Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.


• New info on the Sylvia Mobley discography.
• Updated my post on the Gene Wester acetate.
• Added discographical infor on Blake Records.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

In the Beginning: My 78 RPM Collection

An essay with music

Another Bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin

Most of the people out there reading this besides being followers of Mellow's Log Cabin and interested in music are probably record collectors or now in the digital age "music collectors" of one sort or another. I am and have been a record collector since 1948 when I was eight years old, and I'm now seventy-four. I have been at one time or another a novice, an avid collector, a fanatic, a buyer or a seller and now probably just an "emeritus" old timer.

In 2011, I felt I had gathered most of my original 78's Collection to issue a very limited edition 2 CD set of them in mp3 from newer sources of the original material, mostly from Europe and the followings songs resulted. So here is the story.

In early 1948, a family friend, Joe Yost, was moving to Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., and he gave me a solid steel "portable" Vogue phonograph and several records, basically because he couldn't fit them in his car. Those few records were the start of my record collection. A few months later, our family moved to an apartment over a juke-box and pinball machine vendor by the name of Roland Raney. I started hanging around his shop and soon he was giving me "take-offs" from the juke-boxes, well worn on one side or another for the most part. Over the next two years I collected from him a few hundred records. To skip a few years for a moment, after moving into a much larger home in 1952 and the 78 RPM discontinuation of manufacture in 1957, I sold all of my 78's (BIG mistake) to a record dealer and received a $50.00 check which bounced. I spent every year since then trying to get the songs from that original collection back in my possession, which can be and was frustrating at times. I really liked them then and still do. Many are still not available for a variety of reasons, but thanks to the digital age, a lot of them are and they never sounded better.

All of the listings released before 1948 were part of the original batch from Joe Yost, except for two new Ernest Tubb records that my Aunt Gladys gave me, since she had no phonograph. Most of the rest came from the juke-box take offs and later on, a few I bought with my own money.

This started out to be a single CD collection but it grew to two on it's own. These are the original recordings as I had them on 78's. The sound quality is mostly excellent and re-mastered in MP3 audio. Each of the songs listed have been extensively researched as to recording dates, record labels and numbers, and in many cases both sides of a recording is listed, mainly because I liked both sides then and still do now.

One interesting fact that I discovered was that some juke-box records had two different "hits" and were not part of the general catalog. Note the King records by Lonnie Johnson and Homer & Jethro for example.

I could have put a lot of other songs on this collection from the same time frame, but these are the authentic records that I had and liked and I find are still as fresh as way back when. It is an eclectic mix to say the least. However, it's where I started from in my travels through recorded musical history. I currently have from 40,000 to 50,000 songs in some form or another in my collection, and I am, if I can say this with modesty, somewhat of an expert on American music. Age has a way of doing that to a person. My hope that in listening to these songs you also appreciate them and get an idea of where my musical roots are. Enjoy. - Bob O'Brien (aka Bobsluckycat)



This is divided into two parts; POPULAR MUSIC and COUNTRY MUSIC in general terms.

