy”

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From then the »Hillbilly Boogie » theme. First king delmore hillbillyby its creators, the DELMORE BROTHERS who released their versionbillboard-king-hillbilly boogie

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in March 1946 (# 527), and which everybody knows. Strong similarity with Arthur Smith‘s « Guitar boogie » from 1945. Next « Hillbilly boogie » (apart from Jerry Irby on M-G-M from 1948, and which is an entirey different track) was done by a Tennessean, ANDY WILSON on the Dot label (# 1127) : an energetic perfomance including steel and piano. Its flipside, « Lonesome for my baby », is equally good, although more melodic.

dot wilson-hlbillydot -wilson-lonesome

Andy Wilson: “Hlllbilly boogie

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Lonesome for my baby

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RAY WHITLEY (1901-1979) seemingly on the East coast is present with two tracks : « Jukebox cannonball » on Cowboy # 301 from 1947 : a lovely piece of Bop, which reminds me of Hank Williams‘ early sides. One composer name, that of Rusty Keefer, brings to Philadelphia and Bill Haley’s version on Essex 311 (January 1952). A long biography of Ray Whitley is to be found on YouTube: Johnn Maddy chain.

I added a reference version : JESSE ROGERS (cousin to Jimmie) released « Jukebox cannonball » too on Arcade 147 in January 1957.cowboy whitley cannonball
Ray WhitleyJukebox cannonball”arcade -rogers-jukebox

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Jesse RogersJukebox cannonball

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Whitley also had in 1949 another great number, « You’re barkin’ up the wrong tree now », on Apollo 195. An insistant crazy fiddle rivalling with an excellent guitar over a warm voice. This was a Hank Willams/Fred Rose compostion. At least the title was renewed in December 1956 in the hands of DON WOODY (Decca 30277) who takes his song at a brisk speed for a true Rockabilly classic, full of amusing barks. Great guitar of Grady Martin.apollo -whitley tree

Ray Whitley “You’re barkin’ up the wrong tree now

ray-whitley-band-pic-john-maddyray-whitley-picray-whitley-band-pic-john-maddy

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Don Woody,”You’re barking up the wrong tree

decca wooody treedon-woody-pic2

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On the West coast now with JIMMIE LAWSON. He does a fine shuffler, « Tennessee blues » (Columbia 20477) from July 1947. Much later on the Fable label, in 1957 (# 584) he had « Ole Jack Hammer blues », a strong medium paced rocker with great guitar (Sandy Stanton, owner of Fable records?).

columbia lawson tennesseefable lawson hammer

Tennessee blues

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Ole Jack Hammer blues

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columbia -louis-shufflin

joe-hill-louis-pic

 

 

Finally a R&B rocker by the ‘one-man-band’ JOE HILL LOUIS from Memphis, TN. In 1949 he released « A jumpin’ and a shufflin’ », a song obviously cut for dancers (Columbia 30182). 

A jumpin’ and a’ shufflin’

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That’s it for this time, folks, pheeew !(several hours of work and pleasure mixed to set this feature up )

Sources : 45cat, 78rpm world for Ray Whitley ; YouTube for Joe Hill Louis and Andy Wilson ; Willem Agenant’s « Columbia 20000 serie » for Jimmie Lawson. Also Roots Vinyl Guide sometimes.