Friday, November 30, 2012

Fannie Mae


(Jim Dye , Tronic BMI)

A Tommy Hill / Starday Studio Production

Nashville Records


Ted Dye, back left, Jimmy Dye, back right
Bill Smith, center, drummer
plus two

We played around Vincennes and in Terre Haute at the Club Idaho in 1963. We were the house band there for awhile and opened for a group called “The Champs” (that had out Tequila), with Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts, later to become “Seals and Crofts”. They were there with us for a week. We also played in Evansville in ’64 on the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, opening for, Johnny Tillotson, Paul and Paula and Gene Pitney. In late 1964, “The Seventeens” went to Nashville and made a record.. It was on the Starday [ed. actually Nashville, a Starday subsidiary ]  Record Label and the first side was called I’m Not talking and the flip side was Fanny Mae...    The songs were sung by our band’s leader, Jimmy Dye. We went on tour after that and played in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and back to Indiana.    We came back home to Vincennes and reformed the band as “The Jimmy Dye Combo” and played locally at the Showboat across the river from Vincennes until I was drafted into the US Army in May 1966.   

Jimmy Dye died in 2005.   Bridget Ikerd remembers :

I read with interest and sadness Dave Kyle's letter about Jimmy Dye. Dave, who is a great musician himself, spoke with good words about this wonderful icon of the Idaho Club in the '60s. I also was friends with the Jimmy Dye band, as I worked at the Idaho Club myself for seven years. We became good friends, all of us, and I as well as many others thought the world of him.

As Dave said, Jimmy never drank, smoked or did drugs, and that alone was to be admired at that time. But above all, his beautiful clear voice is what we will all remember. He sang with such clarity and fullness that he made every song special, especially his ballads. He was friendly to everyone and tried to fulfill everyone's requests. His band followed in the tracks of such musicians as Hoover Baker and the Embers and Jim Foley and the Invasions when he started playing at the Idaho Club.

Jimmy's music and voice caught on immediately at the Idaho Club and before long, that was where all of us wanted to go. Sure, we had good bands everywhere at that time, we had Boone Dunbar at the Hyspot, Sam Swayze at the Alibi Lounge and several great bands of the time at the Sixth Avenue (at that time it was a respectable place to go to hear bands and dance).

But far and above all was the Jimmy Dye band at the Idaho Club. People came from all around to hear his velvet voice and to hear the talented musicians who played with him; Ted Dye, Steve Ridge, Denney Jewell and John Lamb, just to mention a few. They were all talented in their own right as well. John and Steve could also sing as well as play keyboard and drums. But Jimmy was the great one; without him and his music, the Idaho would have been just another place to drink and dance. His friendliness and personality, besides his voice, drew people from far and near.

As my husband Bill says, “Anyone can sing a song, but nobody can sing a ballad like Jimmy Dye.” Goodbye my dear, dear friend. You will be missed by all of us.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Little Skipper-oo


Tin Pan Alley Records


Their second single on the label founded in the forties by Jack Covais.

A discography of the label can be found at the ASPMA website HERE.   

Of interest is a story of the label found at the Darryl W. Bullock blog HERE.

On Jack Covais, as admirer of Gina Lollobrigida, see this

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Spider Webb

W.Webb, Tuneville Music, BMI

Scottie 1326


The last issue on this NRC subsidiary.  The Scottie label was started in 1959 and lasted just one year, releasing two dozens of singles from #1301 to 1326.   #1317 and 1322 are still to be found.

Publisher of the song, Tuneville Music, was owned by Bill Justis, who has been signed by NRC chief Bill Lowery as a.& r. chief for the label a few months before (Billboard, Februrary 15, 1960).   And if Spider Webb had a release of Scottie, that was probably thru Bill Justis.  

