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.


• Added Big Style #101 to Big Style Records discography.
• Added more information to the Bob Taylor post, thanks to Jimmy Hunsucker.

Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rockabilly Obscure & Forgotten (But Still OK!)

Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin

Bobsluckycat presents the first own comp on this blog. The liner notes below are also in the download folder. Enjoy!


track list:
1. Eddie & Chuck - Boogie the Blues
2. Marty Robbins - That's Allright Mama
3. Joe Clay - Get on the Right Track Baby
4. Johnny Burnette Trio - The Train Kept a-Rollin'
5. Sanford Clark - Lonesome for a Letter
6. Jackie Lee Cochran - Riverside Jump
7. George Hamilton IV - If You Don't Know
8. Roy Orbison - Mean Little Mama
9. Jimmie Lloyd - Where the Rio de Rosa Flows
10. Bonnie Guitar - Mister Fire Eyes
11. Joe Therrien, Jr. & his Rockets - Hey Babe Let's Go Downtown
12. Sparkle Moore - Skull and Crossbones
13. Johnny Hampton - Honey Hush
14. Ricky Nelson - I'm Walkin'
15. Wanda Jackson - Fujiyama Mama
16. Bobby Lee Trammell - Shirley Lee
17. Carl McVoy - Little John's Gone
18. Wynn Stewart - She Just Tears Me Up
19. Jerry Lee Lewis - Put Me Down
20. Jack Scott - Two Timin' Woman
21. Carl Perkins - Levi Jacket
22. Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks - 30 Days
23. Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks - 40 Days
24. Dale Hawkins - My Babe
25. Elvis Presley - I Need Your Love Tonight
26. Rusty York - Sugaree
27. Ronnie Self - Big Town
28. Paul Chaplain & the Emeralds - Shortnin' Bread
29. George Jones - Revenoor Man
30. Johnny Gray - John's Blues
31. Carl Mann - I Ain't Got No Home
32. Boliver Shagnasty - Tappin' that Thing
33. Ray Campi - Rockin' at the Ritz
34. Gene Vincent - How I Love Them Old Songs

Just what is Rockabilly? It swings a wide loop and there are many definitions, none of which is set in stone. This CD offers various forms. Take your pick.

Eddie & Chuck with The Louisiana Ramblers had one record out in late 1953 which includes them in the honorable mention list of the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. This recording sounds a little like Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant's style playing and York Brothers vocals, popular country recording artists in 1953. Nothing is known about the group otherwise.

Marty Robbins was a well established country music star by 1954. His cover of "That's Allright Mama" indicates that Elvis Presley's Sun version had garnered enough attention to warrant a cover. Robbins recorded several Rockabilly style or flavored numbers through the 50's. A couple were major hits in country or pop music or both. He's in the Country Music Hall Of Fame, and deservedly so.

Joe Clay came and went in a hot minute in early 1956. He had two sessions with Vik Records (RCA Victor). His first record made a little noise as a cover of two Starday records by Rudy "Tutti" Grayzell and Link Davis, garnering him a spot on the Ed Sullivan TV Show. Sullivan hated his music and would only let him perform a ballad he had not recorded. His second release, while raw Rockabilly, died from lack of exposure. This is the "B" side.

The Johnny Burnette Trio consisted of Johnny Burnette, his brother Dorsey Burnette and Paul Burlison on a tricked out amp playing electric lead guitar. In early 1956. They gained recognition on the nationally televised "Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour", which lead to a record contract. This track was the "B" side of their first record release and was a cover of an R&B hit by Tiny Bradshaw from a few years earlier.

Sanford Clark's first record on Dot Records was a country/rockabilly hit "The Fool", and this song is the "B" side. Some people liked it better.

Jackie Lee Cochran came on the scene through the "Big D Jamboree" in 1956 and this record. Shortly thereafter, he signed with Decca Records in Hollywood and cut "Ruby Pearl" which started to get air-play, contract problems however killed that record. Cochran stayed in California and released a few minor singles over the years to not much notice. He also had a few movie and TV bit parts along the way. He was re-discovered in the 70's and 80's on Rolling Rock Records to much success.

George Hamilton IV had an apple-cheeked white boy hit in 1956 of "A Rose And A Baby Ruth", which was a top 20 hit in November of that year. Later a Gold Record) This is the flip side and with tongue firmly in cheek is a fun little number that a lot of people liked as well. A few years later, a re-recording of this song went to number 6 on the country charts. Hamilton is still on the Opry after 50 years and is considered an international country and gospel music super-star.

