Friday, January 18, 2019

All Alone Blues

Red And Carolyn
(Red Hilburn & Carolyn Harrison)
TNT 9004

Old Rendezvous

All Alone Blues

William "Red Hilburn

Hilburn grew up around the country music scene in Texas. He played with Willie Nelson before Nelson was well-known. He even interviewed Elvis Presley on the radio.

Hilburn laughs about a time when Willie Nelson was asking him for a job. At the time, around 1954, Hilburn was working as a disc jockey at a radio station in Pleasanton. Hilburn spoke to one of his superiors and said, "He's a great guitar player, but he doesn't sing too well."

"Willie was the kind of person that never forgot his friends. He was just easy going, didn't get upset if you made a mistake," Hilburn said. "He was a kind and generous person, and he loved farmers."

Hilburn grew up on a farm between Pleasanton and Floresville. "My dad never liked me to play," Hilburn said. "He thought it was a waste. He wanted me to be a farmer."  But Hilburn's mother encouraged his music, giving him a harmonica when he was 4. "I learned to play it by the time I was 5 years old," Hilburn said. "And when I was 8 years old, I talked my mom into getting me a guitar." "

Hilburn is a self-taught musician. His family could not afford music lessons; so he did whatever he could to learn. At 15, he obtained a fiddle from a friend through a trade. When he graduated from high school, he insisted on getting a guitar for his graduation present.

Hilburn enjoyed his first success when he was 18. The local movie theaters in and around the Pleasanton area were organizing talent contests. Hilburn said he won the contest for eight weeks in a row. "KBOP outside of Pleasanton heard about me. The advertiser on the air wanted me to come out and audition. I was 18 years old, playing guitar and all the girls was looking. Right away I got me a spot on the station."

Hilburn went on the radio with his own show. Shortly afterward, Hilburn got his chance to make regular appearances on television. It seemed he was on his way. But when I turned 21, Uncle Sam decided he needed my services," Hilburn said.  It was 1952 during the Korean War. Hilburn was called to Germany with the special services unit. He spent two years performing at clubs for noncommissioned officers.  When he came back from Korea, he went back to the radio station and worked as a disc jockey.

Since then, he has watched many musicians come and go. He has organized many bands, and seen many fall apart. One of his biggest successes was during the period when he played at a well-known local hang-out, the Breezeway Club. He performed there from 1971 to 1976 and again from 1978 to 1979. He also played at Johnny Lee's Club in Pasadena.

Hilburn worked as a quality assurance manager for Taft Broadcasting at NASA, which broadcasts activities such as shuttle launches.
Red and Carolyn had another record on TNT, backing Red River Dave on a James Dean tribute EP (TNT 1/2, special release, 1956) and Red alone next recorded for the Warrior label (#502 : The Rambling Blues / Three Words, 1957). An unissued Warrior track, Pretty Pat, featured a young Doug Sahm.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

I'm Gonna Buy Me a Dog

I'm Gonna Buy Me a Dog
The Astronauts, RCA unissued, 1965

Recorded at the RCA Studio B in Hollywood on June 7, 1965.

The Astronauts were the first Boulder, Colorado band to make the national charts with "Baja" in 1963 and remained successful for several years, especially in Japan. They have been described as being, along the Trashmen, the premier landlocked Midwestern surf group of the '60s.   For most of their career, the band members were Rich Fifield, Jon "Storm" Patterson, Bob Demmon, Dennis Lindsey, and Jim Gallagher.

Boyce & Hart's "I'm Gonna Buy Me A Dog" was first recorded by The Gamma Goochee for Colpix Records. The backing track to the Gamma Goochee's version is the same track as the Astronauts version on RCA.  Both feature Bobby Hart on percussion and Tommy Boyce on piano with The Astronauts as the core of the band.  Shortly thereafter Boyce and Hart redid "Gonna Buy Me A Dog" with The Monkees (perhaps using the same track?).

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Sister Grace Capellas

According to Sister Grace Capellas once the soloist of The Singing Sisters :
There is a unique connection between the artist and the Divine. When we look at the life of St. Francis of Assisi, he was a troubadour. Francis used his musical gifts to serve the Lord. Like him, if there is a need and you have the talents, you must use them. Sometimes gifts can get suppressed, but we must not hide them as in the parable of the steward who buried the talents given him. In the same vein, from the very beginning my mother told me, “When you sing, you must always offer it up to God.” Performance is prayer.

