Saturday, 12 December 2009

FAME RECORDS 580



















FAME RECORDS
Box 552, Houston, MS
MACK BANKS and his Drifting Troubadors
Aug 56 (BMI clearance on 21st Nov 56)
45-580-A - You're So Dumb
(M Banks - R Forman) (Starrite BMI)
45-580-B - Be Boppin' Daddy
(M Banks - H Brown) (Starrite BMI)

I could prattle on about this record, but instead I'll let Mack tell you himself ....

"I wrote "You're So Dumb" in 1954 and Houston, MS, USA radio station (WCPC) recorded it with one microphone, Hook Brown (lead guitar), Luther Foreman (standup bass), Charles Rome (fiddle) and me singing and playing rhythm guitar. It was number 1 at WCPC 19 weeks in a row. Dropped to 2 or 3 for a few weeks and back up to number 1 for a total of 26 weeks at number one. It was the number one song of the year in 1956. "Be Boppin' Daddy" was 4 to 6 months behind "You're So Dumb" with Hook Brown (Lead guitar), Luther Foreman (stand up bass), and Tommy Coffee (drums) and me (vocals and rhythm guitar). It was number 1 for 7 weeks. The radio station sent these tapes to Don Pierce at Starday records and released it on Fame Records which I and the radio station owned but never registered the Fame name. My friend Rick Hall of Mussel Shoals, AL picked it up and registered the name about a year later. Collectors Records (White Label Records) of Rotterdam, Holland released 6 songs (including those 2) in the early 70's. I have re-released these songs on cd cut from that same recording on MEB 0019. To my knowledge only 350 of the Fame 580 were pressed."

Both sides are killer rock-a-billy in the highest degree! In fact, the intro to "You're So Dumb" is goose-pimple inducing madness! What a darn fine record! Only 350 pressed! Of course Rick Hall wasn't the only guy to use the FAME Record label - Jimmy Heap's Texan label springs to mind off the top of my head. But then again, nothing matters once you slap this disc onto your turntable.
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Label Shot A side courtesy of Terry Gordon
Label Shot B side courtesy of PJ Tricker

SPACE RECORDS 579












SPACE RECORDS 579
Lafayette, IN
DON COLLINS
Aug 56 (BMI clearance on 2nd Nov 56)
45-579-A - Why Am I Lonely
(Collins) (Starrite BMI)
45-579-B - Too Late To Be Sorry
(Fred Crawford) (Starrite BMI)

Another disc I have not heard of have any info on. Disc from Lafayette, IN. That's about all I can say :-(
Label Shots courtesy of PJ Tricker

STARDAY RECORDS 578



















STARDAY RECORDS 578
COUSIN ARNOLD and his Country Cousins
Jul 56 (Billboard Review on 13th Oct 56)
45-578-A - Heart Of A Fantasy
(B McCraven / A E Baynard) (Starrite BMI)
45-578-B - Sweet Talking Daddy
(A E Baynard) (Starrite BMI)

Second (and at this point in time) final offering from Cousin Arnold. A side is a pleasant enough hillbilly disc, whilst the flip is again bordering on Rock-A-Billy, although this was possibly unintentional. With "Cat Music" hogging more and more of the radio airwaves, these country artists were forced to at least try to be sounding like they were keeping up with the times. (MC)

Label Shots courtesy of Terry Gordon

STARDAY RECORDS 577

STARDAY RECORDS 577
Washington DC Area
LUKE GORDON
Jul 56 (BMI clearance on 28th Sept 56)
HD-577-A - Is It Wrong
(Unknown Credits) (Starrite BMI)
HD-577-B - What Can You Do?
(Unknown Credits) (Starrite BMI)

Not seen or heard this disc as yet. Luke's story can be found under his previous Starday Custom Releases. Still waiting for the Luke story from Dick Grant to materialise. Will I live long enough?


