Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lee Hazen & Rana Leggett on Tropical

 Lee Hazen
Bishop-Way, Alison Music ASCAP

Tropical 108


Lee Hazen : 
My hobby was making sound on sound recordings in a method similar to Les Paul's - two recorders bouncing back and forth adding parts to make up a complete recording.   I started doing that for fun in l958 using a Berlant Concertone series 30 full track recorder and a borrowed Ampex A 112 1/2 track recorder that belonged to Ted Merthe's dad in Daytona Beach.

I made many recordings with Ted our Senior year at Seabreeze High - 58-59 and some of my recordings were heard by Bob Quimby at the National Songwriter's Guild.   Bob offered me a job singing custom demos.   I remember the first one I sang called "LIttle Jenney" and will never forget the melody.   I also played guitar and bass on the demos in an assembly line fashion.   Bob played piano, I played guitar and the vocalist sang the tune.   We would typically cut 15 songs in an afternoon.   Later, we would play back that tape and overdub - Bob playing a snare drum and cymbol and me playing my Fender Bass VI 6 string bass guitar. 

Bob had different names for groups according to the type of song we were demoing.  The Surftones was
Chuck Conlon, Marshall "Chuggy" Letter, and myself.   The vocal sound was pretty tight and the Surftone demos are memorable. But NOT anything I sang as a solo artist. Anything for a buck ! I got $2 per part I played and $2.50 per song I sang, so if I sang lead AND background, I could make up to $9 a song !

Leaving Bob Quimby, he spent one year at the Criteria Studios,   Next, he handled the recording and the mastering department at King Records in 1966 where he recorded Hank Ballard, James Brown, Freddie King, Stanley Brothers, The Casinos, 2 of Clubs and many others.

Next, he was in Nashville, working at Glenn Snoddy's Woodland Sound Studios  in Nashville.   And, finally, Lee opened his own studio, the "Studio by the Pond" at his home by Old Hickory Lake near Hendersonville, TN. 

Rana Leggett

Bishop-Palenske, Alison Music ASCAP

Tropical 108


Rana/Rayna Leggett

Thanks to Lee Hazen who was then working at the King Records studios,  Rana/Rayna Leggett was signed in 1966 to the Cincinnati label.   King issued only one record by her : "Let The Little Girl Love / Now The Shoe Is On The Other Foot ". 

"Carellen recording star" Rayna described as a "Southern Belle, with an extremely great talent in the vocalist department" was featured in "Daytona Bech Weekend", a teen beach party movie from 1966 (starring Del Shannon).

She sings two songs in the movie : "Hopeleslly" and "You're the Boy for Me".

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Royal Dukes on Bee

The Royal Dukes

Muiccio - Barbour
B&G Music

7990 ~ Najavo
J. Massey-R. Wilson
B&G Music

Bee 1118

 The Royal Dukes were all from the Reading area. The group consisted of Bill Bower on sax, Wilson Bohanok and Bill Yuhas on guitar, Stan Witinski on bass, and Dominic Muiccio on drums.

They backed Don Ellis (a.k.a. Harold Shultters) on his Bee recordings (1958-1961).  

X-Bat Records released in 2008 a double-CD, "Bee Records Story", containing four unreleased tracks by the Royal Dukes :  The Claw, Nameless, Little Pussy Cat   (feat. Sonny Muiccio) and Treble Guitar (feat. Wilson Bohanok)

"Little Pussy Cat" and "Treble Guitar" are probably from the "Fat Man Twist" session.  Sonny Muiccio (=Dominic Muiccio ?)  is also probably the vocalist on "Fat Man Twist".  The X-Bat booklet may have more information.

Grover Barbour, who founded Bee Records, had a gym on Court Street, Reading, Pa. and a stable of boxers in the late forties/early fifites.  In 1957.he owned dry cleaning business,  Society Cleaners, located at 664 Schuykill Avenue, Reading, Pennsylvania.  But Grover Barbour had always wanted to be in the music business.

One day, after a conversation with Russ Golding, a young aspiring song writer who had his cleaning done at Grover Barbour shop, he decided to finance B&G Music.    The publishing company  was formed on March 26, 1957, with Grover as president and Russ as general manager.   The whole venture started out with the idea of only being a music publisher. T   he plan was to market their songs to established record companies and artists.   To do this, it was necessary to record «demos» of their songs.   To this end, Grover and Russ assembled a group of teenagers who they called « Candy Heart and the Valentines ». This group rehearsed, but never recorded.    Russ recalls :  « Talent came to us by word of mouth » Society Cleaners became the beehive, serving as a mukti-purpose business office, reception area, rehearsal studio and occasionally a makeshift recording studio (not to mention a busy dry cleaning establishment.) ........