When I was in Syracuse in New York, I was the soloist of the Singing Sisters of Syracuse. We did albums and even cut a gold record. I remember always getting these beautiful floral bouquets after performances and taking them to my room. One day, one of the sisters said to me, “Don’t you want to put your flowers in chapel?” Having already offered up my work to God, I quipped, “No, God gets the singing; I get the flowers.”
"Chloe" was originally released on a Century Custom album in 1965 (#20991).  Track here is from the CD "The Annoying Music Show"

Monday, November 12, 2018

B-B-B Baby

El Rojo
Redd-E Records #5003

El Rojo, whose real name and/or biography is unknown to me, is described in the Billboard magazine dated 8 Oct. 1958 as the Edmundo Ros of Bermuda.  A second single on Redd-E 5006 featured "Play Ball You All"  a rock vocal runthrough on a baseball theme, co-authored some years back by New York Yankees' annoncer, Mel Allen.

Redd Evans opened his own label in New York, Redd-E Records,in February 1954.
Redd Evans (1912-72) composer, author, publisher, musician, singer and record executive, was most famous as a lyricist, whose hits included “Rosie the Riveter,” “There! I’ve Said It Again.” “Let Me Off Uptown,” “No Moon at All,” “Don’t Go to Strangers,” “American Beauty Rose,” “The Frim Fram Sauce,” and “If Love Is Good to Me.”  He was also a singer and he may have been a better-than-competent ocarina player, at one time a member of the Horace Heidt dance orchestra. 
The most popular number of his was "Rosie the Riveter," co-written with John Jacob Loeb.  "Rosie" captured the nation's imagination; and during the war pictorial versions of her at work, notably one by Norman Rockwell, graced bulletin boards and magazines throughout the nation.  The song was usually played so that between the words "Rosie" and riveter", there was a pause during which a rapid drum roll approimated an air hammer flattening a rivet.
Jazz singer Anita O'Day, at the age of fifteen, met Redd Evans. She credited him later with introducing her to the existence of riffs, which she defined as a "repeated musical phrase.".

Friday, November 9, 2018

Little Bit Of Blues

Slim Harper
Wil-Row WR-203/WR-204
Newark, New Jersey

Slim Harper and his brother Rocky as kids back in Virginia used to listen to the Blue Sky Boys and The Bailes Brothers on the radio out of WBT in Charlotte, N.C.,

“Every day at noon they’d come on and we’d listen to ’em. That’s what got us started really,” Rocky Harper recalled. “We started playing trying to imitate those guys. I played the mandolin and Slim played the guitar.”

In 1952, Slim Harper, formerly with WXGI, Richmond, Va., joined WLVA, Lynchburg, Va.,  replacing Curley Garner,.  In 1957 he was running the “Midnight Jamboree” over WVNJ-Newark,  In 1958, the Slim Harper Show featuring Billy Sage and the Virginia Playboys had been booked by Smokey Warren to hold forth indefinitely each Friday and Sturday night at the Scandia Club on Route 28, Garwood, New Jersey.

While in New Jersey, Slim Harper also recorded  for Anchor Records and Wagon Records. (1957-1958)

Slim moved to Fort Huachuca, Arizona in the sixties where he recorded for the Goldrose label

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Birthday, Sweet 16

Greg Gifford : Happy Birthday, Sweet 16

A cover on a Discount Disc EP, a subsidiary of Pickwick International.  Perhaps their most obscure label (among others : Bravo, Hurrah, International Award, Grand Prix, etc.)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Milk Cow Blues

Here is Bob Cox on his own Magnet label.  Under the sticker, original printed credit is probably The 32 Bar Ranch Hands; which was his own band. Date unknown (early sixties?)

Bob Cox, a popular singer and musician in the Prescott, Arizona area for many years, grew up in Sweetwater, Texas before settled in Arizona where he  began working farm labor and performing. Cox performed on local radio with Marty Robbins in several talent contests and also with Jimmy Wakely and Dub Taylor.  He played in the many bars and watering holes along Prescott's famous Whiskey Row, including the historic Palace Saloon.

He passed away in 2012.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Swing Little Carmella

Two curiously similar instrumentals.  Both from the early sixties.

"Swing Little Carol" by The Renegades, a Butte, Montana band produced in Spokane Washington at Sound Recording Company. Lead Guitar – Cliff Champeau.

