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.


• Jack Turner recordings available here.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Spitfires on Jaro Int.

The Spitfires - Catfish (Jaro Int. J-77004), 1959

The Spitfires - Fireball Mail (Jaro Int. J-77004), 1959
Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin

Actually, the Spitfires were nothing else than a pseudonym used by Billy Lee Riley for one single release on the Jaro International label. It was Riley's first release after "One More Time" b/w "Got the Water Boiling," his last record on Sun Records (Sun 322, ca. June 1959). Riley was possibly still under contract with Sun when recording for Jaro but knew his contract wasn't renewed. Though, he had to use a pseudonym for releases on other record labels since he was tied to his Sun contract.

Newspaper article from 1957
Riley and his band at the Sun Studio, ca. 1957. From left to right:
Jimmy Van Eaton (drums), Martin Willis (sax), Pat O'Neill (bass),
Jimmy Wilson (piano), and Riley
"Fireball Mail" and "Catfish" were cut in 1959 in Memphis, Tennessee, likely in one of the many independent recording studios like Fernwood. Both sides were instrumentals and still had the "Little Green Men" sound, which suggests that they also recorded these sides with Riley. It's sure that Roland Janes played guitar with possibly Riley on guitar or bass, Jimmy Van Eaton on drums and Martin Willis on sax, leaving only an unknown piano player.

How these cuts ended up on Jaro is not quite clear. Riley started to produce his own records from 1959 onwards and used several pseudonyms on small labels in the following years. Jaro was a subsidiary of Top Rank Records from New York City. The Spitfires' single was one of the first to be released on the label. In August 3, 1959, Billboard gave "Fireball Mail" b/w "Catfish" a promising review but the single failed to chart.

"Very Strong Sales Potential" - Billboard pop review of Jaro 77004 on August 3, 1959


Twobadeyes said...

Oops, Senior Moment? I think both songs are the same song. Happens to us all.

Mellow said...

Yes, you're right, thanks! I have corrected it.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting and informative post! Thanks, Mellow.