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H&C RECORDS 576













H&C RECORDS 576
Tulsa, OK
AL CLAUSER and his Oklahoma Outlaws
Jul 56 (BMI clearance on 28th Sept 56)
45-576-A - Cloudy Love
(Goldie Hood / T Conrad) (Starrite BMI)
45-576-B - Who's Fooling Who
(Goldie Hood) (Starrite BMI)

Alas, although I have label shots, I have yet to hear either side of the disc. But at least I have some info, courtesy of the excellent and informative sleeve notes on the Bear Family Nashville Hillbilly Box Set. Clauser was first heard of playing with bands in Preoria, IL in the mid twenties and first recorded for ARC Records. He was based most of the time (at this point) around Cincinnati, OH and played on WCKY before relocating to Tulsa, OK, with a stint in Fort Worth, TX. After recording for Bullet Records, he also had releases on Arrow and Skyline from Tulsa. (Anybody got any details on these?). He also launched the recording career of Patti Page.

Backed by his Oklahoma Outlaws, he self released this fine Western Swing / Hillbilly disc on his own H&C label for local promotional purposes. What happened to him after this disc is a mystery to me.


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Label Shots courtesy of PJ Tricker.

STARDAY RECORDS 575



















STARDAY RECORDS 575
Washington, DC area
LUCKY WRAY
45-575-A - What-Cha Say Honey
(C Davis / J Drew / J Williams) (Action Music BMI)
45-575-B - Got Another Baby
(L Wray / Cindy Davis) (Starrite BMI)

Another great hillbilly offering (on the A side) and a chugging, almost threatening rocker on the B side. The B side is certainly a musical highlight in anybody's life. This is the second of 3 45's they had issued on Starday, leaving the best one 'til last (Starday 608).


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Label Shots courtesy of Neil Scott

MISSISSIPPI RECORDS 574



















The Hodges Brothers



















MISSISSIPPI RECORDS 574
Box 101, Osyka, MS
HODGES BROTHERS
Jul 56 (BMI clearance on 28th Sept 56)
45-574-A - I'm Gonna Rock Some Too
(Ruth Thompson) (Starrite BMI)
45-574-B - Because I Loved You So
(Ruth Thompson) (Starrite BMI)

The Hodges Brothers were one of many old time bluegrass / hillbilly bands that lived in a musical time warp deep in the US south. Rediscovered by Chris Strachwitz of the famed Arhoolie Record Co in 1960, their music still harked back to the twenties and thirties before the great depression.

Originally recording for Lillian mcMurray's Trumpet label, rockabilly fans will be more aware of their gut-kicking monster "Honey Talk" on Whispering Pines 201 from Indianapolis, IN .. But recently, this disc appeared out of nowhere and it knocks that disc into the bleachers. A solid arse kicking country bopper with great guitar work and lovely back-in-the-woods vocals.

All three brothers were born and raised in a small rural settlement called Bogue Chitto, MS. Felix (1923-1979) was the fiddler in the brothers band. Ralph (1927-1976) was the guitar / mandolin player and did most of the singing. James (1932-) was the rhythm player. He was still alive in 2003.

Arhoolie brought out an LP of material they recorded for Chris and in 2003 they reissued it as a CD with extra tracks, including a never and stonkin' recut of "I'm Gonna Rock Some Too". Oh, Lord - I think I've died and gone to Heaven! I have included a photo of the Brothers taken from the CD with Arhoolie's address at the bottom in case you good people want to purchase this fine CD. Alas, the Mississippi disc is not included on the CD plus there's no story on how they came to record this disc or who financed it. But I'm off to Arhoolie Records in April so if Chris is there, perhaps I can update this page when I get back.

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Label Shots courtesy of Pascal Perrault

















MARYLAND RECORDS 573

















Attached photo is of Lucky Chapman and Band(L-R) *Paul Chaney, Carroll Harbaugh, Steve Harbaugh, Lucky Chapman. Taken at Joe Bussards Studio , Fleming Ave, Frederick, Maryland.
















MARYLAND RECORDS 573
(No Address - Artist based in Frederick, MD)
LUCKY CHAPMAN and the Ozark Mountain Boys
Jul 56 (BMI clearance on 21st Sept 56)
45-573-A - I've Waited So Long
(Lucky Chapman) (Starrite BMI)
45-573-B - Blue Grass
(John Duffy) (Starrite BMI)

