Updates

• Added info on Jimmy Ford, thanks to Volker Houghton. • Extended and corrected the post on Happy Harold Thaxton (long overdue), thanks to everyone who sent in memories and information! • Added information to the Jim Murray post, provided by Mike Doyle, Dennis Rogers, and Marty Scarbrough. • Expanded the information on Charlie Dial found in the Little Shoe post.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Allen Wingate a.k.a. Allen Page

Allen Page
1950s Moon Records promo picture

Between Moon and Sun - Between Sin and Salvation
The Story of Allan Wingate a.k.a. Allen Page

Cordell Jackson's Moon record label, and in particular Jackson herself, became a cult phenomenon in 1980s Memphis. And the label's most prolific recording artist was Allen Page, who has - unfortunately - found little acclaim since his records came out in the 1950s. However, he probably would have dismissed it being celebrated as a rockabilly hero as he became a preacher under his real name Allen Wingate. From the 1960s onwards, he found his satisfaction in traveling around the country and preaching the gospel.

Many other artists that recorded in Memphis during the 1950s and early 1960s came from the rural areas of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. In contrast, Allen Lamar Wingate, to give him his full name, came from the city of Tampa, located on the sunny west coast of Florida. There, he was born on August 14, 1936. His mother Corrine Elizabeth Eiland would not marry his father Woodroow Wingate until about a month after Wingate's birth. Though, the relationship broke up soon after and they divorced a year later. During World War II, Wingate's mother worked at Tampa's ship yard to support the family. She had married Glen Burnside, whom she divorced in 1945, however.

In 1956, Wingate moved to Memphis, which was the place to be for rock'n'roll music. By then, he was probably already married to his wife Joann. Their oldest son James had already been born and Allen Lamar jr. followed in October 1956. By then, Wingate had started performing in Memphis night clubs under the name of "Allen Page" and had taken up composing songs with his wife, too. It was probably around the same time that he went into Memphis' Sun Studio and auditioned. A demo tape entitled "What Else Could I Do" with Wingate on vocals and guitar, backed up by upright bass and electric guitar, has survived. However, the audition went nowhere. Though, two of the songs Wingate and his wife had written were recorded by Ernie Barton in March 1958 for Phillips Int., "Stairway to Nowhere" and "Raining the Blues".

Following his unsuccessful Sun audition, Wingate came to the attention of Cordell Jackson, a pioneering woman in music business who had founded her own record label Moon Records shortly before. Wingate recorded his debut "Honeysuckle" b/w "High School Sweater" (Moon #301), both penned by him and Joann, in 1957 but without much success. This was not because Wingate wasn't talented; Moon Records was a local Memphis business without proper distribution and the recordings itself were too provincial for the national market. The record had enough exposure to stir a cover version, though: "High School Sweater" was recorded a couple of months later by Arkansas born singer Kenny Owens.

Cordell Jackson obviously had faith in the young singer, as she produced a total of four singles on him and the first three we released straight in a row. All of them were first-class Memphis rock'n'roll but none of them caught on. His "She's the One That Got It" was written by him for his wife. While Wingate was a talented songwriter and composed most of his recorded material on his own, he also cut Cordell Jackson's "Dateless Night" and "Oh! Baby". The latter, along with "I Wish You Were Wishing" (a song he recorded twice for Moon), was released on Moon #307 in 1960 and became not only Wingate's final single on the label but also the label's last release altogether. He had cut it with the Big Four, a group that had also recorded in its own right for Moon.

Billboard June 13, 1960, pop review

By then, it had become obvious that Wingate's moment to reach stardom as a rock'n'roll artist had passed. The hard-driving rockabilly that was produced under Cordell Jackson's supervision had definitely gone out of fashion by 1960. Wingate was heavy on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs by 1963 but one night in August that year, he found faith and - in his own memories - never touched any of it again. He became an evangelist and with companions like brothers Billy and Tommy Brown, spent much of the 1960s traveling the country and preaching the word of God. Billy Brown, who was also from Florida and had embarked on a country and rock'n'roll music career much like Wingate, had experienced similar set-backs and had drifted into alcoholism. He later told stories of such miracles as deaf ears opened, blind eyes could see, immediate healing, etc., that occurred while traveling with Wingate. Besides traveling the United States, Wingate's extended tours also took him to Canada, Mexico, and Panama.

Joann and Allen Wingate, ca. 1978
Taken from the back of their album "Beyond the Sunset"

Back to the music. Wingate recorded a four song EP of uptempo country gospel, including a version of Hank Williams' "I Saw the Light", in 1965. An accompanying LP was released simultaneously with more cuts. For a while, the Wingate family lived in Sharonville, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where a couple of recordings were made with his wife and his son James. Eventually, much of his family would take part in his recordings. At least two more LPs followed in the 1970s, which make up a total of four albums by Wingate known to me. Probably more recordings were done throughout the years and released on LP or cassette.

Wingate settled his family in the fall of 1975 in New Smyrna Beach, on the east coast of Florida, where he founded the New Smyrna Beach Church of God and served the community as its pastor until his death. Allen Wingate passed away on April 26, 1993, in his adopted hometown of New Smyrna Beach. He is buried at Sea Pines Memorial Gardens in Edgewater, Florida. He was survived by his wife Joann as well as eight children and 22 grandchildren.

Since 1975, Wingate's rock'n'roll recordings were re-released consequently in Europe. Collector Records released two of his Moon recordings that year on the "Super Rock a Billy, Part A" LP and since then, Wingate's songs have been reissued numerous times, including on LPs and CDs put out by Moon Records. Wingate's take on "I Saw the Light" saw also release on the 2018 "Hillbillies in Hell" compilation.


