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Bear Family Release TV and Concert Collection

Who would have thought, 52 years after his death, that we'd be seeing Johnny Horton perform some of his great hit songs especially, when Bear Family began work on the artist's LP box sets back in the 1980s, only two videos were trading hands among collectors. Now comes a set that comprises tv appearances, performances on the Ozark Jubilee and a concert alongside a couple of additional items.

JOHNNY HORTON  I'm A Fishin' Man (BCD 20120 AT)

TV Performances - I'm A Fishin' Man; The Electrified Donkey; The Train With the Rhumba Beat; Old Gobbler; The Mansion You Stole; Don Rovin'; Johnny Reb (promo);

Ozark Jubilee Performances (1959/1960) - Sal's Got A Sugarlip; Johnny Reb; I'm Ready If You're Willing; Johnny Reb; Sink The Bismark; All For The Love Of A Girl; When It's Springtime In Alaska; Comanche (The Brave Horse); Be Honest With Me (with EDDY ARNOLD and MOLLY BEE); Johnny Freedom;

Movie Trailers - North To Alaska (trailer); North To Alaska (news item); Commancheros (news item);

Live Show In Detroit (September 1960) - Sal's Got A Sugarlip; The Same Old Tale The Crow Told Me; The Battle Of New Orleans; North To Alaska; Sink The Bismark;

Audio Bonus Tracks - North To Alaska; Go North!; North To Alaska.

The DVD kicks off with the tv slots, with the first - I'm  A Fishin' Man - endorsing Johnny Horton's great love of the outdoor activity which earned him the nickname "The Singing Fisherman". It was also the ideal song for the sponsorship of his first television show, Fishing Fun, which aired on Los Angeles' KLAC-TV in early 1951. Then comes performances recorded during the period 1951-54 though Colin Escott (who provides the well detailed notes in the accompanying booklet) ponders the actual date and location, whether in Los Angeles, Shreveport or East Texas. Strangely The Electrified Donkey (written by Ferlin Husky), although performed in this period, was never recorded by Horton until 1959. The Train With The Rhumba Beat and The Mansion You Stole were songs he recorded for Mercury, prior to chart success coming his way when he signed with Columbia, and throughout he shows himself as a natural tv performer. Finally, one of Columbia songs, Johnny Reb, is here presented as a promo video though where it was shown is a mystery!

Johnny Horton made several appearances on Springfield's Ozark Jubilee, the first nationally televised country music show (by then titled Jubilee USA), his debut appearance (probably) being on February 7, 1959 when he performed his first number one, When It's Springtime In Alaska. Other chart songs performed are Sal's Got A Sugarlip, Johnny Reb and Sink The Bismark, although another song - All For The Love Of A Girl, recorded for Mercury - didn't attain chart status but is arguably among the most well known of the singer's earliest titles. These performances present the chance to see Horton's accompanying trio, headed up by Horton's manager Tillman Franks (bass) and included (at different times) Tommy Tomlinson (guitar) and Jerry Kennedy (electric bass), the latter who later became Mercury Records' head man in Nashville. Also seen are the show's various hosts, Bobby Lord, Red Foley and Eddy Arnold, the latter accompanying Horton, and other guest Molly Bee, on Gene Autry's Be Honest With Me.

The DVD's final session presents Johnny Horton on stage, filmed by a home movie camera at the Michigan State Fair in September 1960, just a couple of months before the car accident that took his life at the tragically early age of 35 years. Here he's seen more relaxed than the tv appearances and delights the crowds with his hits The Battle Of New Orleans (which topped both Billboard's pop and country charts, remaining number one for ten weeks in the latter) and Sink The Bismark as well as previewing North To Alaska, another chart topper that wasn't released until after his death.

In addition to Horton's performances, the DVD also has the trailer for North To Alaska, alongside news items on that and another movie The Commancheros, and concludes with non-commercial audio versions of North To Alaska and Go North.

A remarkable collection of clips that, for the first time, allows Johnny Horton to be seen as a performer and, apart from as few technical glitches (not too surprising considering the age of the film and all being non-professionally recorded), are remarkable good quality. And, accompanying Colin Escott's informative notes, the set's 24 page booklet features some stage shots, reproduction of album covers, and 13 full colour photographs taken on a 1959 Louisiana fishing trip with buddy Johnny Cash.

Other Johnny Horton releases on Bear Family:

Take Me Like I Am (Gonna Shake This Shake Tonight) (33 track CD digipac with 36 page booklet) - BCD 16354 AH

The Ballads Of Johnny Horton (25 track CD digipac with 28 page booklet) - BCD 16384 AR

Rockin' Rollin' Johnny Horton (20 track CD with 12 page booklet) - BCD 15543 AH

The Fantastic Johnny Horton (16 track vinyl LP) - BAF 18008

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; email:


Bear Family Release Historic 1960s Shows on DVD

Take a trip back in time and see country music as it was on television in the mid 1960s. No big spectacular production, no glitzy sets – just honest-to-goodness country music the way the fans liked it.

Country music was no stranger to television and, throughout the previous decade, had been presented in the “barn dance” setting that was already a proven winner with radio audiences – a large regular cast, some guests and often shot in a large auditorium. But things changed when Porter Wagoner arrived on the small screen in 1961, with his show focused on the star and his band, a few guests and recorded in a studio with minimal props. The viewers loved it and other artists looking to broaden their audience horizons quickly followed suite, among them Buck Owens, the Wilburn Brothers, Billy Walker, Del Reeves and Flatt & Scruggs.

There was also Ernest Tubb. His show was launched in 1965 – a truly memorable year for the Texas Troubadour as, after over 30 years in the business (and 25 on Decca Records) - he became the sixth inductee into Nashville’s prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.

The show was produced by Hal Smith (Tubb’s manager and co-founder of Pamper Music) with shows filmed four-at-a-time at the WSIX-TV studios in Nashville.

