Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

UPDATES

• Added info on Reavis Recording Studio.
• Additions to Eddie Bond discography.
• Massive update on Blake Records. Thanks to Eric from Goner Records (Memphis, TN)!

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Pee Dee Opry

The "Pee Dee Opry" was the creation of Charles Edward "Slim" Mims, a local entertainer in South Carolina. Mims was born in 1918 in Columbia, South Carolina. He began his musical career in 1935 and founded his band, the Dream Ranch Boys, in 1940. The boys became his background band for at least 20 years. His wife Patty Faye was also with the group as well as later famous Country musicians Glenn Sutton and Jimmy Capps.

Slim Mims and the Dream Ranch Boys on WBTW, ca. 1950s. Patty Faye Mims seated and
Slim Mims as "Uncle Ugly" behind the camera.

Mims hosted a stable of local shows during the 1950s. He entertained the audiences over WJMX with his "Dream Ranch Jamboree" in Florence, South Carolina, but also hosted a show on WBTW-TV and the "Silent Flame Jamboree" on WNCT-TV in Greenville, South Carolina.

The "Pee Dee Opry" was a later show of Mims', as we first found mention of this show in 1961 in a Billboard issue. The name of the show came from the name of northeastern region of South Carolina, which is called "Pee Dee." Mims was booking the ccts of the Opry and also produced it, while he and the Dream Ranch Boys led through the show. Mims also appeared as the comedy act of the Pee Dee Opry, known as "Uncle Ugly" (a character he already had developed much earlier).

Contrary to his other shows before, which were mainly TV or studio shows, the Pee Dee Opry was a live stage show held every Saturday night at the Ole Opry House in Darlington, South Carolina. The show in total lasted three hours with one of them airing on WJMC (Florence) and WBSC (Bennettsville, SC). It was also taped in order to broadcast it on other stations in the state. The stable of artists that appeared on the Opry is not known but it included up to 30 different acts.

While the Pee Dee Opry ended its run at some point, Slim Mims continued to entertain people personally and on TV. In the 1970s, he hosted the Slim Mims Show, of which you can see an excerpt below. Mims died in 1994. More on the Dream Ranch Jamboree and Slim Mims can be found at hillbilly-music.com.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cees Klop R.I.P.

The founder of White Label/Collector Records, Dutchman Cees Klop, has passed away this weekend. Klop, who began collecting rock'n'roll records in the 1960s, released countless LPs and CDs on his labels, travelled more than once to the US to track down forgotten artists, ad unearthed recordings that would have sunk without into obscurity otherwise.

Klop was a controversial figure in the collector scene. He often edited recordings to present them as "alternate takes," gave at times wrong info on his LP back covers. Much has been said about him but without him, the world surely would miss a lot of great music.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cornhuskers Jamboree

Continuing our journey through the old-fashioned Country & Western variety shows, today we feature a show that was a bit more famous than some of the others. The Cornhuskers Jamboree enjoyed a long running time on Cincinnati radio and television and featured also some of the big names in country music.

There was a Cornhusker Jamboree on KFAB in the late 1930s, which is a totally different show, however. The first mention of the Cornhuskers Jamboree (sometimes also spelled: Cornhuskers'), which was broadcasted over WKRC in Cincinnati, is in Billboard May 5, 1945. At that time, Bradley Kincaid and Cowboy Copas were the stars of the show plus a stable of lesser known artists. During the summer months of 1945, the Jamboree cast also hosted shows on Carthage Fairgrounds in Cincinnati each Sunday, which also aired over WKRC. These shows became known as "WKRC's Circle B Ranch" and also featured special guest artists in addition to the usual singers and musicians.

The Cornhuskers Jamboree was also touring the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky with a tent show. By May 1946, another veteran performer since the 1920s had taken over the Jamboree, Hugh Cross.

By 1954, the Jamboree had switched from WKRC to WCPO-TV and could now be seen on televison weekdays at 10:30 AM. 

