Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shortnin' Bread


Ding Dong Daddies
Shortnin' Bread 
(public domain) 

Tomlan TL-1000
Tom-Tom-Lan Productions 
1014 W. 7th Amarillo, Texas

This was recorded in Clovis, New Mexico.  The Ding Dong Daddies were Don Lanier, Gary Swafford and Jon Sisco. 

Gary Swafford was next drumming for the Checkmates, a band formed by Ray Ruff.

Guitarist Jon Sisco formed in 1960 The Electras who had a record issued by Jamie Records. Sisco also produced a single for Charlie Phillips on the OAK label.
Don Lanier, musician, songwriter and Nashville A&R man, was born and raised in Texas, one of his earliest music associations was with Jimmy Bowen with whom he started the Rhythm Orchids. 
The band was called in to back up new singer Buddy Knox in the studio where he recorded his biggest hit, Party Doll.   While Knox and Bowen wrote the big hit, Lanier contributed to others in Buddy's catalog including I'm Stickin' With You, Hula Love and Rock Your Little Baby to Sleep.

In 1964, Lanier followed Bowen to Los Angeles where he started to do arrangements for his friend, eventually becoming an in-demand studio guitarist and arranger. As a songwriter, his Here We Go Again became a hit for Ray Charles in 1967 and he wrote additional songs for artists such as Dean Martin, the Everly Brothers and Hank Snow. BMI, with which he was affiliated, credits him with 42 recorded compositions.

Twenty years later, Lanier once again followed his friend Bowen as he returned to Nashville. As an A&R man for MCA, Don found major hits for Reba McEntire, George Strait, Loretta Lynn, Patty Loveless and others.  
He died in 2014 at the age of 78.
Don Lanier Discography
57 Roulette 
R-4021 Private Property / Pony Tail Girl – 09-57
58 Dot as Don & The Roses
45-15755 Since You Went Away To School / Right Now (instr.) – 04-58
45-15874 Leave Those Cats Alone / Don't Try To Change Me – 12-58

60 Gee
G-1060 Need Your Loving / Sweetness – 04-60

62 Apt
25073 Gangster Of Love / I Don't Love You Anymore – 10-62

66 Reprise
0525 My Little Boy's Hands / I Wanna Go Somewhere - 66

1 comment:

  1. In 1966 my second grand teacher, Mrs. Grace, had my class singing this. I still remember her pointing to one boy after another to do the deep voice solo of "Feed them babies on shortenin' bread!" I had no deep voice and she was visibly upset when my six year old voice didn't go low enough to suit her...

    My first grade class in 1965 was the first integrated classroom in my school. We students hadn't really noticed as most of us had attended integrated kindergarten sessions yet the teachers could be said to be telegraphing their own feelings. Mrs. Grace taught us music with this song. She also taught us "Pick A Bale Of Cotton" and this was sanctioned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. American racial stereotypes perpetuated and taught in the name of historical Americana music.

    In the fifth grade I had my first black teacher, Mrs. Wilson. She was very old and wrinkly with a grizzled voice and she taught us American history. She also told the class what it was like during the segregation years with one school for white children and one for the town's non-Caucasians (blacks, Native Americans, and two Japanese children). One statement she made stood out for me. She told us how the black school had to beg for gym equipment and books from the State and the white school. One time the white school sent them worn out basketballs and that was all they had to use. They made do because they had to as the State provided no funds and they had no money to purchase new materials. Mrs. Wilson taught me racism is evident even in the smallest of levels and whether intentional or not it will seep through.

    This song evokes a plethora of memories even though I had never heard this, the original recording Mrs. Grace had learned her version from. Those memories remind me that racism is often disguised, packaged, and covered but will eventually make itself evident. God bless my teachers who did teach me well even when they didn't realize exactly what life lesson they were instructing.

    This song brings back a flood of memories. Mrs. Grace was a sweet and well intentioned lady but her true feelings now are evident and stand clear. Mrs. Wilson lacked the physical beauty of youth but hers was a much clearer instruction for living and it has lasted me a lifetime.