Accompanying Tubb and the regular guests were The Texas Troubadours, going through their hottest period with the much acclaimed line-up of Buddy Charleton (steel guitar), Jack Drake (bass), Leon Rhodes (guitar). Jack Greene (drums) and Cal Smith (guitar), the last two on the threshold of their own solo careers. At the start of 1967 Steve Chapman replaced Rhodes who went on to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry house band as well as working numerous recording sessions.

The regular cast of the show comprised veteran fiddler/vocalist Wade Ray; Lois Johnson, who would be charting records by the end of the decade; pop/gospel quartet The Johnson Sisters; and, for a spot of Southern comedy, Bun Wilson.

The show also had a co-host – a clean shaven, smartly attired singer/songwriter named Willie Nelson. But it wasn’t a role that particularly suited him as Ernest Tubb later recalled in an interview with Hairl Hensley. “Willie was my co-star on that show, and the producer kept after me to get Willie to say something. I said ‘you get him to say something, I can’t’. Willie’s a great singer but he didn’t have just a whole lot of exuberance on TV”. He left the show in 1967 and, rather than seeking a replacement, more time was given to Greene and Smith.

Although bootleg copies of the series have been in circulation over the years, eight episodes are now officially released by Bear Family Records (artist and song details are listed below) on two DVDs.

Shot on a single stage, and with the camera focussing square on the artist (with the occasional tracking to band members), The Ernest Tubb Show was no flashy production. It was the music that counted!

The main attraction, of course, is ET himself and, during the course of these two DVDs, gets to sing 18 songs including his chart successes Waltz Across Texas, Thanks A Lot, Have You Ever Been Lonely and Seaman’s Blues, alongside classics Your Cheating Heart and In The Jailhouse Now, the latter being associated with Jimmie Rodgers, the legend that was Tubb's inspiration. On one show he also introduced his 9 year old son Tinker Tubb and, between the music, finds time for a spot of humourous conversation with Bun Wilson who, incidentally, was the Troubadours’ first official drummer back in 1960.

In addition to backing their bossman, and the other artists, The Texas Troubadours feature in their own rights, with spotlight turned upon steelman Buddy Charleton presenting an instrumental or Leon Rhodes showing his vocal skills while uprising stars Jack Greene and Cal Smith's performances include There Goes My Everything and All The World Is Lonely Now in their respective repertoires.

Willie Nelson might not have been a talkative co-host but he had no problem with his distinctive singing styling on the shows that he appeared, conjuring up images of his native Texas with such as San Antonio Rose and My Window Faces The South as well performing One Day At A Time and Lonely Little Mansion among his original material. Wade Ray, the "old pug nosed fidder" who began his career in the 1920s, had headed up his own western swing band and, after the tv shows, joined Nelson's band as a bass player. Here he shows off his considerable talents as both fiddler and vocalist.

Lois Johnson, yet to achieve hit status, performed classics like A Legend in my Time and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, or joining forces with the Johnson Sisters (no relation) on Ride Ride Ride among other songs. The sisters also had their own spots as well as providing the occasional vocal backup to the other artists. And, like the majority of country shows, there was always a gospel song included.

The Ernest Tubb Show ceased production in 1968 after 139 episodes, although it continued in re-runs for several years. Details of the show’s history, together with mini-biographies and photographs of the artists, is told in the full colour 16 page booklet that accompanies each DVD. The text is penned by Nashville journalist Randy Fox.

Complete artist and song track listing on The Ernest Tubb TV Shows:


SHOW #62 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: There's No Room In My Heart (For The Blues) • Jack Greene & The John­son Sisters: There Goes My Everything • Wade Ray: Ragtime Annie • Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: One Day At A Time • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Leon Rhodes: Honey Fingers • Lois Johnson: A Legend In My Time • Ernest Tubb: Your Chea­tin' Heart • Willie Nelson: I Never Cared For You • Wade Ray & The Johnson Sisters: Wonderful Words Of Life

SHOW #64 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Thanks A Lot • Wade Ray: (Won't You Ride In) My Little Red Wagon • Willie Nelson: My Window Faces The South • Bun Wilson: Co­medy • Buddy Charleton: Cool It • Lois Johnson: Lovin' Lies • Ernest Tubb: Another Story, Another Time, Another Place • Tinker Tubb: Come On And Sing • Willie Nelson: You Left Me A Long, Long Time Ago • Jack Greene: King Of Kings

SHOW #67 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Need At­tention Bad • Lois Johnson: Walk On By • Willie Nelson: You Made Me Live, Love And Die • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Wade Ray: Ole Joe Clark • Ernest Tubb: Thoughts Of A Fool • John­son Sisters: Muskrat Ramble • Cal Smith: Time Changes Every­thing • Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: Who At My Door Is Standing

SHOW #82 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Seaman's Blues • Cal Smith: All The World is Lonely Now • Wade Ray: Arkansas Traveler * Jack Greene & The Johnson Sisters: The Fugitive • Bun Wilson: Comedy • The Texas Troubadours: C­lam Blues • Lois Johnson: Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain • Er­nest Tubb: Just One More • Johnson Sisters: A Thing Called Sadness Wade Ray: Higher Ground


SHOW #69 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Till My Getup And Go Has Got Up And Gone • Lois Johnson & The Johnson Sisters: Who Cares (For Me) • Willie Nelson: San An­tonio Rose • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Buddy Charleton: Buddy's Boogie • Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas • Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: Making Believe • Wade Ray: Walk Softly • Ernest Tubb: Lonesome Valley

SHOW #68 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Jealous Lo­ving Heart • Wade Ray: Anytime • Willie Nelson: Something To Think About • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Leon Rhodes: Wal­king The Floor Over You • Lois Johnson: Touch My Heart • Ernest Tubb: Beggar To A King * Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: Lonely Little Mansion • Cal Smith: Wait A Little Lon­ger Please Jesus 

SHOW #85 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: In The Jailhouse Now • Lois Johnson & The Johnson Sisters: Ride, Ride, Ride • Jack Greene & The Johnson Sisters: I Can't Help It • Bun Wilson: Comedy • The Texas Troubadours: Honey Fingers • Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas • The Johnson Sisters: Every Day Of My Life • Wade Ray: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You • Ernest Tubb: When It's Prayer Meetin' Time In The Hollow