Lucky Chapman came from Frederick, Maryland - moved to Florida in the 1960's - died around the late 60's. Other info: The band re-cut the side 'Bluegrass' on the Fonotone label, which Joe Bussard owned - it was cut down in Joe's basement on July 26, 1959 - the flip side being the Bill
Monroe classic 'Put My Little Shoes Away' (Fonotone 617) Lucky Chapman - guitar; *Bill Berry -
mandolin; John Duffey - mandolin. The band were working out of WFTR, Royal, VA in 1951, where Frank Esworthy was the bass player. The band cosisted of Lucky, Frank (???) & Bill Poffinberger at this time.
B-573 is an instrumental featuring John Duffy on mandolin. The B side was reissued on STARDAY EP-258.
The Maryland issue was cut down in Lucky Chapman's basement - when they received, and listened to the record, they were not happy with the sound - Joe says that Lucky Chapman said that they wished they had cut the sides at Joe's.
*Paul Chaney, *Bill Berry: They were Bill & Paul The Bluegrass Travelers - who cut an EP on Dixie 981 (Doin' My Time, Bluegrass Hop, Change Of Heart, Cumberland Valley Special)
Bill Berry was killed over at Brunswick, when coming out of an exit his car was hit by another.
They also cut a record on their own Traveler label: 'Banjo Stretch'/'Cherished Memories' (Traveler 500), cut at Joe Bussard's Studio.


Label Shots and photo courtesy of John Burton.

Friday, 11 December 2009

BIG STATE RECORDS 572



















BIG STATE RECORDS 572
No. 8 Manchester Road, Wichita Falls, KS
JACK FROST and his Band
Jul 56 (BMI clearance on 3rd Aug 56)
45-572-A - There Is No Tomorrow
(Ken Blackridge) (Starrite BMI)
45-572-B - Crying My Heart Out
(Ken Blackridge) (Starrite BMI)

No knowledge about Jack Frost and his Band. Both sides are western swing, like an early Texas Playboys with trumpet, guitar, fiddle - the whole nine yards of western swing sophistication. The B side is the better of the two in my opinion but they are kind of similar so it's hard to chose on from the other.
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Label Shots courtesy of Al Turner.

ALABAMA GOSPEL RECORDS 571












ALABAMA GOSPEL RECORDS 571
(Unknown Location)
THE TOM HARMON TRIO (Pno Acc: by Dan Garrett)
Jun 56 (BMI clearance on 3rd Aug 56)
45-571-A - I'd Like To Know
(T Harmon) (Starrite BMI)
45-571-B - God's Miracles
(T Harmon - J T Clark) (Starrite BMI)

Pleasant Gospel Music, spoilt perhaps by the "recorded at home" sound quality of the disc. Who ever the female vocalist is, her voice cuts through everybody else's efforts. More from this Trio later on. (MC)
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Label Shots courtesy of PJ Tricker

STARDAY RECORDS 570




















Courtesy of Arnold Parker.





















STARDAY RECORDS 570
Cuerco, TX
ARNOLD PARKER and the Southernairs
Jun 56 (BB review on 4th Aug 56 & 17 Nov 56)
45-570-A - People Laugh At A Fool
(A Parker - W Adams) (Starrite BMI)
45-570-B - Find A New Woman
(W Adams - J Hill) (Starrite BMI)

Arnold was born on January 25th 1936 in Cuerco, TX and has been singing since standing up in his local church and belting out a song as a small child. Once Arnold graduated from high school, he became the featured vocalist for a popular dance band called The Southernaires, playing mainly around the south Texas area.

With regards to the record above, I'm gonna let Arnold do the talking - well - writing - which he sent to me by email a few days ago:

"The musicians on the record were the exact 8 piece band that we had in the 1950s. The intro and the second guitar lead is Ken Williams. The first guitar lead is Jack Hill who actually wrote "Find a New Woman". We recorded this at ACA Studios in Houston, Texas in 1956. Walter Adams was my so called manager at the time and he set up the recording and handled everything. I don't remember the exact amount but I know we got quite a few copies to begin with and then went back and got more later. Radio stations in Texas and some in Louisiana played the song and we did perform it live quite a bit on our dance jobs. I also made some trips around to a number of radio stations plugging the record. There were a couple of local stations that conducted a weekly hit parade and the record showed up in the top 10 on those."