Allan Wingate performs "I've Found a Better Way" at the
Belleview, Mississippi, Church of God, ca.1980s

Discography

Singles
Moon 301: Allen Page and the Crowns with the Moon Beams - Honeysuckle / High School Sweater (1957)
Moon 302: Allen Page with the Deltones - I Wish You Were Wishing / Dateless Night (1958)
Moon 303: Allen Page - She's the One That's Got It / Sugar Tree (1958)
Moon 307: Allen Page with Sandy and Sue and the Big Four - I Wish You Were Wishing / Oh! Baby (1960)
No label No.#: Evangelist Allen Wingate - It's Different Now / I'm Counting On Jesus / I Saw the Light / At Calvary (1965)

LPs
No label No.#: Evangelist Allen Wingate - Beyond the Sunset: Songs from Me for You (1965)
The Evening Light No.#: Allen and Joann Wingate - He Set Me Free (1974)
The Evening Light No.#: Allen Wingate and the Family of God Singers - That Old Fashioned Salvation (1978)
Unknown label No.#: Allen Wingate Family Singers - All for His Glory

See also

Sources
45cat entry
Rate Your Music
• Discogs entries for Allen Page and Allen Wingate
Find a Grave entry
Rockin' Country Style entry
Gospel Jubilee entry
Information on Corrine Elizabeth (Eiland) Wingate on WikiTree
Allen Lamar Wingate, Jr., obituary
That's All Rite Mama: Evangelist Allen Wingate
• Various Wingate family members commented on Youtube videos of Allen Wingate's gospel recordings. Thanks for the information provided!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Bill Huskey

Bill Huskey
The Unknown Songwriter from Arkansas

While digging deeper and deeper into Arkansas' country and rock'n'roll music past, I ran across a songwriter by the name of Bill Huskey. While the name didn't catch my interest in the first instance, it finally did and in the end, I found out that Huskey was also responsible for some great rock'n'roll recordings on Billy Lee Riley's Rita Records.

Claudis "Bill" Huskey was born on April 1, 1932, to Leslie Ray and Verna Lee Huskey in Caraway, Arkansas, a small town in the northeastern region of the state that was so rich of musical talent. He spent some time serving in the US Army and by the late 1950s, had made his way to Memphis, Tennessee.

By late 1959, Huskey had connected with Billy Lee Riley, who had recently founded his own record label in Memphis, Rita Records. The debut release was reserved for Huskey, who recorded his rock'n'roll composition "Rockin' at the Zoo" along with "Funny Paper People" for the label. Released in December 1959 on Rita #1001, the single failed to stimulate any national interest.

During the same time, he also hung around Sun Studio and managed to pitch some songs to the label's executives. Huskey's "The Good Guy Always Wins" was given to another young singer from Georgia, Lance Roberts. The result was released in October 1960 on Sun. Singers like Billy Garner and Billy Lee Riley also recorded his composition during this time.

At the same time, Huskey's own next release came out on Rita. Credited to "Tommy Hawk", the label issued "Chief Sitting Bull", another rock'n'roll performance, and "I Thought About Living" on the other side. The latter was an answer song to Bob Luman's hit "Let's Think About Living" that soon captured the attention of the original's publisher Acuff-Rose. Threatened with legal action, Rita withdrew the release and put Huskey's earlier recording of "Rockin' at the Zoo" on the flip with "Chief Sitting Bull" remaining. 

In 1962, Huskey worked with Quinton Claunch and his Bingo label (forerunner of his much more successful Goldwax record label). "Big Bad John the Twister" b/w "Pop-Eye Time" were released in the spring of 1962 on Bingo #111 as by another pseudonym, "Jon Kennedy".

Catalog of Copyright Entries 1962

Catalog of Copyright Entries 1962
Copyright entry for Huskey's Bingo single

None of Huskey's singles did noteworthy well so far and it seems that he very much quit recording after his Bingo release. He returned to Arkansas and founded his own record label Jakebil Records in Newport in 1969. The debut release was given to Huskey's daughter Kenni (sometimes also spelled Kenny), who went on to greater fame than her father. Huskey also released a duet with his second wife Julia (who also recorded solo) on Jakebil, "Good Old Country Song" b/w "I Wouldn't Give You the Time of Day" (#1003/4).

Later that year, Huskey moved his family and business to Anaheim, California, where daughter Kenny continued to build her career. She was eventually discovered by country star Buck Owens and recorded for such labels as Capitol and Warner Brothers.

While Huskey also spent some time in Nashville, he eventually returned to Newport, Arkansas, where he died on April 7, 2021, at the age of 89 years. His wife Julia had already passed away.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Mike Waggoner & the Bops

Mike Waggoner and the Bops, ca. 1956-1958
Taken from the front cover of Norton LP ED-406

Mike Waggoner and the Bops
Kings of Minnesota Rock'n'Roll

Mike Waggoner and the Bops were a regional Minneapolis, Minnesota, rock'n'roll group. Norton Records once dubbed them "The Kings of Minnesota Rock'n'Roll" and although there were more successful groups from the Mid-North, there were few that had a more energetic sound than Waggoner and the Bops. Author Seth Bovey once called them "one of the earliest and most influential garage bands in Minneapolis".

The band's leader was born in 1940 and made his first experiences in the music business at the age of 10 years. Waggoner came from a musical family, most of his relatives played an instrument. Growing up on a farm in rural Pine County, East Minnesota, he was influenced by country music at an early age and began to perform with his father's country band. In 1953, Waggoner appeared on three different local TV talent shows: the Topy Prin Talent Show on WCCO, the Jimmy Valentine Talent Show and the David Stone Talent Show, both on KSTP.

In the fall of 1954, the family moved to Richland, a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Waggoner began to listen to local DJ Carl Peterson on WLOL. He also tuned in to such powerful stations as WLS from Chicago, KHJ from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and KOMA from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and discovered rockabilly and rock'n'roll music. During 1955 and 1956, Waggoner became a fame of such artists as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Bill Haley and the Comets, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent, and others. 

While in high school, Waggoner decided to put together a band for a one-off variety show, performing a couple of Elvis Presley songs. Overwhelmed by the screaming response of the young girls in the audience, he organized the band as a steady outfit with him on vocals and rhythm guitar, his brother Colin "Collie" Waggoner on lead guitar, Dick Benedict on rhythm guitar, Doug Barton on saxophone, Rusty Bates on string bass, and Lyle Gudmanson on drums. The group first performed at a record hop hosted by Carl Peterson at the St. Richard's Catholic Church in Richfield. The band was still nameless and asked by Peterson, Waggoner came up with "The Bops", inspired by Gene Vincent's minor hit "Dance to the Bop".

Seth Bovey tells a different story in his book "Five Years Ahead of My Time" how the band came along: One day in 1957, Gene Vincent drove up in his shiny Lincoln to a gas station owned by Waggoner's uncle, and Waggoner, who worked there at the time, serviced Vincent. Inspired by this incident, he decided to form a band. This story differs largely from Waggoner's own account, however.