SHOW #88 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Have You Ever Been Lonely • Wade Ray: Take An Old Cold 'Tater (And Wait) • Jack Greene & The Johnson Sisters: Crazy • Bun Wil­son: Comedy • The Texas Troubadours: Panhandle Rag • Lois Johnson: Legend In My Time • Ernest Tubb: Another Story, Another Time, Another Place • The Johnson Sisters: Cotton Fields • Cal Smith: Family Bible

Other Ernest Tubb releases available from Bear Family Records:

Walking the floor Over You (complete recordings 1939-47) (8 cd box set with 40 page book) – BCD 15853 HI

Let’s say Goodbye Like We Said Hello (complete recordings 1947-53) (5 cd box set with 32 page book) – BCD 15498 EH

The Yellow Rose of Texas (complete recordings 1954-60) (5 cd box set with 32 page book) – BCD 15688 EI

Waltz Across Texas (complete recordings 1961-66) (6 cd box set with 44 page book) – BCD 15929 FI

Another Story (complete records 1966-75) (6 cd box set with 40 page book) – BCD 15935 FI

Thirty Days: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight (cd with 32 page booklet) – BCD 16866 AH

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


New CDs by Tommy Collins, George Jones and Wynn Stewart

 The latest releases in Bear Family Records highly popular “Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight” series features recordings by three of country music’s iconic artists – Tommy Collins, George Jones and Wynn Stewart.The “Shake This Shack” series was created to spotlight the generally overlooked country boogie genre – disproving the myth did country boys didn’t get hip to the jive until Elvis arrived on the scene. This series clearly proved that many of the acclaimed ‘50s rockabillies followed in the footsteps of their earlier country music cousins!

TOMMY COLLINS   Black Cat (Bear Family BCD 16897 AH)Campus Boogie • Black Cat That's The Way Love Is • Smooth Sailin' Let Down (& WANDA COLLINS) • You Gotta Have A Li­cense • Let Me Love You • You Better Not Do That • Untied I Always Get A Souvenir • Whatcha Gonna Do Now 0 I Love You More And More Each Day Love-A-Me, S'il Vous Plait • You're For Me • I'll Be Gone I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail • It's Nobody's Fault But Yours • All Of The Monkeys Ain't In The Zoo Wait A Little Longer • What Kind Of Sweetheart Are You • A Love Is Born • Heart's Don't Break • You Belong In My Arms • It Makes No Difference Now • I Guess I'm Crazy • Mary Don't You Weep (& WANDA COLLINS) • Oklahoma Hills • I Got Mine • Black Cat (Stereo) • Think It Over Boys  Although he was one of the architects of the Bakersfield Sound, the commercial West Coast alternative to country music originating out of Nashville, Tommy Collins never reached the stardom that he so richly deserved. Probably best known for his humorous and novelty songs, Collins’ career wavered between religion and a dependency on drugs and alcohol, resulting in a decision to join the Ministry in 1956 (though he was to return to songwriting a few years later and just recognition thanks to Merle Haggard who not only enjoyed hits with a couple of Collins’ songs but also wrote a worthy tribute, Leonard, the title referring to Collins real first name). The 30 recordings featured in this collection are culled from years with Capitol Records, although the set kicks off with 1951’s Campus Boogie, which marked the singer's debut on the independent Morgan Records. Veering more towards Collins’ light-hearted work, the cd includes his two biggest hits – You Better Not Do That and Whatcha Gonna Do Now (and a further original novelty, All Of The Monkeys Ain’t In The Zoo, not a hit!) – as well as two other charts titles, Untied and I Guess I’m Crazy. There’s also a couple of duets with Wanda Collins, his wife, one being a version of the old gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep. And, providing a more rockier side of the artist, both the original and overdubbed versions of Black Cat are included, a recording that’s more Gene Vincent than Bakersfield honky-tonk. With biographical notes by Todd Everett, photographs and discography in the accompanying 34 page booklet, this cd provides an ideal overview of Tommy Collins’ distinctive recordings of the 1950s/early ‘60s. 

GEORGE JONES  Heartbreak Hotel (Bear Family BCD 16858 AH)Rock It (alt) • Tall Tall Trees • White Lightnin' • Vitamins L-O-V-E • Sparkling Brown Eyes • Why Baby Why • Heartbreak Hotel • Jesus Wants Me • Too Much Water • Just Little Boy Blue • Revenooer Man • If I Don't Love You (Grits Ain't Groceries) • You Gotta Be My Baby • Hold Everything • No Money In This Deal • Maybe Little Baby • One-Woman Man • How Come It • Please Take The Devil Out Of Me • Time Lock • Who Shot Sam • Slave Lover • Did I Ever Tell You (& MARGIE SINGLETON) • Eskimo Pie • That's The Way I Feel • Taggin' Along • Gonna Come Get You • Nothing Can Stop Me • Someone Sweet To Love • You Better Treat Your Man Right • Baby (You've Got What It Takes) • Poor Man's Riches • I'm Ragged But I'm Right • Mexican Boogie (Boogie Woogie Mexican Boy) • You All GoodnightOf course George Jones needs no introductions and, at 81, has enjoyed the status of world's greatest living country singer for more than half-century. Much of that re­putation is rooted in raw, emotional ballads like He Stopped Loving Here Today, Walk Through This World With Me and She Thinks I Still Care but that's only one part of the story. In the early days of his career, back on Starday and Mercury Records, he was raw, rough edged and sometimes rocking. It’s that genre of material that makes up the generous 35 tracks in this cd collection. A number of the recordings will be instantly familiar, with Why Baby Why, You Gotta To Be My Baby, Gonna Come Get Me, White Lightnin’ and Who Shot Sam among the songs that first put the Jones name into the national country charts. Then there those titles that should have been hits – Tall Tall Trees, Revenooer Man and No Money In This Deal among others while, for Starday’s budget priced Dixie EPs, he covered other artists hits like Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel and Johnny Horton’s One Woman Man. He duetted a couple of times with Margie Singleton - Did I Ever Tell You and Baby (You’ve Got What it Takes) – and made a brief excursion into rockabilly territory, recording Rock It and How come It under Thumper Jones pseudonym.  Produced by H. W. “Pappy” Daily, and often featuring the classic East Texas honky-tonk sound, these recordings were the launch pad for a hardly-to-be-equalled career that now stretches over seven decades and more than 160 hit titles. Rich Kienzle provides informative notes in the accompanying 46 page booklet that also includes photographs, label reproductions and a discography.   

