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Preview: Country Music, Rockabilly & Hillbilly

Mellow's Log Cabin

Blog about good ol' country music, cool rockabilly and old-time

Updated: 2018-03-16T16:41:51.936+01:00


Fuller Todd on King


Fuller Todd - Old Fashioned (King 45-5048), 1957 I first spotted Fuller Todd as the co-writer of some Marlon Grisham songs on Cover years ago. I wondered who was hiding behind this name since information on him was scarce and what his connection to Grisham was. Recently, I decided it was time to purchase his orginal records and began to research the story of Todd.Fuller Todd was born on March 26, 1935, in Holly Springs, Mississipi, to Maud Franklin and Mamie (Gardner) Todd. Todd came from the same region as Charlie Feathers, who was born three years earlier in Slayden near Holly Springs. Todd attended Central Millington High School and graduated from there 1953. Like fellow Mississipian Charlie Feathers, Todd eventually moved to Memphis and by ca. 1955, played in a band with Jody Chastain and Jerry Huffman. The band performed on local radio KWEM but by January 1956, both Chastain and Huffman had joined Charlie Feathers' band. Todd's career in music seems to have followed the path of Feathers' career astonishing closely. Feathers had recorded country singles at Sun Records before 1956 but was rejected as a rockabilly singer by Sam Phillips. Todd also auditioned at Sun but was turned down by Phillips, too. Todd, like Feathers, was then spotted by Louis Innis, King Records executive in Cincinnati, Ohio.Todd remembered his auditon for King vividly and was cited by Jon Hartley Fox in his book "King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records" as follows: "When I went there, there were about six or seven others besides me. So Louis Innis had me do my thing while he walked around the room listening. He came right up close, putting his ear against my mouth, just checking out my voice. I was the only one signed that day."While Feathers already made his first recording session for King in August 1956, Todd was eventually invited by King for a session in Nashville on March 25, 1957. Four songs were cut that day and King chose "Proud Lady - Heart Stealer" / "Old Fashioned" for Todd's debut on the label, released ca. in April 1957 (King #5048). A rather strange release came into existence when King supplied Todd's recordings of "Young Hearts are True" and "Real True Love" for an Armed Forces Radio & Television 16 tracks LP that also contained songs by Brenda Lee, Carlson's Raiders, Eddie Fisher, and Perry Como. These LPs were intended for overseas usage to entertain the troops.A second session was arranged for Todd on January 12, 1958, this time at King's own recording studio on Brewester Avenue in Cincinnati. The product was the single "Top Ten Rock" b/w "Jeanie Marie" (King #5111). The latter was eventually covered by Trini Lopez, also on King. Left in the vaults from the second session were "Cuddle Up" and "You Baby." A good batch of the recorded song material was self-composed by Todd.However, none of Todd's singles charted and King dropped him in 1958. Contrary to Feathers, who had shared Todd's fate so far, Todd did not pursue a career as a recording artist afterwards. He linked with another Memphis performer after that, Marlon Grisham, and wrote or co-wrote "Sugarfoot" and "Teenage Love" (both recorded by Grisham for Cover Records). He also penned a few songs with Jody Chastain, including "Dreamer" and "Tomorrow We'll Know" (the latter recorded by Ramon Maupin for Memphis in 1961). Besides, Todd composed several more songs, which are registered with BMI.Todd kept music as a hobby and held down a regular day job. He frequently appeared at the Strand Theater in Millington, Tennessee, with befriended musicians on Saturday nights for years. Fuller Todd died on July 16, 2015, at the age of 80 years. He was buried at Memphis Memorial Gardens. Billboard May 13, 1957, C&W reviewBillboard September 23, 1957 C&W reviewBillboard February 10, 1958, pop review DiscographyKing 45-5048: Proud Lady-Heart Stealer / Old-Fashioned (ca. April 1957)King 45-5075: Young Hearts are True / Real True Love (ca. September 1957)King 45-5111: Jeanie Marie / Top Ten Rock (ca. January 1958) Armed Forces Radio & Television[...]

Tombigbee Records


Tombigbee Records was located on Pontotoc, Mississippi, a city a little west of Tupelo, and not too far away from Memphis, Tennessee, either. The name of the label derived from the Tombigbee River near Pontotoc. The name itself was of Native American heritage, from the people of the Choctaw to be exact.The owner(s) of Tombigbee are unknown to me as well as other details. The exact adress of TomBigBee was at Box 390 Pontotoc. Danny Walls, a recording artist for the label in his own right, was active as a producer and songwriter for the label on several occasions and was probably involved in running this label. Stan Kesler also co-produced at least two records - so is there a Memphis connection?The artists recording for Tombigbee were to all accounts local singers and bands. Jimmy Wages, a Tupelo native, also had recorded for Sun in Memphis earlier. Travis Bell was also a Mississippi based artist. James Mask, another Memphis based singer who was born 1932 in Pontotoc, cut a great cover of the Rocky Bill Ford song "Beer Drinking Daddy." Mask had previously recorded for different labels including Bandera from Chicago and small Memphis labels. Does anyone have more information on this label?100:101: Houston (Bob) Mills - The Early Morning D.J. / The Turn the Lights Out Down at Joe's (1966)102: Jimmy Wages and the Tune Mates - Biggest Man Around / Right in the Middle103: Jerry Pitts & Rhyhtm Makers - Big Ole Highway / Come On Home104: Bob Mills - Crazy About a Honky Tonk / I'll Come Back Crying105: Jerry Pitts & his Rhythm Makers (with the Itawambains) - Jet Age Santa / Let the Kids Spend This Christmas with Me106:107: Jerry Pitts & his Rhythm Makers - I Ain't Had Time to Quit / A Pencil and a Bottle108: Robert Mills - I'm Doin' Fine / Deborah Aycock - Looking for a Brand New Start109: Deborah Aycock - That Don't Buy Your Baby No Candy / Danny Walls - A Woman's Kiss / Robert Mills - Trying to Find My Way Back Home / What They Said You Would Do110: Danny Walls - I Got a Woman / ?111: James Mask - Beer Drinking Daddy / Smokey Ole Bar Room 112:113: Pete Doles & the Young Inspiration - Yes Indeed / I Believe / ? / ?114: Robert Mills - The Farmers Prayer / When He Calls115: Travis Bell - My Son at College / Married Life116: Jerry McCoy - "Tell Them Mary" You Love Me Like I am / Asking for the BluesThanks to Bayou Bum and Bob [...]