During the next two years, the Bops played various venues in the area, mostly sock hops hosted by Carl Peterson, including such locations as the Ford Union Hall in St. Paul, the Laidlaw VFW in Minneapolis, the Bloomington Roller Rink, among others, as well as school events. At that time, none of the members were able to drive a car, therefore their parents stepped in to transport the band and its gear to the gigs. The year of 1958 brought some line-up changes, as the different members graduated from high school and some of them left for college. Waggoner and his brother continued as a four-piece band with Sheldon Hasse on bass and John Lentz on drums. Among their many performances was a steady job at the Crystal Coliseum.

During the years, the popularity of Waggoner and the Bops grew. They rose to one of Minnesota's most influential and most popular rock'n'roll groups, playing countless venues and spots in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin as well as their home base, the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Several artists listed them as an influence, including the Trashmen, a band that hit big later with "Surfin' Bird". "The king around here at the time was Mike Waggoner and the Bops", said Tony Andreason of the Trashmen. "He was absolutely our idol. And Colly Waggoner was very good, if not maybe the best picker around. Over time, when Colly couldn't play a job, then Mike would call me and I play", he is cited in "Everybody's Heard About the Bird" by Rick Shefchick. Butch Maness, who would later replace Sheldon Hasse on bass in the Bops, recalled in that same book about the band: "That was my idol. I thought that was the best band in the world. I saw them at the Crystal Coliseum. Wow. [...]"

Despite their popularity, the Bops didn't make any recordings until the early 1960s. On March 13, 1961, the band went to Kay Bank Studios to lay down a slew of recordings, most of them covers. During its lifetime, the band only had few original compositions in its repertoire and concentrated on cover versions of rock'n'roll hits of the day. While at Kay Bank, they browsed through their set list and cut such songs as "Good Rockin' Tonight" (Roy Brown/Elvis Presley), "Work with Me Annie" (the Royals), or "Bye Bye Johnny" (Chuck Berry).

The session was produced by Bing Bengtsson, who also managed successful artist Bobby Vee. Bengtsson took two of the Bops' recordings, the Dale Hawkins cover "Baby, Baby" plus a band's original instrumental composed by Collie Waggoner entitled "Basher #5", and released them on his own Vee label (#7002) in April 1961. Although "Basher #5" was the designated A side, their cover of "Baby, Baby" started getting airplay from such jockeys as Bill Diehl at WDGY or Sam Sherwood at KDWB. With approximately 1,500 to 2,000 copies pressed, the disc remained a local hit, though.

In the years to come, Waggoner and the Bops continued to play very successful in Minnesota and surrounding states. In June 1964, club owner Ray "Big Reggie" Coulihan called the band to perform at his Danceland club in Excelsior. The Bops were the opening act for another band, the still unknown Rolling Stones from Great Britain, who were set to perform there on June 12, 1964. Different factors led to a gig that went not as well as expected: little advertisement, high admission, plus the fact that the Stones were still unknowns in the US at that time. Only 200-300 people attended the show, many of them came rather to see the Bops than the Stones, and the audience received the Stones polite but reserved.

Waggoner and the Bops tried their hand at recording one more time in late December 1964 at Dove Recording Studio in St. Louis Park (another suburb of Minneapolis). That day, the line-up consisted of Waggoner, Dave Clausen on lead guitar (replacing Colin Waggoner who was in the service), Butch Machess on bass, and Lentz. Another session at the same location took place in March 1965 (with Colin Waggoner back on guitar). From those two sessions, the two originals "Blue Days Black Nights" (which was not only similar in title to the Buddy Holly song but also in style) and "Where and When" were released on the short-lived studio in-house Dove record label the same year. This disc enjoyed some airplay on WCCO.

In the fall of 1965, Waggoner and the Bops were offered a place on a tour through Australia and New Zealand, where American rock'n'roll (and at that time evolving rock music) was still very popular. Waggoner, married and father of two young children, declined, however, and decided to take his life into another direction. The Bops disbanded in 1965, playing their last performance at the Woodley's Country Dam near Amery, Wisconsin.

Waggoner pursued another career in radio as a DJ as well as music and program director. From 1965 until 1976, he could be heard on WEAQ in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on WEBC in Duluth, Minnesota, and on WDGY in Bloomington, Minnesota. He then moved into the sales department of WCCO until 1981 and finally became station manager of radio KJJO. Later in the 1980s, he also worked in sales for KMSP-TV and KSTP-TV. Since the 1970s, Waggoner had resumed playing with bands. Since 1974, he had performed with a group called "The Music Machine" and, since 1981, performed with the Bops on special occasions.

In 2005, he founded the "Old School Rockers" and another five years later, established the band "Memphis Trax", playing a mixture of rock'n'roll, boogie, and rhythm and blues. With this outfit, he also recorded an album. Since 2013, he also performs with a band called "Roadhouse". A 2010 interview with Tom Campbell from minniepaulmusic.com led to Waggoner's first appearance in Europe at the Ubangi Stomp Festival in Spain. Several appearances at both American and European festivals followed, including Hemsby, the Pondarosa Stomp, and the Good Rockin' Tonight Festival in France.

Mike Waggoner and the Bops were inducted into the Midwest Music Hall of Fame in 2008. They performed during the celebration at the Medina Ballroom.

Much of the band's recordings were issued in 1983 on the White Label LP "Minnesota Rock-a-Billy-Rock, Volume 4". Since then, their recordings have been featured on several reissue LPs and CDs. The most complete overview of the Bops' work gives the 2015 released Norton Records LP "The Kings of Minnesota Rock'n'Roll", which misses their Dove single, however, and is already out of print.


Mike Waggoner appearing at Hembsy 53 in October 2014, performing "Hey Mama" and "Guitar Man" with the Hemsby House Band



Mike Waggoner and the Roadhouse band perform "Good Rockin' Tonight" in December 2012

Recommended reading
• Memphis Trax
Concert chronology

Sources
Mike Waggoner official website
Mike Waggoner and the Bops on bearfamily.de
Discogs
Mike Waggoner and the Bops Timeline on minniepaulmusic.com
SecondHandSongs
Rockin' Country Style entry
45cat entry
Twin Cities Music Highlights: The Rolling Stones at Danceland
• Rick Shefchick: "Everybody's Heard About the Bird: The True Story of 1960s Minnesota Rock'n'Roll" (University of Minnesota Press), 2015
• Seth Bovey: "Five Years Ahead of My Time: Garage Rock from the 1950s to the Present" (Reverb), 2019

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Houston Turner on Do-Ra-Me

Houston Turner - "Buenos Noches" (Do-Ra-Me 1437), 1963

One of the many talented musicians that orbited around the Dixieland Drifters band was Houston "Buck" Turner, who left his mark by singing on "Bongos and Uncle John", the Drifters' most popular tune. Turner also performed with Tani Allen's Tennessee Pals, leaving another mark in music history through composing "Tennessee Jive", which became later known by Bill Haley as "Real Rock Drive".

