Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WESTERN SWING, COUNTRY & ROCKABILLY


WESTERN SWING, COUNTRY & ROCKABILLY
Ultra Rare Recordings From Bear Family

Once again Bear Family Records bring attention to country music that otherwise might never be heard – this time with previously unreleased western swing recordings and two cds comprising music from the archives of Mississippi’s Delta Records.


VARIOUS ARTISTS  You Oughta See My Fanny Dance (Previously Unissued Western Swing: 1935-42)
ROY NEWMAN: Out Of Place • Nagasaki • OCIE STOCKARD: You Turned Me Down • I Don't Know Nothin' About Lovin' • Lovin' Baby Blues • I'll Forget You Bye And Bye • Gee • Hold Me Daddy • NITE OWLS: You Ought To See My Fanny Dance • AL DEXTER: She Can't Be Satisfied • SLIM HARBERT: Fruit Wagon Gal • I've Got Enough Of Your Foolin' • Honey This Time I'm Gone • Around The Corner At Smokey Joe's • Don't Check Out On Me • Who Comes In At My Back Door • Look Who's Squawkin' • HI FLYERS: I'm Doing It Too • DICK REINHART: Hash House Hattie • LEON SELPH: Tell Me If You Love Me • When You Smile • If You Should Go Away • Some Day • Now That You Have Gone • She's Gone Away • In My Dreams • ADOLPH HOFNER: For The One I Love Is You • Rose Of The Alamo • Let's Count The Stars • BOB WILLS: Sittin' On Top Of The World • La Paloma (Bear Family BCD16532 AR)

Back in the late 1960s/early 1970s there seemed little interest in western swing and album releases were a rarity. Now there’s a surfeit of them, with the renewed interest initially due to the likes of Merle Haggard and Asleep At The Wheel, and the reissuing of Bob Wills material. And when it appears that there’s now very little left to reissue, Bear Family comes up with this 31 tracker compilation! What’s more, these are previously unissued recordings by some of the giants of Western Swing’s golden age – and if the words “previously unissued” might be interpreted as “sub-standard”, forget it. This is top notch throughout, so why weren’t they available before now? Western swing authority Kevin Coffey, in the accompanying 50 page booklet,  suggests a number of reasons including World War 11 and the Musician’s Union recording ban both held back releases (which, later, such recordings were deemed “out of fashion”) while Art Satherley, responsible for many western swing artists, produced so many recordings that inevitably some were never released. Then there’s also a matter of taste: some recordings, like the Nite OwlsYou Oughta See My Fanny Dance, were possibly considered too risqué.

Spanning the years 1935-42, this collection presents many of the music's foremost artists like Bob Wills, Adolph Hofner, Al Dexter and Roy Newman while others, whose names might not be so instantly familiar, have still created superior recordings. The variety of material is considerable, ranging from blues and jazz origins to more obvious country content while, instrumentally, many of these tracks prove that western swing did not always rely on twin fiddles and steel guitars. Among these items, the aforementioned Hofner mixed swing with the Czech music of his youth; Roy Newman’s Nagasaki is a fast paced, free-for-all instrumental; the Hi-Flyers was the first Texas band to incorporate jazzy take-off solos; and Bob Wills includes a South of the Border presence with La Paloma. And Roscoe Pierce, banjoist with Slim Harbert & His Okeh Boys, shows he’s also a superior vocalist with Who Comes In At My Back Door.

This 84 minute cd presents an infectious collection of recordings, perfectly complimented by Kevin Coffey’s in-depth notes, an invaluable guide to western swing in itself!    


VARIOUS ARTISTS   Stickbuddy Jamboree
Rock Me, Yeah Yeah (SONNY HODGES); Gonna Rip It Up; I Got Me A Woman; Johnny Valentine; Roll Over And Shake It (ANDY ANDERSON); Ubangi Stomp (WARNER MACK); Baby Let's Play House; Red Hot; A Woman Can Sure Make A Man Feel Blue; It Didn't Satisfy My Soul; Poor Little Fool (RICK RICHARDSON); Slow Down (RED COUNTS); Rock And Rollin Cadillac (HARRY HUTCHINSON); Would You Mind (ALTON LOTT); Swing Band Rock 'n' Roll; I Love You (JERRY PUCKETT); (The Feller That's Dressed In) The White Sport Coat; Baby Please Turn It On; Rock-A-Chicka; You Just Won't Say I Do (WENDELL ‘COOL CAT’ CANNON); Rockin' With The Cha Cha; Rockin' At The Hop (RICK RICHARDSON); I Only Cry To Hear Me Say Your Name (CELESTE SHIRLEY); The Trouble With Me Is You (RICK RICHARDSON & MURRAY KELLUM); Drivin’ Me Wild With Your Style (THE INSIDERS); Happy Rhythm In My Soul (MAGNOLIA QUARTET); Rock Baby Rock (SONNY HODGES); Her Name Was Devilish Mary (UNIDENTIFIED ARTIST); It Must Be The Wine (THE STARFIRES).