• Cuts 2-3-4 were already "standards" by the 40's. I like their old time feel and they are classic cuts.
• Cuts 1 and 5 to 15 were pop hits by top artists of the day. They are still fresh.
• Cut 7 is the complete unedited recording of the song from the vaults of Capitol Records, never released.
• Cuts 9 & 10 was a two-sided hit which was classic in every way. My father was also a Frankie Carle devotee and he loved this record and a large part of my collection has a ton of Frankie Carle in it.
• Cut 13 was such a poorly pressed copy that for years, I though the vocalist was female as listed only as R. Nance, only much later did I found out it was a man, Ray Nance.
• Cuts 16 and 17 were unique piano recordings which topped the charts well into 1949 and actually put little Bullet Records on the map and in financial clover for many years to come. Another two recordings my father loved and played every Saturday for years. He played my records while house cleaning.
• Cut 18, cut 23, cut 24 and cut 25 were jukebox hits that blared out over the whole town or so it seems.
• Cuts 19 and 20 was the first R&B recording I ever owned, such as it is. It is so simple and straightforward and unadorned it's as fresh now as then. I had heard The Ink Spots, The Mills Brothers, and a few others previous to this but never owned any R&B (race records) before this. Now, and I'm guessing here, a full 20 - 25% of all my collected recordings would fall into this general category.
• Cuts 21 & 22 are two Frankie Yankovic recordings which were big hit records. Polka and ethnic recordings were popular after World War II and he was the King. He was famous out of Cleveland OH, but well known locally as he was born just up the road a few miles away in or near Davis West Virginia.
• Cuts 26 through 33 were in the original batch of records from Joe Yost.
• Cuts 34 through cuts 42 were from the Roland Raney take-off 78's.
• Cuts 43 and 44 was a two sided pop/country hit which I can't remember for sure, but I think I bought it myself as well as cuts 45 and 46.
• Cuts 47 through 51 are important here as they are the last 78 RPM records I ever bought. Besides being top hits for Ray Price and Hank Snow and now are "true" Country classics and "Steelin' Home" was a great instrumental and got a ton of air play besides. For Christmas of 1954, My father gave me a brand new 3 speed record player and some 45 RPM records and himself a 10" LP recording of familiar polkas. The 78 era for me had ended, but I must admit I still played these old 78's every so often. Now I am enjoying them again and you can too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Johnny Barnes on Clearmont

Johnny Barnes - Big Johnny Blues (Clearmont C-501), 1962

This is one of the records mentioned in my previous post about Marshall Ellis. Clearmont was one of the labels he operated in Memphis. This disc was released in 1962 and was the first of only two singles that appeared on this label. Who Johnny Barnes was? I don't know. But the band comes along nicely and breaks out into a enjoyable, bluesy solo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Marshall Ellis

Marshall Ellis
Memphis Record Producer

Marshall Erwin Ellis is now most famous amongst Memphis music lovers for running the Erwin label that turned out such rockabilly classics as Hoyt Johnson's "Enie Meanie Minie Mo" or Ray Scott's "Boppin' Wig Wam Willie." Ellis, who also ran the Rivermont and Clearmont labels for a short time, was born in Booneville, Mississppi, in 1912. Before moving to Memphis, he lived in Mississippi, Alabama, and Missouri. After his stint in the US Air Force during the war, he began to perform with local bands in Memphis, first with the Cotton Choppers and then with Mel Allen's Melody Boys. But Ellis gave up performing a couple of years later in the early 1950s. One cause was possibly Mel Allen's move to California around 1951.

By then, he earned his living as a barber but music still kept a hold of Ellis. At one point in late 1956, Ellis decided to set up his own recording studio at the Suzone Theatre on Main Street and, at the same time, formed Erwin Records. Because of difficulties to start his business, he decided to utilize Bill McCall's 4 Star OP program to release the first three discs on Erwin. The first of those were two songs by Ellis and his band with female singer Billie High on vocals, released approximately in November 1956. High had a release on the label under her own name later on. The other two were by Carvis Turney ("Honky Tonk Ways" / "The Love That Should Have Been", Erwin #OP-264, 1957) and Len Griffin ("Spanish Rock-a-Rolla" / "Rainbow Love", Erwin #OP-265-45, 1957).

Hoyt Johnson (behind the microphone) and band
Since Erwin had no numerical system, record catalog numbers were assigned discretionary it seems. Thus it is difficult to determine the chronology of the releases. Other Erwin discs that appeared during the curse of 1957 were by Ray Scott ("Bopping Wig Wam Willie" / "My Life's Desire", Erwin #700), Lee Carzle ("I'm Askin' But I'm Not Gettin'" / "What's In Store for Me", Erwin #E-77), and Hoyt Johnson's "It's a Little More Like Heaven" (recorded by Johnny Cash on Sun as "You're the Nearest Thing to Heaven") as well as his classic rockabilly "Enie Meanie Minie Mo" / "Standing in Your Window" (Erwin #555). Many of the recorded material on Erwin was published by E&M Publishing, Ellis' own publishing company (not to be confused with Earl Fox' E&M label from Little Rock, Arkansas).