Merry Christmas Baby


Chuck Berry - Merry Christmas Baby (Chess 1714), 1958

Here's the flip side to the "Run Rudolph Run" post featured earlier this month. Chess followed its usual pattern and coupled a top-notch high tempo rock'n'roll song and a slower tune by Berry. I really like it when Berry throws in a bit of "White Christmas" on his guitar.

Enjoy this one and everybody have a nice Christmas season and a happy new year!

Run Rudolph Run


Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run (Chess 1714), 1958 

To spread the Christmas spirit, here we have the most rockinest Christmas tune you'll probably get to hear by one of the greatest rock and roll musicians of all time, the late Chuck Berry. "Run Rudolph Run" was released on the Chess label in November 1958, just in time for the Christmas season. Enjoy!

Billy Price on CMC


Billy Price and the Drifters - Two Different Worlds (CMC 745C-0932), 1968

Billy Price must have been a big Hank Williams fan, since he chose to cut two of the Drifting Cowboy's old numbers, "Two Different Worlds" and "You Win Again." Price's nasal voice seems to fit quite good to these songs and despite his limited singing abilities, the recordings come out quite enjoyable (mainly because of the background band, another reference to Williams).

Another discl from the chaotic numbered CMC label, owned by Dan Craft in West Memphis, Arkansas. See also CMC discography on Arkansas 45rpm Records.

The Story of Jack Rivers


Western Swing, Texas Tornadoes, and Rainier Beer - The Story of Jack RiversA steady performer from the 1930s until the 1960s, Jack Rivers is not exactly a household name in country music history. Although he left behind a wealth of recordings - solo and as part of background bands - he never found much acclaim outside western swing lovers and historians. Born Rivers Lewis on December 16, 1917, he was the half-brother of James "Texas Jim" Lewis. Their father, James Augusta Lewis (born 1888 in Ochlocknee, Georgia; died 1978 in Tampa, Florida) first married Elizabeth Malissa "Betty" Lisenby, who gave birth to Jim in 1909. When his first wife died in 1916, James Augusta wed an unknown woman, who was the mother of Rivers and Madelyn Jo Lewis. The couple, however, divorced again and James Augusta married a third time, Lillian Baines May.James Augusta Lewis was a US Marshal and an old-time fiddler, so the Lewis family was musically inclined. In 1919, when Rivers Lewis was about two years old, his father moved the family to Fort Myers, Florida. Given that Rivers was born in 1917, it seems probable he was born still in Georgia. By 1928, his falf-brother Jim had left Florida for Texas, where he began his career as a singer and soon earned his nickname "Texas Jim." In the meantime, the Lewis family had moved to Detroit, where Rivers began his professional career as a musician. The exact point when he started out his unclear, however. Rivers stated that he began appearing in Detroit with a mouth harp player named Bob Richardson. He claimed it was 1932, when he was twelve years old, which must be incorrect. Since Rivers was born in 1917, he either began his career in 1929 or he was already around 14 years old. Rivers later remembered this time: "[...] we were making $ 5.00 each night we played. The places would be raided and the police would get me out the back door with 'don't ever let me catch you here again!'" Around 1930, his brother Jim had also moved to Detroit and both joined forces and began singing together around Detroit. They founded a band with Kenneth Mills on fiddle and Eugene "Smokey" Rogers (with whom Rivers had performed earlier) on banjo with Rivers, nicknamed "Jack," on guitar and Lewis probably on guitar and vocals. The quartet played rough bars and clubs around Detroit and also had a 15 minutes radio show on WMBC. Rivers' father moved the family to Toledo, Ohio, eventually, where Rivers didn't found as much work in clubs as before in Detroit. He took a job with a local Hawaiian group and gave some music lessons at the Honolulu Conservatory of Music. At the age of 16, Rivers moved to Middletown, Ohio, where he worked as a truck driver. However, his employment there didn't last too long as his parents had earned him a spot at local Toledo radio station WSPD as a member of Roy Smith's band. The group also worked at a local club at night. Brother Jim had stayed in Detroit but was living in New York City by 1936. He had founded his first own band, Texas Jim Lewis and the Lone Star Cowboys, and recorded his first session for the American Record Corporation that same year. On this first session, Rivers was not part of that group. As band mate Smokey Rogers seeked for a more solid and quiet living, Rivers replaced him in the group and moved to New York. There, he performed steadily with his brothers group over radio and such places as the Village Barn.He changed his name legally to "Jack Rivers" but it is unknown at which point this ocurred. The popularity of the Lone Star Cowboys increased and through their appeatances, the group eventually ended up in California. On August 23, 1940, Lewis and his band were back in the studio, this time in Los Angeles for Decca Records. Part of the line-up was also Rivers as a guitarist - it was his first recording session. Rivers recorded with the Lone Star Cowboys well into 1942. Their last session took place on July 23 in Los Angeles. Texas J[...]

