Jack Morris, bopper, D.J. and label bossman in California (1955-1958)

JACK MORRIS had three claims to fame. As a D.J. first on Pasadena, Ca. KXLA radio station ; then as founder of a sage Morris Teasin'successful California country recording label, Toppa (and his subsidiaries Toppette and Fedora). Then he had also 4 records on his own between 1955 and 57 on legendary labels such as Starday, Pep and Sage.

About his involvement with KXLA, he got the honour at least 2 times by the Billboard magazine, which held him up as « one of the five top C&W D..J.s in Southern California » between 1956 and 1958. His show had been going on 6 nights a week from midnight until 5.00 AM, that is in itself an uncommon achievement.billboard jack morris DJ

As founder of Toppa, a complete article on this label (the beginnings) is on this site. As a D.J., Morris undoubtly coasted as D.J. along young and unknown musicians out of the rich California state. He chose to record them in a Country vein, not without a more than precise pop touch. Anyway the label had its moments for the hillbilly bop fan : records by Bill Brock, Ernie Andrews, Johnny Leon don’t remove from a late ’50s Country collection. More about that in the article devoted to « Toppa Tops ‘Em All » label.toppa label

As an artist in his own right, Jack Morris (his real forname seems to have been « George », according to the credit of Capitol 3311 : Merrill Moore ‘covered’ (or

Merrill Moore “Cooing to the wrong pigeon”


merrill moore pic

Merrill Moore

capitol Moore Pigeon"

Jack Morris:”Cooing to the wrong pigeon”


was ‘offered’ « Cooing to the wrong pigeon » (which perhaps reveals the actual forname, « George » of Jack Morris, its co-writer). His partner was Wes DelRoy.



Jack Morris:”My Pony wants to go


starday Morris Pigeonstarday Morris Pony

billboard  morris 57


This gentleman was to co-write more Morris sides, although he seems moreover unkwnown under this name. “Cooing..” and “My Pony wants to go” are two Western boppers, not excluding soe pop overtones (with te use of discreet choruses.) This Starday issue (late 1955 or early 1956) was reviewed by Billboard as late as November 1956, by the time Morris had his first record, out of two, on Sage # 228. « White line » is a fast Bopper, backed by the excellent Night Owls (possibly Roy Lanham on lead guitar – he seems to have been the house player, and a long double-bass solo) ; « Stop teasin’ me » is in the same vein, a sort of mix of Western swing (semi-spoken, semi-sung) and Country boogie, again good guitar.

White line


Stop teasin’ me


The second Sage issue (# 232) sees in the same format as previous issue « Four wheel bungalow », a lovely Country-rocker paired with « Glad I’m lookin’ back on you » (again a double-bass solo) : it looks that the 4 sides were cut at the same session.


sage Morris bungalowsage Morris Glad
Four wheel bungalowbillboard 57 sage morris


Glad I’m lookin’ back on you




Finally in a completely different syle, Morris went early in 1958 on Pep 116 with the frankly poppish « She’s gone, she’s gone » : obstrusive male chorus ; Morris tries to croon. I can’t really figure out who he’s resembling on. Actually the chorus have the better part of the song. The flipside « River San Gabriel » has a « western serie B » type feel, aided by a male/female chorus.

pep Morris Gonepep morris river

She’s gone – she’s gonebillboard pep 106


River San Gabriel




After the Pep issue, Morris has seemingly concentrated his activity on the Toppa label he founded in late 1958, and he disappeared as an artist from then on.

With special thanks to “Armadillo Killer” for the Pep issue.

Hobart, OK : the HU-SE-CO label (1956-1958)

Hu-se-co was founded by Odell Johnson in Hobart, Oklahoma. The label apparently lasted from late 1956 to early 1958, and the main issues were issued in 1957. No label listing does exist, so I don’t know if my presentation is complete, as Hu-se-co was a pretty small label for the time being.hobart

First record was cut in Autumn 1956 by DERAL CLOUR and Charley Drake and coupled the very fine primitive Hillbilly bopper/Rockabilly « Sundown (boogie) » with the ballad « Winter (in my heart) ». Clour has said in an interview published by the RockaBilly HOF that the record was cut at Gene Sullivan’s studio on Capitol Hill in Hobart. Deral Clour was to appear at Ernest Tubb’s in Nashville in 1959.

huseco 1056A deral clour sundown (boogie)


Deral Clour & Charley Drake

huseco A1056B deral clour winter

Deral Clour and Charley Drake “Sundown (boogie)”


Deral Clour and Charley Drake, “Winter (in my heart)”


Then in 1957, three singles of equal musical value. Most important is the rollicking/jumping//western sides by DOYLE MADDEN, backed by Merl Lindsay‘s Oklahoma Nightriders, « Gonna learn to rock » and « Tonights the night for love » (1-757), both written by Lindsay and one Vonnie Mack. The latter (rn Yvonne deVaney) was at one time Yvonne O’Day on Capitol, then in 1956 Vonnie Mack in 1956 on Columbia, where she turned more or less pop. Later she fronted vocally Merl Lindsay’s band.
Doyle Madden “Gonna learn to rock