Johnson's "Enie Meanie Minie Mo" was composed by Reece Flemming, who had played piano previously with Malcolm Yelvington's Star Rhythm Boys, while "Standing In Your Window" was eventually covered by Eddie Bond. Hoyt Johnson, who was born 1935 in Arley, Alabama, was discovered by Alabama DJ Jim Atkins in Alabama. It was Atkins who became Johnson's manager and arranged a recording contract with Marshall Ellis. None of Johnson's Erwin singles sold well, so he moved to other record labels. He recorded for RCA-Victor until 1960 and various other small Memphis labels like Zone and Satellite (later becoming Stax). He died in 1989.

Ray Scott, on the other hand, hailed from the German/Dutch community of Bicknell, Indiana, where he was born in 1929. In 1955, Scott moved to Memphis and learned to play guitar, followed by many appearances in local bars and clubs. In late 1956, Billy Riley and his Little Green Men recorded Scott's "Flyin' Saucers Rock'n'Roll" for Sun. After meeting Marshall Ellis in 1957, a recording session at Slim Wallace's Fernwood studio was set up for Scott ca. in July that year, where he recorded "Boppin' Wig Wam Willie." On that day, he was backed by the Little Green Men in disguise - under the name of "The Four Recorders." Billboard reported on August 26 that "M.E. Ellis, head of Erwin Records and E&M Publishers, Memphis, says he has signed Ray Scott, composer, to a two-year artist pact." Another single on Erwin followed and Scott recorded for other labels during the next years. He left the music business in 1971 and died in 1999.

In late 1957, Ellis was joined by H.C. Wilson and William Dotson to create another label, Rivermont Records. This venture lasted only for about six months and three releases, closing in early 1958. However, Erwin continued to release discs by such artists as the Monarchs, Mason Dixon, Merdell Floyd, and others. Some of the records' labels show adresses on it. Probably a later release by Papa Cat, "Mini Skirt" / "Wonder Pill" (Erwin #E-507) shows 2674 Steele - Memphis, Tennessee, as adress. Another adress, "Erwin Records Music Center" on 625 Chelsea Avenue, appeared on Erwin #561, #E562, #E-1069, and #E-503, among some others. The same adress later housed Bill Glore's Glo-Lite Studio. Interestingly, an invoice sent by Plastic Products to Glo-Lite in 1975 charges 5.100 $ for 300 copies of Erwin #700, a reissue of two older songs by Jimmy Evans and Ray Scott.

In 1962, Ellis also operated the Clearmont label in Memphis, which had only two discs released: Johnny Barnes with "Big Johnny Blues" / "Blue Boy" (Clearmont #501) and Jimmy Evans with "The Joint's Really Jumpin'" / "I Just Don't Love You" (Clearmont #502).

Ellis operated Erwin well into the 1970s and recorded such artists as Eddie Bond, Mike Deal, Lynne Burns and others. He kept on producing records until 1992. Marshall Ellis died two years later, in 1994.