WIBC Jamboree


The Daily Banner,December 1942 Indiana had many local live stage shows broadcasting from various places in the state. The show aired on WIBC, Indianapolis, and proved to be extremely popular with the station's listeners. The Jamboree was one of the earlier shows of its type.WIBC started its Jamboree program in the early 1940s, possibly in 1940 or 1941. It was, however, on the air as early as December 1942. The show's cast included mostly singers and musicians who were working at WIBC plus country music stars of the day added to the line-up frequently. For example, in February 1944 Ernest Tubb and Pee Wee King appeared on the Jamboree. By 1944, famous radio and recording artist Hugh Cross was the emcee of the show.The Jamboree did not only had its regular Saturday night stint in Indianapolis but also staged shows during the week from different places around Indianapolis. The show was held from such places at the Tomlinson Hall, the Armory, and the Keith Theatre (all Indianapolis) or the Cloverdale High School in Cloverdale, Indiana. The show was on air at least until the summer of 1945.The list of the cast members of the WIBC Jamboree is long and surely, there are names on it that many will recognize. Many of the singers also appeared on several other stations and stage shows.The Daily Banner, Greencastle, Ind.November 13, 1944• Hugh Cross, emcee• Judy Perkins• Linda Lou Martin• Rufe Davis• The Utah Trailors• Vern Morgan• Cal Fortune• Casey Clarke• Curly Baker• Blue Mountain Girls• Quarntine, comedy character• Chick Holstine• Emmy Lou• Lazy Ranch Boys• Byron Taggart• Bud Bailey and his Down Easters• Harpo and Tiny• Marion Martin• The Haymakers• Prairie Pioneers• Curly Miller, emcee• Bill Haley and the Saddlemen• Bobby Cook and his Texas Saddle Pals• Fiddlin' Red Herron[...]

KTAN live show


In 1958, radio station KTAN of Sherman, Texas, aired a Saturday afternoon live country music show. Billboard mentions this program in a February 3, 1958, article but mentions not the name of the show. Tiny Colbert, popular band leader in West Texas, hosted the show from the KTAN studios. The cast was made up mainly of local singers and musicians.

Colbert, described by Billboard as a "barefooted tap dancer heard on Warrior Records," had been around in Texas for some time. He fronted a band already in 1954 that performed in the Odessa and Lamesa areas and at one time also inlcuded Eddie Miller and Durwood Haddock. Colbert and his band also recorded several discs for Bluebonnet Records.

Frank Gilreath on Torino


Frank Gilreath and the Southern Swingsters - Homesick for Home (Torino 45-1052, 1969)

There are a couple of Frank Gilreaths in the United States and a quick search did not turn up anything particular on this special Frank Gilreath here. Reading the name of his band, the Southern Swingsters, one may expect a western swing outfit, which it is not, of course. Both songs are straight mainstream country cuts.

Torino was one of the many custom labels operated by Style Wooten in Memphis.

Read more:
Torino Records Discography
The Ballad of Big Style Wooten

Country Cavalcade


The WMNI Country Cavalcade special thanks to Matt Mnich and Bob O'Brien WMNI, a powerful country music station in Columbus, Ohio, during the 1960s and 1970s, hosted a live stage show called the “Country Cavalcade.” Contrary to many other shows of its type, the Cavalcade began its history relatively late at the end of 1974. At that time, many of the old live stage shows had ended.WMNI turned to a country music programming in late 1965. The station was owned by North American Broadcasting, headed by William R. “Bill” Mnich, who had founded the company in 1958. Both the Southern Theatre and the hotel next to the theatre, known as the Grand Southern Hotel, also belonged to North American Broadcasting. Shortly after WMNI became a country station, live stage shows were organized at the Southern Theatre and the much larger Veterans Memorial Auditorium, beginning in 1966 with great success. These shows, however, were not broadcasted over radio.The idea of a regular Saturday night stage show came from Bill Mnich. The start for the “Country Cavalcade” finally came late in 1974. Mnich was the driving force behind the show, as he booked the acts, produced and managed the Cavalcade. Emcee of the show was Ron Barlow, DJ and program director of WMNI from 1970 until 1975 or early 1976. Barlow then left due to a disagreement with Mnich and was replaced by Carl Wendelken, who also shared managing /producing credits with Mnich. Rick Minerd, who helped Wendelken at times with the emcee work, recalled: “Our Country Cavalcade was a local version of WSM's Grand Ole Opry Show and like the grand daddy of them all we featured live acts on Saturday nights from a beautiful historic theatre.”The show was airing live over WMNI and taped for broadcasting over the Mutual Network, which included over 600 stations at that time and exposed the Country Cavalcade to a large audience across the United States. It was also tried to broadcast live over the network, which was stopped again shortly afterwards, however, since it caused too many problems (the show had to be broadcasted simultaneously in four different time zones). A book called “Historic Columbus: A Bicentennial History” devoted some space to WMNI and also the Cavalcade: „In the mid to late 1970s, nationally known entertainers appeared before packed houses at the Southern Theater. The shows were broadcast on WMNI and distributed to hundreds of other radio stations over the Mutual Radio Network.”At some point in 1976, the show was dropped from the network but continued to air over WMNI.Many of the artists were local acts but some of them enjoyed some success, even nationally. Ott Stephens was an recording artist on Chart Records from Nashville during the 1960s and also partially owner of that label. He appeared regularly on the Country Cavalcade. Although he had sold his interests in Chart by the time the Cavalcade went on the air, a lot of the Chart recording artists nevertheless made regular performances on the show through him. The artists profited from the nationwide exposure of the show and some of them even reached the Billboard country charts. Regulars of the show included:• Kenny Slide, fiddler and part of the show’s house band• Ric Queen, drummer and part of the show’s house band• Kenny Pugh• Lionel Cartwright• Patti Ramsey• Rick Minerd, DJ at WMNI and at one time emcee of the show• “Captain” John Gammell, began performing on the show in 1972• Bill Jolliff• Kevin Mabry and Liberty Street, local country and rock group – Kevin Mabry guitar/vocals; Bill Purk lead guitar/vocals; Gary Markin bass/vocals; Harold Fogle steel guitar; Victor Mabry drums – won a Country Cavalcade talent contest in 1976 as reported by the Marysville Journal-Tribute on October 8, 1976• Debbie Fowler• Mike O’Harra[...]