Members of the Cornhuskers Jamboree cast included:
• Cowboy Copas
• Bradley Kincaid
• Hugh Cross
• Jean Hogan
• Colemar Brothers
• Shorty Hobbs
• Rusty Gabbard
• Judy Perkins
• Faye Dorning
• Happy Wilson and the Golden River Boys
• Lily May Ledford

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Silver Sage Round-Up

Another of the many country & western stage shows, the Silver Sage Round-Up was on the air as early as 1949 and was still broadcoasting in 1952. KFSB in Joplin, Missouri, broadcasted the show on Saturday nights, when it was held at different locations in the Joplin and surrounding areas. The show was held at such locations as the Municipal Auditorium in Neosho, Missouri, and the Carthage Memorial Hall. Connected with the show was a duo by the name of "Cookie and Ollie," who moved to WSIP in Paintsville, Kentucky, in 1952.

Part of the show:
Cookie and Ollie
Albert E. Brumley, Jr., son of Albert Brumley, famous gospel songwriter, incl. "I'll Fly Away"
Prairie Sweethearts
• Ozark Mountain Boys
• The Boys from Music Mountain

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Western Star's Serenade

In early 1954, a live country stage show entered the picture. Produced by Peggy O'Riley, the "Western Star's Serenade" was held in Tyler, Texas. A small portion of the show - only 15 minutes - was taped and broadcastet seperately on KGKB (Tyler, Texas). The emcee work was handled by Ed Smith, DJ at KGKB.

Part of the show were:

Jerry Hanson, he recorded some rockabilly for the Starday custom label, Manco and Blubonnet Records from Forth Worth
Dorothy Hanson, maybe related to Jerry?
James Fuller
Roscoe Clark
Western Star Serenaders, house band of the show

If anyone else has more info on the show, please pass it along!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Story of "You Can't Have My Love"

History of a Song - 
The Story of
"You Can't Have My Love"

Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin!

1954 was a watershed year in Country Music following the death of Hank Williams. At least 50% of the Billboard Hot Country Singles could now be considered what we call "Country Classics". This isn't one of them but was very popular at the time. The song is "You Can't Have My Love" and was in the Billboard charts for eight weeks starting on July 24, 1954, reaching a peak at number eight . It generated a lot of interest and airplay and was on the jukeboxes upon its release in May of 1954. It was 17 year old Wanda Jackson's first record release as well. Here's the whole story. At the beginning of 1954, Hank Thompson had discovered Wanda Jackson on an Oklahoma City radio station, where she had a program, and added her to his band on weekends as a featured vocalist as was Billy Gray, who also played lead guitar and was the bandleader of the Brazos Valley Boys for Hank. March 22 through 24, 1954, saw Hank and the entire band in the Melrose Avenue studios of Capitol Records in L.A. On the last day of the session, Thompson booked recording time with Capitol to make demo tapes of both Wanda Jackson and Billy Gray and the duet "You Can't Have My Love" to try and influence his producer at Capitol Records, Ken Nelson, to sign them to Capitol record contracts without success. Nelson demurred for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that Wanda Jackson being underage.

A short time later, Hank Thompson was in Nashville and took a meeting with Paul Cohen, then head of Nashville's Decca Records operations and upon hearing the demo tapes signed Billy Gray and Wanda Jackson to two year contracts on Decca Records. Decca Records, at the time was the leading recording company in the USA with hundreds of records of all kinds being cranked out of their factories constantly and generating millions in revenue giving Decca the opportunity to sign unknown and untested talent, and they did so frequently. Cohen, always looking for a way to sell more records had minor league artists record a cover version for Coral Records, a subsidiary label, on April 8, 1954, to sort of hedge his bets. He did this frequently with leased records that came to Decca, so it was nothing new. Texas Bill Strength, an itinerant but well know country music D.J. and sometime country singer on Coral since 1951 and Tabby West, a converted pop music vocalist, hyped as another Kitty Wells (which she wasn't) and being on Coral since 1952, recorded their version at Bradley's Barn in Nashville and held back as a "B" side, just in case. More on that version later.


