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COUNTRY, BLUEGRASS & OLD-TIMEY

Ted Daffan -> Little Jimmy Dickens

VERNON DALHART King 3820 Hall Of Fame, Inducted 1981 ● CD $9.98
10 tracks, 33 mins, recommended Although Dalhart is often shunned by country music collectors because of his somewhat trained voice and precise diction he is certainly an important perfomer. Among the 5,000 songs he is purported to have recorded in the 20s and 30s are many fine performances including the first recordings of a number songs that have become country standards. This is the first CD of his recordings so it's a shame that it's so short - not that I would want to hear all 5,000 songs! This set includes some of his most popular songs - The Prisoner's Songs/ WReck Of The Old '97/ Death of Floyd Collins/ The Governer's Pardon and others. Arrangements feature guitar, banjo, harmonica and occasional Jews harp and piano. Sound is very good and there are brief notes on his career. (FS)

 
DARBY & TARLTON Bear Family BCD 15764 Complete Recordings ● CD $74.98
3 CDs, 71 tracks, 3 hrs, 48 min; essential
Will wonders never cease!? Due to the technology that has given us compact discs, we are able in 1995 to listen to one of the finest and most influential traditional country duos from the dawn of recorded music history in this country, with sound quality that we could only have dreamed of a few short years ago. Thomas Darby and Jimmy Tarlton were the originators of the oft recorded and incredibly popular Columbus Stockade Blues; their recordings for Columbia, Victor, and A.R.C. from 1927 to 1933 made them among the most popular of the traditional country acts recording at that time, and their influence since then has been immense. Jimmy Tarlton is credited with introducing the steel guitar to hillbilly music and was a great yodeler; his style seems derived in about equal parts from Hawaiian steel guitar styles and those of black country blues artists. Tom Darby was rhythm guitarist and an appealing singer whose lead vocals featured his melancholy delivery of the duo's repertoire, which consisted of sentimental parlor songs from before the turn of the century, traditional Appalachian folk ballads, and rags and blues from the black tradition. Selections include, in addition to the classic Columbus Stockade Blues/ After The Ball/ Traveling Yodel Blues/ Frankie Dean (their take on the Frankie and Johnny saga)/ Weaver's Blues/ My Blue Heaven(!), and many more. Includes a 48 page booklet with an exhaustive biography by Ed Kahn, along with notes on each song, and a discography compiled by Tony Russell, and lots of vintage photos. (RP)

 
DARBY & TARLTON County 3503 On The Banks Of A Lonely River ● CD $15.98
17 tracks, 55 min, essential
Powerful, even stunning music from a marvelous Georgia duet, Tom Darby & Jimmie Tarlton, recorded from 1927-30. The bluesy, soulful vocals of Darby are joined by the heart-breaking harmonies and hair-raising yodels of Tarlton, backed by Darby's steady fingerpicking and Jimmie's spectacular bottleneck guitar. Jimmie had traveled widely, learning from blacks, Mexicans, and even the Hawaiian guitarist, Frank Ferera, developing an expressive, fluid style perfectly suited to the duo's vocal intensity. Tackling traditional numbers like Lonesome In The Pines/Lonesome Railroad/& the anti-war Captain Won't You Let Me Go Home, as well as sentimental tunes as Little Bessie & The Black Sheep, and blue like Frankie Dean & Birmingham Jail, they deliver each with passionate conviction. Sound is good, but with rumble on some cuts, and good notes by Robert Nobley. (JM)

 
DENVER DARLING B.A.C.M. 246 Volume 3- Cowboy Jack ● CD $14.98
The third collection of western flavored songs from engaging Illinois born singer and songwriter Denver Darling. This features 25 tracks recorded for radio transcriptions in the 1940s and includes a mix of old favorites, versions of recent hits and some originals. He is accompanied by a fine band which includes fine fiddle and guitar (the latter possibly Tony Mottola). Includes Great Speckled Bird/ Can You Ever Forgive Me/ Cowboy Jack/ Carless Love/ In The Land Where We'll never Grow Old/ Jesse James, etc. Fine sound and good notes by Kevin Coffey.
DENVER DARLING: Back In The Saddle Again/ Be Nobody's Darling But Mine/ Can You Ever Forgive Me/ Careless Love/ Columbus Stockade Blues/ Corine Corina/ Cowboy Jack/ Crawdad Song/ Don't Hang Around Me Anymore/ Great Speckled Bird/ I'm Gonna Miss Your Kiss At Christmas/ In The Baggage Coach Ahead/ In The Land Where We'll Never Grow Old/ Jesse James/ Leven Miles From Leavenworth/ Little Footprints In The Snow/ Lost And Found/ Montana/ New River Train/ Precious Jewel/ Sierra Serenade/ Strawberry Blonde On A Strawberry Roan/ Wabash Cannonball/ When I Take My Vacation In Heaven/ Will Your Promise Be Forever