Bill Harris


Marlon Grisham - Square Watermelon Seed (Cover 45-711)This apparently Memphis based songwriter is some kind of a mystery to me. Bill Harris appeared as a songwriter on a couple of independent Memphis record labels by local artists, including Marlon Grisham, Eddie Cash, and Jim Climer.BMI reveals that Harris' full name is William Alvan Harris, Jr. There was a William Alvin "Dubbye" Harris, born  on July 31, 1940, and passed away on March 30, 2005. At the time of his death, this William Alvin Harris was living in Waterford near Holly Springs, Mississippi (south of Memphis across the Tennessee-Mississippi state border). He was buried at the Hill Crest Cemetery in Holly Springs, the ceremony was led by Brother Frank Feathers (a cousin to Charlie Feathers). William Alvin Harris was a self-employed truck driver. I'm pretty sure this is our man. Harris was not only a songwriter but also a musician and band manager in the 1950s. He became a member of Harold Jenkins' group in 1956 as a bass player and recorded several (unreleased) sessions at Sun with Jenkins. He shared the position with Jimmy Evans, another Sun musician. When Jenkins went to Nashville to record for Mercury and became "Conway Twitty," Harris was finally replaced by Evans (who, in turn, was replaced by Nashville studio musician Lightnin' Chance in 1958).  At the same time Harris left the Jenkins band (late 1956/early 1957), he met up with another young singer, Memphis born Eddie Cash. Harris soon became Cash's manager and organized the Peak and Fernwood recording sessions for Cash. He also wrote one of his songs, "Thinkin' Man." Cash left Memphis for Chicago in 1960 but Harris remained in Memphis. It is possible Harris then became Marlon Grisham's manager.Harris first appeared as a songwriter with "She's My Technicolor Baby" in 1954 (copyrighted on October 21 according to the Catalog of Copyright Entries). BMI has listed several more songs under different names by Harris.Harris' compositions also included:• Jungle Love, recorded by Marlon Grisham on Clearpool• Square Watermelon Seed, recorded by Grisham on Cover• Tall Mac the Lumberjack, with Jim Climer, who recorded it on Fernwood• Tonight's the Night, published by Bill Black's Lyn-Lou publishing firm• Thinkin' Man, recorded by Eddie Cash at Fernwood studio and leased to Todd Records Thanks to Bob[...]

Pee Dee Opry


The "Pee Dee Opry" was the creation of Charles Edward "Slim" Mims, a local entertainer in South Carolina. Mims was born in 1918 in Columbia, South Carolina. He began his musical career in 1935 and founded his band, the Dream Ranch Boys, in 1940. The boys became his background band for at least 20 years. His wife Patty Faye was also with the group as well as later famous Country musicians Glenn Sutton and Jimmy Capps.Slim Mims and the Dream Ranch Boys on WBTW, ca. 1950s. Patty Faye Mims seated and Slim Mims as "Uncle Ugly" behind the camera.Mims hosted a stable of local shows during the 1950s. He entertained the audiences over WJMX with his "Dream Ranch Jamboree" in Florence, South Carolina, but also hosted a show on WBTW-TV and the "Silent Flame Jamboree" on WNCT-TV in Greenville, South Carolina.The "Pee Dee Opry" was a later show of Mims', as we first found mention of this show in 1961 in a Billboard issue. The name of the show came from the name of northeastern region of South Carolina, which is called "Pee Dee." Mims was booking the ccts of the Opry and also produced it, while he and the Dream Ranch Boys led through the show. Mims also appeared as the comedy act of the Pee Dee Opry, known as "Uncle Ugly" (a character he already had developed much earlier).Contrary to his other shows before, which were mainly TV or studio shows, the Pee Dee Opry was a live stage show held every Saturday night at the Ole Opry House in Darlington, South Carolina. The show in total lasted three hours with one of them airing on WJMC (Florence) and WBSC (Bennettsville, SC). It was also taped in order to broadcast it on other stations in the state. The stable of artists that appeared on the Opry is not known but it included up to 30 different acts.While the Pee Dee Opry ended its run at some point, Slim Mims continued to entertain people personally and on TV. In the 1970s, he hosted the Slim Mims Show, of which you can see an excerpt below. Mims died in 1994. More on the Dream Ranch Jamboree and Slim Mims can be found at allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="400">[...]

Cees Klop R.I.P.


The founder of White Label/Collector Records, Dutchman Cees Klop, has passed away this weekend. Klop, who began collecting rock'n'roll records in the 1960s, released countless LPs and CDs on his labels, travelled more than once to the US to track down forgotten artists, ad unearthed recordings that would have sunk without into obscurity otherwise.

