Monday, February 27, 2012

Billy Van on Commerce

Billy Van

15369 ~ I've Been Saving All My Love For You
(Bobby Bare-Lance Guynes, Central Songs Inc. (BMI)

15370 ~ It's My Way
(Webb Pierce - Wayne Walker, Cedarwood BMI)

Produced by Jack E. Downes

Commerce 5010

Second pressing

This record was first issued on the Jedco label. A discography of Jedco & Commerce labels can be found HERE.

William Allan Van Evera, (1934 – 2003), known by the stage name Billy Van, was born in Toronto, Ontario and dropped out of Bloor Collegiate Institute in Grade 11 to pursue a career as an entertainer.

Starting as a youth, he and his four brothers toured North America as a singing act called the Van Evera Brothers. After leaving his brothers and dropping "Evera" from his name, Van was initially known as a singer, leading The Billy Van Four and later The Billy Van Singers and making frequent appearances on Canadian variety television shows such as Fancy Free.

The single "I Miss You" / "The Last Sunrise" by the Billy Van Four, released on the Rodeo International label, peaked at number 29 on the CHUM Chart in Toronto in March 1961. It was issued in the US on Phil LaGree's LaGree Records, a Los Angeles label.

Billy Van & Vanda King - The Telegram Operator / Nightcap CBC

Sketch from the long running Nightcap series.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Charlie Tramell on Tram

Charlie Tramell with Charley Scott Group

CP-2228 – I Go For You (Trammell)
CP-2229 – Cuttin’ Out (Trammell)

Tram Records T-81459

[Rochester, New-York]


"RnB shuffler"

Charlie Tramell (or Trammell?) had at least two other singles that he advertised in the Ebony Magazine :

November 1961 : For only $2.00 Get exclusive Record without a song by vocalist & speaker Charles Tramell.

February 1973 : Get the record "Impossible Dream" by singer Charlie Tramell, famous for making his own records.

Both had addresses in Rochester, New-York.

label pics & audio credit : ebay donnchriss (Hackensack, NJ)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Gifted Rev. A. Butcher (Sir 104)

The Gifted Rev. A. Butcher Sings Her Own Composition

19663 - Make Up Your Mind
(Little Echo, Bmi)

19664 - Step Aside

Sir 104

The gifted Rev. A. Butcher was in the service of God in the Divine Holiness Church of Cleveland, Ohio.

When Rev. Mother Blue died, Rev. Butcher led an eulogy for the late Reverend. Jet Magazine [August 18, 1977] has the story :

She was more than molded metal, eight cylinders, four tires and a vinyl top. She was « Rev. Mother blue, » a blue luxury Cadillac which served as transportation for Cleveland’s Divine Holiness Church of God.

She was used to take parishioners to and from church, to out-of-town meetings and church services, and to and from doctors appointments.

So when the vintage 1973 car pulled its last mile, the pastorage put her away in style. Rev. Allmon Butcher preached a funeral in the church yard, and telegrams of condolence from out-of-towners who were served by « Mother blue » were read.

Following the service, the car was shipped to Springfield, Ohio, for interment.

Rev. Butcher (left) leads eulogy service for
the late « Rev. Mother Blue » at
Divine Holiness Church of God in Cleveland

Dressed for funeral ceremony, « Rev. Mother Blue , »
was later shipped to Springfield, Ohio, for burial after
going to that great parking lot in the sky.


The Bell Family Gospel Singers on Bell

The Bell Family Gospel Singers

CP-6533 — What A Day That Will Be / Happy Rhythm
CP-6534 — Acres Of Diamonds / I'm Feeling Fine

Bell Records 100 (EP)

1110 So. 17th St., Temple

"Our very first recording was done in somebody’s garage in 1961. We were still young then, Daddy (Clayton), Mother (Glyn), Glenda (15) and Mary (12). We sounded a bit like chirping birds, but we sang beautiful and true four-part harmony while Mother and/or Tiny played the piano. The result was a 45 RPM vinyl with a black label which we sold for $1.00."

The four songs can be downloaded from the Bell Family Gospel Singers at their website HERE

the Bell Family Gospel Singers


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wally Cosgren on WABR

Wally Cosgren

21783 ~ I'll Hold You In My Heart

21784 ~ Blue, Stay Away From My Door
(Delmore, Lois Music, BMI)

Orlando, Florida

Produced by Bob Quimby


This is Wally James Cosgren, evangelist, singer and songwriter of gospel and country western music.

Once a nightclub singer, Wally James was converted to the Christian life in 1972 and travelled since through the U.S. singing and speaking in churches, camps, conventions, youth rallies and fellowship meetings.