WYNN STEWART  Come On (Bear Family BCD 17252 AH)Come On (alt) • After All • It's Not The Moon That Makes The Difference • Slowly But Surely (& EDDIE COCHRAN) • That Just Kills Me • Why Do I Love You So • I Wish I Could Say The Same • She Just Tears Me Up • School Bus Love Affair (alt) • Donna On My Mind • I Keep Forgettin' That I Forgot About You • We'll Never Love Again (& JAN HOWARD) • I Done Done It • Rain, Rain • Big, Big Love • Playboy • Hold Back Tomorrow • Wrong Company (& JAN HOWARD) • Three Cheers For The Loser • Wishful Thinking • You're That Someone Else • Heartaches For A Dime • Man, Man, Mr. Sandman • Slightly Used • Open Up My Heart (basic track) • Wall To Wall Heartaches • Another Day, Another Dollar • Take It Or Leave It • Uncle Tom Got Caught • Don't Spook Me • Come On (master) • Wild One (JACKIE BURNS)  Another of the West Coast innovators that created the Bakersfield Sound, Wynn Stewart has been hailed as one of the greatest pure voiced singers in the history of country music. He was equally well respected and influential, regarded highly by such as Buck Owens, Harlan Howard, Merle Haggard (who began his career in Wynn's band) and Dwight Yoakam. This 32 track collection reveals why he’s regarded in such high esteem, with particular emphasis on his uptempo recordings. Moving from Stewart’s first recording After All (1954, on the independent Intro label), this cd covers a period up to the mid 1960s with material compiled from the archives of Capitol, Jackpot and Challenge. It includes the chart hits Wishful Thinking (1959), Big Big Love (1961), Another Day, Another Dollar (1962), I Keep Forgettin’ That I Forgot About You (1965) and a duet with one-time secretary and demo singer Jan Howard, Wrong Company (1960). (We’ll Never Love Again, the duet “B” side, is also included). Among the other recordings featured, Come On – his first record on Jackpot – was originally intended for the rockabilly market while rock ‘n’ roller Eddie Cochran played guitar on Slowly But Surely. The cd concludes with Wild One, an unissued demo recorded by Stewart’s support act Jackie Burns.   Wynn Stewart was a mere 5I years old when he died in 1985, a victim of a heart attack brought on by alcoholism, and never lived to hear such as Dwight Yoakam praise him as a great originator nor realize that the Bakersfield Sound would become a cornerstone of current alternative country. Todd Everett provides the facts in the accompanying 42 page booklet that also contains photographs and a discography. 

 Each of the above artists also have Bear Family box sets available: TOMMY COLLINS  Leonard (5 cds)(BCD 15577 EI)

GEORGE JONES    She Thinks I Still Care (United Artists: 5 cds)(BCD 168198 EK)GEORGE JONES    Walk Through This World With Me (Musicor Part 1:5 cds)  (BCD 16928 EL)GEORGE JONES    A Good Year For The Roses (Musicor Part 2: 4 cds)(BCD 16929 DI)    

WYNN STEWART Wishful Thinking(10 cds)(BCD 15886 JI)


Bear Family Releases 2nd Box Set Of Recordings

Towards the end of this new 4 cd box set by veteran Mac Wiseman there’s the song, You Can’t Go Into The Red Playin’ Bluegrass – it’s almost a personal statement for an artist who’s been at the forefront of bluegrass and old-timey music for around half a century. Possessing one of the finest, purist voices in country music, Virginia born Wiseman has always kept busy, keeping up regular stage appearances and recording schedule, the results of both have always collected enthusiastic reaction from both critics and public alike.


Although Mac Wiseman might have the reputation as a bluegrass entertainer, it would be unjust to pigeonhole him merely as such: his music has far broader audience appeal as clearly heard in this collection. Covering the years 1965-79, the realms, with bluegrass as a base, stretch from traditional styled musicianship to the commercial sounds of ‘70s Nashville.

Following on from Bear Family’s first Wiseman box set (‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered bringing together his complete Dot and Capitol recordings: 1951-64), this collection reprises recordings from a surfeit of labels, the longest association being with RCA Victor, and record producers, among them ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement who put the artist in the charts with the novelty Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride.

After his departure from Capitol, at the time that the label was about to put virtually all its resources behind The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and in the absence of any other deal, Wiseman created his own label, Wise Records, on the strength of a song pitched to him by the Country Gentlemen, Bringing Mary Home. Recorded at the RCA Studios in Montreal in 1965, it tied in with a Canadian label (Rodeo Records) and the resulting album mainly comprises Canadian and Irish material, one of the latter – My Molly Bown – quickly established itself an essential part of the Wiseman performance repertoire. The following year he moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, where he tied down a job at WWVA, the home of the Wheeling Jamboree, as well as setting up his own booking agency and music publishing operations, both with the title Wise-O-Man. Around the same time he began a spate of recording, producing three albums for his former label, Dot, and a fourth for Rural Rhythm.

Each of the Dot albums presented a different music genre - bluegrass, folk and pop – the idea coming from the label’s founder Randy Wood who believed in the album concept, a reverse thinking from several of the other record executives who continued to think singles. The bluegrass album, produced by Mac Wiseman and simply titled Bluegrass, is regarded as one of the artist’s best and had back-up support from the Osborne Brothers among the accompanying musicians. The titles included a couple of Wiseman originals The Bluebirds Are Singing For Me and The Day You Went Away as well as several country classics, Don’t Make Me Go To Bed, We Live In Two Different Worlds and I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight among them. The folk and the pop albums were both produced by Bonnie Guitar who, like Wiseman, had mixed artistic talents with executive duties during the earlier Dot days. As the title implied, Songs of The Dear Old Days presented a more ancient side to the folk repertoire and included Put My Littler Shoes Away, Wreck Of The Old C&O No. 5 and May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister. The pop collection, A Master At Work, was an album that befuddled most of the Wiseman fans, with several of the songs dating back to the 1940s, a time when he worked three hour shifts as a radio dj playing pop material.