Klop was a controversial figure in the collector scene. He often edited recordings to present them as "alternate takes," gave at times wrong info on his LP back covers. Much has been said about him but without him, the world surely would miss a lot of great music.

Cornhuskers Jamboree


Continuing our journey through the old-fashioned Country & Western variety shows, today we feature a show that was a bit more famous than some of the others. The Cornhuskers Jamboree enjoyed a long running time on Cincinnati radio and television and featured also some of the big names in country music.

There was a Cornhusker Jamboree on KFAB in the late 1930s, which is a totally different show, however. The first mention of the Cornhuskers Jamboree (sometimes also spelled: Cornhuskers'), which was broadcasted over WKRC in Cincinnati, is in Billboard May 5, 1945. At that time, Bradley Kincaid and Cowboy Copas were the stars of the show plus a stable of lesser known artists. During the summer months of 1945, the Jamboree cast also hosted shows on Carthage Fairgrounds in Cincinnati each Sunday, which also aired over WKRC. These shows became known as "WKRC's Circle B Ranch" and also featured special guest artists in addition to the usual singers and musicians.

The Cornhuskers Jamboree was also touring the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky with a tent show. By May 1946, another veteran performer since the 1920s had taken over the Jamboree, Hugh Cross.

By 1954, the Jamboree had switched from WKRC to WCPO-TV and could now be seen on televison weekdays at 10:30 AM. 

Members of the Cornhuskers Jamboree cast included:
• Cowboy Copas
• Bradley Kincaid
• Hugh Cross
• Jean Hogan
• Colemar Brothers
• Shorty Hobbs
• Rusty Gabbard
• Judy Perkins
• Faye Dorning
• Happy Wilson and the Golden River Boys
• Lily May Ledford

Silver Sage Round-Up


Another of the many country & western stage shows, the Silver Sage Round-Up was on the air as early as 1949 and was still broadcoasting in 1952. KFSB in Joplin, Missouri, broadcasted the show on Saturday nights, when it was held at different locations in the Joplin and surrounding areas. The show was held at such locations as the Municipal Auditorium in Neosho, Missouri, and the Carthage Memorial Hall. Connected with the show was a duo by the name of "Cookie and Ollie," who moved to WSIP in Paintsville, Kentucky, in 1952.

Part of the show:
Cookie and Ollie
Albert E. Brumley, Jr., son of Albert Brumley, famous gospel songwriter, incl. "I'll Fly Away"
Prairie Sweethearts
• Ozark Mountain Boys
• The Boys from Music Mountain

Western Star's Serenade


In early 1954, a live country stage show entered the picture. Produced by Peggy O'Riley, the "Western Star's Serenade" was held in Tyler, Texas. A small portion of the show - only 15 minutes - was taped and broadcastet seperately on KGKB (Tyler, Texas). The emcee work was handled by Ed Smith, DJ at KGKB.

Part of the show were:

Jerry Hanson, he recorded some rockabilly for the Starday custom label, Manco and Blubonnet Records from Forth Worth
Dorothy Hanson, maybe related to Jerry?
James Fuller
Roscoe Clark
Western Star Serenaders, house band of the show

If anyone else has more info on the show, please pass it along!

The Story of "You Can't Have My Love"


History of a Song - The Story of"You Can't Have My Love" Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin! 1954 was a watershed year in Country Music following the death of Hank Williams. At least 50% of the Billboard Hot Country Singles could now be considered what we call "Country Classics". This isn't one of them but was very popular at the time. The song is "You Can't Have My Love" and was in the Billboard charts for eight weeks starting on July 24, 1954, reaching a peak at number eight . It generated a lot of interest and airplay and was on the jukeboxes upon its release in May of 1954. It was 17 year old Wanda Jackson's first record release as well. Here's the whole story. At the beginning of 1954, Hank Thompson had discovered Wanda Jackson on an Oklahoma City radio station, where she had a program, and added her to his band on weekends as a featured vocalist as was Billy Gray, who also played lead guitar and was the bandleader of the Brazos Valley Boys for Hank. March 22 through 24, 1954, saw Hank and the entire band in the Melrose Avenue studios of Capitol Records in L.A. On the last day of the session, Thompson booked recording time with Capitol to make demo tapes of both Wanda Jackson and Billy Gray and the duet "You Can't Have My Love" to try and influence his producer at Capitol Records, Ken Nelson, to sign them to Capitol record contracts without success. Nelson demurred for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that Wanda Jackson being underage.A short time later, Hank Thompson was in Nashville and took a meeting with Paul Cohen, then head of Nashville's Decca Records operations and upon hearing the demo tapes signed Billy Gray and Wanda Jackson to two year contracts on Decca Records. Decca Records, at the time was the leading recording company in the USA with hundreds of records of all kinds being cranked out of their factories constantly and generating millions in revenue giving Decca the opportunity to sign unknown and untested talent, and they did so frequently. Cohen, always looking for a way to sell more records had minor league artists record a cover version for Coral Records, a subsidiary label, on April 8, 1954, to sort of hedge his bets. He did this frequently with leased records that came to Decca, so it was nothing new. Texas Bill Strength, an itinerant but well know country music D.J. and sometime country singer on Coral since 1951 and Tabby West, a converted pop music vocalist, hyped as another Kitty Wells (which she wasn't) and being on Coral since 1952, recorded their version at Bradley's Barn in Nashville and held back as a "B" side, just in case. More on that version later.Wanda Jackson and Billy Gray - You Can't Have My Love (Decca 29140)Billy Gray had written "You Can't Have My Love" along with co-writers listed Hank Thompson and Chuck Harding (Yeah right. editorial comment) especially as a vehicle for him and Wanda Jackson, she with her tough-as-nails vocal and his smooth recitation as counterpoint struck a true chord with everybody, especially in Oklahoma and Texas, and soon the entire country was listening to it on the radio and more importantly buying copies for jukeboxes and homes. The Texas Bill Strength/Tabby West version (Coral 64177) was released shortly afterwards with "With Let's Make Love Or Go Home One" as the "A" side which didn't make much headway with such a risque title for the times. The Texas Bill Strength and Tabby West "A" side was cute and had a great banjo solo very much in the style of Joe Maphis, who may or may not have played on the record.Tabby West & "Texas" Bill Strength - You Can't Have My Love[...]

