Monday, April 23, 2007

Got Love If You Want It

So the story goes that after their first audition at Sun Records, Clyde Leopard and The Snearly Ranch Boys were playing at the Cotton Club, when Sam Phillips and Johnny Cash stop by and Johnny offers the band this song he's written. "Rock'n'Roll Ruby". At this stage Johnny Cash has released his second single (Folsom Prison Blues) and must feel on top of the world. Generous anyway. So the band record it and it's issued as by the singer Warren Smith. Piano player Smokey Joe Baugh is on top form, and the record deserves every one of it's rumoured half million sales.

It was issued on April 21st 1956.

You can hear Johnny Cash's quick demo at his RCS Discography. Scroll down to Additional tracks.
Warren Smith has a Sun Records Discography too.

His follow up was the offbeat rocker Ubangi Stomp, but it was the third single that rocked Warren's boat. "So Long I'm Gone" came out immediately after Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On" and got precious little of Sam Phillips' promotional energy. Warren Smith took to buying up Lewis' single and smashing it in the record shops, while Lewis played it every time he found a Jukebox. Those Sun Records concert tours!! Must have been as mad as "Walk The Line" makes out.

So for his next single (ten months later) Warren (minus The Snearly Ranch Boys) now with ace Sun session guitarist Roland Janes, cuts a stomping version of "Got Love If You Want It" (see below) and must think the money is in the bag. But wait - it's wedged between Jerry Lee's "Great Bals Of Fire" and "Breathless" on the release schedule. And in the same DJ mail out is Johnny Cash's "Big River", Carl Perkins' "Glad All Over", Sonny Burgess' "My Bucket's got A Hole In It" and Roy Orbison's follow up to "Ooby Dooby".

I reckon Sam Phllips and Warren Smith would be having words by this stage. It's the only explanation for a track like "Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache" remaining unreleased, and Warren leaving the label a year later after only one more single release.

Buy a decent Warren Smith album

Slim Harpo was a crossover blues act that didn't crossover. Not in the charts anyway. According to The Blues Harp "By the time his first single became a Southern jukebox favorite, his songs being were adapted and played by White musicians left and right." Label mate Warren Storm covered "I'm A King Bee", on Excello, but that must have been later ... it begs the question "What was the first white cover of a Slim Harpo record? Any suggestions folks? Was it Warren Smith's Sun version?
Buy here and listen to some more tracks at Livin' Blues

Rock'n'Roll Ruby - Warren Smith
Got Love If You Want It - Warren Smith
Got Love If You Want It - Slim Harpo


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Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Dig You Baby

I met Marvin Rainwater in 1980 in South Shields ... or was it Sunderland?
Shook his hand, got his autograph, told him what a great show he did. He was still full of surprise that not only did people remember him (or in my case, had heard of him) but they knew the words to his obscure Rockabilly records. He was all fired up to cut a Rockabilly record when he got home, and because he was in favour of the local brew, the record was going to be about Brown Ale.

When it came out the following year "Henrieta, Oklahoma" was a hit in Scandinavia, even though it wasn't about Brown Ale, and it did fair thump along.
Bear Family has the Rockin' Rollin' Rainwater CD (which has all the tracks mentioned here and also the early rockabilly numbers like "Hot and Cold") where you can do a search to see the other CDs by Marvin in their catalogue.

One interesting thing I didn't know about Marvin Rainwater, was that his second UK hit "I Dig You Baby" was recorded in the UK with Ken Jones and his Orchestra (as they used to call em - I love that feature of old R'n'B singles that say things like "with Vcl Group and Orchestra" when they mean a piano). This track features some great piano playing from Mr Jones, and the rest of the 'orchestra' are right on the button, too ... for Limeys ... And a great follow up to "Whole Lotta Woman" it is, perhaps "Dance You Daddy" was meant to be in the same groove - I never understood why it ws issued on MGM Rockabilly Vol2 when it's such a great Rock'n'Roll record. Apparently they only recorded one track in the UK, unless there's anything else on the Bear Family box set. Let me know if you find anything comparable.

Just up recently is Marv's Myspace site
and you can also leave a message for the man at his official site AND there's an interview from 1998 where he sounds on good form.

And of course, the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame

I Dig You Baby
Dance Me Daddy
Boo Hoo


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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Scott H Biram hits the UK in April

Damn it all to Hell. Scott H Biram is playing the UK today. And Tomorrow. And the next day! Does he not like Guinness or something?? Ireland is calling you Scott. Scott? Are you listening, Scott. Mr Biram? Sir?? I'll buy you the damn Guinness ...

One of the most inspiring artists on the boardwalk of DEEP rockabilly, shuvin' all contenders aside and shakin' your bones this man is a force to be reckoned with, and I should know! I have heard the word writ tall on the wall. I have seen the scene quake with the seismic forces that Biram roots down into. I have, so I have, and so will you if you get in the car and get over there.

Check out his Myspace site for up n comings and check his Record Company, Bloodshot Records(who have a few freebies posted) and be sure to write and thank em (monetarily) for sharing these tunes with the faithful (and the curious) ...

Been Down Too Long
No Way