Monday, May 3, 2010

Bonfire!.....part 1

Here is a devastatingly bad record by a Mr. Ronny Kay on Band Box records out of Denver, Colorado. Number 289. This Band Box discography
puts it in the early sixties, also shows some other 45s by him. This is basically all the info I was able to uncover on Ronny Kay and this 45. It is so bad, that it is so good. I just get this picture/story in my head every time I listen to this 45. I just picture Mr. Ronny Kay, probably a very odd-lookin' fellow, walk into a studio with a shitty drum set. He is goin' on about a new song called "Bonfire" where he just yells "bonfire!" and beats up the drums. I imagine men in suits going, "why, this guy is crazy, I can't believe we agreed to do this!" It probably did not go like that, but I am for sure there is probably a really great story behind Ronny Kay and this 45. I would love to hear it! Sandy Nelson step aside!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Junior Sollars and the Story of the Creepers

I'm pretty sure all of you are familiar with the legendary Creepers 45 on Rene called "Jammin' Granny." Well I happen to live in the same small Indiana town as Creepers guitarist Willard Sollars Jr. (known today as Junior Sollars). On a whim, I found his number, and called him. We hung out for a couple hours. He was really cool, and had no idea how much his 45 is admired. I am thinking about doing a biography/documentary on him and the Creepers, as well as Harry Weger (the country singer who produced the 45).
He has a huge shed full of memorabilia and a lot of cool info on the band. His father, whose pictures really intrigue me, was a hillbilly singer in the 30's and 40's named Willard Sollars (also known as Webb Sollars). Which I plan to learn more about and perhaps get some recordings of. Junior told me some cool facts about the Creepers; Jr. Sollars, a right-handed guitarist, has only two fingers on his left hand! He also said that in '65 they tried to pitch the 45 to Sam Phillips at Sun, he has some rare recordings of the Creepers live, as well as music from some of his post-Creepers bands, and he stated that the Creepers made two LPs.
This is a huge project that I am undertaking, I think it would be cool to bring a lot of this stuff to light, and to uncover the career of his father, whose pictures make him out to be the "Howlin' Wolf" of country music. I already took a bunch of pictures that are just awesome. Please let me know what you guys think about me doing this, because you guys are the people who really care, and are the fans of the Creepers and their sole 45. Please email me if anyone would like to see some pictures! Please give me feedback! Thanks!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rock N Roll & Children

I took a few weeks off from most everything in order to have a child. My second son, Silas Wray Russell
was born on Friday, March 12th at 3:49 pm. Yes, he was named after Link Wray, in part. His mother's middle name
is Rae, so its kind of half and half. I can't think of a better middle name! So in tribute to my second son (and probably last) I give you Link Wray's "TV Baby." "TV Baby" is one of his earlier, more Hillbilly tracks. Great stuff!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shock Rocker

You know a record is good, if the first few seconds of it are a declaration
of love screamed from the top of the lungs. Oh, and it helps too if Ike Turner is at the piano. Probably, or should be, a big hit with the Northern Soul crowd. This record, from 1961, is a prime example of that transitional phase from rockin' R&B to a more soul sound. Prior to this 45, Billy Gayles (guess he dropped the y) played with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm. Great record, although it could definitely
use some bluesy guitar work. "I'm Hurting," by Billy Gales on Shock; great name for a record label!

Billy Gayles with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm - I'm Tore Up

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pickin' strings with The Moore Brothers

Refreshing is not really a word I reserve for bluegrass records. Although I love bluegrass music, a lot of it can get repetitive and way too rustic. Don't get me wrong, "Rank Strangers" and "The Willow Garden" are among some of my favorite songs off all time. But how many Reno and Smiley 45s does one actually need? It's mostly the fast instrumental stuff that can get repetitive. I love a nice mid-paced bluegrass murder ballad. Or a song like this one, by The Moore Brothers with the Pike County Hikers on Metropolis Records. From Warsaw, IN 1965.
A side, I lost the only love I ever knew. B side, You proved untrue. The writer is credited as Ray Moore, obviously a Moore brother. I am not for sure though, if it is the Ray Moore who had some 45's on Lee records out of Ohio.

In my opinion, quite a refreshing record. Kind of gives me that same feeling I got when I first heard Curtis Gordon's "Tired of Crying". I've had this 45 for about a week, and I think I've played it perhaps 50 times. It went from being a VG record, to being a VG-. Just a great bluegrass record. No more no less. Oh yeah, never mind the continuous "pop" throughout the record; it has a huge scratch on it.

A great database site on Indiana 45s:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cliff Carlisle Hobo Blues