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eddie Billups on Peachtree

Eddie Billups

20746 - Ask My Heart

Both wr. Eddie Billups, Henry Wynn Music, BMI

Peachtree 104

The rarest 45 on the Peachtree label. The last copy offered at e-bay was sold for... 3.940 $US according to  popsike.

Peachtree Records

In the late 60s William Bell had earned Stax Records national hits with some ballads such as Everybody Loves a Winner, A Tribute to a King and I Forgot to be Your Lover . However, since William wasn’t signed to Stax as a writer or a producer those days, he was free to look for other outlets for his creativity as well, and as a result he became the co-owner of a new label in Atlanta, Georgia :

 “I got a new management with a young man named Henry Wynn out of Atlanta.  Peachtree was formed by me and Mr. Wynn in 1969  (ed.  first releases are from 1967].  When he signed on as a manager for me, I was doing a lot of his tours and he saw that I was different from a lot of acts.  I was always trying to cram knowledge of the inner workings of the music industry, because Sam Cooke was one of my heroes and when he expressed that there’s money to be made in publishing – ping!  I’m thinking ‘okay, I’ve given all my publishing away.  Now let me renegotiate, and get half of the publishing at least’.”
 “Henry suggested that he had some opening acts that he was putting on his tour that didn’t have record deals, but they were good acts like Johnny Jones, Jimmy Church and all of those guys.  So he said ‘why don’t we form a record label, and you handle the production end and I’ll handle the promotional end’.  So I was doing the writing and producing for Peachtree and he was handling the marketing end of it, and we put these acts on tours with us.”

Shorty Billups and the Original Foxx Band

Shorty Billups

 The following information is from Shorty Billups's own website : 

Born in New London, Connecticut, February 1,1932, Shor'ty Billups (pronounced Shor-tay), started at an early age singing and playing the piano . He started traveling and performing for our "Troops" at the age of  15 yrs  old with the U.S.O. At the age of 18 years old he set aside his "dancing shoes" for the purpose of serving our Country for the next four years, never losing site of his vision.

There is a lot of confusion regarding Shorty Billups and Eddie Billups various records   

The most pertinent information I've found is from Matt Starr who posted the following message in 2001at a Southern Soul forum :

Shorty vs Eddie Billups :

According to Shorty Billups, from an interview I did with him in 1991, he and Eddie are brothers. Shorty sings and plays drums, and Eddie plays keyboards. At some point due to "personal reasons" which he wanted to remain off-the-record, Shorty wanted the records issued under Eddie's name, even though Shorty says he is the vocalist on ALL of their records together.  There is one possible exception, noted below.   I hope some day to speak to Eddie to hear his side and confirm this, but to date I haven't. But this seems reasonable, given that their earliest records (United Artists, Blast, Tri-boro), which seem to be just the
vocalist in front of a studio band, were all issued as by Shorty. The later (mid-60s) 45s, when they were a self-contained unit, go either way. Sometimes the same sides were issued as by Eddie on one label, and by Shorty on another.

According to Shorty, the only possible exception is the B-side "Rap on Alone" which may be Eddie in duet with Mickey Jackson....

Clifford E. Bibbins

Even more confusing is the meager information found online regarding Clifford E. Bibbins who wrote and produced a lot of songs recorded by Shorty, from the start of Shorty's recording career (Fine Records in 1960).   Edward Alfred Bibbins as he was also known was born in/1938 and died in 2008. He is buried in Chattanooga, TN.  But the story of Bibbins is yet another story...

Shorty/Shortie/Eddie  Billups/Billips/Billup various labels

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Frames (Illinois)

The Frames

42611-A - Tight Pants 
42611-B -  That's Alright

Recorded at Q&R Recording Studios, Evanston, Illinois


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Garland F. Ferrell on BRW

Garland F Ferrell

20556 ~ Short Skirts

   Produced by Billy Wagner Music Publishing Co.


This is (perhaps) Garland Fontane Ferrell, Sr.  of Durham who passed away Thursday, March 3, 2011 at his residence (The Herald Sun, March 6, 2011).  No further info on this singer and songwriter.