"Carmella" by the Tommy Scott band with Gaines (Jr.) Blevins on guitar on the Katona label out of Hollywood in the Starday custom series.

The Renegades

Tommy Scott Band

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Welcome Heartache

Green Mountain 1130
"Starday custom" from Glens Falls, New York
late '65 or early '66?

Bernadette Williams has been a regular with Pete Williams and the Ranchers on WRGB-TV in the mid-sixties and has sung on radio stations in Schenectady. She also has shared the stage with Hank Snow, Dottie West, and Ernie Tubbs,   Inducted into The New York State Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2002.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Freddie's Marilyn

Here is Freddie Dino backed by his Fabulous Jerrels on Star Artists, a Rochester label, pressed by the Capitol Records custom division in 1965.  This is the last of three singles on Star Artists, soon renamed Capitol Star Artists, owned by Don Redanz assisted by Tony Powlowski (the Tony of The Don & Tony Show)

Is this the same Freddie Dino on the Queen label? I don't known

Saturday, October 6, 2018

A Gruntin' And A Groanin' (The Wrestlers Song)

Maurice Tillet "The French Angel"

Scat Man Crothers's  recording of “A-Gruntin’ And A-Groanin’ (The Wrestlers Song)" backed by the Red Callender Sextet, combined R&B with professional wrestling, which was just getting some high profile popularity on TV out of the Olympic Auditorium in L.A.   It was issued on Intro in 1951, a subsidiary of Aladdin Records. The Billboard's reviewer wasn't that impressed by this side : "Another case of a good performance and flimsy material, here some nonsense about the wrestling matches" (Billboard, May 26, 1951)

The French Angel (picture above) was one of these wrestlers who appeared in L.A. at that time. Maurice Tillet (The French Angel's real name) is widely believed to have been the inspiration for the cartoon character "Shrek", although DreamWorks has never confirmed precisely from where Shrek's inspiration arose.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Twist And Shout

Candice Aull
Dick Holler's Holidays

Vital 64 V-107

This is probably Candice Aull Ralston born in 1948 who graduated from Batesburg Leesville High Class in 1966. In 1973, Candice founded the Stepping Out Dance Studio in Lexington, South Carolina. That's the sum of my knowledge regarding Candice Aull.

On Dick Holler and the Holidays, see That'll Be The Day

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Rock And Roll King

Carl Jones pays tribute to Elvis, the King of Rock & Roll (1977)

Morris “Carl” Jones (1913-1985)
Musician and Chicago-based record producer, Carl Jones was born in Waxahachie, Texas.  As a teenager he took up the banjo and eventually addet trumpet and trombone to his instrumental repertoire. He got a show on the local radio station, WXA, singing and playing. Jones soon joined the Carolina Cotton Pickers, the first of many groups to which he belonged.  He moved to Chicago in 1937 and in 1945 recorded two sides for Mercury.  He founded the C.J. label in the late fities, eventually followed by two more, the Colt and Firma labels.  He is best known for his output in the blues field, having recorded Earl Hooker, Mack Simmons, Hound Dog Taylor, Homesick James and Detroit Junior.

Jones's record company was never more than a boutique operation, and he maintained his nine-to-five job in the liquor distribution business and worked on Sundays as a bartender at a famed South Side blues bar, Theresa's.

When Jones died in 1985 he was still operating his record company.

[Info above from Robert Pruter]

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cumberland Spoons

Joe Jones known to many as "Mr. Spoons" made his living off tips for many decades by playing the spoons.  He described himself as an "ignorant" man but as usual explains it away with a wise thought.  "If you're intelligent, you've got to work 'cause you owe it to the world.  If you're stupid, they put you to work to keep your hands busy and out of trouble.  But if you're just ignorant... well then no one much wants ya, so they leave ya alone."

His brother-in-law had four degrees and has to borrow money from him  all the time.  Think about that before taking your law boards!

See him live here at the
Kentucky Horse Park Bluegrass Festival in 1991

Monday, October 1, 2018


Hit Records was a Nashville-based label founded in 1962 by producer William Beasley which specialized in releasing cover versions on 45 RPM singles usually sold for a list price of 39 cents (less than half the price of the major label originals) in five-and-dime stores and supermarkets.

Here on lead vocal is probably Bobby Russell fronting The Jalopy Five

Follow this link and be ready for a really nice surprise, courtesy of the tireless Drunken Hobo (a/k/a Apes Ville)