Singer and songwriter Houston Edgar "Buck" Turner, Jr., was born on April 16, 1922, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. During World War II, he served his country as an Air Force sergeant. Upon his return, Turner pursued a career in local music. 

By 1950, he had built up a reputation as a talented singer in the Chattanooga area and was approached by band leader Tani Allen that year to join his band. Steel guitarist Allen had founded his own country music outfit, "The Tennessee Pals," in Memphis shortly before. He contacted Bullet Records in Nashville, hoping to secure a record deal with the independent label. Bullet agreed to record the band on condition that Allen would exchange the vocalist. Allen, who also originally hailed from Chattanooga and remembered Turner as a vocalist, brought him into the band. 


Turner recorded a total of six singles with the band for Bullet from 1950 up to 1952, including their debut "Tennessee Jive," a Turner original. This song somehow came to the attention of Bill Haley, who reworked it under the title of "Real Rock Drive" in late 1952. This version saw release on Essex in early 1953 (Essex #310) without any songwriter credits. Interestingly, "Tennessee Jive" was also covered by Johnny Horton in 1953 on Mercury under its original title (Mercury #70010-X45).

Jim Bulleit, owner of Bullet, offered Turner to record solo for the label but Turner turned down the invitation. Tani Allen, however, encouraged Turner to continue his solo career. It is likely that Turner continued to perform around Chattanooga and by 1958, he teamed up with local singer and label owner Gene Woods, with whom he penned "How Big a Fool Can You Be" and performed with Woods' band, the Tune Twisters.

In 1960, he began working with the Dixieland Drifters, a group also from Chattanooga. They had recorded earlier for Sun, Murray Nash's B.B. Records and Dub, when Herbert "Happy" Schleif and Peanut Faircloth (also member of the Dixieland Drifters) released two singles of the band on their Hap record label. One was "You Won't Fall in Love" b/w "Will Angels Have Sweethearts" in 1960, the other "Bongos and Uncle John" b/w "How Big a Fool."


Members of the Dixieland Drifters, ca. July 1961 (left to right):
Howell Culpepper, poss. Charlie Evans, Houston Turner,
and Norman Blake

"Bongos and Uncle John" was published by Murray Nash's Ashna Music and recorded at his studio in Nashville. He re-released the song on his Do-Ra-Me label twice and it must have been a good seller for the band, since it was picked up by 20th Century Fox in the US and Sparton in Canada. Turner also recorded solo for Do-Ra-Me and for Big Country. He also did personal appearances with his own band, the Town and Country Boys, which also included Norman Blake. The Dixieland Drifters disbanded around 1963 and Turner died in 1999.

Today's selection "Buenos Noches" was written by a team of blind songwriters. The married couple Floyd and Mary Biggs and session pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins also penned a couple of other songs for Murray Nash. Turner recorded it probably at Murray Nash's Sound of Nashville studio and released in July/August 1963. It also saw release in Canada on Sparton.

See also

Sources
• David Carroll: Hello, Chattanooga! Famous People Who Have Visited the Tennessee Valley (Fresh Ink Group), 2021

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Plastic Products - The Hub of Rock'n'Roll

Former Plastic Products Quonset huts at 1746 Chelsea Avenue in Memphis
Source: Google Street View

Buster Williams' Plastic Products Company
The Hub of Rock'n'Roll in Memphis


Many independent, small and private record labels from 1955 onwards used such big custom pressing services as Rite from Cincinnati or RCA's pressing plant from New Jersey. One of the smaller independent pressing plants was Buster Williams' Plastic Products from Memphis, who served the whole south in the early 1950s. Among the now famous record labels which pressed records at Plastic Products were Sun, Meteor, Hi, Fernwood, Atlantic, and many others.

Robert E. "Buster" Williams originally hailed from Enterprise, Mississippi, where he first worked as a peanut salesman while still in his teens and later owned a drug store. Williams was already an experienced business man when he set up Plastic Products in 1949. He had worked as a distributor for Wurlitzer jukeboxes in the Memphis area and by the end of World War II, had founded Music Sales distribution together with Clarence Camp (husband of Celia Camp, future co-owner of Home of the Blues Records) on 680 Union Avenue in Memphis. Soon after its founding, the company began distribution for many independent labels, including Gilt-Edge, Mercury, Excelsior, Exclusive, National, Sterling, among others. An office in New Orleans was established and Music Sales became a successful record distributor in the south and south-west.


Billboard ad from its March 9, 1957, issue. "Shipments made from PLASTIC PRODUCTS, Memphis, and SOUTHERN PLASTICS, Nashville.

A talented entrepreneur and engineer, Williams sensed that there was a gap in the record market and founded his pressing plant "Plastic Products Incorporated" in Memphis on 1746 Chelsea Avenue. On this property were four Quonset huts that housed the plant's offices, shipping and printing operations, compounding equipment and the actual presses. At the start, much of the used equipment was designed by Williams himself. Actually, it started with one Quonset hut but soon, Williams extended his operations and more huts were added. Plastic Products rapidly became the favorite plant among many independent labels in the south. When Sam Phillips founded Sun Records, he began using Buster Williams' plant as well as Music Sales for distribution.

Hi, Fernwood, Meteor, Stax, Atlantic, MGM, Chess, Holiday Inn, and many other, much smaller, labels pressed their records there, too. Williams, a self-made entrepreneur, knew the difficulties independent labels had to deal with and offered lavish credits for these companies. By 1956, Plastic Products was pressing for 49 different record labels and turned out more than 65,000 records a day. The plant therefore played an important role in the development of popular music, especially in creating and spreading rock'n'roll. Nearly all of the Memphis based labels would press their records at Plastic Products in 1959, though it made up only 10% of the whole outcome at that time.

The same year, Plastic Products was so busy pressing records that the orders exceeded the capacities of Williams' plant in Memphis by far. He built another plant in Coldwater, Mississippi (a little south of Memphis), which became known as Coldwater Industries. A third plant was built in the early 1970s near the Memphis Airport to manufacture 8-track tapes. Around the same time, Eastern Manufacturing in Philadelphia was acquired by Plastic Products as well.