OP-258-45: M. E. Ellis & his String Band - I Almost Cried Today / I Guess I'll Wait a Little Longer (1956)
OP-264-45: Carvis Turney - Honky Tonk Ways / The Love That Should Have Been (1957)
OP-265-45: Len Griffin & his Boys - Spanish Rock-a-Rolla / Rainbow Love (1957)
E-65: Hoyt Johnson and the Four Recorders - I Bet You Didn't Know / I'll Have a Broken Heart
E-77: Lee Carzle with Bobby Mizzel & the Le-Bow's - I'm Askin' But I'm Not Gettin' / What's In Store for Me (1957)
E-184: Rufus Thomas - How Far Will You Go / Let's Talk It Over 
E-501: The Song Masters Trio - Teach Me to Live / Jesus Ever Near to Me (1957)
E-555: Hoyt Johnson and the Four Recorders - Enie Meanie Minie Mo / Standing In Your Window (1957)
700: Ray Scott and the Four Recorders - Boppin' Wig Wam Willie / My Life's Desire (1957)
800: Billie High and the Four Recorders - Wondering If You Still Care / The Blues Got Me (1957)
E-226: Ben Gattis - I'm Leaving This Town / Two Timin' Lover
E-503: Chuck Hensley and the Strollers - Tall Man / Dreams Really Do Come True
E-506: Mike Deal - One Heartbeat Away (from Loving You) / Ode to Adam and Eve
E-507: Papa Cat - Mini Skirt / Wonder Pill
E-508: Paul Bradshaw - My Dog Jack / I Flubbed My First (Dear Hunt)
E-561: Lynne Burns-Gene Williams - Aint Gonna Worry (About You No More) / This Lonely World
E562:  Lynne Burns with Gene Williams Band - Dum Da De Doe / You're Not Homesick
E-100: Merdell Floyd - Juke Box Mama / I Got the Blues from Awaiting (1960)
E-688: Ray Scott - The Train's Done Gone / Just Behind Your Smile (1960)
E-Z 500: Little Sandy Parker - You Once Had Eyes Just for Me / That's the Reason (1963)
E-700: Ray Scott - Boppin' Wig Wam Willie / Jimmy Evans - The Joint's Really Jumpin' (1975)
E-750: Tex Dixon and the Bop Kings - One Has My Name / Funny How Love Can Be
E-1069: The Monarchs IV - Surge / Weekend
1100: Walter Dixon and his Band - Goodbye She's Gone / Slowly Dying
EG 2000: Mike Deal & the Regenerations - Searching for the Lord / ?
EG 2001: Eddie Bond - Someday I'll Sober Up / Here Comes That Train
E-2410: The End - You Never Called / People Talked

600: Retus Blair - Lowdown Feelin' / All I Want (ca. 1957)
R-1159: Kimball Coburn and Sy Rose Orch. - Cute / Boo-Be-Ah-Be (1958)
R-1160: Rex Ellis - You'll Be the Last to Know / Bop Hop Jamboree (1958)

501: Johnny Barnes - Big Johnny Blues / Blue Boy (1962)
C-502: Jimmy Evans - I Just Don't Love You / The Joint's Really Jumpin' (1962)

Thanks to Hillbilly-Researcher and Bob

Friday, October 3, 2014

Slap Happy Bass

Sid Elrod - Slap Happy Bass (Summer 503), 1959

A request from one of my visitors. Here is "Slap Happy Bass" by Sid Elrod aka Macy Skip Skipper. He has been covered here on Mellow's Log Cabin. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blake Records story

John Cook's Blake Records
A Memphis Country, Bluegrass and Gospel label

498 Lundee Street in Memphis in September 2011, where
John Cook would first operate Blake Records from.

The Cooks probably moved to 3291 Park Avenue later.

The Blake record label out of Memphis, Tennessee, has never been spotlighted in its full glory. Though the label has an extensive discography that could take years to research in detail, the label's history has been largely obscure since its demise sometimes in the 1970s.

Blake was founded by John Cook, a country and gospel musician originally from Arkansas. Similar to Arlen and Jackie Vaden from Trumann, Arkansas, Cook and his wife Margie would sing harmony gospel duets on radio and also made the occassional record during their career. John was born and raised in Cord, Arkansas, a small town about 20 miles east of Batesville and 25 miles north of Newport. He came from a musical family and started playing guitar and singing at the age of ten. He met his future wife Margie at a camp meeting and married her three months later. Margie hailed from Melbourne, Arkansas, and was also born into a musical inclined family. Together, they began to sing gospel and country duets with John on guitar as well as vocals and Margie joining him.

The Cooks began their professional career in 1947 on the radio. They soon appeared on different stations, including border town stations like XEG (Fort Worth, Texas), XERF (Del Rio, Texas), XERB (San Diego, California) and also did a couple of TV appearances. Probably their first recording was released in either late 1958 or early 1959 on the Volunteer label. A Starday custom press, it featured two of the couple's originals, "The Love I Have for You" / "Do I Have to Stay Alone" (Volunteer #737), credited to "John and Margie Cook and the White River Boys." The name of the band drew probably from the White River in Arkansas, which is located south of Cord and west of Melbourne. The label already showed a Memphis adress (1745 Lamar Avenue), so the Cooks likely lived in Memphis at that time.