Shelby R. Smith on Silver Skip


Shelby R. Smith - Big Boss Man / Crying for Pastime (Silver Skip 202)

Both sides had been released earlier on Rebel #729 by Smith in 1963. No exact release date for this one is reported but I read somewhere this was also dated 1963 (although this is very doubtful). While "Big Boss Man" is cover of the classic Luther Dixon-Al Smith composition, "Cying for Pastime" is a country song out of the Fernwood Records vaults. This Silver Skip release lists only Eddie Carroll as a songwriter. The Rebel release added also Fernwood owner Ronald Wallace. Eddie Carroll was a local Memphis singer in his own right and had a couple of releases on Fernwood, Pure Gold (another Ronald Wallace label), Santo, and Guyden.

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Shelby Smith's Empire of record labels


Shelby Smith's Empire of Record LabelsShelby R. Smith's empire of small record labels is a confusing one. Dave Travis released a 34 track CD in his "Memphis Rockabillies, Hillbillies & Honky Tonkers" series on Stomper Time, which dealt with Smith's productions. Dave likely put all his knowledge into the liner notes of this CD, which I don't own, unfortunately. Hence, I decided to take an approach at exploring Shelby Smith's story on my own.Generally, Smith is associated with five different record labels: Rebel, Rebel Ace, Silver Skip, Smitty, and Silento. The aforementioned Stomper Time CD also contained tracks released on a Rebel label from South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, which was to all accounts a different label, owned by Bill Cooley.Shelby R. Smith was a local singer from Memphis and according to my researches, first registered in 1958 when he copyrighted the song "Crossword Puzzle." By 1960, Smith was recording for the Smitty label, which belonged to Fernwood, according to Terry Gordon's RCS site. In fact, some of Smith's productions were recorded by Ronald Wallace in his Fernwood recording studio. However, in 1962, the Rebel label appeared on the radar with two singles by Smith, including his "Rocking Mama." This label was said to be based in Batesville, Arkansas (if this is true, is another question). It seems Rebel was later replaced by Rebel Ace by the mid 1960s (based in St. Louis, Missouri, according to the label of Rebel Ace #743). Smith was likely forced to use another name because there had been a label of the same name in Maryland since 1959. Uncertain is the chronology of Smith's Silver Skip and Silento labels.As it became probably obvious in my explanations, there are a lot of question marks and doubts regarding Smith and his labels. Only Dave Travis' liner notes will probably bring some clarity into this story. Stay tuned.Billboard C&W review July 28, 1962Billboard C&W review May 4, 1963Rebel / Rebel Ace728: Shelby Smith - Since My Baby Said Good-By / Rocking Mama (1962)729: Shelby Smith - Big Boss Man / Crying for a Pastime (1963)730: Davis Brothers - How Can I Tell Her / Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow (1966)731: Bobby Davis - Troubles Troubles / ? 732: Bob Downen - Blue Yodel No.1 T for Texas / Reaching Out 733:734: S. R. Smith - This Old Town / ?734: Glen A. Linder - I'll Always Care / Out Come of War (1966) 735: Alma Herndon - True Love Where Have You Gone / Oregonian Blues 736: Jean Henderson - Too Many Sunsets / Put It On My Charge Account (1966)737: Jimmy Evans - Call Me Mr. Lonesome / Dudley Do-Rite (1967)738/9: Eddy Beers - You're Both the Cheating Kind / The Open Road (1967)740/1: Marilyn Strothcamp - Until Today / Plaything (1967)742: Marilyn Strothcamp - Just a Dime Away / Second Girl743: Eddy Beers - What's Your Excuse / Big Mack Waitin'743: Marilyn Strothcamp - I Cried a Tear / All I Feel for You Is Sorry • The first three releases were issued under the Rebel brand, subsequent releases under the name of Rebel Ace.• Numbers #734 and #743 were used twice. • #742 and #743 give location as 2404 Charlack - St. Louis, Missouri.Silver Skip101: S. R. Smith - North to Alaska / Foolish Love Affair201: Eddy Beers - I'm Gonna Be a Wealthy Man / Overdrawn on Heartaches (1966) 202: Shelby R. Smith - Big Boss Man / Cryin' for a Pastime203: Shelby R. Smith - Wake Me Up / Jim-Dandy Handy Man203: Jackie Underwood - Her Heart Would Know / ? • Recordings on #202 were possibly the same as on Rebel #729.• #203 by Shelby Smith was recorded at Bill Glore's Glolite Studios.Silento100: S. R. Smith - Why Does You Cry /[...]