Doyle Madden, “Tonights the night for love”


Second record backed by Merl Lindsay’s Oklahoma Night Riders is by JIM RAY: average ’50s country/honky tonk, main instruments being fiddles and steel. « A little too late » and « My heart belong to you » are on (# A-557).
Jim Ray, “My heart belongs to you

Jim Ray, “A little too late”


The third 1957 issue (if the « 57 » sequence has some sense) is a very nice country rocker by FLOYD ANDREWS, « Buy myself a rubber doll » (3-757), with strong guitar and steel to the fore. Floyd Andrews, “Buy myself a rubber doll”


One issue by COWBOY (Charlie) HUFF escaped to my antennas, « Swingin’ alone tonite/Tulsa town waltz » (757). It’s the same man who had records in the Starday custom serie (»No two timin’ me »).

45-616-a (huff) cowboy huff No two timin' me
Cowboy Huff “No two timing’ me”

And we nearly reached to the end of label with the 1958 issue by BILL & BINK ( with drummer Dwight), whose two-sided « Bed bug boogie/Do and don’t blues » (1358) could be described as primitive bluesy hillbilly/rockabilly.

Bill & Bink, “Bed bug boogie”

download “Do and don’t blues”


hu-se-co 1-757A doyle madden (lindsay) gonna learn to rockhu-se-co 1-757B doyle madden (lindsay) tonights the night for love















huseco 557A Jim ray My heart belongs to youhuseco 557B jim Ray A little too late
















huseco 757A Floyd Andrews Buy myself a rubber dollhuseco 1358A bill & bink bed bug boogiehuseco 1358B bill & bink do & don't blues














The indefatigable and faithful DRUNKENHOBO has found three more HU-SE-CO records! Thanks Dean.

A Bluegrass rockabilly flavored “If you’re after my heart” by the group RAMBLIN RASCALS on Hu-se-co. Flipside unheard “We both love the same girl”.
Ramblin Rascals “If you’re after my heart”

Then WESLEY (Sleepy) MOORE and “Old mother Nature” (Hu-se-co 1257)(flip side “If you’d say you care”.
Wesley Moore “Old mother Nature

Dean finally mentions a third disc by HURSHUL CLOTHIER, which proves untraceable. Clothier was an Oklahoma ace fiddler, backed by the Oklhahoma Travelers (founded 1953), who had “Will you please” on Hu-se-co 2-757.

hu-se-co 1057-A ramblin rascals if you're after my heart hu-se-co 1257-A wesley (sleepy) moore old mother nature

early March 2012 fortnight’s favourites

Hello folks. Yes I am back, having moved and from a trip in Prague. Beautiful city, yet no Hillbilly sounds over there! Anyway, let’s go back to our favorites. This time I’ve chosen 5 artists. Let’s begin with an interesting late ’40s/early ’50s one, ZEKE CLEMENTS. I know very little about him, except he had many records on Blazon, Liberty (not the L.A. pop concern), Gold Standard, even in 1960 on his own Janet label. He was a prolific songwriter, and should be noticed “Smoke On The Water” for Red Foley. Here he delivers a fine shuffling (piano and guitar led) ditty on Liberty 8, “Oklahoma Blues“.

zeke clementsliberty  clements oklahoma

Early 60s and on to Cincinnati area with the rather unknown SLIM FOSTER. I posted both sides of his K-Ark single (# 613), one side uptempo, the other medium, with a lovely steel-guitar for “Never Be Untrue” and “I Wish I’d known“. Good Country bop.

k-ark foster  untrue

From Texas I’d assume comes now CURLEY SANDERS and a nice bopper on the Imperial label (# 8226), “Too Much Lovin’“, complete with piano, fiddle and guitar and that immediately recognizable Imperial sound. Sanders would later (1956) have a Starday issue, “Brand New Rock And Roll” in the famous custom serie (# 590): see elsewhere in the site for this side.

imperial sanders  lovin'lanor matte parlez-vous

On to Louisana, early ’60s: BILL MATTE & the Five Classics for the presumably hard-to-understand for English speakers: “Parlez-vous l’francais” (Do you speak french) is sung in Cajun patois, and myself have trouble understanding all the lyrics!

Finally another inreresting artist from the Cincinnati area, AL RUNYON, on Kentucky for a revamp of Hank Snow‘s “I’m Moving On“. Not a bad version, as Runyon was covering others’ hits, as his labelmate Delbert Barker. He was also later on Starday for the famous Jimmie Skinner’s penned “Baby Please Come Home“. His story is a bit intricated, but I hope to have it posted in the future.

kentucky runyon  moving As a bonus. I just heard BILLY STRANGE passed away on Feb. 22th (aged 81). He cut many records and played on innumerable sessions from the late ’40s ‘way into the ’70s. Here is one of my favorite trucker songs, “Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves” on Capitol 2032 from 1952.

capitol strange diesel