Another record of John and Margie appeared in 1965 on the Dot label, coupling "River of Love" b/w "I'll Take Down Your Shingle." It was around that time that John founded Blake Records in Memphis. The initial release on the label had Hershel Jeanes, accompanied by Dotye Dee and her Rhythmaires, with "Let Me Start with You" b/w "Guess Tonight I'll Make the Bars Downtown" (Blake #2-200). Interestingly, this very first release had a completely different, simpler, label design than waht would follow. Jeanes had a second single out with Dee on Zone as well as further releases on Blake. Dee also recorded for Yesteryear Records in her own right. Billboard reported in January 1965, that Jeanes and Dee took part in a benefit show that was held at the Linden Circle Theater (then known as the "Mid-South Opry House"). Other artists included Eddie Bond, Roland Eaton, the Davis Brothers among others. Jim Wells acted as the show's emcee.

The next known release on Blake was by Roland Eaton, "Married in Church" b/w "My Baby Walks All Over Me" (Blake #2-202). Eaton was a country singer from Arkanas. Born in 1935 in Ravenden, Northeast Arkansas, he was the emcee of the Mid-South Jamboree in the 1960s, appeared with Gene Williams' Country Junction show in 1968 and also had his own show on KAIT in the late 1960s. He would go on to record for Capitol 1968-1971 but later quit the music business.

Roland Eaton during an appearance on Ernest Tubb's
Midnight Jamboree in June 1967.

However, a release date for neither Jeanes' nor Eaton's single is not known. It is Sue Simpson's "The Great Tornado" (Blake #2-216) which can be dated as 1966; all releases prior to her single have to be issued around 1965/1966. Due to missing reliable sources such as Billboard reviews or matrix numbers, it is difficult to date early releases on Blake. By 1970, John Cook was using Precision's pressing plant in Nashville, which makes it easier to estimate the release dates because of the plant's matrix code.

John and Margie also released their own recordings on Blake. The first was "Till You Come Home" / "You Were Not Around" on Blake #2-211. During the next years, they would cut another five records plus an entire album. Early Blake labels show 498 Lundee Street in Memphis as adress but soon after, the label would move to 3291 Park Avenue (as seen on Blake #2-215). Both streets are located in residential zones, thus it is likely John ran the label from their home. It is also likely he didn't operate his own studio but rented other facilities in Memphis. In any event, the business seems to have been more a custom label than a professional record business. Nevertheless, Cook had his own publishing firm "John Cook Music" (whereby most of the recorded material was published) as well as another label, Marble Hill Records, which came into existence in 1968. According to Colin Escott, Marble Hill was co-owned by Memphis singer Howard Chandler, who also had the debut release on the label.

The label's output was similar to what John and Margie were singing: gospel, bluegrass, country, and some upbeat country music thrown in from time to time. There were at least 119 45rpm records on Blake and the Cook's album. The last documented activity of Blake was a short Billboard mention in its November 18, 1972, issue, describing Blake as "one of the mainstays in country in Memphis." The last known single is "Yesterdays, Darling, are Gone" b/w "One You Left So Blue" by Paulette Cruzon (Blake #2-319).

John and Margie, however, had another record out in the 1970s on the Sardis label, "I'll Take Down Your Shingle" / "River of Love" (Sardis #5 5716). The picture sleeve of the record stated it was recorded at Arthur Smith's studio in Charlotte, North Carolina, so this was possibly a re-recording of their earlier Dot single. 

John Cook died in 1983 and was buried at Memorial Hill Gardens in Memphis. By the time of his passing, the Cooks lived in West Memphis, Arkansas.


Release dates are estimated from pressing plant matrix numbers and stampers on record labels.

