Late May 2017 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello Folks ! This is the late May 2017 bopping fortnite’s selection. It begins with a Starday custom disc on the Friendly label [from Milan, TN] (# 853) by RAY BELL : « Yodelin’ catfish blues » [what a title!], which is a cross, in my mind, between Rockabilly and Bopper. Dating from 1960 or even later. No guitar solo. A good song anyway which growns on one’s ears at every listening. Bell had another disc on Queen (obviously distributed by King), but a Jay Miller production: it is a suggestion of a Louisiana recording or at least a link. Same Queen label has a Miller protégé, Katie Webster. So the link may be strong. « Blues tavern » (# 24006, June 1961) is a decent uptempo hillbilly ballad. He also had two “leased” titles on the same date which went unissued at King. 

Yodelin’ catfish bluesfriendly Bell Yodelin'

queen Ray Bluesdownload
Blues tavern

Carl Butler


CARL BUTLER is too well-known, and doesn’t deserve any presentation. Here early in career he adopts a high-pitched vocal, backed by good dobro and banjo. Art Wooten is playing the fiddle for this catchy « No trespassing » from April 1951 on the Capitol label, # 1701.
 “No trespassing

downloadcapîtol Butler  trespassing

Next selection is by three guys (brothers) also well-known, first as the Willis Brothers (led by the eldest of them, James « Guy » Willis) then later as Willis BrothersOKLAHOMA WRANGLERS. They put between 1946 and 54 on line a fine string of Country rockers and hillbilly Boppers. I’ve chosen – an uneasy task – two boppers. First the fast «Hoot howl boogie » from April 1951, issued on RCA 20-4309. Piano accompanying throughout the tune (Vic Willis), nice guitar solo (Guy Willis) over a fiddle part (Skeeter Willis) + two unknowns : steel player and a thudding double-bassist. It has an irressistible beat.

rca Oklahoma Wrangler sHoot

Second song is a program per se : « Hillbilly rhythm » (RCA 20-4848, cut rca Oklahoma Wranglers Hillbilly Rhythm"May 1952). Not as fast as the previous song, it’s excellent all the way. Fiddle part is more prominent, while the brothers sing the refrain in unison. Guy Willis even plays in a style Merle Travis had done famous several years ago. More on the Oklahoma Wranglers in a not too distant future, when I put my hands on biographical details.


Hoot howl boogie


Hillbilly rhythm


MALCOLM PARKER seems to have migrated from Nashville to West coast (or was it the opposite). The first record noticed was on a California label, Mesa 101: a mid-tempo, nice rhythm-guitar and vocal led for « The tears you saved », stylistically from the early ’60s, although the label indicate « Stereo », which may indicate a 1970’s issue: a great record for this era! Then a second issue on Code, a Nashville label (# 301), early ’60s too. It’s a great rocker (piano and great guitar solo) for « Come along with me ». Perhaps different artists with the same name ? I found (but unheard) one side described by its vendor as « hillbilly » , « The panther den/We’re through » on the Bee (location unknown : label too much damaged), on the RootsVinylGuide site, which is usually very helpful. But not this time ! Anyone help us all?

The tears you savedmesa Parker tears


Come along with mecode Parker Come


At last a woman, PATTI LYNN from Detroit, screams her « Same old blues » on Hi-Q 23. A real belting rocker from 1964!

hi-q Lynn bluesSame old blues


illinois Ontario Wiggle

ART ONTARIO is a well-known figure among Rockabilly circles. He had releases on Dixie (« It must be me », # 2019 (Madison, TN) in 1959, then as Art Buchanan, on sparse Dixie regional issues or on Flame during the early ’60s. Now a rare Starday custom, Illinois label (# 725) presents « Wiggle walkin’ boogie ». A great vocal, an insistant lead guitar (solo) over fine inventive drums. A nice record.

Wiggle walkin’ boogie


A jumping little tune now on an Atlanta Leo’s label (# 2016) for BLUEGRASS ERVIN : « I won’t cry alone ». Lots of fiddle (at times, played pizzicato, like a mandolin; at other times, duetting with steel). Steel is great, plus a clever guitar player. A great, great light country-rocker !

leo's Ervin  cry I won’t cry aloneBluegrass Ervin



Finally FREEMAN ERVIN [apparently no connection with the preceding artist] in 1962 for « Living doll » on the Newbury, OH Bryte label # 241. Banjo-led, and high-pitched vocal. Good bopping Bluegrass to finish this issue.

Living dollbrite Freeman Living


Sources: thanks to UncleGil Rockin’ Archives (Oklahoma Wranglers files) ; HillbillyBoogie1 Youtube chain ; RootsVinylGuide for various scans, as 78rpm-world ; BF CD for Carl Butler personal on this session ; RCS for Art Ontario.

Wink Lewis “Zzztt, zzztt, zzztt” – when a Hillbilly goes Rockabilly

You Do the Beedleleedleebop Zzztt Zzztt Zzztt…

wink lewis picturetone lewis zzzzt!


WINK LEWIS w/ BUZ BUSBY & BAND- Zzztt, Zzztt, Zzztt (Tone 1121)


For a very brief period of time in the mid-50s, between stints as a radio DJ in Lufkin and Cameron, Wink Lewis’s voice could be heard over KSNY out of Snyder, Texas. It was from this location that Wink began his Queen record label. Many of the releases on the label were from Big Spring’s Hoyle Nix who was noted by John Ingman as a co-owner of the label.

queen nix daddy
“Real Rockin’ Daddy”


Collectors today are aware of the Queen label because of the tune “Real Rockin’ Daddy” which was released twice by the label, with one version credited to Jay Bob Howdy with Hoyle Nix and His West Texas Cowboys and the rerelease noting the involvement of only Hoyle and his crew. Both feature the same vocal by the song’s co-writer Jay Bob Howdy who was actually Wink Lewis. Few people are aware that the song’s roots, and other co-writer “Miller”, are based in east Texas and Louisiana from whence Wink came. Wink would actually release one single 45 on his own label under his own name featuring a nice honky tonk boogie titled “Low Ball Blues” with backing from Buzz Busby and his Band. It’s Buzz who could probably be given credit for kick-starting the state of Maryland’s fascination with bluegrass music in the 1960s. Not sure how Buzz wound up in West Texas.
“Low Ball Blues”



At some point in early 1956 Wink left KSNY in Snyder and headed east of I-35 to work radio in Cameron, Texas. A few short months later he again recorded with Buzz Busby’s band, this time producing one of the oddest rockabilly tunes ever- “Zzztt Zzztt Zzztt”. The rhythm is almost too much and the lyrics too hep with the result being a country boy just trying too hard and the disc received a lackluster Billboard review in August of 1956.

“Zzzttt Zzztt Zztt”


Allmusicguide’s Eugene Chadbourne mentions “Zzztt” being recorded in Snyder, but unless it was recorded at the same session that produced “Low Ball Blues” and the master carried to Cameron I doubt this. And I doubt it was recorded at the same session. Perhaps the Queen-ette publishing is a homage to Wink’s brief stay in Snyder.

cashbox 29-3-58 lewis

with thanks to Dominique ‘Imperial’ Anglares (The Cashbox, March 29, 1958)

from (August 3rd, 2009)