|Kent Westberry (rhythm guitar) and the Chaperons, late 1950s|
"Popcorn and Candy Bars"
This Kent Westberry song is one of the many rockabilly records that were produced in the Miami music scene during the 1950s. I guess not many people are familiar with this tune but it's a pretty nice song and Westberry's second single for the Miami based Art label.
Westberry was born in 1939 in Miami, Florida. Whilst in High School, he formed the Chaperones which included also Wayne Grey (ld gtr), Snuffy Smith (bs/vcls) and Lewie Stewart (dms). Westberry and the Chaperones were regulars on the Old South Jamboree, a show that was broadcasted over WMIL out of Miami, and also had appearances on the local TV station Channel 17. The group also played various drive-in and theater gigs in southern Florida, which were organized by Westberry’s manager Buck Trail.
In the summer of 1958, Westberry and the Chaperones recorded their first songs at Harold Doane’s Art Recording and Transcription Service studio in Miami. Although they recorded in Doane's studio, their first single appeared on the local Trail record label, which was owned by their manager Buck Trail. On No Place To Park Westberry duetted with Snuffy Smith and plays an unique rhythm guitar intro. While No Place To Park was clearly inspired by the Everly Brothers, By Baby Don’t Rock Me Now was a fine slow rocker. The single was issued a second time on Doane’s Art Records in September 1958.
In 1959, Westberry and the Chaperones held a second session for Doane. They laid down three songs written by a Miami doctor’s wife. Two of them, Popcorn and Candy Bars along with Turkish Doghouse Rock, were issued on Art 174. The other one, My Bimini Baby, remained unissued. Westberry later recalled that they were at least accompanied by one session guy called C.W. Keith. Westberry said: "We did them [the songs] with session guys; the guitarist, C.W. Keith, was the only one I remember ‘cause he later joined my band."
Westberry went on to be a famous songwriter and hit maker in his own right when he moved to Nashville in 1960. His songs were recorded by such artists as Mel Tillis, Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, Waylon Jennings, and many more. He still peforms today.
|Kent Westberry and Snuffy Smith, possibly in 1960|
Sources: RCS, Rob Finnis