I've never heard the A side. But the flip is one of the best, killer Rock-A-Billy records ever pressed on Starday - some achievement when you think they also issued Sonny Fisher, Truitt Forse, Bob Doss and many, many others. When I first heard this disc I was absolutely speechless! (I forgot to play the flip as I was still in shock). Parts of the solo has an almost western-swing - twin guitar feel to it but it's the biting intro and end part of the solo that gets my heart a-pounding. Arnold's got one of those voices which can make a plain country record great and effortlessly slip into RaB without almost no effort at all! (His Sarg recordings are also darn good, although not as great as this disc - but that's just my musical bias coming to the fore.) Plus, his email clears up whether it was Hal Harris on guitar. It sure sounded like him, but obviously it isn't. Billboard described this disc as follows: (17 Nov 56) "A side - Wistful warbling on an appealing weeper" B side - " Parker sells a bouncy rock and roller with verve and good beat" Understatement of the year! In Dec of that year, it also mentions that he had joined the deejay staff at KULP, El Campo, TX. Again, in BB, on the 4th August, it mentions the members of the Southernaires. (see BB advert).

About the same time as the recording, Arnold and the band made their first appearance on the Louisiana Hayride. (He also met Elvis Presley here and discussed Arnolds home-made shirt his mother had made for him.) In Feb 57, he met the love of his life - Jeanette Catherine Wendt in El Campo, TX and 3 months later he left the band and got married. The early 60's finds him in Victoria, TX and he was fronting a band called The Mustangs and recording for Charlie Fitch's Sarg Records. (He had recorded with the Sarg label before this disc too.) He continued playing until 1973 when he decided to spend more time with his family. But, as the music bug seems to linger in all true musicians, even today he steps up on stage and belts out a country tune and the odd RaB number for the crowd. Perhaps I need to get myself to Texas :-) Arnold also recorded for Wildcat Records.

It was a thrill to hear from Arnold. It's not often you can tell someone how great their record is 50 years on. Arnold has his own web site which the link can be found below. He was also inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1999.

www.arnoldparker.com or www.rockabillyhall.com/ArnoldParker

Lord, I feel privileged. (MC / A Parker / Neil Scott / Nate Gibson)

Label Shots courtesy of Terry Gordon.

STARDAY RECORDS 569



















STARDAY RECORDS 569
(Artist located in Rock Hill, SC at time of release.)
COUSIN ARNOLD and his Country Cousins
Jun 56 (BMI clearance on 20th Jul 56)
45-569-A - Be My Baby, Baby Doll
(A E Baynard) (Starrite BMI)
45-569-B - What is Life To You
(A E Baynard - Glenn Martin) (Starrite BMI)

Billboard reveals that Cousin Arnold is one Arnold E Baynard who was the commercial manager of WTYC, Rock Hills, SC (Summer 56). BB mentions that Arnold and his band are " ... new to the South Carolina area and are doing a weekly half-hour sponsored show over WTYC. They were also doing a weekly bard dance at a lodge in Rock Hill. (I have no idea where they were before this, dated 13 Aug 55. I should also mention that the snippet of info was fed to Billboard by Baynard, who seems to have neglected to mention at the time that he was in fact the artist in question.) By Nov 55 he was also doing "Day Break In Dixie" which was a 6:00 - 6:30 am segment in addition to his 1:00 - 2:00 over the same radio station. It also mentions he has penned two songs "Be My Love" & "If I Were A Millionaire" which he 's trying to get recorded. Did he ever record these? Anyhow, by the summer of 56, he'd recorded the two tracks above and had them shipped to Starday for a pressing run of 300 copies.

The A side is a jolly old hillbilly song with a banjo as the main instrumental. It's a bit of a "sermon" rather than an actual song, but pleasant enough I guess. Flip side is a torrid Country / Rock-A-Billy cross over which flies along at a fast pace. Good guitar and steel throughout with that rather annoying banjo threatening to take over at the slightest provocation. (Sorry, I'm not a huge banjo fan.) Marvelous stuff indeed! (MC)
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Label Shots courtesy of Terry Gordon.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

MOONLIGHT RECORDS 568













MOONLIGHT RECORDS
Box 745, Waycross, GA
CARL TANNER and IVENA BUCKINS and the Southern Pine Boys
Jun 56 (BMI clearance on 20th July 56)
45-568-A - Together You And Me
(Tanner) (Starrite BMI)
45-568-B - We're In Love
(Tanner / Buckins) (Starrite BMI)

