Late January 2017 bopping hillbilly and rockabilly fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks ! This is the second 2017 fortnight, that of late January. It will cover very various styles, be it hillbilly boppers, country rockers or rockabillies, even one Bluegrass bopper, from 1955 to 1961.

First an uptempo atmospheric bluesy rockabilly from Bald Knob, AR, on the CKM label (# 1000) by BUDDY PHILLIPS with Rocking Ramblers, « River boat blues » from 1956 (valued at $ 100-125). I enclose for comparison the original version of the song by ALTON GUYON and his Boogie Blues Boys on the Judsonia, AR. Arkansas label (# 553), a Starday custom from 1956. This time the song is taken at a slow, lazy, bluesy pace – fine fiddle (valued at $ 150-200). Back to Buddy Phillips for the CKM flipside « Coffee baby » (written by Alton Guyon), less fast than the « River boat blues » side, but good and bluesy. Pity that Phillips disappeared afterwards.

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Buddy Phillips, “River boat blues

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Buddy Phillips, “Coffee baby

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Alton GuyonRiver boat blues

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Memphian EDDIE BOND (1933-2013) had many strings to his bow : band leader, D.J., radio station manager, night club owner, chief police and editor of an entertainment newpaper (pheww..). Here are his first sides on the Ekko label (# 1015) cut July 1955 in Nashville with Hank Garland on lead guitar and Jerry Byrd on steel. « Talking of the wall » and « Double duty lovin’ » (written by Vernon Claud, later on Decca with « Baby’s gone ») are uptempo Rockabilly/Boppers, very ordinary, which of course went nowhere. They are valued $ 100-150. Later in 1956, Bond recorded a famous string of classic Rockabilly releases on the Mercury label, « Rockin’ daddy » (# 70826) (the original being cut late ’55 by Sonny Fisher – Starday 179) is the most well-known.

Talking off the wall

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Double duty lovin‘”

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ekko bond-talking

ekko bond doubleTwo issues on the Starday associated Dixie label from the late Fifties to the early Sixties. ELMER BRYANT on Dixie 906 from 1960 (value $ 75-100) delivers the cheerful bopper « Gertie’s carter broke », which has a Louisiana bouquet, with fine fiddle and steel. The medium-paced flipside « Will I be ashamed tomorrow », although very good and sincere, is more conventional country.

Gertie’s Carter broke

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Will I be ashamed tomorrow

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The other Dixie discussed is Dixie 1170 from 1961 by LITTLE CHUCK DANIELS : « I’ve got my brand on you » is a bit J. Cash-styled, an uptempo bass chords guitar opus with good effect on voice : honest Country rocker. I add by Daniels his issue on Dixie 1153, « Night shift », same style.

I’ve got my brand on you

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Night shift

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A plaintive Hillbilly now by BILL STUCKER vocal – Tune Twisters on the Indiana Ruby label (# 430) , « I go on pretending » from 1956 : a nice discreet guitar, some snare drums.

I go on pretending

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ruby stucker-pretending

ROLLIE WEBBER from California was a part of the now well-known Bakersfield sound, and had issues on Pep and Virgelle among other labels. Here he offers « Painting the town » on the Tally label (#150), a fine bopper with prominent steel ( sounds like Ralph Mooney).

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Painting the town

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Finally from Detroit on Fortune 187 from 1957 : BUSTER TUNER & his Pinnacle Mt. Boys for « That old heartbreak express ». It’s a bluegrass bopper, Turner is in fine voice, and mandolin to the fore.

That old heartbreak express

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Buster Turner on dobro

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That’s it, folks !

Sources : YouTube (Dixie issues) ; my own researches ; RCS for Eddie Bond ; Malcolm Chapman’s blogsite (« Starday customs ») for Alton Guyon.

Eddie Jackson & his Swingsters: Detroit Hillbilly rock (1950-1960)

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Detroit’s country music scene of the 1950’s featured a solid mix of talents and clubs where folks could stomp ’till two o’clock every night of the week, with some of the wildest sounds this side of Mason-Dixon Line. One man who was there in the thick of the good times was Eddie Jackson, who assembled the hottest bands and shows in town for two decades straight !

He was born in Cooksville, Tennessee, and Eddie’s family, like many Southerners, moved to Detroit during a period a growth in automobile manufacturing. As a youngster during the 1930s and 40s, he took up guitar and singing, and idolized musical giants such as Hank Penny, Milton Brown, Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan (he even met Wills and Duncan in Stockton, CA, while Eddie served with the Navy during WWII). Upon his honorable discharge by Uncle Sam in 1947, Jackson returned to Detroit, and was offered to lead a band the same night he arrived ! From then on, Eddie Jackson and his various combos were crowd-pleasers at shows all over Michigan, parts of Ohio, and Ontario. Around 1950, Eddie’s first group, the Melody Riders, cut a record in Detroit. The song « I’m willing to forget » was his first composition (Fortune 134).