 
JIMMIE DAVIS Bear Family BCD 15943 Nobody's Darling But Mine ● CD $119.98
5 CD box set with book featuring recordings from 1928-1937 by this country pioneer. Lots of blues songs and other Jimmie Rodgers flavored material - some with great blues and jazz accompaniments. Includes his very rare first recordings for Doggone Records.

 
JIMMIE DAVIS Bear Family BCD 16216 You Are My Sunshine ● CD $119.98
The second set of 5 CDs with books feature recordings from the height of his popularity, 1937-46.

 
LINK DAVIS Krazy Kat KKCD 06 Let The Good Times Roll ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, 53 minutes, recommended. Texas-born singer/fiddler/sax blower Link Davis was a formidable talent throughout the rock'n'roll era. He started out in Western Swing bands in the 30's eventually winding up in Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers. The 20 cuts here trace his career from 1948 to 1963. There are a half dozen nice bluesy/jazzy tunes from 1948-49 including a version of Good Rockin' Tonight done as Have You Heard The News - a true rock'n'roll precursor. He backs (on fiddle) Floyd Tillman on Baby I Just Want You/ Save A Little For Me and the Harmonica Kid on a trio of blues/cajun tunes from 1952, but the best stuff features Link's own distinctive gruff voice on rockin' classics like Grasshopper/ Airliner/ Big Mamou , etc.... AE

 
SKEETER DAVIS RCA 66536 The Essential Skeeter Davis ● CD $10.98
20 tracks, 50 min., recommended. Her life was a little like the country songs she sang, full of failed marriage, crashed cars, bad luck and hit records. This disc spans the years 1953-71 and chronicles her career from her stint as a Davis Sister (I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know) to her pop leanings My Last Date (With You), and beyond. In the 1960s her sound anticipated the girl groups -- in fact her vocals were multi-tracked until she was a girl group! -- as a listen to the Goffin-King ditty I Can't Stay Mad At You will confirm. Other songs include Bus Fare To Kentucky, I'm Saving My Love, No, Never, (I Can't Help You) I'm Falling Too, and more. Nice collection, good notes, photos. (JC)

 
THE DAVIS SISTERS Bear Family BCD 15722 Memories ● CD $41.98
Two CDs, 79:28 70:33, 60 songs, recommended
On the heels of Skeeter Davis's autobiography comes this Bear Family collection compiling the complete Davis Sisters legacy, save a couple of lost RCA masters. In preparation for several years, it brings together 60 songs on two compact discs. These include not only the complete RCA recordings (most featuring Chet Atkins) but also 1952-53 live appearances and radio recordings done in Detroit, their output for the Detroit- based Fortune label (with pianist Roy Hall) and their complete released and unreleased RCA output (except for the two lost RCA sides). Four gospel numbers recorded after Betty Jack Davis's death feature Skeeter with Betty Jack's sister, Georgie, who replaced her in the group (a story dealt with by Skeeter in horrific detail in her book) until they finally split. The songs include I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know, Sorrow and Pain, Rock-A-Bye Boogie, The Christmas Boogie, the swinging Fiddle Diddle Boogie and more. More alternate takes appear than needed, and at times the Davises got a bit samey. Liner notes were written by Bob Allen and Colin Escott, and the booklet boasts near complete session data and rare photos from Skeeter's archives. (RK) 2 discs, 60 tracks, 149 min., recommended Known best for their hit, I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know, the Davis Sisters began life as high school friends Betty Jack Davis and Mary Frances Penick. It was only a radio announcer's hurried shortening of their individual names that resulted in the "sisters" tag. They first recorded for Fortune Records in late 1952, and their one solid hit came out of their very first RCA session in 1953. Tragically, an auto accident took Betty Jack's life shortly after that. Thereafter Betty's older sister Georgie joined the act, and she and Mary Frances recorded together through 1957. This excellent compilation includes 11 early acetates, the five Fortune numbers, and all of the RCA numbers laid down by both duos. Highlights include Rock-A-Bye Boogie/ You're Gone/ Crying Steel Guitar Waltz/ Takin' Time Out For Tears/ Show Me/ The Christmas Boogie/ I'll Get Him Back/ Baby Be Mine, and Dig A Little Deeper In God's Love. When Mary Frances Penick went solo in 1958, she combined her nickname with her lost friend's last name, performing and finding major chart success as Skeeter Davis. Fine sound quality and graphics, lots of photos and thorough notes. (DH)