Billboard September 12, 1970

By 1973, the end of Plastic Products was in sight. During the past years, Stax Records had become Plastic's biggest customer but when the label experienced financial problems, it could not pay the incoming bills from Plastic Products. A strike at Coldwater followed in 1975 and Plastic Products never received a majority of the sum the company had demanded from Stax. Finally, Buster Williams' son, whose interest lay rather in oil industry than in record pressing business, closed the pressing plants altogether.

Buster Williams passed away in 1992 at the age of 83 years. About a year later, his son sold two of the Quonset huts and later also sold the remaining two. In 2012, a marker was erected at 1746 Chelsea to keep the history of the "hub of rock'n'roll" alive. Some of Williams' children were present at the ceremony but according to Memphis part-time music historian John Shaw, the family is still reluctant to open up their archives which prevents a detailed history of the pressing catalogue.


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Vaughn Riley on Ornament


Vaughn Riley and the Blue-Diamonds - It's All Your Fault (Ornament No.#), 1977

Thankfully, Dean from the cherished Small Independent Rockin' 45rpm Labels blog pointed me towards this disc in 2023. Naturally, I got intrigued with Vaughn Riley's story. There's not much out there on him or the Ornament label, though, so if you know more than I do, please feel free to share your knowledge with me.

Early on in his career, Vaughn Riley was a member of the Arkansas based rock'n'roll band the Jokers. Members of this band included at one time or another Jimmy Bone and Jimmy Doyle Payne on vocals, Steve Hanford (sometimes also spelled Handford) and Riley on guitars, Ivan Wood on bass, and John Stice on drums. The Jokers recorded three rare records. The first one was released on Grace in 1961, featuring their Clovers cover "Little Mama" and "Say You're Mine", written by Vaughn Riley. Their second release came in 1964 with covers of two Bobby Lee Trammell classics, "Arkansas Twist" and "It's All Your Fault". These recordings were released by the Bro-Ket label of Batesville, Arkansas. A third 45 was issued as by "Jimmy Payne and the Jokers" on George Whitaker's Zay-Dee label featuring "I Wouldn't Be Seen Alive with Her" b/w "Don't Ground Me".

I couldn't find any more info on Riley until his Ornament disc was released. This came along in 1977 and Riley again tried his hand at the Trammell song "It's All Your Fault". The flip side is not known to me sadly. The Jokers' and Riley's "obsession" with Bobby Lee Trammell material may be due to the fact that some of the Jokers members actually performed with him - at least Steve Han(d)ford and Jimmy Doyle Payne.

Ornament was based in North Little Rock and I know of two releases on this label, the other one being by Riley's old band mate Jimmy Doyle Payne.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Home of the Blues Records

Home of the Blues Records
On the Street Where Blues Were Born

I recently made contacts with ancestors of Ruben Cherry and Celia Camp, owners of the Home of the Blues label, a mostly overlooked Memphis record label. Both Cherry and Camp were influential figures in the city's music scene, though they are forgotten nowadays. During its years active in the 1960s, the Home of the Blues label released recordings mostly in the rock’n’roll and rhythm and blues genres. The label was active from 1960 until 1964 and had only limited commercial success. Though it was part of the development of southern soul music and an early nest of this music's forerunners.

The Beginnings
The Home of the Blues record label was founded by Ruben Cherry, who also operated the Home of the Blues record shop. Cherry, a native Memphian born there in 1923, had opened the shop in the mid 1940s after World War II and soon, it became a music institution in the city. Cherry was known for his eccentric behavior and colorful appearance. Located on Beale Street, which is still the city’s amusement alley with countless juke joints and bars featuring live blues music, the shop was named aptly “Home of the Blues” (with its slogan “on the street where blues were born”). Soon, it developed into a music hot spot for both black and white customers as the shop offered all kinds of musical genres. Some of the now famous personalities that entered Cherry’s store frequently were local DJ Dewey Phillips, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash (who also composed his song “Home of the Blues” inspired by the shop), or members of the Johnny Burnette Trio, including guitarist Paul Burlison.

The shop enjoyed financial help by Cherry’s aunt Celia G. Camp, who operated a jukebox and pinball machine distribution company called Southern Amusement Company in Memphis. Camp, who also held several other business interests, would eventually finance the Home of the Blues record label, too.

The Home of the Blues Record Company, as it was officially called, was founded on July 15, 1960, by Cherry and Camp, both being owners of the company. While Cherry was responsible for the creative part of the business, which included spotting and signing recording artists, Camp took care of the financial issues of the company. Though sharing the name, the record shop and the record label were separate businesses operated by Cherry (and Camp). Other people involved in the label were Arthur Baldwin as vice president, Max Goldstein as vice president of sales, Ray Meaders as promotion man, and Wolf Lebovitz, who joined the label as a company secretary, dealing also with some of its partner labels. Lebovitz was married to Celia Camp’s adopted niece Dorothy.

The Artists - The Recordings

The first artist to record for Home of the Blues was R&B singer Roy Brown, who had cut numerous discs for several labels before. His “Don’t Break My Heart” b/w “A Man with the Blues” (HOTB #107) appeared already in July 1960. Although Brown had been a successful singer with several chart hits in the 1940s, his debut for the Home of the Blues label did not reach the charts. Brown had a total of four releases on the label and in Brown’s own memory, his third single, a duet with Mamie Dell called “Oh So Wonderful” from early 1961, sold well at least locally. According to Brown, around 44,000 copies were sold in Memphis but due to missing distribution, failed to sell outside of the city.

By August, another singer had been signed to the label, namely Dave Dixon, whose recordings “You Satisfy” and “You Don’t Love Me No More” (HOTB #108) were released the same month but did not sell better than its precursor.

What became probably the label’s biggest success in commercial terms was a song by the 5 Royales, another R&B act that had enjoyed successful years in the early 1950s while recording for Apollo Records. Their “Please, Please Please”, released with the flip side “I Got to Know” (HOTB #112) in October the same year, reached #114 on Billboard’s “Bubbling Under” chart.

From 1960 until 1962, more artists recorded for the label and many of them were influential musicians in the blues and R&B fields. Larry Birdsong, Willie Mitchell (who made his first attempts as a producer for Cherry), and Willie Cobbs were some of them. Billy Lee Riley, who had recorded rockabilly for Sun Records in the 1950s, recorded a single for the label in 1961, as did Billy Adams, another former Sun recording artist.