The BRW label was owned by Billy R. Wagner, a Virginia-born singer, songwriter and publisher, also known as Billy Reese Wagoner. The label had several addresses, as much as Billy Wagner had himself  :  Durham (North Carolina), Yorkville (Illinois), Hampton, Titusville, Lake Butler and Waldo, all in Florida.

In 1985, Billy Wagner dedicated a special album to the Mothers and Students Against Drunk Drivers campaign,  $10 (check or money order)(Included with album or cassette, a picture of the artist, booklet of safety efficiency money saving ideas for home and auto. )

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Hi-Boys on Unicom

The Hi-Boys

   9547 - Mist Of Blue

9548 - They Say

    Unicom 1202
 Huntsville, Alabama


Standing : Walter Buddy Tarr drummer, Curtis Boldin, guitarist and singer, Bobby Glenn bass man. 
Seated Wendell Haygood, singer and guitar
Students at Butler High School.

The Hi-Boys were classmates at Butler High, Huntsville, Alabama. Unicom is their first record.  There was at least two further records (on Gold Master and Woodrich Records). They continued to perform together, with some personnel changes, well into the 1970's.

Songwriter Dean Frazier was the owner of the label.  See the first release on Unicom here :

Songwriter C. Hughey is Carlyle "Buddy" Hughey who recorded for local labels Cherokee and Woodrich. Buddy Hughey is listed in Rockin' Country Style, rockabilly online discography.

 Billboard, March 16, 1963

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Riots (Chicago garage band)

The Riots

17145 - I Can Go On


All members were from the Old Town area of Chicago, near Lincoln Park. Larry Dieden co-wrote both of these songs and sings lead on "I Can Go On" and backup vocals on "You're My Baby."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cliff Butler and the Lovers on Frantic

Cliff Butler and the Lovers

CP-1870 - I Can't Believe
J.Sanders – G.Smith, San-Gor BMI

CP-1869 - Everybody Needs Somebody
C. Coleman – C. Butler, Alexander, BMI

Frantic 801
Louisville, Kentucky

The Frantic label was probably owned by WAKY deejay Jack Sanders.

Cliff Butler was born on October 17, 1922, in Louisville, Kentucky.

 His early experience in music was with one of the many jug bands that made their home in Louisville. After serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, he returned to his hometown and organized his first band to back his singing. His first recordings were with the Three Notes, for Signature (1948), followed by recordings for King (1949). 

Through the mid-fifties Cliff and his trio played at Louisville nightspots like The Neon, The Silver Dollar Bar and The El Rancho.  In thelate fifties he became a deejay for WLOU in Louisville, Kentucky.

After turning to the ministry in the early sixties, he continued to broadcast on local radio and recorded several gospel albums. He died in 1981.

Further reading :I've Got A Mind To Ramble : Remembering Cliff Butler  by Keith S. Clements

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jan Records (Alabama)

Jan Records
819 Thurman St.
Montgomery, AL

Bobby Jackson   

CP-1541 – Oh Baby
CP-1542 – Waltzing With You   
Jan 101

Bobby Jackson

? – You Got Me Rocking And Rolling
? – Dreamy Sunday
Jan 102
Billboard October 6, 1958

Bobby Jackson

CP- 2029 – New World
CP-2030 – Cha Cha Cha
Jan 103

Bobby Jackson // Robert Jackson and The Sneakers

CP-2981 –  Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me
CP-2982 –  Closer To My Heart
Jan 104
Billboard March 7, 1960


Billboard ad, December 15, 1958

Al Dixon, in his younger days, was known as "Dizzy Dixon" or "Ugly Al", the radio DJ. "The Soul Mouth of the South...".

He recalls Bobby Jackson :

Bobby Jackson was well known around the local clubs. Starting out, Clarence Carter played in his band on the circuit. "We had a lot of fun. One thing about the Chitlin were comfortable, you were in your place," Jackson admitted.

During the '60s Jackson played The Elks Club in Montgomery where recording artists like The Drifters, Joe Tex, Tyrone Davis and The Manhattans would pack the house.

But the road to success did have its down side. "They didn't have business managers to go in and look at the books to know how many records were sold," Dixon said adding, "they didn't really concern themselves with it." Why? "All they wanted to do was perform. It was their life."

It was a journey that's seen many twists and turns. "Now, most everything is more sophisticated..." Long gone are the segregated clubs, and the road so many artists traveled to fame is now history.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Betty Blevins on Ark

Betty Blevins

Ark 208