Saturday, 12 December 2009


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.
Email me!

Label Shot A side courtesy of Terry Gordon
Label Shot B side courtesy of PJ Tricker


Lafayette, IN
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


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, or Arnold Eugene Baynard as he was called.. 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. Baynard was based around South Carolina for most of his life, yet born in Avondale, NC on June 8th 1930. Arnold died on 31st May 2005.(MC)

Label Shots courtesy of Terry Gordon


LUKE GORDON and his Lonesome Drifters
Jul 56 (BMI clearance on 28th Sept 56)
45-577-A - Is It Wrong
(Gordon) (Starrite BMI)
45-577-B - What Can You Do?
(Gordon) (Starrite BMI)

Washington DC Area

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?

Email me!


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.

Email me!

Label Shots courtesy of PJ Tricker.


Washington, DC area
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).

Email me!

Label Shots courtesy of Neil Scott


The Hodges Brothers

Box 101, Osyka, MS
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.

Email me!

Label Shots courtesy of Pascal Perrault


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.

(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


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.
Email me!

Label Shots courtesy of Al Turner.


(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. Around the time of this recording they were performing around Anniston, AL and later appeared on the "All Nite Gospel Singing" Show held at the City Auditorium. Apart from that …. nothing else so far! (MC)
Email me!

Label Shots courtesy of PJ Tricker


Courtesy of Arnold Parker.

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. or

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

Label Shots courtesy of Terry Gordon.


(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)
Email me!

Label Shots courtesy of Terry Gordon.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


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
Email me!


(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)

Email me!

Label Shots courtesy of Neil Scott.