By 1961, Cherry and Camp had worked out an agreement with the Vee-Jay record label to release Home of the Blues material also on the Vee-Jay label for national distribution. This deal soon transferred to  ABC-Paramount Records after the company purchased Vee-Jay. However, the output of Home of the Blues material on its partner companies remained very limited and did not add any success.

Cherry and Camp created a couple of subsidiary labels, including Rufus Records, Six-O-Six Records, 1st Records, and Zab Records. Only few singles were released on these off-shots and they remained without commercial success.

Demise

The label’s last release came nearly exactly two years after its debut in August 1962 with Jimmy “Louisiana” Dotson’s “Search No More” b/w “I Feel Alright” (HOTB #244). After a two years existence without a major chart hit, the Home of the Blues label came to an end. There could have been more recording sessions during 1963 and 1964 - and there were a few copyright registrations - but apparently the label did not release any new singles.

Around the same time, Celia G. Camp had divorced from her first husband Clarence Camp but had remarried a man by the name of Ward Hodge a year later. Hodge in turn was the manager of a female teenage singer, who recorded for the company’s 1st Records subsidiary when she was still underage. According to local Memphis part-time music historian John Shaw, the singer’s parents sued Ward and Celia Hodge, which – according to Shaw – “may have occasioned the label's closing”.

Cash Box magazine reported on November 24, 1967, that Ruben Cherry had moved his Home of the Blues record shop from Beale Street to 147 South Main Street due to urban renewal in Downtown Memphis. Three years later, in 1970, Celia Camp sold the Home of the Blues label, catalog and recording tapes to Wayne McGinnis’ Memphis Record Company. Unfortunately, the Home of the Blues master tapes were stolen from McGinnis’ office and have not turned up since. Ruben Cherry died in 1976 at the age of 52 years in Memphis. Celia Camp passed away in 1979. After their deaths, Wayne McGinnis in turn sold the company to British music enthusiast and entrepreneur Dave Travis in 1991.

In recent years, confusion has been raised to who the rightfully owner of the Home of the Blues material is. Steve LaVere, who is considered to be a rather dubious character in music business, claimed to have the rights to the label. As it turned out, Wolf Lebovitz, who was in the possession of numerous unreleased Home of the Blues tapes, assigned the rights to LaVere. Although LaVere managed to transfer the song catalog to his Delta Haze publishing firm before he died, Dave Travis had already bought the Memphis Music Company, including the Home of the Blues label, from Wayne McGinnis, emphasizing that his deal was legally set up with the person who inherited the rights to the label.

Home of the Blues sign in Memphis, 2023, marking the beginning of Beale Street.
The name "Home of the Blues" was adopted by the city of Memphis for marketing purposes.

Legacy
In contrast to other Memphis labels, the Home of the Blues label had been of little interest to reissue record companies and scholars in the past. In 1995, the Japanese P-Vine label released three CDs with Home of the Blues material. The British Stomper Time label, known for various reissue albums of Memphis music, released another two CDs containing Home of the Blues recordings. Most recently, German Bear Family Records has released two 10-track LPs with Home of the Blues material in 2021. The label is briefly mentioned at Memphis’ Stax Museum of American Soul Music as well as the Rock’n’Soul Museum, also located in the city.


While the Home of the Blues record label did not gain much national chart success, the recordings of the label bridged the gap between Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rhythm and Blues, and the development of Soul music in Memphis, Detroit and Philadelphia. However, it was probably Ruben Cherry’s record shop that had a much deeper impact on the musical education of many influential Memphis musicians, including B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash. The latter not only borrowed the Home of the Blues name as a tribute for one of his songs, but also acknowledged the shop as an influence on him during his 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech.

The Congress of the United States, in a motion brought by Rep. Steve Cohen, designated the phrase “Home of the Blues” to the city of Memphis, which uses it as the city’s nickname and slogan for music tourism promotion. It is also used for Beale Street and can be seen on the gates marking the street.


Recommended reading
• Howdy at his 45 blog has also two songs by Larry Birdsong on Home of the Blues. See here and here.

Sources
45cat entry
Ruben Cherry Find a Grave entry
• Tony Wilkinson: "Home of the Blues Label and Record Shop Story" (American Music Magazine #133), 2013
• Thanks to Bruce Frager, a relative of Ruben Cherry and Celia Camp, for providing additional material and for keeping the memory of Home of the Blues Records alive!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Ray Smith on National

Ray Smith & his Pine Toppers - Hell's Fire / Born to Lose (National 5019), 1948
(Courtesy of Western Red from If That Ain't Country)

Although Ray Smith was a household name in New England's country music scene in the 1950s, he is pretty unknown nowadays. He is not to be confused with other artists of the same name, including "Rockin'" Ray Smith of Sun Records fame or rockabilly singer David Ray Smith.

Smith was born on June 25, 1918, in Glendale, California, a city near Los Angeles. Country music was not very popular in this region at that time, that wouldn't change until the 1930s. Though, Smith took up the guitar when he was eight years old and music became his passion. Smith's father wanted his son to study law but by then, country music's popularity grew and Smith tried his luck as a professional performer.

Smith joined a rodeo show that criss-crossed the country and it was through this show that he gained his first experiences as an entertainer. It is my assumption that Smith served during World War II but details on this issue escape me, unfortunately.

By summer 1945, Smith had made his way to New York City, where he began singing on WMCA. He also became part of a trio that played the local night clubs and was busy performing all around the city as well as the country music park circuit in Pennsylvania. That trio could have been Vaughn Horton's Pinetoppers, a band with which Smith made his first recordings, or the Rocky Mountain Rangers, another band that Smith was performing with. Vaughn Horton was a country music performer, songwriter, as well as a record producer and had connections in New York's urban country music scene. In February 1947, the Pinetoppers - including Ray Smith - recorded two sides that found release on Continental Records ("The Leaf of Love" b/w "So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed", #8019). Although Smith went on to record solo for different labels throughout the years, he remained associated with the Pinetoppers.

Billboard May 22, 1948
Later that same year, Smith recorded several songs for the independent National label but only few of them saw release. The material consisted of popular country hits of the day, including such as "Born to Lose", "Remember Me", or "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again". Today's selections, "Hell's Fire" and "Born to Lose", the latter being of course the Ted Daffan hit song, was released on National #5019 around May 1948.

