Friday, December 13, 2013

Ross Barnett For Governor Campaign Song (1967)

Ross Barnett For Governor
Campaign Song

With Jerry Lane Orch.

Both written and produced by Houston Davis
Delta Records Custom Dpt
1653 Raymond Rd
Jackson, Miss.


Label picture and audio files are taken from Brian Perry YouTube channel.  Brian Perry collects political memorabilia. He has collected several records from Mississippi gubernatorial campaigns "which provide a glimpse into the politics, issues and culture of the time.".   

Brian Perry :
In 1967, Barnett ran for governor again but finished fourth in the Democratic Primary. He still had catchy songs. The chorus of "Let's Roll Again With Ross" goes: "Who is the best man yet? Ross Barnett! Ross Barnett! Who is the best man yet? Ross Barnett you bet!" He takes on President Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy: "All left wingers stay away from me / we don't need your Great Society / in Mississippi we just want our sovereignty / Roll with Ross, roll with Ross, roll again with Ross....All the reds in Washington will say / they hope Ross will fall along the way / but we won't give our state to little Bobby K."

On the record's flip side, "When Good Ol' Ross Goes Rolling In" (to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In") hits a number of his opponents including William Winter: "when another man collected tax, his piggy bank, it runneth over, with that old black market tax."

Barnett lost to Congressman John Bell Williams who had his own song. "John Bell Williams is A Fightin' Man" performed by Bob Cates & the Dixie Six begins with a variation of Dixie (an instrumental of which appears on the B-side).

"All you people gather around I got a story to tell / about a man from Mississippi that they call John Bell / he was sitting up North on the Capitol Dome / watching the way his folks were treated back home. Saw those Johnson boys in the high silk hats / and wonder what they're doing to us Democrats / Saw little brother Bobby having all of his fun / he stood up and said 'you can't do that son.'"

Full text HERE

The Magnola State Quartet was organized in 1961 and had Brookhaven, Mississippi, for headquarters.  The personnel was Carlton Brown (1928-2002), lead and manager; Marvin "Buck" Boyd, 1st tenor; Carroll Smith, baritone; C.O. Stegall, bass; and I.W. Brown, accompanist. 
They sing just about all the time in any place where they are welcome, and they are welcome about any place where they are known.  No place is too small or remote for them to appear.  They have appeared at some of the larger gatherings over the country with many of the outstanding singers.  One of the most well remembered occasions is when they sang at the inauguration of Hon. Paul Johnson on Jan. 19, 1964, after working in his campaign for Governor. [From the back cover of their "Sings For You" LP on Sing Records, Atlanta, Georgia]

Delta Records was noted for it's custom recording work. They recorded wedding, church and college choirs. Also they recorded foreign language departments for Ole Miss in Oxford, MS and many commercials for numerous radio stations.  They also recorded radio stations all over Mississippi for ASCAP.    When Mississippi was searching for a state song, Delta Recording Studio recorded all the state university bands in search of the song that would truly be representative of the state. "Go Mississippi", written by Houston Davis was chosen as the official State Song of Mississippi in 1962.

Marc Ryan, author of "Trumpet Records: An Illustrated History With Discography" (Big Nickel Publications 1992, wrote this about the early days of Delta Records : 
Jimmie Ammons [Delta Records owner] earned his living as a machinist, but enjoyed a second vocation with the aid of his new tape recorder. He and a friend would meet once a week after work and concoct melodies for poems that were solicited by mail from aspiring songwriters. The ditties were recorded by Ammons, then forwarded back to the amateur lyricists for a fee.
At the same time [1953], Ammons began doing demos for local artists, and was developing a feel for the R&B sounds of the day by hanging out now and then with his brother, who was the proprietor of a local record shop. Delta records were cut and pressed mainly as promotional discs for sale by local artists at their personal appearances, and they included a smattering of hillbilly, gospel and blues, all by obscure artists.


William Houston Davis was born in Oklahoma in 1914 but moved to Mississippi during WWII.  He died in 1987.  Biographical data on Houston Davis is hard to come by.   He wrote a number of political songs, but he was above all a song composer for hire, as shows a self-promotion booklet he published around 1960 : "Houston Davis : successful composer of political songs, jingles, parodies." and his credit on the label of a song-poem acetate recording (see below).

 A blatantly song-poem on Delta Records acetate

"Lonesome Valley", another song by James Vernal Fout (from Danville. 1llinois) was put in music in 1939 by Luther A. Clark of Thomaston, Maine.   On Luther A. Clark, see "How To Write A Song Poem (In Three Complete Lessons)"

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