In May 1966, the same month as he recorded the Dot albums, he also recorded a 20 track collection for Uncle Jim O’Neal’s outlet, Rural Rhythm, and titled Old Time Country Favorites. Produced by Lee Sutton, the songs were picked by O’Neal, though Wiseman was well familiar with most of them, which included Bringing In The Georgia Mail, Sittin’ On Top Of The World, The Waltz You Save For Me, Corinna Corinna and I Saw Your Face In The Moon.

Within the period of a month he had recorded 56 tracks and, by September, all four albums had been released which, by the artist’s reckoning, “must be some sort of landmark”. However, after that burst of activity, he didn’t return to the recording studios until May 1968, this time laying down one single for MGM (Got Leavin’ On Her Mind c/w She Simply Left), as a ploy by producer Jack Clement to get the artist a deal with RCA Victor. The single secured a mid-chart placing, interesting RCA enough to sign Wiseman to a deal that would last almost five years. Jack Clement remained as his producer most of the time, with a number of the songs culled from the Clement catalogue including familiar titles and recent successes like Ballad Of A Teenage Queen, Guess Things Happen That Way, Got Leavin’ On Her Mind, All I Have To Offer You Is Me, Me And Bobby McGee, Ring Of Fire and The Day The World Stood Still alongside the aforementioned novelty, Johnny’s Cash And Charley’s Pride (a song that played around with many other artists’ names in the lyrics). Another new song to emerge during this period was the sensitive On Susan’s Floor, written about Nashville’s Sue Brewer who had always a welcome, and a place to stay, for struggling songwriters and the like. Written by Vince Matthews, and subsequently frequently recorded, Mac Wiseman had the original version of a song that’s gained near cult status over the years.

Adding to his sojourn at RCA was Wiseman’s association with Lester Flatt, now split from Earl Scruggs. Flatt has signed with the label roughly the same time as Wiseman and it was more than just a reunion of old friends – he had worked briefly with Flatt & Scruggs in 1948, soon after the duo had left Bill Monroe – and led to a recording partnership that stretched over three albums. This material appears on the Lester Flatt box set, Flatt On Victor (Bear Family BCD 15975 FI).

The final tracks in this collection were recorded for Churchill, a deal tied up by songwriter/producer Bob Millsap who kicked things off with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Never Going Back Again. “Bob was a visionary, I guess – he figured that I could handle that kind of material” the artist recalls. Even stranger was teaming him with veteran big band leader Woody Herman (who, reportedly, had wanted to make a country record), resulting in a fun revival of My Blue Heaven. Both these singles made the country charts and together with a third, the Kingston Trio song Scotch And Soda, gave Mac Wiseman his greatest period of chart activity and radio play in many years. The recordings also clearly revealed that the artist could handle such music diversity with equal ease.

The four cds (adding up to 114 tracks) are accompanied by a hardcover, 60 page booklet, featuring an essay penned by Colin Escott detailing this period of Mac Wiseman’s career. Profusely illustrated with photographs, the book also contains a full discography.

Today, Mac Wiseman is one of the few survivors from the early days of bluegrass. He connects the music to the folk and parlor songs that preceded it, and sings with the same unaffected sincerity. That's why so many generations know him as “The Voice With A Heart”.

ON SUSAN'S FLOOR: full track details:

Disc One - Maple Sugar Sweetheart; Bringing Mary Home; Legend Of The Irish Rebel; The Ghost Of Bras D'or; Prince Edward Island Is Heaven To Me; What A Waste Of Good Cornlikker; My Nova Scotia Home; When Its Apple Blossom Time In Annapolis Valley; My Molly Bawn; Atlantic Lullaby; My Cape Breton Home; Pistol Packin' Preacher; Wreck Of The Old 97; Little Mohee; Corinna.Corinna; Sittin' On Top Of The World; How Many Biscuits Can You Eat; Ring Those Golden Bells; I Saw Your Face In The Moon; I'll Be All Smiles Tonight; The Waltz You Saved For Me; Just Over In The Gloryland; My Grandfather's Clock; Little Blossom; There's More Pretty Girls Than One; Rovin' Gambler; Sourwood Mountain; Midnight Special; Mary Of The Wildmoor; The Black Sheep; Bringing In The Georgia Mail; Turkey In The Straw.

Disc Two - We Live In Two Different Worlds; Tragic Romance; I'll Be All Smiles Tonight; This Is Where I Came In; You're The Best Of All The Leading Brands; Don't Make Me Go To Bed And I'll Be Good; The Bluebirds Are Singing For Me; New Black Suit; How Lonely Can You Get; Since The Day You Went Away; Darling Little Joe; A Million, Million Girls; The Letter That Never Came; Wreck Of The C&0#5; The Black Sheep; The Legend Of The Haunted Woods; Put My Little Shoes Away; The Letter Edged In Black; Ballad Of The Lawson Family; The East Bound Train; My Mother's Old Sunbonnet; May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister; Molly Bawn; White Silver Sands; When It's Springtime In The Rockies; Little Bird; You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven

Disc Three - A Maiden's Prayer; Just A Baby's Prayer At Twilight; At The Rainbow's End; Lonely City Park; This Is Where I Came In; Me And My Memory; The Isle Of Capri; Forever And Ever; Got Leavin' On Her Mind; She Simply Left; The Things You Have Turned To; Johnny's Cash And Charley's Pride; Mama, Put Your Little Shoes Away; Crystal Chandelier; All I Have To Offer You (Is Me); Wrinkled. Crinkled, Wadded Dollar Bill; Ring Of Fire; Me And Bobby MoGee; Ballad Of A Teenage Queen; Guess Things Happen That Way; The Day The World Stood Still; The Easy Part's Over; Big River; The Little Folks; Sweet Sadness; I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand; I'd Rather Live By The Side Of The Road; Sing Little Birdie; Colours