It was in New York City that a talent scout discovered Smith and in the end, he signed a recording deal with major Columbia Records. His first session for the label took place on April 1, 1949, in New York City. From the songs recorded that day, the label released "Waltz of the Alamo" b/w "Rainbow" in May 1949 (#20583). Another session followed the same year and a third one in 1950.

One of Smith's disc was the Christmas season single "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas", a traditional arranged by Vaughn Horton and one of the earliest recorded versions, as well as another Horton song that became a classic, "An Old Christmas Card" (Columbia #20604, 1949). "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" was also issued in Great Britain and Australia. Smith's "Daddy's Little Girl" (#20670) was one of  the DJs' top picks, reported by Billboard in March 1950, and showed promising sales. Though, it didn't reach the charts. Seven singles were released by Columbia in total and though it was reported by publications that Smith was a good-selling artist, Columbia saw no need to renew his contract.

In late 1950, Billboard reported that Smith had switched from Columbia to London Records. Most of his recordings for the label were released as by "Hank Dalton", a pseudonym the label also applied to Wayne Raney. Another seven singles were produced for London but chart success eluded Smith again. 

Probably his biggest success came with the Pinetoppers. While he had recorded solo during the years 1947-1950, he recorded during 1951 as part of this group, which produced one chart hit. Their "Lonely Little Robin", paired with "Hometown Jubilee" on Coral #9-60508, became a #11 C&W hit and a #14 pop hit. Possibly due to this success, Smith began recording solo for Coral and three discs appeared, including a cover of "Lonesome Truck Driver's Blues" (which is considered to be the first trucking song in country music).

November 11, 1950

In 1953, Smith joined the cast of WCOP's Hayloft Jamboree, a live stage show that toured the greater Boston region. This show also included other well-known names such as Eddie Zack, Rosalie Allen, Kenny Roberts (who also worked with the Pinetoppers), and the Bayou Boys (including Buzz Busby and "Cowboy" Jack Clement). Some of his last recordings were made during these years. In 1954, Smith cut two numbers with Vaughn Horton's band for the small Bridge label, "The Angel with the Golden Hair" b/w "Kur-Ink-A Tink-A Chink-A" (#18001).

Around early 1955, Smith left the music scene and would not perform until early 1957. He then teamed up with fellow singer Eddy Smith, performing around Garfield, New Jersey. Probably his last session was recorded in 1967 with the Pinetoppers for the Peer-Southern label. Ray Smith passed away on December 4, 1979.

Despite his moderate success as a performer and recording artist, Smith is largely forgotten today. German Cattle Records released a CD with many of Smith's National, Columbia, and London recordings. In 2010, another CD appeared that contained previously unknown SESAC radio transcriptions by Smith and a band known as the Rocky Mountain Rangers.

Sources
Hillbilly-Music.com entry
• Entries at 45cat for Ray Smith and the Pinetoppers
45worlds/78rpm records entry
Praguefrank's Country Music Discograhies entry
George Vaughn Horton Wikipedia entry
SecondHand Songs

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Herzog Studio


When Cincinnati Was Music City USA
The Story of E.T. Herzog's Recording Studio

Although the E.T. Herzog Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, was of historical significance for American popular music, especially for country music, its history is still largely unheard today. Scholars and books seem to know about its importance but many fail to explore the studio's history and to stress out its relevance.

The studio was operated by Earl Theodore "Bucky" Herzog, (born on January 26, 1908) who had worked as a full-time engineer at Cincinnati's radio station WLW. The station was very powerful, broadcasting with 500,000 watts out of the city. WLW hosted the Boone County Jamboree, starting in 1938, and the Midwestern Hayride, starting in 1945, two immensely successful country music radio (and later also TV) shows. The station managed to built up a big roster of local and national country music performers that both appeared on the aforementioned shows and during daily programming.

Herzog recognized that many country music stars passed through Cincinnati to stop at WLW and other stations to promote their act and records. His conclusion was that a recording studio might be profitable, therefore he quit his job at WLW, although he still would work part-time for the station until 1966, and built his own studio in his home in 1945. It was shortly after the war and recording equipment was hard to come by but Herzog managed to obtain it. He enjoyed important help from his brother Charles and business partner Henry Weiss to get the studio running.


Billboard June 8, 1946

The venture proved to be successful and the same year, Herzog rented space in a brick building at 811 Race Street, opening officially in early 1946. This became the place where historic recording sessions would take place. Nashville would become Music City, USA, but at that time, it was not. Cincinnati, on the other hand, had King Records, a Opry-rival in form of the Midwestern Hayride, and Herzog's studio plus WLW's talented roster of musicians.

In fact, Herzog drew many of its studio and recording musicians from the cast of the Midwestern Hayride, most notable Jerry Byrd on steel guitar, Louis Innis on rhythm guitar, Zeke Turner on lead guitar, and Tommy Jackson on fiddle. Known as the "Pleasant Valley Boys", this group was pretty busy around Cincinnati in those years. Apart from recording sessions at Herzog's, the band did countless live appearances, radio & TV broadcasts as well as serving as the house band for the Hayride. The core of the band had performed as Red Foley's Cumberland Valley Boys but split with Foley after paying discrepancies in 1948 and moved to WLW.

Soon, the facility's reputation spread and record producers started booking it. Syd Nathan, owner of King, would use it frequently during his early days as he had not built a studio on his own at that time. Bullmoose Jackson's "The Honeydripper" was recorded at Herzog's for example. The Delmore Brothers recorded their influential country boogies there, Grandpa Jones, Ramblin' Tommy Scott, and several other King recording artists went to Herzog, too. However, Nathan was not an easy person to work with and his behavior would ruin sessions too often, so Herzog rejected to work with him anymore.

Nonetheless, Herzog's studio was pretty busy and every major label, from Columbia and RCA-Victor to Mercury and MGM, would book time there for recording. Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs cut their original version of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" at Herzog and artists like Moon Mullican, Patti Page, and Red Foley, among others, recorded there as well.


Billboard May 17, 1947

The studio did so well that Herzog was even able to set up his own in-house label called Radio Artist Records. Most of the recorded artists came from WLW and the discs were only limited sales-wise. Though, the label can be regarded as an important medium that preserved local Cincinnati music. Herzog eventually sold the label to Lou Epstein, Jimmie Skinner's manager.