2-200: Hershel Jeanes - Let Me Start with You / Guess Tonight I'll Make the Bars Downtown
2-202: Roland Eaton – Married in Church / My Baby Walks All Over Me
2-203: Paul Cecil – Brink of Tears / Melba from Melbourne
2-204: Wayne Raney – I'm in Love / ?
2-205: Ray Arnold – Blues in My Heart / Ballad of Lefty Bill
2-206: Glen Chandler – Soft Lips / ?
2-207: Don Osment – Honky Tonk & Booze / ?
2-209: Wilma New – It’s Too Late Now / Wilma New / Mack Self – It’s Time to Cry
2-210: Bud & Joyce Murry – I'm Stuck in Jackson / Joyce Murry – I'll Keep on Loving You
2-211: John & Margie Cook - Till You Come Home / You Were Not Around
2-213: Clyde & Mary Denney with Blue Grass Mountain Boys – What’s Wrong with You, My Darlin / Sally Is a Dandy
2-215: Bud and Joyce Murry - Tiny Raindrops / Ain't Gonna Worry
2-216: Sue Simpson – The Great Tornado / ? (1966)
2-217: Hershel Jeanes – Tonight I’ll Join the Crowd / Loves Come Back
2-219: Margie Griffin – More Than My Heart Could Understand / Fine Feathers Do Not Make a Fine Bird
2-221: John Daniel - Walk Right Through the Door / I Still Do
2-223: Bobby Joe Boyels - The Wedding Is Over / You're Gonna Hate Yourself
2-226: Hershel Jeanes & Dotye Dee – The Gentle Judge / Stronger Than Pride
2-227: John & Margie Cook – Wire My Grave with Country Music / ?
2-229: Charlie (Slim) Knight – The Outcast / Money Can’t Buy True Love
2-230: Ray Arnold - The Old Man's Outlook on Life / Why Must Man Love Woman
2-232: The Peggy Carey Story (Interviewed by Jim Wells) / ?
2-234: Ronnie Parnell – I’m a Fool for Loving You / Everything Changes
2-238: Sam & Kay Neal - I Can't Feel the Pain / Dear Angel (1971)
2-239: Martin K. Neal, Jr. - Please Forgive Me / I'll Die Ten Thousand Times (1971)
2-240: Babe Sanders – Last Glass of Wine / Ballad of Ma and Pa
2-242: Sam & Kay Neal - If I'm Not Here / Etty Bitty Josephine (1971)
2-248: Joe T. Gibson – Team of Mules / Television (1971)
2-251: Sam & Kay Neal - My Love Is Gone / We're Gonna Live with Him Someday (1971)
2-254: Sam & Kay Neal - Dozen Red Roses / Sam Neal - Tear Drops in Her Eyes (1971)
2-256: Martha Panell – Mister D.J. / Sad Movies
2-259: Sam & Kay Neal – They Call Me Orphan / Cold Lonely Heart
2-262: Marion D. Brewer – Too Much to Lose / She’s Been Asking About Me
2-263: Sam & Kay Neal She's an Angel to Me / I'm Disowned
2-264: Sam and Kay Neal - Sweetheart, My Queen / Pay Day on the Country Road
2-265: Alvie Addison, III – Sanlorsa / Never Forget Mama
2-267: Stewart Douglas – Pass Me By / It’s Not Love But It’s Not Bad
2-269: James “Juicy” Joel – I Bought the Blues / Crying on the Inside
2-270: Billy Joe Mack – Loneliness / Hold Back Tomorrow
2-271: Southern Ramblers – Our Love Has Ended (vocal by Jean Wilkinson) / Letting Her Love Destroy My Mind (vocal by David Seal)
2-272: Jimmy “Red” Wiggins – Don’t Burn the Bridges / The Ache of a Fool
2-273: Ray Mitcham – You’re Welcome Once More / They Say Today’s Thanksgiving
2-274: Ray Mitcham – Wish I Had a Nickel / Winds of Change
2-277: Ronnie Hughes - Nashville, You Got a Hold on Me / Six Nights in Vegas
2-278: Jimmy "Red" Wiggins – Roadsigns of Your Heart / When I Hear Your Name
2-280: John Cook - Corn Stalk Annie / John and the Water Moccasin
2-281: Sue Neal – The Image of Me / Truck Driver’s Sweetheart
2-282: Sam Higdon - Dear Mr. President / Courage to Try
2-283: Sue Neal – Our Rig / Only One True Love
2-285: Jessey Higdon – Pay Telephone / Polk Salad Time on the Mississippi
2-286: John & Margie Cook – Eight Miles from Home / Because We Cheated
2-287: Gene Stilley – Angels Play Guitars / It’s Hard to Get Up Once You’ve Been Down
2-288: Bud Rateliff – I’m Not Gonna Be Your Fall Guy Any More / You Left a Stain on My Heart
2-290: Clinton McKinney - My Only Reason to Stay / I Throwed It All in a U-Haul
2-291: John Cook – John and the School Teacher / Margie Cook – Kiss Me Love
2-293: Farrell Dunkin – Broadway Flower / 8 to 12
2-295: Wilson Brothers – Trail of the Lonesome Pine / Let Me Live One More Time
2-296: Con Brewer – Loving You / Dreams
2-298: Scotty Day – No Pickin in the Corner / What Would I Give
2-299: Gary Abbott – Bar Room Angel / Living in a World of Miseries
2-300: Dee Proctor – As the World Keeps on Turning / Walk with Me
2-303: John & Margie Cook – Would You Call Jesus Hippie / Mama and Papa
2-307: Jim McKee – She Makes Me Glad That I’m Alive / I’ve Got Heartaches and Trouble on My Mind
2-312: Joe T. Gibson - I'm the Loving Kind / It Hurts
2-319: Paulette Cruzon – Yesterdays, Darling, Are Gone / One You Left So Blue