Several "Spider Webb" distinguished themselves in the music field :

  • Gary "Spider" Webb, drummer, member of The Hollywood Argyles, who recorded The Cave on Bamboo ('61
  • Bobby "Spider" Webb, a bluesman, native of San Francisco
  • Spider Webb (r.n. Kenneth Rice), drummer, a Detroit native
  • Spider Webb (r.n. Willbern M. Welten) steel guitarist of Sparta, IL
  • Spider Webb signed by 'Teen Records, subsid of Teen Magazine in 1961
  • Spider Webb (and The Insects) on Lugar ( Maggie / Big Noise From Winnetka)
  • Spider Webb, LP "Life Of The Party" on Astari Records in 1982 ("treated Vocals, Fuzz Guitar Blasting, Weird Songs,Kinda Lo-Fi Sounding")
  • Spider Webb, Chicago disc-jockey (fifties)
  • and probably some more........
But OUR Spider Webb is none of the above.

Our Spider Webb, whose first name initial letter was W., according to the songwriting credit printed on the label, is almost certainly Woodrow C. Webb, aka Jimmy Webb, whose song "No Traffic Out of Abilene" was recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1972.

He is also almost certainly Jim "Spider" Webb, country singer on the Memphis Select-O-Hits label. (late sixties).

Jim "Spider" Webb
From the Select-O-Hits 001 picture sleeve of
"Biggest Coward Of The West" b/w  “When You Snooze You Lose"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Timin' Man

Dick Michaels

Kent Records


Dick Michaels recorded several "teen" songs in the early sixties for various L.A. labels such as Question Mark, Explosive, Cross Country and Mike. 

On Explosive he produced the Sharlets, a girl group, who backed him in return on his own release on the same imprint.    He gave up singing and had a host of  independant production assignments, all equally obscure, such as The Orphans (Iowa band) on Herbst Records, a record co-produced with Larry Herbst in 1966.  

On this Kent release (the biggest label for which he recorded),  the arranger is D'Arneill Pershing, one of his earlier production.   D'Arneill was later the producer and arranger, among others, of Johnny Mathis on Columbia Records.

D'Arneill A. Pershing tombstone
His song ended too soon

Saturday, November 17, 2012

51st And Broadway

Genie Pace
The Midtowners

Jade Records
Musical direction : Frank Metis

Genie Pace
From the cover of her Bright LP

After high school Genie Pace took a job as a typist at CBS and while working there in 1953, Gene became interested in the Roller Derby. She soon was quite a fan with  a growing wish to be an active skating part of the thrilling sport. 

During the same period a pianist, friend of her father, heard her sing and found much that he liked and recommended her to Jimmy Rich, a vocal coach. Genie took vocal lessons with him during two years in 1953-54... 

She was signed to Jade Records in 1957.  

There were more records later on Dery ("Just Counting Stars", 1960),  Capitol ("La Pachanga", 1961), Jade again ("Balling The Jack Twist", 1962) and a LP on the Bright label.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mama Loochie

Tommy Cherry And His Niteriders
Featuring Denny Smith on the vocals

Lee Diamond, Tollie Pub. BMI

Smokey Records


A cover of the Lee Diamond song (Vee Jay Records,  1958)
(Dan Phillips has a much detailed Lee Diamond story HERE)

Smokey Records (and not Smoke, as the label is frequently listed and misspelled) was NOT  a subsidiary of Sandy Records, despite the inclusion of Kenny Spivey, Smokey recording artist, in Gulf Coast Grease: The Sandy Story, Vol. 1 (Ace UK, 1996).  

The label was almost certainly owned by Pete McCord, a session bass player and songwriter  (he played bass on the revered The Phantom rockabilly classic "Love Me" -  Dot Records, 1958).    Pete McCord married one of the Creel Sisters (who recorded for Abbott Records in 1955).

Tommy Cherry
 (who was NOT Tommy Stiglets, as assumed by Ray Topping in the Gulf Coast Grease booklet)

Tommy :  “I’m basically an uneducated musician, but I studied and learned a lot about muic. I’d write the musical arrangement for every instrument in a band or orchestra. I got started doing this in Korea (serving in the Army from 1955-1958, mainly in Special Services). I also compose music.”

