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”
First version of the song was cut by JIMMIE DAVIS in February 1937, backed by Milton Brown (actually deceased a year before) Musical Brownies. Out of them Lefty Perkins takes two solos on the steel, Papa Calhoun is at the piano and the fiddle duties are taken by Buck Buchanan. It’s a medium paced blues ditty typical of Davis’ work. It was issued on Decca 5349. Jimmie Davis, “High geared daddy”
In August 1949 WEBB PIERCE, after having obviously heard Davis’ tune, revived it (taking the credit to him). Nice honky-tonker (Buddy Attaway on steel?)[Shot Jackson is on steel; Buddy Attaway played the lead guitar – note from March 23, 2018]. The lyrics were a bit different from Davis’. Here they are Pierce’s ones:
Come on here girls and hear my song
I’ll tell you my troubles as I step along
I’m a high geared daddy and there’s nothing I won’t do
I’m a two time papa when you leave me at home
I’ll call another momma on the telephone
I’m a high geared daddy that’s never been made blue
If you leave me at home well that’s allright
I’ll take a new momma with me tonight
[continued this style] this perfect example of honky tonk machism was issued on 4 Star 1413, and many times reissued (e.g. 4* 1601), then was the model for other versions.
TOMMY LITTLE & the Sunrise Rangers, from Durham, N.C. recorded the song, although actually it’s a completely different one same time as Pierce’s and Davis’, because it is an old warhorse of the Thirties, frequently known as « Sweet mama put him in low », first recorded by KARL & HARTY (Karl Davis/Hartford Taylor) in Chicago, January 1941 (Okeh 06066). Not surprisingly the song was credited to “Davis”! Fairley Holden had his own version on King 771 in 1947. Tommy Little’s version, first issued on Tommy’s personal label, Tommy’s, was picked up by Colonial, a sub-label to Hollywood giant Modern diskery. Little gives the song a superbly energetic treatment with the mandolin giving it a wonderful old-time flavour.
Returning to Webb Pierce’s « HIGH GEARED DADDY‘, the song found a new life in the hands of JIMMY WALKER on the West coast Intro label # 6025 in July 1951. He was backed on this occasion by Joe Maphis and Noel Boggs, augmented by George « Crazy » Tracy on harmonica and did offer an fine, relaxed although energetic version. Finally in a novelty style it was revived as a RCA LP track in 1956 by HOMER & JETHRO. Jimmy Walker “High geared daddy”
Howdy folks! Here is my new selection. First GEORGE KENT from Texas. He must have cut “Don’t Go Back Again” circa 1961-62: heavy bass, weeping steel and fiddle solo, on the Maverick label (# 1001). The whole has been influenced by Wynn Stewart and reminds me of the Bakersfield sound. Now from Kansas City and a real hillbilly boogie on the Red Barn label, “Bad Daddy Blues” by BOBBY COOK & BUDDY NELSON with the Texas Saddle Pals. Chorus on a guitar/fiddle/mandolin backing.
A pleasant hillbilly on the Ohio Esta label from 1956, “Within These Four Walls” by one SYBIL GIANI. 2 guitar solos, but nothing spectacular though. Esta from Hamilton was better known for its Rockabilly sides.
Then from Nashville, a veteran from the Bullet label, RAY BATTS. It’s on the Ernie Young’s R&B Excello label, a rare opportunity to hear bop music on a “black” label” (the other notable in this case being “I’m The Man” by Al Ferrier). Anyway, “Stealin’ Sugar” (# 2028) is a fast number, with nice guitar soloes on a solid piano backing.
On the big Carl Burkardt concern of low-budget labels, here Big 4 Hits, we find PRESTON WARD and “New Green Light“. I don’t know who cut the original version, anyway here is top class backing over a fine vocal.
Finally two Rocking blues wildies by GAR BACON. On Okeh first, he does the rasping Bo-Diddley-beat “Marshall, Marshall”. On the Baton label, “There’s Gonna Be Rockin’ Tonight” strangely sounds like a white singer. You’ve got to hear both to compare.
I will be out of town circa May 15, so next fortnight on June 1rst, ok?
This time a nice percentage will be made of records issued on major labels, beginning with Decca and the WILBURN BROTHERS (Ted &Doyle). They offer a nice version of the old ’30s Shelton Brothers’ standard “Deep Elem Blues“, recorded in Nashville (no doubt usual crew) in January 1956. (Decca 29887)
The second major will be Capitol and the uncommon in Bopping (because he’s too well-known) MERLE TRAVIS. Billy Liebert, an accomplished West coast session pianist, pounds the ivories for “Louisiana Boogie” from December 1952. Same evening session that produced “Bayou Baby“. (Capitol 2902). Happy hillbilly boogie!