Billy Gray had written "You Can't Have My Love" along with co-writers listed Hank Thompson and Chuck Harding (Yeah right. editorial comment) especially as a vehicle for him and Wanda Jackson, she with her tough-as-nails vocal and his smooth recitation as counterpoint struck a true chord with everybody, especially in Oklahoma and Texas, and soon the entire country was listening to it on the radio and more importantly buying copies for jukeboxes and homes. 

The Texas Bill Strength/Tabby West version (Coral 64177) was released shortly afterwards with "With Let's Make Love Or Go Home One" as the "A" side which didn't make much headway with such a risque title for the times. The Texas Bill Strength and Tabby West "A" side was cute and had a great banjo solo very much in the style of Joe Maphis, who may or may not have played on the record.



The "B" side, which was "You Can't Have My Love," was also somewhat different in that it changed the girl singer's state to Missouri and cities listed were all pretty much in the Mississippi valley - Dyersburg, Tennessee; Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Cairo, Illinois (pronounced K-Row) - and a small coda was added at the end which was humorous. I have no idea why this was done except that it might appeal to record distributors and D.J.'s in those areas. Decca marketing was ahead of the field most of the time and if they could sell a few more records they would. This version actually did nothing to further the careers of Strength or West. It was Strength's last release on the label. West had one more release and then let go, only to be signed to the big label, Decca, the following year after she joined the KWTO Ozark Jubilee. A little later both Tabby West and Texas Bill Strength recorded for Capitol Records to no success. By 1961, Tabby West had gotten out of the music business. Texas Bill Strength had an unsuccessful session with Sun Records which went nowhere, but he continued on as a successful D.J. and comedian and continued to record sporadically.

The third version of this song was recorded at King Records in Cincinnati, Ohio, and produced by Henry Glover, probably after the other versions were starting to get attention by mid-July 1954 and the "Jack" in the title was probably Jack Cardwell, who recorded for King and was recording there at about the same time. It sounds like him. This is the 45 RPM recording I've owned since 1955.

Elaine Gay is something of a mystery to me. Henry Glover recorded her in 1954 and released a few records over the year on DeLuxe, a King label, including her last release of a tipid country version of "Rock Love" which was written by Henry Glover and recorded variously by Lula Reed, Little Willie John, and the big Pop version in early 1955 by the Fontane Sisters on Dot Records. A small Billboard magazine note deep in the pages of that mag, mentions that Elaine Gay was from Miami and the local Miami record distributorship was trying to make something happen for her and it just didn't happen. No other information on her has ever surfaced. Her version with Jack was a direct copy of the Wanda Jackson-Billy Gray version. Not a bad record for a cover.


The song was in the Billboard charts into mid-September 1954 and was mentioned on the Billboard and Cash Box playlists on both radio and jukeboxes well into the fall.

Later on in 1954, Big 4 Hits, the mail order sound-alike EP record company also in Cincinnati, released this song as part of Big 4 Hits #98 by Eileen Nunn and Eddie Moore. This version was like the Texas Bill Strength - Tabby West version also with the coda. This was the first version I ever owned as I got a three speed record player for Christmas of 1954 and a package of 6 EP's from WCKY - also in Cincinnati - to play on the new player. That version has been long gone from me for several years, sorry to say. Early in 1955, I started buying 45 rpm records from my local distributor for the price of 10 cents apiece that never made it to his jukeboxes and started my, then, rather large 45 rpm collection, which was heavy on R&B and off-the-wall country music.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shelby R. Smith on Silver Skip

Shelby R. Smith - Big Boss Man / Crying for Pastime (Silver Skip 202)

Both sides had been released earlier on Rebel #729 by Smith in 1963. No exact release date for this one is reported but I read somewhere this was also dated 1963 (although this is very doubtful). While "Big Boss Man" is cover of the classic Luther Dixon-Al Smith composition, "Cying for Pastime" is a country song out of the Fernwood Records vaults. This Silver Skip release lists only Eddie Carroll as a songwriter. The Rebel release added also Fernwood owner Ronald Wallace. Eddie Carroll was a local Memphis singer in his own right and had a couple of releases on Fernwood, Pure Gold (another Ronald Wallace label), Santo, and Guyden.