Roy Orbison with The Teen Kings came out of Texas in 1956 and after a couple of minor releases on Sun, languished in recording hell to the point that Orbison quit the business for a while. After the song he wrote "Claudette" was a hit for the Everly Brothers. Roy came back via RCA Victor to no success and then to super-star status on Monument Records with "Only The Lonely" and many more. In 1962, Sam Phillips, now with state of the art recording equipment, went back and overdubbed and spliced together an album entitled "Roy Orbison At The Rockhouse", which was not a major seller at the time, but now considered a rockabilly classic. This song, "Mean Little Mama", may be the best cut.

Jimmy Lloyd (Logsdon) had a long career in country music radio and early TV as a D.J. and performer as well as a fair country recording history on various labels. This song was picked up by Carl Perkins for his first Columbia album in 1958.

Bonnie Guitar had a long and up and down career in country music and the record business as well. Her initial hit on Dot "Dark Moon" was a country and pop hit in 1957, but it was surpassed by the cover of Gale Storm's version which went to #4 also on Dot. This follow-up got some airplay at the time, but no chart success. While she has an honorable mention in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame, Bonnie Guitar is more noted for her more mature country recordings of the 70's and 80's.

Joe Therrien Jr & His Rockets were out of New England. This cut was picked up from Lido Records and gained popularity in some places His band carried an accordian player and the flip side featuring the accordian, "Roses Are Blooming" aka "Come Back To Me Darlin'" also was popular as well.

Sparkle Moore (Barbara Morgan) gets an honorable mention in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame for her Fraternity label recordings. She was blond and clad in female attire similar to what Elvis wore. That's about all we know about her. She had some sizzle but not enough to live up to her billing as the "female Elvis". Pregnant in 1957, she left the business after touring some with Gene Vincent.

Johnny Hampton, another honorable mention in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame, Not a threat to Big Joe Turner's version of "Honey Hush". This is about as bad as it gets. United Records closed up at the end of 1957. From embarassment?

Ricky Nelson was a long time major recording star until his untimely death. His father, Ozzie Nelson a musician and band leader before he was a star in radio and TV saw and understood the teen idol appeal of his son from the TV show and quickly in 1957 after Ricky turned 16 and recorded a cover of "I'm Walkin'" which did rather well. By September, he was recording for Imperial Records and doing a long list of Rockabilly style hit records into the 60's, due in no small part to his dad, Ozzie.

Except for a few radio stations in late 1957, "Fujiyama Mama" by Wanda Jackson got no air play and went un-noticed in the USA. Program directors heard the line "When I start erupting nobody's gonna make me stop" and immediately thought "we can't play that as it refers to female orgasm". Whether it did or it didn't remains to be seem. The song is now one of her best known recordings. It was a big hit in Japan at the time due in large part to all the occupational forces stationed in Japan or who did "R-n-R" there. The Japanese also loved it. Go figure.

Bobby Lee Trammell was a certified nut case from Arkansas, who put out a lot of records before turning to politics successfully later on. His original version of "Shirley Lee" on Fabor was picked up nationally by ABC-Paramount Records. The record went nowhere. Ricky Nelson heard it and covered it on an early album and that kept the royalties coming in for quite some time. Stories about Trammell are legendary, but not for re-telling here.

Carl McVoy's second release on Hi Records is included here only to prove there was one. It went nowhere. More on McVoy in an earlier post here.

Jack Scott (Scafone) started young in the music business, and by age 21 had signed to ABC-Paramount Records. The song included here was a local hit in and around Detroit. In 1958, Scott moved over to Carlton Records and had a series of national hits there and on Top Rank and Capitol Records through 1961. Many say he was, along with Elvis, the total package of talent and looks and personality which was early Rockabilly.

Carl Perkins, Rockabilly super-star. Everybody agrees with that statement. Beyond that, many people argue that he should have never left Sun Records. The song offered here, "Levi Jacket" was his second release in the summer of 1958 and while slightly risque, girls did dress that way, saw no chart action or sales. By 1959, his Columbia album "Whole Lotta Shakin'" had been pulled from circulation. Perkins at the time of his death, however, was the foremost elder statesman of Rockabilly and all around good guy.

Ronnie Hawkins an Arkansas native moved north to Canada in 1958 and stayed. He brought American Rockabilly to Canada and nutured it there. Members of his band "The Hawks" gained fame as "The Band" in the 60's and 70's. This is a unique combination. His demo of Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days" got no real attention at Quality Records in Canada. In 1959, Ronnie signed a record deal with Roulette Records in New York. Re-recorded "Thirty Days" as "Forty Days" and had a top 20 hit record. Rockabillys' popularity was fading at the time and before long he was back in Canada, where he has held forth ever since.