Selected Cover Versions


Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin!I'm sure you will enjoy this. Bob O'Brien presents his third compilation, full of "hits to curios." Great tracks here to be sure, "Sixty Minute Man" is one of them.♫♪track list:1.Floyd Tillman - I Almost Lost My Mind2. Fran Warren & Hugo Winterhalter‘s Orch. - I Almost Lost My Mind3. Homer & Jethro - Oh Babe!4. Dale Evans - Please Send Me Someone to Love5. Hawkshaw Hawkins - I‘m Waiting Just for You6. Bill Haley & his Saddlemen - Rocket 887. Hardrock Gunter with Roberta Lee - Sixty Minute Man8. Bill Haley & his Saddlemen - Rock the Joint9. Bill Haley & his Comets - Rock the Joint10. Hawkshaw Hawkins - Got You on My Mind11. Buddy Morrow & his Orch. - Night Train (instr.)12. Rex Allen - Crying in the Chapel13. June Valli - Crying in the Chapel14. Doris Day - Secret Love15. The McGuire Sisters - Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight16. Johnnie & Jack - Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight17. The Fontaine Sisters - Hearts of Stone18. The McGuire Sisters - Sincerely19. Ella Mae Morse - Jump Back Honey, Jump Back20. Gene Vincent & his Blue Caps - Jump Back Honey, Jump Back21. Johnny Burnette Trio - Honey Hush22. BONUS Ahmad Jamal Trio - Secret Love[...]

Rare R&B, Volume II


Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin! Here's the second installment of Bob O'Brien's "Rare R&B" series, another one will follow on this blog. I'm sure you will enjoy this and leave a comment, if you like it! ♫♫♫1. Ivory Joe Hunter - I Almost Lost My Mind2. Wynonie Harris - Good Morning Judge3. Big John Greer - Got You On My Mind4. Percy Mayfield - Please Send Me Someone to Love5. Hadda Brooks - Brooks‘ Boogie (instrumental)6. Fats Domino - Goin‘ Home7. Lloyd Price - Lawdy, Miss Clawdy8. Little Walter and his Night Cats - Juke (instrumental)9. Roy Brown - Letter from Home10. Ray Charles - It Should Have Been Me11. Wynonie Harris - Bloodshot Eyes12. The Moonglows - Secret Love13. Sonny Till and the Orioles - Crying in the Chapel14. Hank Ballard and the Midnighters - Work with Me Annie15. Hank Ballard and the Midnighters - Annie Had a Baby16. Otis Williams and the Charms - Hearts of Stone17. Johnny Ace with Johnny Otis‘ Band - Pledging My Love18. The Penguins - Earth Angel19. Roy Brown - Old Age Boogie Pt. 120. Roy Brown - Old Age Boogie Pt. 221. Big Joe Turner - Honey Hush22. Rufus Thomas, Jr. - Bear Cat23. The Moonglows - Sincerely24. Smiley Lewis - I Hear You Knocking25. The Spaniels - Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight26. BONUS The Flamingos - For All We Know[...]

Delmore Brothers on King


Delmore Brothers - Got No Way of Knowing / Muddy Water (King 45-1084), 1952I first learned of the Delmore Brothers when hearing their "Rounder's Blues" years ago. This song was recorded at a time, when they were already recording boogie oriented numbers. "Rounder's Blues," however, was pure blues material, which could have been recorded easily ten years earlier by the Delmores. I was instantly struck with their intense harmony singing and the powerful harmonica solos by Wayne Raney. The brothers had developed their own sound by then, comprising boogie woogie elements, their close harmony singing, and a signature sound provided by their guitars, electric lead guitar and energetic harmonica performances by Raney or Lonnie Glosson.The Delmores were Alton, born December 25, 1908, and Rabon, born December 3, 1916, to Charles Edward (1875-1951) and Mary Ann Delmore (1978-1958). The brothers had six other siblings and were born and raised in Elkmont, Limestone County, in the Alabama mountainside. Their musical influences rooted deeply in white gospel music and old-time. Their mother composed several gospel tunes and was joined by Alton later on.The Delmore Brothers at WSM, 1930sThe brothers formed a duo in 1926, whem Rabon was just ten years old. They built up a local reputation by singing at fiddle concests and took a first try at recording when they held a session for Columbia on October 28, 1931, in Atlanta. Two tracks were produced, "Got the Kansas City Blues" and "Alabama Lullaby," which were released on Columbia #15724-D. In 1933, the Delmores began a longer association with Bluebird and recorded countless singles for this label during the 1930s. The duo soon became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and built up a high popularity at the show. Their stint with the Opry ended in 1939 due to disagreements with the show's management and their popularity ceased again. At that time, the brothers were backing their harmony singing mostly with their own guitars. Their style was bluesy and clear, comparable to the Carlisle Brothers, but much smoother.Their association with Bluebird ended in 1940 and they began recording for Decca that same year. Although record sales were still good, the Delmores struggled to find a solid radio station base to broadcast. By 1943, they settled in Cincinnati, which borught them back on the map. That year, Alton put together the "Brown's Ferry Four," a gospel quartet consisting of Alton and Rabon, Merle Travis, and Grandpa Jones. The group began recording for Sidney Nathan's King record label in Cincinnati and soon, the brothers were allowed to record solo sides again. On King, they found their signature sound, fusing their blues and gospel roots with boogie woogie. "Hillbilly Boogie" was the first of those, cut with Merle Travis and Louie Innis on guitars and Roy Starkey on bass in Hollywood.Adding electric guitars, bass, and harmonicas played by Wayne Raney or Lonnie Glosson, added to the sound, which soon began making waves in country music, known simply as "Hillbilly Boogie." Their biggest hit became "Blues Stay Away from Me" in 1949. Today's selections came from a May 21, 1952, session at the King Recording Studio in Cincinnati. The line-up included Alton Delmore on vocals and rhythm guitar, Rabon Delmore on vocals and tenor guitar, an unknown musician on bass, as well as Wayne Raney and Lonnie Glosson on harmonicas. It was one of their last sessions for King, before Rabon died of lung cancer in December 1952, at the age of 36 yea[...]