 
JIMMY DAY Bear Family BCD 15583 Golden Steel Guitar Hits - Steel & Strings ● CD $21.98
Best known for his work with the bands of Ray Price and Willie Nelson in his pre-Outlaw days, Jimmy Day began as the staff steel player on the Louisiana Hayride in the early fifties (Floyd Cramer was the band's pianist). He occasionally backed Elvis, Scotty and Bill on Hayride tours. Day became a much-recorded Nashville sideman in the sixties, his skill at modulating chords and his unique tone becoming his trademark. His work with Ray Price's Cherokee Cowboys particularly stood out. In 1961 and 1962 he recorded two albums for Mercury, both included on this CD. Neither album was terribly strong because of the overproduction (voices and orchestrations). "Golden Steel Guitar Hits", the better LP of the two, featured Day performing steel guitar "standards" from Steel Guitar Rag to Bootheel Drag, Bud's Bounce and Georgia Steel Guitar. Day's playing is outstanding; it's the choral voices that become annoying. The second LP, Steel and Strings, featured him playing country standards including I Fall to Pieces/ Making Believe/ Wild Side of Life/ Release Me and A Fallen Star. Again, overproduction spoils the music. It might have been better to assemble Day's solo work from Abbott Records and combine it with some of the material he cut with Price and others as a featured sideman. Booklet is mostly testimonials from fellow steel players with a 1955 photo of Day backing Elvis onstage in the booklet. (RK)

 
EDDIE DEAN Cattle 214 The Late & Great Eddie Dean ● CD $18.98
Collection of sides from mid 40s radio transcriptions.

 
EDDIE DEAN Cattle 233 The Golden Age Of Eddie Dean ● CD $18.98
Complementing Cattle 214 this features 24 sides from the 40s including recordings for small labels and radio transcriptions. Some tracks have Speedy West on steel or Joe Maphis on lead guitar.

 
JIMMY DEAN Bear Family BCD 15723 Big Bad John ● CD $21.98
26 tracks 78 min. fans only
It's easy to dismiss Jimmy Dean as the purveyor of bad recitation records and as spokesman for his Pure Pork Sausage. If you hate recitations, you'll dismiss this set as well. Aside from the 1961 megahit single Big Bad John some of these songs were "big," many were "bad," and a few belong in the "john." These 1961-62 Columbia recordings are mostly recitation- heavy including the right-wing Dear Ivan and the JFK World War II saga song P.T. 109. Since this was the era of the saga songs, their inclusion is understandable. That's about as far as it should have gone. Two followups to John, The Cajun Queen and Little Bitty Big John (Big John's son) are so bad that even the titles should warn anyone off, and you could pour To A Sleeping Beauty over flapjacks. Actually Dean wasn't a bad singer and recorded some decent material for Columbia, as the relatively few vocal selections indicate. They should have added more of those and less talk. (RK)

 
THE DELMORE BROTHERS Ace CDCH 455 Freight Train Boogie ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, 55 min, recommended
Alton and Rabon Delmore settled in Memphis in 1945 and, unsurprisingly, their style shifted from what it had been in the '30s. Their records for the King label were primarily boogies and blues-based numbers that maintained their close harmonies and fine guitar work. (Check the Mobile Boogie if you care to be impressed.) This set offers many King faves, including the title track, Hillbilly Boogie/ Boogie Woogie Baby/ Steamboat Bill Boogie, and other fare not far from rockabilly. Wayne Raney's plaintive harmonica wails sympathetically throughout. Old fashioned and ahead of their time all at once. (JC)