Disc Four - Song Of The Wildwood; At The Crossroad; Let Time Be Your Friend; On Susan's Floor; Let's All Go Down To The River; Sunny Side Of The Mountain; Eight More Miles To Louisville; Keep On The Sunny Side; Will The Circle Be Unbroken; A Tragic Romance; It Rains Just The Same In Missouri; City Of New Orleans; Catfish John; You Can't Go In The Red Playin' Bluegrass; It Comes And Goes; Dixie Hummer; I've Got To Catch That Train; Never Going Back Again; Goodbye Mexico Rose; Dancing Bear; Scotch And Soda; Me And The Boys; Two Hundred Dollars; 45s-8x10s; My Blue Heaven (& WOODY HERMAN); If I Could Be With You (It Must Be True) (& WOODY HERMAN)


Two of rockabilly’s foremost artists, Jack Scott and Wanda Jackson, have cd releases featuring their ballad recordings, complimenting their earlier rock compilations. All these releases are packaged in attractive digipacks, where the sleeve opens up to reveal a booklet (with detailed notes, photographs and discography) accompanying the disc.

JACK SCOTT - Jack Rocks (Bear Family BCD 16841 AR)

Leroty; Two Timin’ Woman; Goodbye Baby; Go Wild Little Sadie; I Never Felt Like This; The Way I Walk; Midgie; Save My Soul; Baby She's Gone; Geraldine; What Am I Living For; Baby, Baby; Good Deal Lucille; Cruel World; Lonesome Mary; Patsy; Found A Woman; One Of These Days; True True Love; Strange Desire; Grizzily Bear; Meo Myo; Wiggle On Out; Flakey John; The Road Keeps Winding; Greaseball

JACK SCOTT - The Ballads Of Jack Scott (Bear Family BCD 16847 AR)

What In The World’s Come Over You; I’m Dreaming Of You; Baby Marie; Oh Little One; My Dream Come True; My True Love; Bella; With Your Love; There Comes A Time; So Used To Loving You; It's My Way Of Loving You; It Only Happened Yesterday; True Love Is Blind; Fancy Meeting You Again; Is There Something On Your Mind; A Little Feeling Called Love; Steps One And Two; I Prayed For An Angel; I Knew You First; I Hope, I Think, I Wish; I Don't Believe In Tea Leaves; Separation's Now Granted; What A Wonderful Night Out; This Is Where I Came In

Although most of the rock ‘n’ rollers and rockabilly acts came from the South, Jack Scott was an exception to the rule. A Canadian born Italian, whose real name was Giovanni Dominico, he was raised in Ontario before the family moved to Detroit when he was eleven years old. His father was a musician and the youngster, possessing similar talents, listened to country music and dreamt about appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. But his musical directions changed somewhat when Elvis came on the scene. At that time he was working with a local group and hauling their acetates around to local record shops eventually led to a short-lived (with no success) deal with ABC-Paramount. The break-through came with his original songs when Leroy and My True Love were released as single by Carlton Records. Leroy first claimed the attention but, when flipped, My True Love wound up as one of the biggest hits of 1958. The two contrasting styles provide the kick-off points on the two different cds now available from Bear Family.

As a rocker, Jack Scott is regarded as one of the best. Possessing a tough guy image, he delighted the youthful rock ‘n’ rollers by maintaining regular chart appearances with such as Geraldine, Goodbye Baby, Save My Soul, I Never Felt Like This and The Way I Walk on Carlton, then, later, Patsy on Top Rank. The second label also gave him a couple of massive hits as a ballads singer – What In The World’s Come Over You (arguably his most well known title?) and Burning Bridges (his biggest seller) alongside Oh Little One, It Only Happened Yesterday and Is There Something On Your Mind. He concluding his chart era on Capitol Records with more ballads, A Little Feeling (Called Love), My Dream Come True and Steps 1 And 2. The discography reveals that Scott’s band accompanied him on the Carlton recordings, but no details are available for the Top Rank releases, though his backing group, The Chantones, was present throughout. The two cds conclude with tracks recorded for RCA’s Groove label, following his signing by Chet Atkins in 1963. Incidentally Scott had always wanted to be signed to RCA as it was the home of his idol, Elvis Presley.

The two cds were compiled by Trevor Cajiao (editor: Now Dig This) and the informative notes penned by West Coast rock ‘n’ roller Deke Dickinson.

Presenting the female slant, Bear Family now releases the “Ballads” of Wanda Jackson to compliment her “Rocks” collection issued a few months ago ……

WANDA JACKSON - Wanda Rocks (Bear Family BCD 16631 AR)

I Gotta Know; Baby Loves Him; Honey Bop; Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad; Cool Love; Fujiyama Mama; (Let's Have A) Party; I Wanna Waltz; Money Honey; Long Tall Sally; Mean Mean Man; Rock Your Baby; Kansas City; Fallin'; Sparkling Brown Eyes; Hard Headed Woman; It Doesn't Matter Anymore; Lonely Weekends; Tweedle Dee; Riot In Cell Block #9; Funnel Of Love; Tongue Tied; There's A Party Goin' On; Lost Weekend; Man We Had A Party; Stupid Cupid; Brown Eyed Handsome Man; Who Shot Sam; Slippin' And Slidin'; My Baby Left Me; Sticks And Stones; Let My Love Walk In; You Bug Me Bad; Yakety Yak; Searchin'

WANDA JACKSON The Ballads Of Wanda Jackson (Bear Family BCD 16848 AR)

The Tip Of My Fingers; In The Middle Of A Heartache; The Last Letter; I May Never Get To Heaven; I Need You Know; We Could; Sinful Heart; Heartbreak Ahead; Please Call Today; Little Charm Bracelet; Just Call Me Lonesome; Making Believe; I'd Rather Have You; Right Or Wrong; Just Queen For A Day; Is It Wrong; Don't Ask Me Why; Let Me Talk To You; I Can't Make My Dreams Understand; A Date With Jerry; Why l'm Walkin'; I Cried Again; Between The Window And The Phone; If I Cried Every Time You Hurt Me; One Teardrop At A Time; Little Things Mean A Lot; Have You Ever Been Lonely; Day Dreaming; So Soon; May You Never Be Alone

Wanda Jackson was the most successful contender in the minimal female rock ‘n’ roll/rockabilly stakes, although she started off as a country singer, the music that she later returned to before concentrating her greater activities to gospel music.