Been a few weeks since my last post, been ultra busy buying and selling records. Had to go to Indy for a week and a half for the company I work for, not too much fun. I did however manage to sniff out some vinyl! I am, sometimes, at ends with the company I work for so when deciding to go out for some beer and food, I saw it fit to trek in the snow and freezing cold. A mile away from my hotel, I stumbled upon a massive antique shop. I got lucky. There is a formula that I follow when record hunting in antique shops. I ask the clerk if they have any records, she sends me to the quasi-collector's booth. Which means over-priced LPs, and 30.00 dollar Bill Haley 45s. But behind the 30.00 dollar Bill Haley 45, there may be a "VG Danny Ross on Minor" for a buck. I came home with a handful of 45s, and a couple 78s. Charlie Brown on Spinner. I will have to post that one eventually, a nice little hick bopper. Pulled out some Buddy Knox, Gene Vincent, Lloyd Price on Specialty, a Crickets 45, an eccentric Paul Curry 45 (with Roy Buchannan on guitar), New Colony Six on Sentar, some spooky Doo-Wop, Jimmy McCracklin, Johnnie & Joe on Chess, Shadows of Knight, The Strangeloves, and possibly the most x-rated 45 I've ever heard.
But this Decca 78 by Cliff Carlisle stands out above the rest. I found it in a mostly Military booth. I believe it's from 1930. Although most disographies don't have this listed, under Decca releases at least. Two things that I love, that " White man's blues" sound (Jimmie Davis, has some great blues stuff also on Decca) and songs about hobos. This song has them both. I think brother Bill sings lead or back up on this, not for sure. Anyhow, great record by a great artist, enjoy!
I've gotten so much stuff here lately, including perhaps my new favorite bluegrass 45, and a "rare as hell" Doo-wop compilation LP. I have a feeling, I will shoot out a handful of posts within
the next week or so. So stay tuned.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Progressions '66

A nice slab of harp-heavy garage rock from 1966 on Scepter records. Don't know too much about this 45 or the band. I believe it was their only release. Kind of reminds me of The Rationals. Not too shabby.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Indianapolis Sleaze pt. 1

Doesn't get much more primitive, lowdown and sleazy than this. Harold & Bob on Delta. 1960. Short, sweet and loud. How it should be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Daniel James

The ad stated something along the lines of: "30 78's rpm records for $20". So I responded to the ad. Unfortunately the 78's were gone. But the lady who answered the phone said she still had some of the "small ones," and some of the "big ones."
After driving around for a bit, looking for the address (which was wrong), I finally found it.
A little old lady answered the door. Her late husband had a bunch of records, mostly 50's and 60's country.
Sounded good to me. Among other things, I pulled out a second copy of Harry Weger's 45 on Adair.
2 copies of Mary Ann Williams, "I'm Getting Married" 45, and a Sonny Marcel (Sammy Marshall), Globe acetate/disk cutter, which can be viewed here: made of shellac. Sifting through the LPs; I found one by James O'Gwynn.
And then I saw an LP with the label Allstar. The Artist' name on the LP was Daniel James. Daniel James was the owner of the song-poem label Allstar. What's a song-poem?

by Phil Milstein

[The short answer]

"SONG-POEMS WANTED," blare small, noisy display ads buried in the human misery ghetto -- amid similar notices for
rupture trusses, depilatory devices and bust-enlargement creams -- at the back of pulpy, mass-market magazines.

It sounds intriguing, but you're not sure what to make of that cryptic lead-in phrase: song-poem. It's not found
in any dictionary. While it might seem to simply imply "poetry set to a tune," what "song-poem" actually refers
to is something more specific than that -- something, in fact, that has much more to do with commerce than it
does with songs, poetry or music.

The song-poem story involves a succession of publishing and recording companies that have occupied the lowest
rungs of the music industry ladder for over 100 years. By appropriating the rhetoric of the legitimate (so-called)
music industry, the owners of such companies prey on the dual yearnings among the general public for access to the
inner sanctum of show business and a means to get rich quick, as well as the fact that nearly everyone has written
some sort of poem at one point in their life or another. Song-poem entrepreneurs (called "song sharks") manipulate
these facets of human nature to deceive naïve individuals into subsidizing a quest to have their poem become the lyric
of a smash hit record. In the parlance of this parallel-universe enterprise, "song-poem" is code for the originating verse.
The reason that a code is resorted to bespeaks of the patronizing nature of the song-poem game: its proprietors believe that their typical customer
is too dumb to grasp the meaning of the simple English word "lyric." At the same time it's meant to signal an expanse of possible source materials, as in,
"We'll set your song, your poem, even your goddamn shopping list to music; we don't care what you give us, so long as your checks don't bounce."

Quite an underground phenomenon. The Allstar label started around 1953. Ended in '66. Daniel James' "Rock Moon Rock," on the Allstar label
has become a rockabilly classic. The biggest names to record
for the label were Eddie Noack (listen to his song "Psycho") and Link Davis.
I had not known that Allstar released LPs, Daniel James' two LPs seem
to be the only ones. There are some great un-reissued country boppers, mid-pacers, ballads; and even, perhaps, a rockabilly tune on this particular LP.
OK, done typing. Let the music do the talking. 3 tracks from Daniel James "Country Music by..." Allstar 501 (as it says on the record,)
or 1003 (as it says on the sleeve. Go figure!
Track 1 - So Many Lovely Things
Track 2 - Sweet Sixteen
Track 3 - You're Different

Some Videos of Interest:

Song-Poem Website:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Black Coffee & Rock 'N' Roll & The Curse of Wine

Welcome to my blog, "Black Coffee & Rock 'N' Roll." I will be listing some great stuff! There really are no restrictions to what I will list, as far as the music goes. For my first post, I give you Cecil Bowman's "The Curse of Wine," on D records. Cecil Bowman was a Texas artist, who recorded for the legendary Starday label. D records was owned by Pappy Daily, who formerly part-owned Starday.
I picked this 45 off of ebay for a few bucks, well worth the price. In my opinion, it has all the qualities a "perfect" song should have. A minor key, dark lyrics about addiction, lost love, crime and the accompanied prison sentence. This tune is what I would (secretly) title "death country". But what is remarkable and rare is the song's lack of redemption. There's none of that cool and fantastical reckless abandonment.