We jump on a very smal label from Richmond, KY. Actually Burdette land had only two releases in 1960 and here it is the first by HUBERT BARNARD, “Boy She Has Gone“. Nice bopper.
Back to majors, on a subsidiary of Columbia. OKeh was maybe devoted to newcomers on the main label, although no one knows exactly why Columbia launched this short-lived serie (only 59 records issued) in 1953. In April of that year, recently signed JOE MAPHIS and his wife ROSE LEE (they were married 1952) recorded the future classic “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (and Loud, Loud Music)” (OKeh 18013). This is what Honky tonk is all about!
TOMMY BOYLES had been cutting in 1959 “We’re Bugging Out” on the Murco label of Shreveport, La. Hear him with the “artist” button on the upper left. Here in 1960 he does another self-penned “Don’t Be Somebody Else’s Baby” on the N.J. Granite label (# 552). His story in his own words can be found on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame site.
Finally, from 1967 or 68, on the prolific Adco label (maybe a property of Hobo Jack Adkins) from Cincinnati, OH – mainly Bluegrass, Garage or Sacred tunes between 1960 and 1975, CUDDLES C. NEWSOME (rn. Corbet Newsome), born 1928, for both sides of his solitary ever 45 “So Long Baby/One Little Kiss” – nice guitar. This is Country-rock at its best.
Hello folks. The link between the 8 songs this time would be either the BREWSTER Brothers, either the WEBSTER Bros, either Knoxville, TN, and would last from 1954 to 1962/63.
In Manchester, KY, circa 1957-59, there were the BREWSTER Brothers. Originally from Tennessee, the elder Willie G. (mandolin and vocal) had begun late ’40s as sideman for the Bailey Bros. He even replaced Dan Bailey when the latter was gone to service duties. In 1953, the Brewster Bros. and the Smokey Mountain Hillbillies found much success on Scottsboro, AL. WROS radio. Not so long after that, joined by younger Franklin “Bud” Brewster (guitar and banjo, plus vocal), the brothers backed in 1957/58 Carl Story for recording sessions on Mercury, Starday, or small companies like Wayne Raney’s Rimrock label. Willie estimates they cut three hundred songs with Story! Around the same time, they went to perform on a regular basis for the Cas Walker radio & T.V. show in Knoxville, TN. They backed Red Rector among others. That’s when they recorded for Acme Records 1776, out of Manchester, KY. two sacred songs in bluegrass style, among them “I’ll Be Happy In My Home“. They were joined by the FOUR BROTHERS QUARTET, which was composed of Audie (mandolin and tenor voice) and Earl (guitar and lead vocal) WEBSTER. More on them below.
The BREWSTER Brothers, as the Jaguar’s (sic), went on to record Rock’n’roll in 1959 on Janet, in Manchester, KY, too, which was simply Acme revived after being sold. Bud Brewster had the fine « I Coud If I Would (But I Ain’t) », on Janet 201, along with the vocalist Harold Harper on the average White rock (insistant guitar riff) flipside « The Big Noise ». After that I lost their trail.
The WEBSTER Brothers, Earl and Audie, started in Philadelphia, TN., playing in schools and churches. They joined WNOX in Knoxville, TN and made 6 sides for Columbia/Okeh in 1954, all great boppers. Let’s begin with the earliest « Till The End Of The World Rolls ‘Round » and « It’s All Left Up To You », issued in January 1954 on Okeh 18056. Fast, fiddle-led (a short steel solo), with Earl on guitar and lead vocal being joined by Audie on harmony duetting chorus.
In October 1954, they joined in Nashville Carl Butler for a long Columbia recording session, and that’s when they cut their best tune ever, the great « Road Of Broken Hearts » – urgent vocal, fine fiddle by Dale Potter, a barely audible Don Helms on steel (Columbia 21421). The same session saw them cut the fine flipside « Seven Year Blues ». Later on (November 1955) they joined Carl Butler (leader) for two religious sides, « Looking Through The Windows Of Heaven » and « Walkin’ In God’s Sunshine » (Columbia 21473). Very nice fast sacred hillbilly.
We found them much, much later (1962/63) on the Nashville Do-Ra-Me label for a far less interesting « My Heart Won’t Let Me Forget », almost pop-country (# 1439).
As usual, comments welcome. You know, these sides are thrown as the best I know today. Indeed they can be rare (they come from my collection or from the net), but it’s the quality that matters !
From the notes to Old Timey LP 126 « Classic Country Duets » and « Early Days Of Bluegrass, vol. 2 » (Rounder 1014, 1976).