Following his discharge from the military,Tom and brother Joe, a bass player, joined a touring group, the Nite Riders.
Johnny Faircloth was the lead guitarist and his father bought the band a big bus. We looked good. We played at colleges and clubs.”,  throughout the Gulf Coast, and then in Las Vegas. Tommy Cherry later spent 26 years hitting the highway with Boots Randolph’s band,   

He died in 2008, aged 72.

The Nite Riders 

Band line-Up in 1964 was:  

Tommy Cherry, head saxophone, Julian Graddick, vocalist, Denny Smith, bass; Joe Cherry, guitar; Johnny Elmer, drums; Joe Dunlap, sax, and Leon Miller, piano. 

Bob Moffitt was also noted as one of the band vocalist at an earlier stage.

Various members of the band have made recordings, especially to be noted is Julian Graddick who recorded on Smash Records. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012


The Chelette Sisters

Wr. Carol Tevis
Fairway Music and Big D Pub. Co. BMI

NRC 009


Trio of young ladies were big on the hillbilly music scene in the mid-1950s.  Mary Jo Chelette was the leader and the oldest of the Chelette Sisters.   The girls had already starred on radio station KPAC in Port Arthur, Texas in the early fifties. Mary Jo could sing both popular and western tunes.   Mary Jo was managed by Neva Starns, wife of Jack Starns.   She was the one signed to the newly formed Starday Records and had the initial release on the label in 1953.

The Chelettes Sisters were featured with Rick Johnson on the Comet label (1957-1958) and on the Goldband's Trey Records subsidiary with Tommy Curtis (1959).

 Mary Jo (1940-1984)

 Carolyn (born 1942)

 Judy (born 1945)

Carolyn Chelette-Monte and Judy Chelette-Thomas

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Babylon Party

Tom Kerry (feat.) The Rembrantds

Thomas Koranas, Conway Music
Star S 6411
 An Ed Conway Production

Listed in Rockin' Country Style, this record is one of the 350, or so, labels listed by Terry Gordon without any information on their location.   On RCS, the title is listed as "The Babylon Twist Party".  But the correct title is probably "The Babylon Twist". Anyhow, that's exactly how the song was copyrighted by Thomas Stephen Koranas on May 19, 1964, the same day as "This Christmas", which is possibly the song on the flipside.

The black and white label shot above is from the booklet of "Compated Cats" (a CD on the Cees Klop's Collector label).  The picture seems to have been "doctored".   Perhaps Mr. Klop has developped a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system known as twistosis, which is reputedly hitting frequently the aficionados of the "true rock'n'roll".

 The label

The label was one of the subsidiaries of Celtic Recording Productions ["The Ultimate In Barbershop Sound", says a musical program from 1964],   a company owned by band leader Ed Conway and located at  2403 Stewart Avenue.  Westbury, N.Y. (Long Island).   Other labels formed by Celtic Recording Productions were Starfire (artists : Carol Thomas, Mark Jackson), Ebbtide (artists : Nicky Dee and Billy Clanton) and, in 1967,  Dottie Records.

 The artist

The most interesting information that I've found is related to the artist, Tom Kerry, whose real name was Thomas Stephen (or Stephan?)  Koronas.  

According to his daughter, Lynda Kerry Rakers :

My father was , born in Brooklyn, and he was a self taught artist, He explored all types of art, as he had many jobs restoring all types of artwork (impressionism,abstract,realism) He liked the artists Andrew Wyeth and Norman Rockwell and many of the old masters, he loved doing fine art realism the most even though it took the most time(to put all the fine detail in)  Not many people know how great a singer he was ,he sang with a swing band on the side .   He loved singing as much as he loved to paint .   He was a true artist in every sense of the word. He settled in Long Island and started painting a lot of broken barns he would come by.   He also liked to paint still life's, children.   I really don't know what else you might want to know he was in the navy ,and some called him Rembrandt (he drew portraits for the guys and caricatures) and some called him Elvis(because he would sing and entertain them ) he died in April 1983 at the age of 54.