Thanks to DrunkenHob, Peter, Jack Hill, Mark C.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gene Wester acetate

Gene Wester & the Goodtime Band (acetate) 
Borrowed Angel
A Thing Called Sadness

A quick search turned up nothing, neither on Gene Wester & the Goodtime Band nor on Echols Recording. This one came from Los Angeles to me and I guess, it is a Bakersfield related disc. The label states it is a "promotion record," so where's the commercial release?

If there's any info out there, feel free to pass it along.

UPDATE: "Borrowed Angel," as I learned today, was a #7 Country hit for Mel Street on the Royal American record label. Written by Street himself, he recorded it originally in 1970 for the small Tandem label and after some good airplay, Royal American picked it up and released it nationwide. Street had several more top ten hits in the following years but commited suicide in 1978. He had been fighting depression and alcohol problems for some time then. 

I think this acetate was done approximately in 1972, given the fact that "Borrowed Angel" became a hit that year.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lee Finn on Rose

Lee Finn - Lonesome Road (Rose No.#), 1962

Lee Finn was born Dwain Lee Voorhies in 1926, in Greentop, Missouri. I won't cover his entire biography here, mainly because Shane Hughes has featured him on his highly informative Rockabilly Hall page. But let me say a couple of things about Finn. His life remains, in spite of Hughes' efforts, mostly undocumented. The only interview Finn gave was in the 1970s, when Rockin' Ronnie Weiser was able to track him down.

Today's selection was Finn's last release. Both original composition, I chose to present "Lonesome Road" here. It was released in 1962 on the Rose label, which origin is not known. Finn had recorded previously for Stardust (1957), and Westport (1959). He died in 1999.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tennessee Hayloft Jamboree

The Tennessee Hayloft Jamboree, a live stage show from Chattanooga, Tennessee, still misses a well-grounded documentation. Although the show does not share the historial importance with such formats as the Grand Ole Opry or the Louisiana Hayride, it is nevertheless an interesting part of local Tennessee music culture and worth a detailed story as well.

According to Billboard, the show began its run on July 25, 1953, at the Chattanooga Memorial Auditorium. The show lasted three hours; one our was broadcast through a network of six different stations from Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Another one-hour portion was carried by WGAC in Chattanooga.

Headliners of the show were three local acts: Bob Sanders, the Hixson Playboys and the Signal Mountain Gang. Though, the show's cast was made up of 42 different local singers and bands. Les Morrison, from WDXB in Chattanooga, was "heading the details," according to Billboard (whatever that means).

The show aired at least until 1954, judging from a 1954 article in Cowboy Songs No. 32 by Bobby Gregory. If anyone has more information or memories he would like to share, please leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email (adress can be seen on my profile page).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Indio Records

The Indio label was founded by country and rockabilly singer Bill Carter in 1961. It was first located in Modesto, California, but moved to Emeryville soon after the first two releases.