Read more:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Shelby Smith's Empire of record labels

Shelby Smith's Empire of Record Labels

Shelby R. Smith's empire of small record labels is a confusing one. Dave Travis released a 34 track CD in his "Memphis Rockabillies, Hillbillies & Honky Tonkers" series on Stomper Time, which dealt with Smith's productions. Dave likely put all his knowledge into the liner notes of this CD, which I don't own, unfortunately. Hence, I decided to take an approach at exploring Shelby Smith's story on my own.

Generally, Smith is associated with five different record labels: Rebel, Rebel Ace, Silver Skip, Smitty, and Silento. The aforementioned Stomper Time CD also contained tracks released on a Rebel label from South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, which was to all accounts a different label, owned by Bill Cooley.

Shelby R. Smith was a local singer from Memphis and according to my researches, first registered in 1958 when he copyrighted the song "Crossword Puzzle." By 1960, Smith was recording for the Smitty label, which belonged to Fernwood, according to Terry Gordon's RCS site. In fact, some of Smith's productions were recorded by Ronald Wallace in his Fernwood recording studio. However, in 1962, the Rebel label appeared on the radar with two singles by Smith, including his "Rocking Mama." This label was said to be based in Batesville, Arkansas (if this is true, is another question). It seems Rebel was later replaced by Rebel Ace by the mid 1960s (based in St. Louis, Missouri, according to the label of Rebel Ace #743). Smith was likely forced to use another name because there had been a label of the same name in Maryland since 1959. Uncertain is the chronology of Smith's Silver Skip and Silento labels.

As it became probably obvious in my explanations, there are a lot of question marks and doubts regarding Smith and his labels. Only Dave Travis' liner notes will probably bring some clarity into this story. Stay tuned.


Billboard C&W review July 28, 1962

Billboard C&W review May 4, 1963


Rebel / Rebel Ace
728: Shelby Smith - Since My Baby Said Good-By / Rocking Mama (1962)
729: Shelby Smith - Big Boss Man / Crying for a Pastime (1963)
730: Davis Brothers - How Can I Tell Her / Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow (1966)
731: Bobby Davis - Troubles Troubles / ?
732: Bob Downen - Blue Yodel No.1 T for Texas / Reaching Out
733:
734: S. R. Smith - This Old Town / ?
734: Glen A. Linder - I'll Always Care / Out Come of War (1966)
735: Alma Herndon - True Love Where Have You Gone / Oregonian Blues
736: Jean Henderson - Too Many Sunsets / Put It On My Charge Account (1966)
737: Jimmy Evans - Call Me Mr. Lonesome / Dudley Do-Rite (1967)
738/9: Eddy Beers - You're Both the Cheating Kind / The Open Road (1967)
740/1: Marilyn Strothcamp - Until Today / Plaything (1967)
742: Marilyn Strothcamp - Just a Dime Away / Second Girl
743: Eddy Beers - What's Your Excuse / Big Mack Waitin'
743: Marilyn Strothcamp - I Cried a Tear / All I Feel for You Is Sorry


The first three releases were issued under the Rebel brand, subsequent releases under the name of Rebel Ace.
• Numbers #734 and #743 were used twice.
#742 and #743 give location as 2404 Charlack - St. Louis, Missouri.

Silver Skip
101: S. R. Smith - North to Alaska / Foolish Love Affair
201: Eddy Beers - I'm Gonna Be a Wealthy Man / Overdrawn on Heartaches (1966)
202: Shelby R. Smith - Big Boss Man / Cryin' for a Pastime
203: Shelby R. Smith - Wake Me Up / Jim-Dandy Handy Man
203: Jackie Underwood - Her Heart Would Know / ?