Hailing from Maud, Oklahoma, the daughter of a country fiddler, Wanda Jackson had music in her blood and, although she spent the greater part of her childhood in Los Angeles, she returned to her home state in her quest to become a singer in a western swing band. She was discovered by Hank Thompson who, impressed by her talent, invited her to sing with his band and secured her a deal with Decca Records. Later she signed with Thompson’s own label, Capitol, after the executives became similarly convinced of her talents! Her debut single, I Gotta Know, looked in two directions at once, shuttling between rockabilly and country, and Joe Maphis and Buck Owens were among the backing musicians on this and several subsequent sessions. Around the same time she developed a friendship with Elvis Presley, having played a few dates with him, and when she returned to Hollywood’s Capitol Studio in September 1956, one of the songs she recorded was Honey Bop, co-written by Mae Axton (who, of course, also co-wrote Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel). She never thought she could sing rock ‘n’ roll but her father, Tom Jackson (now her manager) persuaded her otherwise. Honey Bop launched her rockabilly career, and the record was followed up by such as Fujiyama Mama (a massive hit in Japan, following plays on AFN) and (Let’s Have A) Party (where she was backed by Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps). The “Rocks” collection mainly spotlights recordings after Party and includes some originals (Mean Mean Man and Rock Your Baby) and covers of other hits of the day including Long Tall Sally, Money Honey, Kansas City, Lonely Weekends, Brown Eyes Handsome Man and Who Shot Sam.

In between the rockers came the more gentle ballads which, over the years, have been generally overlooked in favour of her uptempo, fiercer material. Now, with the just released “Ballads” collection , songs like Making Believe, Is It Wrong, Tips Of My Fingers, Why I’m Walkin’, The Last Letter, In The Middle Of A Heartache and We Could not only are given the attention they deserve but also well reveal this singer’s country pedigree. And, by the early ‘60s, when the audience memories of Party were fading fast, it was the return to country music that ensured her commercial longevity, establishing Wanda Jackson as one of the top female country singers of the decade, placing her in the prestige company of Patsy Cline, Jean Shepard and Loretta Lynn and scoring two dozen hits in a ten year period.

Wanda Jackson’s story is told in the cds’ accompanying booklets – the “Rocks” essay, written by Colin Escott, and discography running to 48 pages and the “Ballads” to a lesser, though still highly informative, to 27 pages authored by Deke Dickinson. Both have a mass of photographs, with the latter selected from a particularly glamorous shoot.

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


In common with his multitude of fans worldwide, Bear Family Records was deeply saddened to receive the news that Frankie Laine has passed away on Tuesday, February 6, 2007. He was 93 years old and had sold well over 100 million records in a recording career that spanned almost 60 years.

Born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio, he was an entertainer who broke away from the soft-styled crooners of the post-war years like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Once described as “the man with tonsils of steel”, his hard-edged, big baritone vocal styling was an important influence on many singers who followed in the 1950s, among them Johnnie Ray and Elvis Presley.

Beginning his career in the Chicago dancehalls of the 1930s – where he set a dance marathon world record, dancing with a partner for 3501 hours over 145 consecutive days – he made his major recording debut on Mercury in 1946 and scored his first million seller the year later with That’s My Desire. Working with longtime friend and pianist Carl Fischer and producer Mitch Miller, he established his distinctive styling with Mule Train (1949) and Cry Of The Wild Goose (1950), both songs becoming essential items in the Laine repertoire.

When Mitch Miller left Mercury for Columbia in 1951, Frankie Laine quickly followed, creating a partnership that was second to none and producing such hits as Jezebel, Rose Rose I Love You, I Believe, Answer Me, Moonlight Gambler, Hey Joe, Granada, Rain Rain Rain and The Kid’s Last Fight, alongside duets with several other Columbia artists, the most prolific teaming being with Jo Stafford. Another of his early successes was the theme to the 1951 Gary Cooper movie High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me) and it opened up the pathway to recording other themes including Blowing Wild, Gunfight At OK Corral, 3.10 To Yuma and, most memorably, tv’s Rawhide. His final western theme came at a request from Mel Brooks, who asked him to sing over the credits of his western parody Blazing Saddles.

Frankie Laine also recorded a number of western styled songs in his Columbia sessions, causing the singer to be erroneously cited as “country”, although he did record a country album – titled A Country Laine - in Nashville in the mid 1980s.

In 2000, Bear Family Records – with the co-operation of Frankie Laine – released the first of three box sets comprising all of the singer’s material for Mercury and Columbia Records. Bear Family has also issued compilation cds of his western material as well as all the duet recordings with Jo Stafford.

Frankie Laine, one of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century, will be greatly missed. Happily his music will never die.

For more information on the Frankie Laine releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:

FRANKIE LAINE on Bear Family:

That Lucky Old Sun (BCD 16361 GK) (picture disc + 6 cds - Bel-Tone, Atlas and Mercury: 1944-51)

I Believe (BCD 16367 FL) (6 cds - Columbia 1951-55)

Rawhide (BCD 16522 1L) (9 cds – Columbia 1956-64)

On The Trail (BCD 15480 AH)

On The Trail Again (BCD 15632 AH)

The Duets (with JO STAFFORD) (BCD 15620 AH)


Bear Family Records Issue 3 New CDs

"Walk The Line" Director Inspired by Bear Family Box Sets

Johnny Cash has always attracted new listeners over the decades, appealing to one generation after another – the most recent discovering him after the release of the box office smash biopic, “Walk The Line”.