A second offering from Carl, this time supported by one Ivena Buckins. A side is a slow hillbilly disc with sawing fiddles and Carl & Ivena take turns in singing portions of the song. Ivena's voice is a little flat here and there - (in fact, Carl struggles a little too - almost like the key is slightly too low for him to sing in.). The flip side is taken at a breath-taking tempo, with both singers sound much more comfortable with the song. The band cook up a storm throughout this side. (MC)

Label Shots courtesy of PJ Tricker
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STARDAY RECORDS 567



















STARDAY RECORDS 567
(Artist from Tampa FL at time of release.)
FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchers
Jun 56 (BMI clearance on 20th Jul 56)
45-567-A - Go On And Be Carefree
(Gene Rutland) (Starrite BMI)
45-567-B - What Is It (That I'm Too Young To Know)
(Gene Rutland) (Starrite BMI)

By the time Frank came around to recording another disc for Starday (albeit on the custom series), he had organised his own backing band - the Top Notchers. The band were Arnold Newman (ld gtr), Roland Newman (fdl), Pip Studenberg (bs) and Colin Thomas (Stl gtr - who doesn't appear on this disc). The drummers name is long forgotten. This was recorded at WHBO in Tampa FL.

The A side is a pleasant enough hillbilly disc, but it's the flip side that catches your attention. Taken at a fast clip, this has an almost "bluegrass" feel to it. Pretty cool stuff for a bunch of youngsters!

More from Frank later on in the series. (MC/Al Turner / PJ Tricker / Andrew Brown (Interview for Hillbilly Researcher No. 24)

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Label Shots courtesy of Neil Scott.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

MOVIE CRAFT RECORDS 566

MOVIE CRAFT 566
930 West 7th Place, Los Angeles 17, CA
ROD BURTON - Moviecraft Orchestra
ROD BURTON and GWEN REYNOLDS - Moviecraft Orchestra
Jun 56
566-A - I'd Like To Be A Baby Sitter
(Morris-Gerard) (Golden State Songs BMI)
566-B - "I'm Dolling You Up For" Somebody Else
(Morris-Gerard) (Golden State Songs BMI)

The only info we had on this disc was a black acetate. No labels, no info, just the info in the dead wax. Now, after close to 20 years, here at last is the disc! I'm not going to pretend I know too much about the song-poem legacy of some artists, but Rod Burton's name crops up occasionally on obscure labels from God-Knows-Where. If there's anybody out there that can fill in some details on him, I'd be more than willing to add it. 


As for the music, I'm just waiting for the MP3s to arrive to compare them to the acetate (Just in case they're a little different) and I'll be able to tell you more. Well, probably not MUCH more, but just enough.


A huge thanks to Toms Sims who found a copy of the disc.
Feel free to Email me! with any other info on the label or artist.






Tom Sims




Tom Sims

STARDAY RECORDS 565

STARDAY RECORDS 565
(artist based in Quincy, KY)
LUKE GORDON and his Lonesome Drifters
May 56 (BMI clearance on 15th Jun 56)(Recorded Apr 56)
ST-565-A Big New Dance
(L Gordon) (Starrite BMI)
ST-565-B Just Doin' What's Right
(Unknown Credits) (Starrite BMI)

Another fine offering by the excellent Luke Gordon. The A side (to me) fully embraces the new music style that was frequently pushing aside country music at the time, whilst staying true to his musical roots. The band once again are excellent. Once again, Luke ventured to Ben Adelman's cool little studio on Cedar Street in Washington DC to record these tracks. I haven't heard the flip side as yet, nor have I seen the record. (MC)

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STARDAY RECORDS 564






























STARDAY RECORDS 564
 (Possibly a Tennessee Artist)
TEX DIXON
May 56 (BMI clearance on 15th Jun 56)
45-564-A - Your Lovin' Lies
(Jimmie Atkins / Walter Dickey) (Starrite BMI)
45-564-B - I'm Just Feeling Sorry For Myself
(Jimmie Atkins / Walter Dickey) (Starrite BMI)

Although I pretty much know almost nothing about this artist, he was pretty prolific during the 50's and early 60's. His real name was Walter Dee Dickey and he recorded under the name Mason Dixon for Reed Records, Walter Dixon on Erwin Records and Tex Dixon on this release and also on Zone and Stompertime Records from Memphis, TN. He was a regular on the Dixie Hayride (Florence, AL). Walter was blessed with a voice that could do stone-cold country and Rock-A-Billy in a blink of an eye. Both tunes here were co-wrote by Jimmie Atkins, an artist she shared billing with on a 45rpm on Alfa Records. Both sides represented here are similar, heartbreaking hillbilly songs with steel guitar being the main instrument.