VARIOUS ARTISTS    Diddy Wah Diddy … Ain’t A Town, Ain’t A City
Tom Cattin'; I Don't Care What You Do Anymore (EMMIT HAWKINS); Mississippi Boogie; I'm The Lonesomest Guy In Town (COUNTRY COWBOYS); No More Money, No More Honey; Is There Peace In Korea; How Long Would It Take?; Your Cheatin Heart (HENRY FORD); No Price Tag (On Your Kisses); Brave Carol Ann Moses (Of Vicksburg) (BILLY BYRD); Don't Flirt With Me In Public (I’m A Married Man); My Good Gal Left Me (MARCELLAS ‘MAC’ QUINN & HIS DUBS); Hee Ho; Negotiating Love (KAY & SHIRLEY); Bud's Breakdown (instrumental); A Fool; Have You Ever Been Sorry?; Down Yonder (instrumental) (BUD SCARBOROUGH); Sittin Down On It; When It Came To True Love; Hey Hey Ho Ho (UNIDENTIFIED ARTISTS); I Wanna Play House With You (WARNER MACK); I Wish I Has Someone To Love (AL BAILEY); Get Thee Behind Me Satan (MAGNOLIA QUARTET); Only Believe (And You'll Receive A Crown)(THE KELLUM FAMILY); Mr And Miseries Used To Be (UNIDENTIFIED ARTIST); Two Lonely People (CELESTE SHIRLEY, Celeste); Accommodatin' Sue; Black Horse And Blonde Headed Woman (RICK  RICHARDSON); Don't Worry 'Bout The Mule (Load The Wagon) (JIMMY SWAN)

For the collectors of recordings on little known, independent record labels – and similar status artists – these two cds should be extremely welcomed. Here the spotlight is turned on Delta Records out of Jackson, Mississippi – with the tracks recorded by Jimmie Ammons at his Delta Studio, a converted garage next to a cow pasture. “Stickbuddy Jamboree” presents hillbilly, rockabilly, boogie and country tracks and “Diddy Wah Diddy” concentrates upon the label’s rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll output. Inevitable the genres do occasionally cross over each other on the cds.

The “Stickbuddy” release comprises 30 tracks from 14 different artists (plus four unidentified items), covering the period from 1953 through to the late 1960s, with almost half of these recordings being previously unissued. This collection presents a good insight into the music that came from this area, with such local bands as Mississippi Melody Boys, the Country Cowboys, the Home Towners and Kay Kellum's Dixie Ramblers, while Rick Richardson appeared more likely to break into the bigtime as his humourous Accommodating Sue was picked up by Dominion Records and the artist made the move to Nashville. The most well known of these artists are Warner Mack, who started off his career as rockabilly artist Warner MacPherson and heard here covering Presley’s I Wanna Play House With You, and the versatile Jimmy Swan selected with a rare last recording, the philosophical Don’t Worry ‘Bout The Mule (Load The Wagon). Arguably the best known (or well distributed) of the Delta releases is Henry Ford’s Is There Peace In Korea (1953) as, in anticipation of cashing in on a topical subject, more copies than usual were pressed.

Presenting another side to the label’s music, “Diddy Wah Diddy” comprises 30 rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll recordings, many of which were unissued at the time and others were issued as custom pressings, either to be sold at the artists’ live shows or to be used as demos for pitching within the industry. Besides featuring another of Warner Mack’s first ever recordings – this time a cover of Warren Smith’s Ubangi Stomp, recorded in 1957 and close to the Sun original – he also has one of his original songs, Rock-A-Chicka, recorded by Wendell “Cool Cat” Cannon. Among Cannon’s other contributions is (The Feller That’s Dressed In) The White Sports Coat, a song presumably inspired by Marty Robbins’ 1957 country/pop hit. Rick Richardson returns here, mixing both covers and originals. Andy Anderson was one of the first rockers on the label, leading a band named The Rolling Stones (preceding Mick and the boys by a few years!), and then moving on to record for several other labels over subsequent years. The real joy of this collection for the rockabilly devotees will be the discovery of so many unknown artists and recordings, adding further to a genre that might already appear exhausted.

Much praise must be afforded Martin Hawkins (along with those who gave invaluable assistance) in researching the booklets that accompany the cds, each providing incredibly detailed biographies on the artists and on Delta’s founder Jimmie Ammons, truly encyclopaedic works in themselves. Such information cannot be found anywhere else – and each booklet is accompanied by equally rare photographs and discographies.

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