 
THE DELMORE BROTHERS Ace CDCHD 1074 Fifty Miles To Travel - The King & Deluxe Acetate Series ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 68 mins, essential
Ace's second in their new series of reissues drawn from original King acetates (see Roy Brown in blues section for more details) is another killer featuring the wonderful music of the Delmore Brothers. Although Ace now has access to the original cleaner sounding acetates they have stayed clear of duplications with their previous Delmore reissue (Ace 455 - "Freight Train Boogie" - $18.98) with the exception of their biggest hit Blues Stay Away From Me. They have also included a previously unissued alternate take of that song which is quite close to the issued version though not as good. The rest of the set is a wonderful blend of blues, boogie, straight country, traditional songs and a spiritual recorded for King between 1945 and 1950 - most of it making it's first appearance on CD and those issued before never sounding this good. The earliest cuts features just the brothers and their guitars while later sides feature great accompaniments from harmonica player Wayne Raney, guitarist Zeb Turner and others. There are three utterly superb previously unissued songs - the title song plus (When I'm Gone) Don't talk About Me and the western swing flavored Leavin' Town - the latter with hot guitar from Turner. Stunning sound and informative, if somewhat convulted, notes by Tony Rounce round out another essential package. (FS)

 
THE DELMORE BROTHERS B.A.C.M. 044 That Old Train ● CD $14.98
Superb collection of sides by this brilliant brother duo. 17 of the 22 tracks here are from their Decca sessions of 1940 and 1941 with the remaining five from their later King sessions. The Decca sessions feature them performing traditional and original songs with their gentle harmonies accompanied by their fine interlocking guitar work. The King sides finds them in a more bluesy mood with Wayne Raney contributing harmonica on a couple of tracks.
THE DELMORE BROTHERS: Baby Girl/ Gathering Flowers From The Hillside/ Gospel Cannonball/ Honey I'm Ramblin' Away/ I Found An Angel/ I Needed You/ I Now Have A Bugle To Play/ I Wonder Where My Darling Is Tonight/ I'm Leaving You/ I'm Sorry I Caused You To Cry/ In The Blue Hills Of Virginia/ Last Night I Was Your Only Darling/ Make Room In The Lifeboat For Me/ Old Mountain Dew/ Precious Jewel/ She Won't Be My Little Darling/ Silver Dollar/ That Old Train/ There's Something bout Love/ There's Trouble On My Mind Today/ When It's Time For The Whip-poor-wills To Sing/ Will You Be Lonesome Too

 
AL DEXTER Bronco Buster 9030 The Original "Pistol Packin' Mama" ● CD $18.98
20 cuts recorded between 1941 and 1942 by this talented singer, guitarist and songwriter who was one of the most popular country artists of the 40s. It includes the original version of his most famous song Pistol Packin' Mama, a million selling #1 hit in 1944 plus other songs like Hot Foot Shuffle/ You've Been Cheating Baby/ I Don't Suppose/ There'll Come A Time/ Fisherman's Boogie, etc. , etc. (FS)
AL DEXTER: A Good Man Is Hard to Find/ Blow That Lonesome Whistle, Casey/ Calamity Jane/ Counting My Teardrops/ Darling, It's All over Now./ Fisherman's Boogie (Voc. Aubrey Gass)/ Guitar Polka (Old Monterey) (Inst.) (No.1)/ Hot Foot Shuffle (Inst.)/ I Don't Suppose/ I'll Wait for You Dear/ I'm Setting You Free/ Pistol Packin' Mama (No.1)/ Rosa/ Saturday Night Boogie (Inst.)/ So Long Pal (No.1)/ There'll Come a Time/ Walking with the Blues/ Who's Been Here/ Who's Gonna Love You When I'm Gone/ You've Been Cheating Baby

 
AL DEXTER Cattle 211 Country Hit Maker Of The 1940s ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, 1939-1947 - Is That The Way To Treat A Friend/ I'm Leaving My Troubles Behind/ Triflin' Gal/ Love Lanes Of Yesterday/ I'm Losing My Mind Over You/ Alimony Blues/ New Jelly Roll Blues, etc.

