Saturday, 16 April 2011


Conover, NC
May 57   (BMI Clearance on 21st June 1957. Billboard review on 18th August 1957.)
45-629-A - A Home For My Soul
(J Q Deal Jr. / Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)
45-629-B - Heavenly City
(Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)

Lovely far-back-in-the-hills Gospel from what sounds like a white quartet. I can only hear an accoustic guitar being played, no other instruments and no solos. No personnel details, except perhaps the names listed as song writers.

The FAITH label turns up a fair bit later in the series with various addresses. I've wondered if FAITH was the gospel version of the DIXIE label. Can't be sure. (MC)

Label Shots: Phillip Tricker

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Vancouver, WA
May 57   (BMI Clearance on 21st June 1957)
45-628-A - No Place For Me
(Willie Nelson)   (Starrite BMI)
45-628-B - Lumberjack
(Leon Payne)   (Hill and Range BMI)

Willie Nelson was born 30th April 1933 and is by far, one of the most well known artists to cut a disc for the Starday Custom series. After studying music at home, he joined the Bohemian Fiddlers as their singer and guitar player. After graduating from high School in 1950, he joined the Air Force where he was eventually discharged for having back problems. After stints as a musician (he played bass for Ray price) and as a DJ, he signed a contract with pamper Music as a songwriter. He wrote some of the best known country classics, such as "Funny How Times Slips Away", "Hello Walls", and "Crazy".

But back to this little gem. Both sides are dominated by an accoustic guitar (presumably by the man himself) and the vocals have a fair slab of echo added to it, giving it a slight haunting feel. There is a steel guitar nestled in the background - well, almost in the next room to be honest. The flip is okay; a nicely sung cover of a Leon Payne song. But it's the A side that really sticks out. Not sure why, but the clear label shots I have seem blurred when I add them to the site. I'll see if I can get better ones with a higher dpi to replace them.(MC)

Label Shots : Phillip Tricker

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Thursday, 14 April 2011


Before I delve into the next batch of Starday Customs, I wanted to briefly mention this book that has just arrived at Chateau Chapman. Well, it arrived a week ago, but the older I get, the faster time flies.

A history of Starday records is long overdue and it was only a matter of time before somebody tackled this massive undertaking. Andrew Brown reviewed it first on Blogspot and I certainly can't add any more to his excellent review, but there's a brief mention on the Starday Customs set-up and a listing at the back of all the known releases discovered so far, which is why it gets a mention here.

The more I read, the more I know what I didn't know (or as that great peacenik Donald Rumsfeld once said - "There's Known Knowns, Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns"). Certainly, my knowledge of Starday falls into the latter category but now, after reading the first few chapters, I know much more than I ever did. And with every chapter I get what can be called a "Eureka" moment where things fall into place in my tired ol' brain. Nathan's done a fantastic job on unraveling the mysteries of such a prolific label. Lost of info, great photos and a discography that warms the cockles of my heart.

This book is available through Amazon, amongst others. It's almost required reading for anybody interested in Rockabilly, country, Texas Music or just addicted (like most of us I know) to that wonderful Starday sound. And you know, if you don't buy it, well, then you're a fool, y'all! (sorry, been watching the Wire and now I think I'm from East Side Baltimore.) (MC)

Andrew Brown's original review can be read here

Friday, 8 April 2011


May 57   (BMI Clearance on 21st Jun 1957.)
45-627-A - I’m Knocking On The Door (To Your Heart)
(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)
45-627-B - One Life To Live
(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)

I never managed to get the Cattle LP (#87) entitled "The Sweethearts Of The Air Sing Hillbilly Music", so if there's any sleeve notes, I've obviously missed them. The duo appeared on the fliside of a KAY ep, with the other side being two great mumbling rockers from Link Wray.
A side of this disc is a fast hillbilly number with threads of bluegrass influence (probably because of the banjo solo). Nice harmonies from Bob and Cindy. B side is much slower and again has nice harmonies from the duo.
They'll appear later in this series (Starday 688) (MC)

UPDATE 14th Apr 2011

Bob and Cindy Dean were a popular Country and Western team who were based in Elkton, VA and made some stunning records throughout their musical career. Bob was born on the 26th October 1919 in Elkton (Cindy Morris was born December 24th 1924).
Bob’s musical career started in 1956/7 after he found a lead guitar picker, Leon Baxter, with whom he formed a band. Their first job was just a plain beer joint in NW Washington, DC, where they picked their music three nights a week. Through their popular live performances, Bob got a recording deal with DC Records. He remembered that in Virginia there was a good fiddle player, so he got in touch with him and talked over their would-be music venture. His name was Hank Dean and he also sang tenor. (Hank was no relation to Bob). Bob hired Hank and along with Leon, the three of them recorded “Maple On The Hill” and “I’m Sheddin’ Tears Over You” on DC 8049. The sessions took place at the Paragon Studios in Washington, DC.
DC Records were interested in releasing two more sides, as 8049 was selling well locally, thanks in part to Connie B Gay’s radio program “Town And Country Time”, and Bob’s personal appearances. Their next recordings were “Back To Old Smoky Mountain” and “I’ll take Her From The Valley” (DC 4101). By this time, Bob was opening up for acts at the Constitution Hall for Connie, being followed by the likes of T Texas Tyler and the Sons Of The Pioneers.
In 1948, after the death of his father, Bob (and Cindy, who was his wife - the sleeve notes don’t mention how they met) moved to McGaheysville, VA to be with his mother. Bob worked for a while at a chemical plant, but once he was laid off, he decided to get into the music business full time. By now, Cindy was singing along side him. They formed a new band featuring his old school friend Eddie Michael on fiddle and Cindy learned how to play the stand-up bass. Carroll Ray was on electric guitar.
By 1955, Bob and Cindy Dean were winning first prize on a Connie B Gay show with a song entitled “Walk, Walk, Walking Blues”. This track, along with “When You Cross Your Heart” were eventually issued on Ben Aldeman’s KAY label from Washington, DC, with the flip side of the EP being taken up by two manic vocal recordings from Link Wray (“I Sez Baby” / “Johnny Bon Bonny”). According to the sleeve notes, these tracks were recorded in 1955.
How Bob and Cindy found themselves on Starday is a bit of a mystery as it’s not really explained in the sleeve notes. According to the session details listed on the LP, these were recorded in 1958 and their next Starday release (#688) was recorded in December 57. It mentions that a Frank Merica was on banjo at the session and Carroll Ray was still on guitar.
Anyhow, more on the artists when I get to #688. Many thanks to Steve Hathaway for scanning the LP sleeve notes for me. 

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Label shots: Neil Scott


Apr 57   (BMI Clearance on 26th April 1957.)
BILLIE and GORDON HAMRICK with the Low County Gospel Band
45-626-A - Gonna See My Lord Someday
(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)
45-626-B - Jesus Is The Name
(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)

Another slice of Gospel heaven from the talented Billie & Gordon Hamrick.
A side is a torrid Blue Grass / Gospel number with nice harmonies. Very nice banjo solos, accompanied by a fiddle player. B side is slower with a Dobro more to the fore. Perhaps this is my favourite 45 by the artists so far. Almost makes me want to go to church! (except, in England, we'd have no music like this being performed.) (MC)

Label Shots: Phil Tricker

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Shannon, GA
Apr 57   (BMI Clearance on 26th April 1957.)
45-625-A - No One But You
(Painter)   (Starrite)
45-625-B - Whispering Heart
(Painter)   (Starrite)

Sadly, no info on the artist. Nor have I heard either side.  (MC)

Label Shots: Lars Lungren and Kent Heineman
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