Probably the most iconic session at Herzog's took place in December 1948, when Nashville publisher Fred Rose brought a young Hank Williams into the studio. Williams cut "Lovesick Blues", a song much disliked by Rose and unusual in its arrangement, but it became the singer's breakthrough hit. The next year, Williams returned to Cincinnati and laid down another session, which produced more iconic songs like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" or "My Bucket's Got a Hole In It".

In the early 1950s, the studio's success waned due to different factors. Nashville now had its own studios, therefore the labels' artists could record there. Syd Nathan had built his own studio in Cincinnati by then as well, so Herzog had a rival now. In addition, WLW reduced its roster of live performers - many of them had recorded at Herzog. The Pleasant Valley Boys were one of those acts that left and went back to Nashville. Moreover, Charles Herzog, who had been of invaluable assistance for his brother, passed away in 1951. There were a few sessions recorded in 1952 but the studio pretty much became dormant afterwards. Herzog sold the studio in the early 1950s and its new owners relocated it to Mount Adams. However, it had been closed down by 1955.


Billboard March 31, 1992


Bucky Herzog opened Audiocraft Recordings in Cincinnati but never achieved the same success like he did with his studio on Race Street. He passed away on December 6, 1986. In 2009, a marker was erected in front of the building and although the original equipment was gone, the room was used for concerts and exhibitions. In the past years, the Herzog rooms housed the Cincinnati USA Heritage Foundation, which organized those exhibits and concerts. Among the few people who cared about the history of the Herzog studio were Cincinnati music expert Randy McNutt, Elliot Ruther, and Brian Powers.

Sources
The "Pre-Nashville A Team" at Cincinnati's Herzog Studios (Zero to 180)
Courtney Phenicie: Breaking News from Herzog Music (Cinci Music)
Discogs
Rick Bird: Herzog Is Hallowed Ground (City Beat)
Randy McNutt: Herzog Recording - The Hit Room (Home of the Hits blog)
Herzog Music - Hank Williams' 70th at Herzog
• Fred Bartenstein, Curtis W. Ellison: "Industrial Strength Bluegrass" (University of Illinois Press), 2021
• Jon Hartley Fox: "King of the Queen City" (University of Illinois Press), 2009, page 54

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Linda Flanagan on Razorback

Linda Flanagan - Street of No Return (Razorback 45-107), 1959

There was a time in the early to mid 1960s when it seemed that Linda Flanagan was heading for stardom. Obviously, she never achieved that, although working with such top names as Webb Pierce or Ernest Tubb, but she graced the world with a series of fine country singles. Her debut record on Razorback Records is featured in today's post.

Linda Flanagan hailed from Arkansas, although I could not find details on her birth place or birth date. Her father was Harold Flanagan, who was a local country music performer in his own right. A 1956 Cowboy Songs article mentions that she started her professional career at age 13 (although she started singing even earlier at age 3), which puts her birth date into the early 1940s. By 1956, she was performing over KFSA in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on both radio and television. She also dabbled in songwriting around this time, penning songs with Louisiana Hayride member Jimmie Helms.

From Fort Smith, located on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state border, she made her way to nearby Muskogee, Oklahoma, where she not only appeared on a local TV show entitled Big Red Jamboree, but also recorded for Carl Blankenship's Razorback label. "A Life That's Hard to Live" b/w "Street of No Return" (Razorback #107) was released in late 1959. The top side was co-written by the duo of Jerry Roller and Hershel Parker, the latter being also an Arkansas born singer and songwriter, who recorded a few singles in his own right and worked with Flanagan during this time frame.

From left to right: Linda Flanagan, Charlie Walker, Herschel Parker
at the 1956 Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Day in Meridian, Mississippi
(courtesy of Western Red)


Flanagan's next stop in her career was Nashville, Tennessee, where she was given the opportunity to appear on Ernest Tubb's Midnight Jamboree. Likely from this appearance resulted a recording session on June 29, 1961, at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio with a top band behind her, including Grady Martin, Buddy Emmons, Hargus Robbins, and producer Owen Bradley. The result was only one song, "Pass Me By", which in fact saw release in 1962 on a various artists Decca album simply entitled "Midnight Jamboree" featuring different artists that appeared on the show. The LP was also released in the UK and New Zealand. Flanagan's "Pass Me By" was furthermore issued on a special DJ 45rpm with the flip side filled by Webb Pierce's "Sweet Lips". 

The release of the LP in the UK was to some historical importance. Not for Ernest Tubb or any of the other better known artists on the record but for Flanagan. At that time, the Beatles were making their first steps and the band's drummer Ringo Starr was introduced to Flanagan's "Pass Me By" by his best fried Roy Trafford, who was a big country music fan, owned the "Midnight Jamboree" album and was especially fond of "Pass Me By". He even learned it for performing and the song inspired Starr to take up songwriting and he wrote his own "Don't Pass Me By", similar in its lyrical content but otherwise different, as Starr put a piano boogie beat behind it. The song probably wasn't even a minute long and band mates Paul McCartney and John Lennon dismissed it as a "rewrite of a Jerry Lee Lewis B-side". The song, if you can call it even a song, never made it far but Linda Flanagan's recording was an early influence on Ringo Starr's songwriting.

Unknown to Flanagan back then, she tried to find her own way to success. A second Decca session was not arranged for her until October 3, 1963, this time at the Columbia Recording Studio but again produced by Owen Bradley. Four songs were recorded that day and released by Decca in late 1963 ("Hold on to Happiness" b/w "The Keeper of the Key", Decca #31569) and July 1964 ("There's Love All Around Me" b/w "Mama Kiss the Hurt Away", Decca #31647). However, none of her two singles released by the label seem to have caught on with the public.

Although Decca dropped her, the independent and much smaller Boone record label gave Flanagan a chance once more. She recorded for the label in 1966 and 1967, releasing two singles, but these did not chart either. She had one more record out in Nashville in 1970, a duet with Lex Thomas entitled "South Bound Train," which was produced by guitarist Howard White for Spar Records - again without much success.

She left Nashville in the early 1970s and worked the Western Lounge club in Creve Couer, Illinois, with her husband Pete Blue from 1973 until 1975. She held one more session in Nashville in late 1985, which resulted in another record for the tiny Password label. At some point afterwards, she dropped out of the music business but was still residing in Nashville as late as 2017.

See also
Arkansas-Oklahoma Jamboree

Sources
45cat entry
Hillbilly-Music.com entry
Steel Guitar Forum
Praguefrank's Country Music Discographies entry
• Mark Lewisohn: "Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years" (2013), Crown, page 691