Born on December 11, 1929, in Eagleton, Arkansas, Carter's family moved to Broken Bow, Oklahoma, when Carter was eight years old. A couple of years later, in 1943, the Carters once again changed homes and settled down in Idaho, California, where they made their living as farmers. At that time, Carter started his career as a singer and landed a spot on KREO in Indio (hence probably the name of his label).

From 1950 up to 1953, he served the US Air Force and upon his return, he made a guest appearance at Cottonseed Clark's TV show "Hoffman Hayride" and started his recording career. His first disc was released in 1954 on the 4 Star label ("Making Believe" / "More Than a Man Can Stand," 4 Star X 91). During the next years, he would record for such labels as Republic (1956), Tally (1957-1958), Black Jack, Showboat and Challenge (all 1959), Ozark, Honey B (both 1960), Checker (1960), D (1961) and others.

Cal Veale (left) and Bill Carter holding a Jim Reeves record,
penned by Veale.

Carter was also a DJ. He was on KBOX (Modesto) as well as KPIX (San Francisco) and appeared regularly at the Riverbank Clubhouse in Riverbank, California, in 1956. Around the time he recorded "Shot Four Times and Dy'in" / "Stranger, Shake Hands with a Fool" for D in 1961, he also founded Indio Records. One of Carter's business partners was Cal Veale, who acted as a producer and songwriter for the label. Veale had tried his luck in the recording business unsuccessfully in 1956, when he recorded one single with the Howard Reading Trio ("Don't Cry Baby" / "Standing on the Edge of Nowhere," Las Vegas #1237). Veale owned a recording studio in Modesto, where probably most of the Indio recordings were cut. Larry McGill, who had one release on Indio under his own name, also appeared on a couple of Indio releases as a songwriter. 

It appears almost all known releases were issued in 1961, as many Billboard reviews document. However, one disc is certainly from 1969, judging from the Southern Plastics matrix code. I am quite sure this is the same Indio label, since it has the same the label design as the previous records. In addition, Clyde Arnold wrote one of the songs, "Camille." Arnold had recorded the classic "Black Smoke and Blue Tears" in 1961 for Indio. This 1969 release, however, shows the label's location as Newark, California, and it's not sure if Carter was involved in producing the record.

Nevertheless, Indio was a  short-lived affair for Carter. He became a Christian that same year and turned to Gospel music. Nowadays, he is retired but has recorded some sides with his wife.

An interview with Bill Carter can be found here


Indio IN-1 
Jimmy North / Jack Mashburn Band 
Leavin' Town (Jim Hostetter) / I Know I'm to Blame  ()
A / B

Indio IN-2
Ray Smith and his Oklahoma Outlaws 
You've Heard About Texas (Ray Smith) / Bluer Than Blue (Ray Smith)
A / B

Indio IN-3
Dave Miller with Joe Richie and the Impossibles
Froggy Went A'Rockin' (Arr. Dave Miller) / With You (Dave Miller)
A / B

Indio IN-4
Bob Gordon with Slim Williams and the Blue Valley Boys
Why Make Believe (Bob Gordon) / It's Not Easy to Forget (Bob Gordon)
A /  B

Indio 605
Ralph Hill with Roy Henderson and the Arkies
There Goes My Baby () / Sweet Love ()

Indio IN-606
Clyde Arnold
Black Smoke and Blue Tears (C. Arnold; C. Veale) / Livin' for Your Lovin' (C. Arnold; C. Veale; McGill)
A / B

Indio IN-607
Larry McGill with the Echo-Tones
I Want a True Love () / I Only Wish ()
A / B

Indio IN-608
Clint Marrs and the Saddle-ites
Love and Money (Clint Marrs) / A Million Memories (Bob Morphew)
A / B

Indio IN-609
Ruthe Dee
I Want a True Lover (Bill Carter; McGill) / Tears on the Rocks (Ruthe Dee)
A / B

Indio 8692
Stage Hands
Camille (Clyde Arnold) / Now I'm a Star (Nancy Tester)
SO: 7398 / SO: 7399 (Southern)

Thanks to DrunkenHobo, Svein Martin Pedersen