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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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sleepy LaBeef on Columbia

Sleepy LaBeef - Sure Beats the Heck Outta Settlin' Down (Columbia 4-44068), 1967

By 1964, Sleppy LaBeef had been in the music business for about ten years, recording numerous singles and playing shows all over Texas. But at that time, he had not recorded for a major label yet. Today's selection is one of LaBeef's Columbia singles recorded in the period 1965-1967.


1964 was a turning point in LaBeef's career. One day that year while being at the Wayside Inn (probably playing a show), he received a phone call from Don Law, Columbia executive. He signed LaBeef to a recording contract with the major label Columbia Records because Law probably thought, he had talent and the potential being a star. LaBeef moved to Nashville in 1965 and recorded his first session for Columbia on March 5, 1965. From that session, only "Completely Destroyed" was originally released, almost two years of its recording with the Mack Vickery/Merle Kilgore composition "Go Ahead on Baby."

The sound of LaBeef had changed from stonehard rock'n'roll to a more polished, urban country sound. Most of his repertoire at Columbia were country songs, with a couple of old rhythm and blues as well as some pop numbers thrown in. Organ, harmonica, and dobro were added to the usual line-up of guitar, bass, piano, and drums. LaBeef was now working with experienced Nashville session men, including Ray Edenton, Pig Robbins, Floyd Cramer, Charlie McCoy, Buddy Harmann, and others. 


"Sure Beats the Heck Outta Settlin' Down" was a song composed by W. Wyrick. LaBeef cut it on December 15, 1966, at Columbia Recording Studio in Nashville. He was backed by Grady Martin (guitar), Fred Carter (guitar), James Wilkerson (guitar), Pete Drake (steel guitar), Joseph Zinkan (bass), William Pursell (piano), and Buddy Harmann (drums). It was released with "Schneider" being the top side on April 3, 1967, but didn't reach the charts. It was not until his sixth and last single, "Every Day," which peaked at #73 on Billboard's C&W charts.


Columbia, though, wasn't satisfied with the results and didn't renew LaBeef's contract. This was not too tragic for him, since Shelby Singleton had faith in his talent and signed him to his Plantation label in 1969, where he would go on to reach the charts again with "Black Land Farmer" and then switching to the reactivated Sun Records.

2 comments:

howstean said...

"Sure Beats the Heck Outta Settlin' Down" was a song composed by W. Wyrick - wonder if this is a misprint for steel guitar player Weldon Myrick ?

Mellow said...

Also thought about that but couldn't find any proof.