Courtesy of Arnold Parker.
STARDAY RECORDS 570
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.