I’m willing to forgetfortune jackson willng

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New set of blues

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Billboard Jan 14, 1950

(Accompanying the Riders was Hal Clark on guitar, who later changed his name to Hal Southern and co-wrote « I dreamed of a hillbilly heaven ».) Hal Clark sang his comp on the flip “New set of blues“. fortune jackson bluesAs the scene got cooking, Jackson’s band started sizzling, and they found

Hal Clark (Fortune 146) “I don’t mean a thing to you

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fortune clark mean hal-southern-Sage sleevethemselves booked nightly. Ted’s 10-Hi Bar, on the east side, was the sight of Detroit’s first C&W Jamboree, as hosted by Eddie Jackson and his Cowboy Swingsters (including Tracey White on guitar, and ‘Smitty’ Smith on bass). For several months, the trio performed 15-minutes radio broadcasts from WMLN-FM in Mount Clemens.Eddie Jackson also led a country music variety show, « The Michigan Barn Dance » on Detroit NBC affiliate Channel Four TV, during the early 1950’s.
“Baby doll”(first version)

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Throughout his career, Jackson performed with the finest musicians available in Detroit. Among the more famous were steel guitar players Chuck Hatfield (from Hank Thompson’s band) and Billy Cooper (from Ferlin Husky’s). When Elvis Presley brought rock and roll craze to country music, Eddie was sharp enough to add the big beat to his repertoire, and he wrote « Rock and roll baby » around 1956 (Fortune 186), with a fine accordion.

fortune jackson baby

Rock and roll baby

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« Baby doll »(second version) (Shelby 297) and « Please don’t cry » were recorded after that, and through the 1950’s the Swingsters played regular shows at a nightclub called the Caravan Gardens.
Baby doll

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Please don’t cry

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Eddie Jackson solidified the band’s line-up with Joe Magic on bass & drums (played at the same time!), ‘Uncle’ Jimmy Knuckles on piano, and Tracey White on take off guitar. This group attracted big crowds, as well as popular country singers like Webb Pierce, Jean Shepard, Lefty Frizzell, Red Foley & many other top artists who often stopped in to perform songs with the Swingtsters ! Jackson also had his own program on Royal Oak radio station WEXL-AM, where he spun records and sometimes broadcast from the Caravan. In 1959 the Swingsters cut their most popular record record in Detroit : « I’m learning » backed with the rocker « Blues I can’t hide »(Caravan 101). Even though Jackson says he preferred « Blues… », the ballad « I’m learning » went through the roof of WEXL’s country & western charts. As a result, Eddie was able to pay cash for a new ’59 Cadillac with a convertible top !

Blues I can’t hide

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I’m learning

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The Swingsters’ next recordings stayed in step with country music trends of the early 1960’s, with Jackson’s version of his buddy Ricky Riddle‘s tune « Ain’t you ashamed » sounding among the best.
Ain’t you ashamed
caravan jacksonashamed

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They also backed Betty Parker on the Elm label # 742.

Betty ParkerCouldn’t see

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ELM parker see

Eddie cruised down to Nashville and recorded two more singles, including « You put it there » (Caravan 1004), a song from his last session in a recording studio. By the late 1960’s he quit performing regularly, in favor a starting a successful business. Knuckles, White and others have since passed on. But whenever Eddie Jackson sings and entertain people, the crowd’s humor rises, and sparks fly.

You put it there

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caravan jackson  put

 

Notes by Craig Maki to « Eddie Jackson and the Swingsters – « Music with a Western beat » (Woodward LP WD-100, 1996). Reproduced by courtesy © Craig Maki. Additions from bopping’s editor. With appreciated help fro Drunken Hobo: thanks Dean!

 

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early July 2009 fortnight

Well, you’re in for another good time with rarities! First the 40s withthe late great Ernest Tubb (Billy Byrd on electric guitar) for the classic “I Ain’t Going Honky Tonking Anymore” – love the cool vocal! Next an unnown Charlie Fairclothh (or nearly forgotten these days) for the lively “Coffee, Cigarettes & Tears” – nice lazy vocal too. Then we go Hillbilly Bop/Rockabilly with the fast version of Bill Monroe’s “Rocky Road Blues” by Boston’s Eddie Zack (arian) complete with fiddle solo and steel (1955 Columbia). Now a real berserk wildie: Jim (my) Myers and “Drunkman’s Wiggle” on Fortune. REAL STRONG STEEL. Another wildie in Rocking Blues this time, way down south: Leroy Washington, 1958, Guitar Gable soloist on the great “Wild Cherry” (Excello). We come to an end with a piano master, Memphis Slim alone for a bluesy “The Lord Have Mercy”. Hope you N-joy! Welcome comments…