According to Martin Hawkins, (who wrote the excellent sleeve notes for the ACE CD "The Complete Meteor Recordings" (ACE CDCH2 885)),the Mason Dixon who recorded for Meteor Records ("Don't Worry 'Bout Nuthin'" / "I'll Never fall Out Of Love With You") was Merle "Red" Taylor and not the above artist. They sound pretty similar to me and if I hadn't read the CD booklet I'd have presumed they were the same guy. As an added thread of confusion, Red also appeared on the Dixie Hayride, although under his real name. (MC/ Al Turner / Terry Gordon / CD sleeve notes by Martin Hawkins.)

Label Shots courtesy of Al Turner. Artist Photo courtesy of Terry Gordon.
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STARDAY RECORDS 563



















STARDAY RECORDS 563
HOYT SCOGGINS and the Saturday Nite Jamboree Boys
May 56 (BMI clearance on 15th Jun 56)
45-563-A Why Did We Fall In Love
(Scoggins) (Starrite BMI)
45-563-B Tennessee Rock
(Scoggins) (Starrite BMI)

Having not heard the A side, I make up for it with having the B side all lined up for me to swoon over. Not the usual gospel stuff, just a clear stab at breaking into this new fangled "Cat Music." He sounds a little unsure of himself while he's wailing away at this type of music but it's a winner of a song. Band provide good support (as Billboard would say). (MC)

Label Shot courtesy of Terry Gordon.
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GIBSON RECORDS 562













GIBSON RECORDS 562
(No Location)
KING STERLING
May 56 (Billboard review on 9th Jun 56. BMI Clearance on 15th Jun 56)
45-HD-562-A - Slippin' Out - Stealing In
(R L Blythe / J M Alstatt) (Starrite BMI)
45-HD-562-B - Alone, Lonesome And Blue
(R L Blythe / J M Alstatt) (Starrite BMI)

Apparently, this artist became Sterling Blythe who recorded for Sage & Sand (can anybody confirm this?) A quick trawl through Billboard magazines found a few titbits on this artist. He was signed up to the KWKH Artist Services Bureau, run by Horace Logan, (booking mgr of the Louisiana Hayride), and around Feb 57 he was listed as one of the Hayride's personnel. By March 57 he was also appearing over KRBB (El Dorado, AR) on the King's Corrall Show. By then, he'd managed to get on the Starday main series with "What Will The Answer Be" / "Not Much" (#298) which was reviewed by Billboard on the 3rd of June that year. (They described the A side as a ..."highly effective weeper."

That description pretty much described the A side of this disc as well. Sterling's got a nice voice for these kind of songs, a little like Werly Fairburn in places. Flipside is a mid-tempo hillbilly number with nice steel and lead guitar with fiddle filling up the spaces behind the vocals. (I especially like the slight miss-fingering by the guitarist on the solo - makes my many mistakes with the Bandidos seem slightly less significant. Doesn't stop the guys yelling abuse at me when I make them though :-) (MC / Neil Scott)

Label Shots courtesy of PJ Tricker.
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STARDAY RECORDS 561



















STARDAY RECORDS 561
JIMMY JOHNSON
May 56 (BMI clearance on 18th May 56)
45-561-A - Woman Love
(Jack Rhodes) (Central Songs BMI)
45-561-B - All Dressed Up
(J Rhodes / D Carter / D Nalls) (Starrite BMI)

Born in 1930 in Smith County, Jimmy Johnson played guitar, fiddle and sang in Jack Rhodes Ramblers (sometimes known as the Lone Star Buddies). Whilst appearing on RD Hendon's Western Jamboree Club in Houston, he was approached and offered a recording contract by Solomon Kahal, who owned the local Freedom label. ("Salt Your Pillow Down" being recognised as a classic example of East Texas honky-tonk/hillbilly.) After a couple of sessions, Jack Rhodes got him signed up for Columbia records where he recorded some great tunes ("Eternity" & "Mama Loves Papa" being the best of the bunch.) Then the Korean war came along and Jimmy was drafted. He came back a changed man, haunted by what he experienced on that war torn peninsula. He married Billie Jo Spear's sister (Betty Lou), had three children and worked for a local oil drilling company, with all the hopes of cashing in on his Columbia recording contract fading rapidly.