Chuck Berry R.I.P.


Chuck Berry - No Particular Place to Go (Chess 1898), 1964
Chuck Berry has passed away at the age of 90 years. He will always be remembered.

That Million Dollar Memphis Sound


"That Million Dollar Memphis Sound"The Story of Eddie Bond's Millionaire and Western Lounge labelsMemphis music personality Eddie Bond had many occupations at the same time. A singer, club owner, radio DJ, TV personality, producer, promoter, and label owner are likely only a couple of functions. He set up his first label Stomper Time Records in 1959, named after his background band, the Stompers. He went on to cut countless 45s for small local labels, including the Millionaire and Western Lounge imprints.Eddie Bond at KWEMAfter Stomper Time folded in ca. 1961, he switched to small Arkansas and Memphis based labels, for which he recorded various discs. Bond filed a petition in bankruptcy in early 1965. He had led a night club in partnership with Baxter Turnage but the club proved to be unsuccessful however, and after Turnage's sudden death in 1964, Bond was left alone with the debths.Bond however, was provided with enough engagements, recording releases and his steady job as the programm director of KWAM. He released "Cold Dark Waters" on Buford Cody's Memphis label in 1965, which turned out to be a moderate seller for Bond. Soon, things were "looking rosier" for Bond, as Billboard reported in February 1965, and around the same time, he became involved in the Millionaire Music Corporation, which included a publishing firm and two labels, Millionaire and Western Lounge (also shortened to Western at times). The company's name and its slogan "That Million Dollar Memphis Sound," which was printed on both labels variously, were of ironic nature, regarding Bond's financial problems. It is not clear to me if Bond really owned the companies but he was at least heavily involved in them.In November 1965, Billboard reported that the Western Lounge on 1298 Madison Avenue, Memphis, had set up a label of the same name. Bond's involvement in this label was not mentioned probably due to his bankruptcy. The first two discs on the label were by Dean Cross, a local singer who regularly appeared at the Western Lounge. On February 13, 1966, Cross took part in a charity concert at the Lounge at also included Ace Cannon, Ray Scott, Jerry Fox, and Eddie Bond.Bond released several 45s on Millionaire as well as an album "Favorite Country Hits from Down Home" (Millionaire #MLP1618) in 1967. Both Millionaire and Western Lounge became dormant after 1967. Bond recorded one disc for Stan Kesler's XL label in 1968 and that same year, his Tab recording label came into existence, for which he recorded steadily during the early 1970s. DiscographyMillionaireMillionaire 45-101Leftus & Rightous Wobbling Stone () / ?SK4M-0887 / SK4M-0888 (RCA)1965Millionaire MC-108Eddie Bond and the StompersI Just Found Out (B. Cody-C. Leatherwood) / Back to Viet Nam (Jim & Gary Climer)S4KM-0934 / S4KM-0935 (RCA)1965Millionaire MC-109/10 (698B-3587)Chuck Comer - Jukebox Serenade (n.c.) / Doug Stone - She Moved to Kansas City (n.c.) / Buck Turner - What Will I Do (n.c.)S4KB-3588 (RCA)Eddie Bond - Hey Joe (n.c.) / Jim Wells - Home in Shelby County (n.c.) / Jim Morgan - What's Gonna Happen to Me (n.c.)S4KB-3588 (RCA)1965Millionaire MC-111/2Melvin EndsleyTo Have My Baby Back () / Keep the Water Running (Melvin Endsley)SK4M-3643 / SK4M-3644 (RCA)1965Millionaire 660S-0885Sylvia MobleyHearts Have a Language (G. Williams) / In and Out of Love (Melvin Endsley)SK4M-0885 / SK4M-0886 (RCA)1965Millionaire 45-120Leon StarrHoney Child () / ?T4KM-5282 / ? (RCA)1966[...]

Rare R&B, Volume 1


Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin!Here is a nice compilation by Bob O'Brien, featuring "rare R&B" that all of you will enjoy, I'm pretty sure. Track information has been carefully researched by Bob and can be found in the original file names.♪♫track list:1. Bill Doggett Combo - Big Dog, Pt. 12. Mildred Anderson with Bill Doggett‘s Combo - You Ain‘t No Good3. Bill Doggett Combo - Glo‘ Glug4. Mildred Anderson with Bill Doggett‘s Combo - Your Kind of Woman5. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - Castle Rock6. Anisteen Allan with Lucky Millender & his Orch. - I‘m Waiting Just for You7. The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man8. Fats Domino - The Fat Man9. Jimmy Forrest - Night Train10. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - Night Train-All Night Long Medley11. Big Joe Turner - Chains of Love12. Jackie Brenston with Ike Turner‘s Band - Rocket 8813. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - Pink Champagne14. Julia Lee & her Boyfriends - The Spinach Song15. Oscar McLollie & his Honey Jumpers - The Honey Jump, Pt. 1 & 216. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - The Honeydripper17. Jimmy Preston & his Prestonians - Rock this Joint18. Annie Laurie - 3 Times 719. Louis Jordan & his Tympany Five - Saturday Night Fish Fry20. Big Joe Turner with Wynonie Harris - Battle of the Blues, Pt. 121. Wynonie Harris with Big Joe Turner - Battle of the Blues, Pt. 222. Big Jay McNeely - 3-D23. Hadda Brooks - Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back24. Wynonie Harris with Lucky Milliner & his Orch. - Oh! Babe25. Albert Ammons, Meade ‘Lux‘ Lewis, Pete Johnson - Boogie Woogie Prayer (live)[...]