Lynda Kerry, again,  has also a rather moving story regarding how one of a song penned by her father,  "The With Doctor", was a little more than an inspiration for David Seville, aka Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. [full text quoted] :

When I was a young girl, around six or seven, I recall my father taking me to, what I believe to have been, The Brill Building in New York City. My father had several songs with him that he had written, one of them called "The Witch Doctor". I recall a man inviting Dad into a room with an upright piano, the room is a blur to me, now, but I recall warm lighting and wood paneling. They closed the door while I sat outside the door, listening to Dad's songs being played on the piano, with Dad explaining to the man how he "speeds up a tape" to make a funny-sounding voice for the "Witch Doctor" character. When they emerged, I will never forget the perplexed, hurt, look on my father’s face as the man said “Sorry, it is an interesting sound, but I can’t use it, it will never sell records…”.

The day he brought that song to NYC was one of the saddest days of my life. But, for my father, the sadness turned to anger as a short time later, he heard the song on the radio! Not only had his song been stolen, but the idea to speed up a tape to make a crazy voice was blatantly used! After the song became a hit, we saw “David Seville” on a TV show. We recognized him, immediately, as Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., the man who listened to my father’s songs, only a few months prior to our hearing “The Witch Doctor” on the radio!

My father’s friends urged him to file a law suit against Bagdasarian. However, Dad’s take on the situation was one of confidence in the fact that he still had his talent, no one could take that from him and that he would prosper in the long run. He did go on to become prominent Long Island artist, Thomas Kerry. His multi-talent spanned the world of art, music and comedy. Today, 30 years after his death, you can “Google” him in, at least, two of those genres. Under the name “Thomas Kerry”, you can view his phenomenal Americana oil paintings. If you enter “Tom Kerry” or “Tom Kerry and the Rembrandts”, you will come across his recording of a song he wrote, “The Babylon Twist”(he also, sang and played guitar on this recording). Unfortunately, the world will never know Dad as the great comedian he was. I can’t help but feel if he had gotten the credit he deserved for “Witch Doctor” his life would have been much different and a lot easier.

After reading an article about Oprah Winfrey and how she sued someone for trying to take credit for her catch-phrase “AH- HA moment”, I realized that it doesn’t matter how much money or fame a person has when it comes to credit entitlement. The fact of the matter is, my father was the true creator of an idea that spawned a billion-dollar dynasty and I intend to set the record straight whenever and wherever I can. I intend to persist until the truth is known publicly. I know my father was the true writer of this song...I was there!!

Sincerely yours,

Lynda Kerry Rakers

One of the songs Tom Kerry wrote in 1958 (and one I'd like to hear) is a "The Little Fat Eskimo", a song he wrote with Grace, his wife.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ain't That Just Like A Man

Merry Lou With Texas Tiny's Western Band

Clock Pub. Co., Inc.

High Time Records
Santa Monica, Calif 

Merry Lou is probably Mary Lou Brunell a.k.a. Mary Lou Nell  who was a regular member of the cast of TV’s “Town Hall Party” aka “Ranch Party”.

Texas Tiny's real name was Guy Norris Cherry (1917-1971).  He was a 400-pound band leader and  country disc jockey.. He’s the guy who suggested to Richard Monsour that he should change his name. That’s why the “King of the Surf Guitar” is named Dick Dale, not Richard Monsour.

Co-writer Henderson is Johnny Henderson who was the A&R man (and recording artist too) for High Time Records, a subsidiary of Clock Publishing Company, headed by Gloria Coombs in Santa Monica, yep! the publisher of the immortal "Sunglasses After Dark" recorded by Dwight Pullen.

Earlier releases on High-Time are listed by the Hillbilly-Researcher (see HERE). 

Pic found HERE at the page's bottom
(Western Treasures)