He recorded at least another record (on Wildwood). "Guitar Fraction" can be heard at Waxidermy HERE.

According to Billboard (April 16, 1966)
WABR Radio switched to country music to become Central Florida’s first 24-hour c&w station, program director Ray Beale announced.
Art Spector, general manager, said: « the big boom today is in country music. WABR is programming the Top 50 C&W singles, new releases and top albums. »


Thursday, February 16, 2012

G. Self on Acme

G. Self

CP-1245 ~ Roll On, Big Mama
CP-1246 ~ Crying Over You

Acme Records 1290

Both sides written by J.T. Kerr

"Just who was G. Self? Nothing is mentioned about him on the Web." wrote the Self Seekers, in their The Self Family Association Quarterly Online Newsletter Supplement (whew!) in 2002.

Same, ten years later.

This quite rare record is currently auctioned at ebay (label pictures above are borrowed from the auction). As I write, the highest bid is US$ 635.00; and three days left...

This recording was probably financed by J.T. Kerr who wrote both sides. This is perhaps the J.T. Kerr of Rockford, Tennessee, who died last year (age 81). If so, J.T. was then 27..

J.T. Kerr won more than 200 races on dirt and asphalt surfaces across the Southeast despite a racing career that started at age 38. After serving in the US Navy for 7 years he drove a truck for a local dairy and later worked as a machinist at Rockford Manufacturing plant. He also worked part-time as a mechanic. His mechanic work was so rewarding that he bought some land in 1964 and opened an auto salvage business called Kerr Auto Parts.
Obit 1, obit 2

Billboard ad, July 2, 1949


A moving label

Most of recordings on the Acme label were either never officially released or were distributed poorly. The label, owned by the Reverend Clifford Spurlock, "sometime preacher and borderline con man", recorded quartet music, hillbilly and sacred music. Artists were never paid. On the contrary, most were quite happy to pay for their records. The most Acme recorded act, The Carter Family, didn't pay for their recordings, but never received any royalties from the preacher Spurlock.

A.P. Carter tried one last time to get the Carter Family together and managed to get Sara to Bristol in 1952 to cut records for the Clifford Spurlock’s bargain label Acme. ...In 1957 A.P Joe and Janette put out their last round of records for Acme. In total they recorded almost 100 tracks for Acme Records. These included a 1956 recording made with Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers, which consisted of talk and a version of "In The Sweet Bye And Bye".

"Acme Broadcasting Co." is the earliest mention I've found of a business owned by the Reverend. The year was 1947 and the place was Elizabethtown, KY. Myrtle Spurlock Fuchs was the vice-president of the company and Ernest Fuchs, contractor and real estate interests, secretary-treasurer.

In 1949, ads shows Spurlock as president of the Acme Record and Radio Corporation in Columbia, Ky.

In July of 1950, Acme Recording Studios "now under original ownership and management" in Christine, KY.

In 1951-52, Campbellsville, KY is home of Acme Records Inc.

From August and December of 1952, we found Jim Stanton, "chief new amalgamated Acme and Rich-R-Tone records". No mention of Spurlock.

In 1957,Ed Romaniuk and Sister Elsie Pysar's EP bears a Greenville, TN P.O. Box.

In 1957/1958, one release has a Bright Shade, KY address.

From 1958 to 1962, Acme Enterprises is a lasting Manchester (Kentucky) address (located at 139 Bridge St.. as is Janet Records. Owner is Zeke Clements (1911-1994). Zeke's next business will be the prolific custom/vanity label Gold Standard in Nashville.

Steve Keith is also described as the owner of Acme Records. Hugh Watkins is promotion man with Acme Records and personal manager of Jay Fanning, a much promoted artist who had 6 releases on the Acme label in 1960-1961.

In the early sixties, few attempts to record "saleable" artists were made : Everybody was twistin' with The Pacesetters, while The Torques implored "Take Me With You". And Paducah native Jerry Crutchfield produced the Galaxies. And then that was the end of Acme Records.

The original owner, the good Reverend, was probably already gone elsewhere when the label folded. He and Mrs spurlock were seen in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1962 and later in South Dakota where they spent 17 years in the service of God.

Acme Records discographies :

Numerous Acme records are in the collection of the Wilson Library (193 titles listed)

<--- Rev. Clifford Spurlock

Died in Jamestown, KY, in January of 2004.

