Hi ! This is the selection (ten tunes) of bopping favorites for early May 2018.
The first artist in discussion is HANK SWATLEY. He cut two records on the very small Aaron label, out of West Memphis, Arkansas : just across the Mssissipi River. Now the man is only remembered for is energetic version of Johnny Tyler’s « Oakie Boogie », and it surely is : cool vocal, harsh guitar, a fabulous record for 1959. But the man had to record three more sides, which are plainly hillbilly. « It Takes A Long Time To Forget » (Aaron 100) is a nice ballad with a sparse instrumentation : only one rhythm guitar and discreet drums. The flipside « Ways Of A Woman In Love » keeps the same format, with some heavier drums (song penned by Charlie Rich). Swatley’s high-pitched voice reminds me that of Jimmy Work.
On Google, picture tied with Aaron 101 “Oakie Boogie”
The second platter (# 101) has of course « Oakie Boogie », originally a Jack Guthrie hit of 1946 ; but the flipside is once more a bluesy ballad ; « I Can’t Help It » is of course a rendition of the Hank Williams’ song.
« Life Without You » is a good Country-rocker sung by LEON NAIL. A prominent steel, well in the Nashille fashion, and a piano player. The song itself is well sung, a sort of fast Rockaballad on Nashville # 5172, and it was released ca. 1961. Nail had at least another on the small Tennessee label (# 10002) from 1964, for two numbers in the same style.
Then the HODGES BROTHERS BAND for « Searching My Dreams On You »(1959) on the Whispering Pines label (# 200) : (Ralph Hodges, vocal) a great bouncing song with guitar, old fiddle and lead guitar. Vocal is urgent and smells all the flavor of the Appalachian Mountains, a real Hillbilly bop treat. The Brothers had indeed records issued on Trumpet, Mississipi and Starday and even later on California’s Arhoolie. They are so good that they deserve well a feature.
We are going to Texas, more precisely in Luling, home of one intriguing label : Charlie Fitch’s Sarg Records. On May 4, 1956, Fitch recorded Adolph Hofner and the Pearl Wranglers, who comprised on steel BASH HOFNER and on vocal (for this session) Eddie Bowers. The thema chosen this day was « Rockin’ And A-Boppin’ », a real slice of Hillbilly Bop/Rockabilly, well fed up with Western swing overtones. This Sarg 138 is valued at $ 100-125.
To sum up, both sides of Shreveport, La. Clif label 101 by ROY WAYNE : he delivers « Honey Won’t You Listen », a good shuffler from 1957. Sparse instrumentation, but quite effective for the lazy vocal of Wayne. Flipside « Anyway You Do » is in the same vein. The 45 attains $ 400 to 500 if you can locate it.
Howdy folks ! Everybody’s back from holydays ? Ready for stomping hillbilly !
The first artist chosen is BILLY RAY, born William H. Ray. He was living in Baton Rouge when he was signed by Columbia in November 1952. He cut 8 songs during two sessions. « Tired of talking to the blues » was issued on Columbia subsidiary Okeh 18009. It’s a real blues number with a spare instrumentation (guitar, piano and bass) probably cut in New Orleans. The second interesting song from the next session is « You gotta pet me baby » (Okeh 18030), a nice uptempo hillbilly. Alas, sales were poor, Columbia did not renew the contract and Ray disappeared. Maybe he’s the same on Titan in 1960.
James « OTIS » PARKER was a Tennessean (1920-1992), whose career began in 1949 on Rich-R’Tone (# 462, “Bugle Call From Heaven”/”Merci Beaucoup Mo Ami”) How he came to have in 1955 a record issued on Covington, California’s New Star label # 529 (a Starday custom) is a mystery. « They don’t have to operate (they just pull the zipper) » is a comedy-hillbilly not so far from Homer Clemons of 5 years before on Modern (« Operation blues »). Good fast proto-rockabilly. Previously he also had an issue in 1951 on Holyday (untraced).
DON TEAGUE is a completely unknown artist from the Lexington, KY area. I picked up his two records on the Rains label from 1963. First is billed as « Don Teague with Pap and the Young’uns » and gives a radio station WZEJ indication : « Oh, how bad I feel » (Rains 103) is a fast hillbilly – lot of fiddle, a rockabilly guitar solo, a nice dobro, and an assured vocal. The second (Rains 108) has no connection indication, just « Don Teague with the Blue Valley Boys ». Much slower (« Pure country music » on the label), « I’ll take a walk » is nevertheless a very nice tune, with good dobro and fiddle.
Just for a change, a R&B rocker by (Napoleon) CHICO CHISM on the Shreveport, La. Clif label (# 102) – the very same that beared T.V. Slim‘s first issue of « Flat foot Sam ». « Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que » (1957). Enjoy all !
“Hot tamales and Bar-B-Que”
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.
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!
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. Slim “Flat 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.