Like Jerry Hanson, Jimmy was frequently found recording at Jack Rhodes's motel in Mineola, TX. For the session (recorded probably in March 56), Jimmy sang and played lead guitar, his wife on rhythm and Leon Hayes played an upright bass. Jack Rhodes mailed copy tapes to Cliffie Stone who had acetates made up for Ken Nelson, A&R supremo for Capitol Records. Whilst impatiently waiting for Ken to put the record out by somebody - hell, ANYBODY, Jack got 300 copies pressed up by Starday, who put it out on their custom series instead of on their main series (where, in my opinion, it belonged). "Woman Love" was eventually recorded by Gene Vincent, although it was "Be-Bop-A-Lula" that became the hit, which brought in some nice royalty checks for Rhodes.

Johnson recorded many demos for Jack Rhodes but quickly faded from musical history. (Some of these demos appear on the ACE CD "Gene Vincent Cut Our Songs" (ACD CDCHD 1018). He passed away on Jan 8th 1980.

"Woman Love" is a brooding shuffler with Jimmy's deep and urgent vocals grabbing most of the attention. "All Dressed Up" is the faster side (but not by much) with Leon & Betty Lou joining in on the choruses. Quite why Jimmy didn't go on to cut more records with that great voice of his is beyond me really. Still, I suppose cutting one of the most famous "Starday Customs" is something worth being remembered for. For a fuller (and better written I might add) history of this artist, go to www.pinegrovepress.com and look out for "Taking Off - Musical Journeys In The Southwest And Beyond" by Andrew Brown - an essential read for anybody remotely interested in the music from this musically fertile part of the US. (MC / PJ Tricker / Al Turner / Rob Finnis / Andrew Brown)

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Label Shots courtesy of Neil Scott.



Monday, 23 November 2009

STARDAY RECORDS 560




















STARDAY RECORDS 560
JERRY HANSON
May 56 (BMI clearance 15 Jun 56)
45-560-A - Cry
(Jack Rhodes / Jerry Hanson) (Starrite BMI)
45-560-B - I'm Doing All Right
(Jack Rhodes / Jerry Hanson) (Starrite BMI)

Unlike most of the artists who had a Starday Custom disc, I have a bushel of info on Jerry, mainly due to the excellent sleeve notes by Wayne Russell written for the Ace CD "Starday / Dixie Rockabilly Vol1" (Ace CDCHD 704). In 1954, he was appearing on the "Western Star Serenade" Hillbilly show out of Tyler, TX and somehow ended up at Jack Rhodes cozy little hotel out of Mineola, TX, where he probably cut these sides. Sometime later (or even perhaps earlier), Jerry cut a faster take which languished on the shelves until it was issued on "Gene Vincent Cut Our Songs" (ACE CDCHD 1018). (By the way, both CD's mentioned here are "Must Have In My Collection" musical quality about them!)

"Cry" is a nice song, more country than anything else and Jerry and Jack Rhodes were hoping to pitch it to a good and known country singer through Capitol Records. "I'm Doing All Right", on the other hand is a tight, moody rockabilly classic with a threadbare feel, fronted by Hanson's assured vocals. (I prefer this to the faster unissued cut which seems to lack the passion of the 45.) Although I can hear quite a few artists covering "Cry", Jerry OWNS the B side and I can't quite imagine anyone else covering the song as well as Hanson does.

Hanson later appears on Ed Manney's Bluebonnet & Manco labels (Both are good vocally, especially the Bluebonnet 45) and on Colpix (which I haven't heard yet.). And then ..... he disappears into thin air as far as I'm concerned. (MC / PJ Tricker / Al Turner / Neil Scott / Wayne Russell / Rob Finnis)





Label Shots courtesy of Neil Scott (who almost blew a blood vessel when he finally secured a copy.)