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, February 12, 2014

Helen Thomas on Trail

Helen Thomas / The Rhythm Heirs - Chattanooga Drummer Man (Trail A-102), 1958 

Helen Thomas, also promoted as "The Singing Sweetheart" by label owner Buck Trail (real name Ronald Killette), remains a mysterious figure in the Miami rock'n'roll scene. She recorded that one record for Trail and then slipped into obscurity again.

Thomas recorded "Chattanooga Drummer Man" b/w "Young Sweethearts" in 1958 for Killette's short-lived Trail Records, which lasted only about half a year. Killette, who was a local promoter and songwriter, performed under the name of Buck Trail and also released a couple of records, including his version of "Chattanooga Drummer Man" that same year.

"Chattanooga Drummer Man," a knock-off of Red Foley's "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy" written by Killette, is a rather chaotic version of the song. Thomas sings four about a minute, then the band keeps on jamming away for the rest of the song with hollers and shouts thrown in. Thomas' version was solely reissued on the Collector CD "Savage Rockin' Girls" in 1999.

2 comments:

Vance Pollock said...

Synchronicity strikes again. I'm in Asheville, NC where I just got interested in the Skyland label, owned (?) by Buck Trail. Skyland being the name of a community/suburb or Asheville, I suspected there must be a local connection. Another one of Buck's female vocalists was Pat Parker, little more than a teenager in 1962 judging from the picture sleeve for "Boywatcher." Well, we confirmed that she was/is from the neighborhood and that her mother shared writing credit on the flipside "Warm Glow." I'm very interested in corresponding with the author of the upcoming article on Buck, perhaps even doing a phone interview on a little weekly radio show I do. Just thought you might like to know other people are digging for answers to similar questions. -Vance

Mellow said...

Hi Vance, you can contact me via email, look at my profile page. I'm the author of the upcoming article, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!