 
HAZEL DICKENS Rounder 11529 A Few Old Memories ● CD $15.98
18 tracks, 68 mins, essential
West Virginia singer/ songwriter Hazel Dickens is one of those wonderful singers whose voices have the ability to evoke an immediate and emotional response. She's not a pretty singer - but her singing has an honesty and directness that will send a chill down your spine. Many of her songs are originals though they have a timeless quality. They tell real stories about real people - often rural workers. The tracks here were recorded over an 11 year period and are drawn from six different albums. Accompaniments are varied from a bluegrass sound to a more electric country sound and also includes one unaccompanied vocal Pretty Bird. Other songs include the magnificent Working Girl Blues (with Alice Gerrard from their acclaimed "Hazel & Alice" album)/ A Few Old Memories/ Busted/ It's Hard To Tell The Singer From The Song/ Hills Of Home/ Only The Lonely (not the Roy Orbison song)/ Little Lenaldo/ Scars From An Old Love/ Mama's Hand/ West Virginia, My Home and others. This is the real thing, folks. (FS)

 
HAZEL DICKENS & ALICE GERARD Smithsonian Folkways SF CD 40065 Pioneering Women Of Bluegrass ● CD $15.98
26 tracks, 68 min., highly recommended. The very welcome digital reissue of two Folkways albums originally released in 1965 and 1973, the first recordings by these two fine singers of traditional song. Titled Who's That Knocking Won't You Come and Sing For Me The One I Love Is Gone Walkin' in My Sleep Darling Nellie Coal Miner's Blues Lee Highway Blues Memories of Mother and Dad Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar Mommy Please Stay Home with Me Just Another Broken Heart I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling

 
LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS B.A.C.M. 063 Hot Diggity Dog ● CD $14.98
25 track collection of early sides from 1949 through 1952 by the diminutive but highly talented Little Jimmy Dickens. Best known for his novelty songs he was also a superb honky tonk singer and both these aspects of his music are featured here. Jimmy was always accompanied by top studio musicians.
LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS: Bessie The Heifer/ Cold Feet/ F-o-o-l-i-s-h M-e Me/ Galvanised Washing Tub/ Hot Diggity Dog/ I Wish You Didnt Love Me So Much/ If It Aint One Thing Its Another/ It May Be Silly But Aint It Fun/ Ill Be Back A Sunday/ Im In Love Up To My Ears/ Ive Just Got To See You Once More/ Just When I Needed You/ Lola Lee/ Lovin Lies/ Old Country Preacher/ Out Of Business/ Sign On The Highway/ Then I Had To Turn Around And Get Married/ They Dont Know Nothin At All/ Waitress Waitress/ Walk Chicken Walk/ Wedding Bell Waltz/ What About You/ When That Love Bug Bites You/ You Dont Have Love At All

 
LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS Bear Family BCD 16218 Out Behind The Barn ● CD $94.98
Second set on Bear Family features all the recordings of the small but mighty Little Jimmy Dickens recorded for Columbia between 1957 and 1966. Includes his hits The Violet & The Rose/ Another Bridge To Burn/ He Stands Real Tall/ May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose and much more.

 
LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS Sony Music Special Products 24201 Country Giant ● CD $7.98
10 tracks, 27 min; recommended Despite the decidedly minimalist packaging (no notes, session info, or dates), short playing time and concentration on Jimmy's novelty numbers at the expense of his honky tonkers and ballads, this valuable and much needed disc provides a good if brief overview of Dickens' career. It includes most of Jimmie's biggest novelty hits, including the biggest (and silliest), 1965's somewhat flukish hit, May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose; this forgettable ditty was a number one country hit and even reached number 15 on the pop charts. Jimmy's more conventional novelty numbers describing country life in a humorous way had been staples of country radio since 1949's Take An Old Cold Tater And Wait, included here. Also included are Country Boy/ Hillbilly Fever, the rockabillyish I Got A Hole In My Pocket, plus the ballads My Heart's Bouquet/ We Could. There is far too little evidence of Jimmie's compelling way with a ballad here, but it's nice to have even these ten. This diminutive Hall of Famer has been shortchanged by the country reissue specialists for too long. (RP)

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