Only snippets of info have survived on Howard Chandler, a local Memphis country singer who recorded demo tapes for Sun at some point in 1957. He also released a couple of records on his own labels but otherwise has fallen through the cracks.
Although it is stated James Howard Chandler hailed from Mississippi on the back of the Redita LP "Rock from Memphis" (Redita LP #102), Chandler spent most of his live in Memphis, on 1171 Central Avenue to be precise. It can be assumed he did occasional gigs around Memphis from the 1950s onwards and sent a tape of his "Wampus Cat" to Sam Phillips at Sun Records. A countryfied and primitive rockabilly piece with steel guitar backing, Chandler nevertheless got the chance to record another song for Sun, "Golden Band." Nothing else came of this session and both tapes vanished into the Sun vaults.
Chandler then simply set up his own record label, Wampus Records, which he operated out of his home on Central Avenue. He re-recorded "Wampus Cat" and released it with "Island of Love" on the flip early in 1958. Two more records on Wampus followed. In 1968, Chandler went into partnership with John Cook, a local label owner and gospel singer, to form Marble Hill Records. Cook also ran the country/bluegrass/gospel label Blake Records and performed country gospel music with his wife Margie. Chandler had the debut release on Marble Hill, "The Poverty Rag" / "No One Will See the Teardrops," on Marble Hill #300. By then, Chandler had switched to strictly country music and at least one more disc on Marble Hill followed.
Little else is own about Howard Chandler. He spent the rest of his live in Memphis, where he died in 1989.
Wampus 104: Black Gumbo Land / A Million Friends
Marble Hill 300: The Poverty Rag / No One Will See the Tears (1968)
Marble Hill 307: There's a Wolf Around / My Bluebird Has Flown (ca. 1970)
Wampus 105: Mean Ole Tomcat / Before You Wanted to Be Free (1972)