Whatever his sins, he will be forgiven

(because of the G. Self record indeed)


Monday, February 13, 2012

Ralph DeBord on Harp

Harp No #, Rite Acct# 1107, 1963
11143 - "Jesus Died For You," an original composition by Ralph DeBord.
11144 - "Filthy Sea Of Sin," written by Ernest Carter and originally released by Ernest Carter and The Hymn Trio in 1962 on Ark 227 (which is another Rite pressing).

Both songs are solo country gospel ballads with steel guitar breaks. This is probably Ralph DeBord's only record.
  • May 22, 2004, Middletown Journal, Middletown, Ohio; Ralph F. DeBord, 63, of Middletown, died Wednesday, May 19, 2004, at his residence. He was born in Malone, [Morgan County], Ky., on Oct. 12, 1940, to parents Charlie and Eunice (Haney) DeBord. Ralph worked as a machinist for AK Steel until his retirement in 1994. He enjoyed playing music and working on and restoring automobiles.
This is currently the earliest documented release on the Harp label. However, there is likely to be at least one more. Based on the Rite account # 1107, that # should have been assigned to a new Rite account around matrix number 10201 at the latest. Look in your collection and see if the first Harp release is waiting there to be discovered!

There's no publishing credits on the record which is not uncommon among Rite pressings and the writer credits are listed under each song title. So who are "T. Scribner and B. Harp" listed on the left side of each label? Apparently they are the owners of the Harp label.

Around 1967, the Rite account # for Harp changed to 1776. This account # also appears on all releases on the Baron label which is also located in Trenton, Ohio (at the time, a small one traffic light town.) Either Harp created the Baron label or Baron bought out Harp as they became the same company.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tony Columbo on Chime

Tony Columbo Sings

27005 – I’m Gonna Run Away From You

27006 - That's The Way I Feel

Chime Records


A Tony Columbo was singing in 1954-1955 along the Hudson Valley in the New-York State. Tony crooned in the Tropical Inn, Port Ewen in 1954 (Johnny Michaels and his orchestra featuring the romantic voice of Tony Columbo, and in 1955, the famous Tony Columbo was singing your favorite songs in Kingston, at the Schoentag's restaurant. And so on...

Another (or the same?) Tony Columbo (1928-1975) was a member of a vocal group named The Stylers, who enjoyed some success on Jubilee Records (1954-1957), Golden Crest (57-?) and... on the Tamla-Motown's Gordy subsidiary in 1963. The Motown Junkies didn't like at all this (last?) Stylers recording ("This really is some spectacular crap.") effort.

There was a Chime Recording Studio located in Hartford, Connecticut, which had releases on the Cherry and Rock-A-Bye labels pressed by Rite Records. But that was in 1963. I don't think there is a relation.

A Chime label was out of Hempstead, N.Y. (owned by Will Wheeler) but, again, probably not related.


The Galaxies

The Galaxies

11475 - Sweet September
[Carl Edmondson]

11476 - Wa-Wa Watusi
(Merrill Human)


"Michigan midslow moody organ b/w mid-uptempo garage." Grand Rapids? Holland?


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bobby Williams on Tropical

Bobby Williams & His Mar Kings

23039 ~ Darling, Here Is My Heart
23040 ~ All The Time

Both sides written by Bobby Williams and published by Alison ASCAP

Tropical 130

Deland, Florida

Hear and/or download both sides

Label pictures and sound file above are from a current ebay auction which will be ended very soon. A near mint copy has been sold for the amazing sum of US $ 1575 in November 2010 (see popsike).

This is likely the very first record of Florida's "Soul Godfather #2, the superfunky James Brown clone Bobby Williams."

Both sides were re-issued on vinyl (on a 3 seven-inches set) by Jazzman Records of London, U.K. in 2008 :
[The] album showcases Bobby Williams & the Mar-Kings with their finest and funkiest moments and tells the story of the singer from his impoverished days as a child growing up in Georgia to the sell-out concerts given across the country. The pictures and extensive, original notes tell his story as told by the people who knew him best - his friends, family and fellow band members, and we have put his best songs onto this 3 x 45 7" box set.
The Jazzman reissue is probably the only way to found biographical information on Bobby Williams. Internet research has revealed the Bobby Williams popularity among soul and funk records collectors but ended up at only vague information. Born in Washington D.C., he died in the nineties...

Bobby released singles and 3 LPs for labels such as Duplex ('73) , Nor-Mar (73) , MTVH (74) Rew (74), R&R (74-76) ... His last single was for North Carolina's label "Nickelodeon" in mid 80s.

The MTVH, ReW and R&R family of labels, based in Chicago has attracted the curiosity of Kris Holmes in the course of his search for the mysterious Reginald Hines and his musical empire first based in Greensville, Mississippi.

Update : auction ended at US$ 1,695