Recordings on #202 were possibly the same as on Rebel #729.
#203 by Shelby Smith was recorded at Bill Glore's Glolite Studios.

Silento
100: S. R. Smith - Why Does You Cry / Social Security

Label gives location as 297 N. Main - Memphis, Tennessee (home of Fernwood Records).

Smitty
55783: Shelby Smith - What's On Your Mind / So Long to Get to You (1960)
55784: Shelby Smith - Rosalie / To Heart for a Moment

• Smitty was a Fernwood subsidiary intended for custom recordings.
• #55784 was also released as by "Roy Lett." 

Thanks to Apes Ville

Friday, April 21, 2017

Selected Cover Versions

Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin!

I'm sure you will enjoy this. Bob O'Brien presents his third compilation, full of "hits to curios." Great tracks here to be sure, "Sixty Minute Man" is one of them.

♫♪

track list:
1.Floyd Tillman - I Almost Lost My Mind
2. Fran Warren & Hugo Winterhalter‘s Orch. - I Almost Lost My Mind
3. Homer & Jethro - Oh Babe!
4. Dale Evans - Please Send Me Someone to Love
5. Hawkshaw Hawkins - I‘m Waiting Just for You
6. Bill Haley & his Saddlemen - Rocket 88
7. Hardrock Gunter with Roberta Lee - Sixty Minute Man
8. Bill Haley & his Saddlemen - Rock the Joint
9. Bill Haley & his Comets - Rock the Joint
10. Hawkshaw Hawkins - Got You on My Mind
11. Buddy Morrow & his Orch. - Night Train (instr.)
12. Rex Allen - Crying in the Chapel
13. June Valli - Crying in the Chapel
14. Doris Day - Secret Love
15. The McGuire Sisters - Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight
16. Johnnie & Jack - Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight
17. The Fontaine Sisters - Hearts of Stone
18. The McGuire Sisters - Sincerely
19. Ella Mae Morse - Jump Back Honey, Jump Back
20. Gene Vincent & his Blue Caps - Jump Back Honey, Jump Back
21. Johnny Burnette Trio - Honey Hush
22. BONUS Ahmad Jamal Trio - Secret Love

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rare R&B, Volume II

Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin!

Here's the second installment of Bob O'Brien's "Rare R&B" series, another one will follow on this blog. I'm sure you will enjoy this and leave a comment, if you like it!

 ♫♫♫

1. Ivory Joe Hunter - I Almost Lost My Mind
2. Wynonie Harris - Good Morning Judge
3. Big John Greer - Got You On My Mind
4. Percy Mayfield - Please Send Me Someone to Love
5. Hadda Brooks - Brooks‘ Boogie (instrumental)
6. Fats Domino - Goin‘ Home
7. Lloyd Price - Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
8. Little Walter and his Night Cats - Juke (instrumental)
9. Roy Brown - Letter from Home
10. Ray Charles - It Should Have Been Me
11. Wynonie Harris - Bloodshot Eyes
12. The Moonglows - Secret Love
13. Sonny Till and the Orioles - Crying in the Chapel
14. Hank Ballard and the Midnighters - Work with Me Annie
15. Hank Ballard and the Midnighters - Annie Had a Baby
16. Otis Williams and the Charms - Hearts of Stone
17. Johnny Ace with Johnny Otis‘ Band - Pledging My Love
18. The Penguins - Earth Angel
19. Roy Brown - Old Age Boogie Pt. 1
20. Roy Brown - Old Age Boogie Pt. 2
21. Big Joe Turner - Honey Hush
22. Rufus Thomas, Jr. - Bear Cat
23. The Moonglows - Sincerely
24. Smiley Lewis - I Hear You Knocking
25. The Spaniels - Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight
26. BONUS The Flamingos - For All We Know