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.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ricky Coyne & Mel McGonnigle story

Nearly every bigger city in the USA of the 1950s had his own country and rockabilly scene. Memphis, Dallas, Houston, Jackson, and even Miami had record labels, clubs, shows, studios, and radio stations to support local acts. Boston, Massachusets, was no exception during the rock & roll craze of the 1950s. Two of the local artists that took advantage from the lively scene were Mel McGonnigle and Ricky Coyne, both born in the 1940s and still in their teens when they made their first records.

Maybe one of the most famous Boston rockabilly songs is "Rattle Shakin' Mama" by Mel McGonnigle. Although a wild rocker, McGonnicle had valiant struggle to keep track of his song's basic rhythmic structure on the original recording.
McGonnigle just turned 18 years when he rent a local studio in Boston to cut two demos of his self written songs "Rattle Shakin' Mama" and "Cheryl Baby". Accompanied by 35$ in his pocket and his backing band, Ricky Coyne and the Guitar Rockers, he went into the studio and began to cut his two songs. During the session, he was interrupted by a local record producer, who owned the Rocket record label in Boston and offered McGonnigle a recording contract (McGonnigle was still underage, so his father had to sign the contract). At the end of that day, a single was recorded and later released in the spring of 1958. Because of Rocket's lacking promotion, the single went nowhere. McGonnigle then vanished from the radar.
Today, he still is busy with music and has announced a comeback. Actually, he recorded four new songs which were digitally released and can be heard here.


McGonnigle's backing band, Ricky Coyne & the Guitar Rockers, had several singles issued on New England based labels themselves. Leader Ricky Coyne was born in 1943 in Boston and still in his teens (ca. 15 years old), when his first single "Rollin' Pin Mim / I'll Love You Forever" was produced on the Boston based Fenwick label. The record seems to have enjoyd some success, for in December of 1958, Event Records picked it up and issued it again, this time with the credit "Ricky Coyne & his Guitar Rockers". Two other singles were issued in 1959 on Event by Coyne and his band, but none of them was able to crack the charts. The Guitar Rockers kept on playing into the 1960s I think, but never established them on a national basis. Coyne had at least three sons later in his life and is still active as a musician.
Eagle Records issued Coyne's songs on various compilations. Besides his issued sides, also live recordings and some unissued tracks were compiled.

Discography Mel McGonnigle
Rocket 101 - Rattle Shakin' Mama / Cheryl Baby (1958)

Discography Ricky Coyne & his Guitar Rockers
Fenwick 1011 - Rollin' Pin Mim / I'll Love You Forever (1958)
Event 4289 - Rollin' Pin Mim / I'll Love You Forever (1958)
Event 4294 - Angel from Heaven / I Want You to Know (1959)
Event 4298 - Little Darlene / Kaw-Liga (1959)

Event unissued:
Short Fat Fannie (1959)
Blueberry Hill

Download three tracks:
1. Mel McGonnigle - Rattle Shakin' Mama
2. Ricky Coyne and his Guitar Rockers - Little Darlene
3. Ricky Coyne and his Guitar Rockers - Short Fat Fannie

Ricky Coyne (right) with a Guitar Rockers member called Bobby

Sources: Rockin' Country Style, Billboard December-1-1958 issue, Ricky Coyne's son Robert

3 comments:

Bob said...

Thanks for the story. "Rattle Shakin' Mama" is one of my favorite rockabilly record. Incredible!

rockin-djames said...

Hi thanks for your saga artists.

Your blog is great, i'm waiting for the next releases of your own various set.



Rockin djames

Josh said...

hey, you got some very cool stuff on here. keep it comin!