Dale Hawkins was an easy going rockabilly pioneer out of Louisiana who had several big hits on Checker Records in the 1950's. This song "My Babe" features Roy Buchanan on lead guitar and is quite good, but largely unknown. The single was released between two hit singles by Hawkins, just missing the mark.

Elvis Presley, simply "The King", while this was a number 4 chart record in 1959, it doesn't get much play these days, but it's still a great Rockabilly classic.

Rusty York from Kentucky started in the Country and Bluegrass fields of music, but by 1959 had a release on Chess Records, written by Marty Robbins, "Sugaree" which became a minor hit in some places. He continued in the music business with his own record label and studio for many years. He also had a minor hit in 1963 on Gaylord "Sally Was A Good Ole Girl" written by Hank Cochran in the country music field and covered by Don Rich and The Buckeroos.

Ronnie Self never made it successfully as a rockabilly artists, and not because he didn't have enough chances. He first recorded for ABC-Paramount in 1956. The record for them "Pretty Bad Blues" is well remembered today. He was signed to Columbia next and had no hits, except "Bop-A-Lena" which was #63 in March of 1958 on which he was literally screaming. He next signed with Decca Records and had no hits. The song featured here is a 1959 release that ironically made his estate a nice royalty in 1987 as it was the main theme of the film "The Big Town" which starred Tommy Lee Jones and Matt Dillon.

Paul Chaplain & The Emeralds version of "Shortnin' Bread" probably was the last hit record of truly outrageous Rockabilly. It was a number one record on KYA in San Francisco in the Fall/Winter of 1959 and stayed through most of 1960. It was a number one record on WLS in Chicago in September of 1960. The flip side was equally outrageous "Nicotine" concerning the worry about getting lung cancer.

George Jones' record "Revenoor Man" was one of the left over tracks at Mercury Records in much the same vein as "White Lightning" and 'Who Shot Sam" and recorded around the same time. When it was released in 1963, it was shunned for air play due to the word "damn" as in "damned moonshiner". Mostly conservative country radio didn't play no damn songs like that in those days, and the record died.

Johnny Gray was a guitarist in the style somewhat of Duane Eddy and who had a couple of earlier records out on Federal as "The Puddle Jumpers". After this record, Gray did some easy listening jazz recordings in the Wes Montgomery style and was never heard from again.

Carl Mann came to Sam Phillips' Phillips International Records as a sort of replacement for Jerry Lee Lewis. He had a couple of modest hits in 1959, "Mona Lisa" and "Pretend". His 1960 LP "Like Mann" was DOA. His next to last Phillips release had been a bare bones track on the LP, "I Ain't Got No Home." This track was overdubbed and polished and very sharp rockabilly. The "A" side was a slow ballad which got no air play. This version is mostly unknown today. Foot-note: Carl Mann's last for Phillips "Mountain Dew" was either never issued or deleted and never distributed.

Bolivar Shagnasty was a name comedian Red Skelton had for one of his many characters on TV. Somebody took the name for this rather risque record and it became a cult favorite and a jukebox favorite for years. A real "party" record. I don't know who the singer was. Any guesses?

Ray Campi cut this tune for Rollin' Rock Records around 1977. He was a wild man of Rockabilly and still is. This song is included here mainly because it is sort of autobiographical as to how he and many others on the lowest rungs of the Rockabilly ladder tried to get their start in the 50's. Funny and quite true.

Gene Vincent, Rock-n-Roll and Rockabilly Halls of Fame legendary artist, at the sunset of his career, indeed of his life, recorded this Mickey Newbury song, which forty years or so later still expresses this writer's feelings for the music and good times he had all those many years ago including the "out door johns and Mason jars" back in the 50's and early 60's. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Thought I would let you know that my book Rick Nelson: Rock and Roll Pioneer by Sheree Homer was released last Thursday. It has 197 pages, which includes 47 photos (some never before seen). Available for sale at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. A must have for any fan of Rick's.

Anonymous said...

bobsluckycat, you did awesome, and not in the thin slangy way, but the immensity version. take care, and thank you X 100 Mr Mellow, superlative job to you as well

bets said...

hartelijk bedankt

Anonymous said...

what the fuck man. get rid of mediafire unless you know fer sure that whatever you are posting cannot be bought on itunes, just use zippyshare fer christsakes. but. you might be the lazy type

Mellow said...

And you might be the unfriendly type. Go and learn how to be respectful.

Unknown said...

I know one thing Australian Pat Capocci sure is rockabilly. Check out his new record "Call Of The Wild"! I bet you like it as much as I do! Viva la Rockabilly!

KD said...