Bear Family Records began issuing Johnny Cash product in 1978, first as single vinyl albums and, later, with career-defining cd boxed sets at a time when no one else seemed to care. Along with its’ catalogue of previously issued and unissued recordings, the German based record label unearthed a wealth of visual material for fans and collectors, along with informative and entertaining liner notes.

Bear Family were especially proud that, in a recent interview with the publication 'Musik Express’, James Mangold, director of “Walk The Line”, revealed: "I would not have made this movie if I had not come across the Johnny Cash CD box sets released by Bear Family Records…It definitely was the pictures and the text in those Bear Family box sets that gave me the right feeling for the whole era."

Now Bear Family makes available three new cd collections that have the Cash connections ……

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Deep Roots Of Johnny Cash (Bear Family BCD 16844 AR)

Leadbelly & The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet - Pick A Bale Of Cotton; Bing Crosby - Danny Boy; Jimmie Rodgers - Blue Yodel #1 (T For Texas); Burl Ives - The Wayfaring Stranger; Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line; Vernon Dalhart - The Engineer's Dying Child; Merle Travis - Dark As A Dungeon; Paul Robeson - Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes; Blue Sky Boys - Down On The Banks Of The Ohio; Leadbelly - On A Monday (I Got Stripes); Jimmie Rodgers - My Mother Was A Lady; Bradley Kincaid - The Letter Edged In Black; Tex Ritter - Sam Hall; Johnny Western - Delia's Gone; The Carter Family - The Winding Stream; Jimmie Davis - You Are My Sunshine; Bing Crosby - Galway Bay; McMichens's Melody Men - Missouri Waltz; Goebel Reeves - The Tramp's Mother (There's A Mother Always Waiting There At Home); Leadbelly - Cotton Fields (In Them Cotton Fields Back Home); Bradley Kincaid - I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen; Blue Sky Boys- Mary Of The Wild Moor; Jimmie Rodgers - The One Rose; BONUS TRACK: June Carter & Carl Smith - Time`s A-Wastin`

After many releases by Johnny Cash, here’s a chance to sample the kind of music that the Man in Black heard in his youth and early days of his professional career. Here, mainly, is the music of the South – country, blues and gospel – plus the occasional folk and pop offering. The word ‘eclectic’ only begins to do justice to this playlist, as old-time country acts like Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Bradley Kincaid and Goebel Reeves rubs shoulders with later counterparts Jimmie Davis, Merle Travis and the Blue Sky Boys; black ground breakers Leadbelly and Paul Robeson with the equally iconic Bing Crosby, the latter perhaps providing an inspiration for Cash’s Irish balladry?

A fascinating, very enjoyable 24 track collection (that runs for almost 68 minutes), the selection has been carefully chosen from the singer's critically acclaimed work for American Recordings label, as well as his solo vocal / acoustic guitar work recently issued as 'The Personal Files.' According to Bear Family’s founder Richard Weize: “We searched deep and found the versions of these songs most likely to have been the inspiration for Cash's work. Now you can listen, as Cash himself did, to these historic recordings”.

Detailed liner notes in the accompanying booklet 34 page discuss the songs, the artists, and the impact they had on Johnny Cash. These tracks offer a deeper insight into the mind of this artist and are a part of what nourished him during his formative years. And, as an appetizing bonus, the collection concludes with a much-requested song from 'Walk The Line' that doesn't appear in the soundtrack album – Time’s A-Wasting, a duet that June Carter recorded with her then-husband, Carl Smith in 1953.

JOHNNY SEAY - Blue Moon Of Kentucky (BCD 16153 AH)

Blue Moon Of Kentucky; My Baby Walks All Over Me; Mystery Train; When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again; Drown In My Sins; All Mixed Up; Why Can't I Just Come Home; There's Another Man; That's When It All Began; Lonesome Road; Standing Room Only; Every Day; If It Wasn't For Hard Luck; My Old Faded Rose; Hitchin' And Hikin'; It's A Shame; It Won't Be Easy To Forget; I Love You; Loneliness; Frankie's Man Johnny; Judy And Johnny; Stranger; My Time To Cry; Nobody's Darling But Mine; Ghost Riders In The Sky; Mister And Mississippi; A Man In Love

This was the thinking - Johnny Cash ... Johnny C ... Johnny Sea – and Johnny Seay began his career cashing in on one of country music’s most famous entertainers. Hailing from Gulfport, Mississippi, he possessed a deep baritone but was encouraged by his manager Shelby Singleton to adopt an even deeper voice and capitalize on the success of Johnny Cash. He recorded quite prolifically for ten years between 1958 and 1969 but this 27 track collection only spotlights his studio work for NRC, owned by Atlanta music publishing giant Bill Lowery, and Philips, an offshoot of Mercury Records that then had Singleton at the helm of the Nashville office. In fact Johnny C. was enough of a fan of Johnny S. to offer him a song, My Old Faded Rose, which worked out as a Top 20 hit in 1965, while the latter chalked up his first chart appearance six years earlier with a cover of Cash’s Frankie’s Man, Johnny. Confusing? His other chart hits in this collection are My Baby Walks All Over Me, the Billy Mize composition associated with Waylon Jennings and Bob Luman, and My Old Faded Rose which brings back the JC connection as it was written by Johnny Cash and June Carter.

Johnny Seay displayed his skills as a writer on several of the NRC recordings - which, incidentally, saw backup musicianship from Jerry Reed (guitar) and Ray Stevens (piano) – while his Philips output allowed him a wider choice of material including Buddy Holly’s Everyday and the standards When My Blue Moon Turned To Gold Again and Blue Moon Of Kentucky. But, overall, his time at Philips was mainly spent working the Cash route, a direction that the artist didn’t particular like as he was keen to work his own way in folk music. After two years he broke away from the Philips-Singleton stranglehold and, after being left with no returns for his massive selling Day For Decision (on Warner Bros), decided the music business wasn’t for him and headed west to a cowboy’s life in Texas. The whole story is detailed by writer Colin Escott in the cd’s accompanying 28 page booklet, recognizing an artist who’s been overlooked for over a quarter of a century!

GLEN SHERLEY - Live At Vacaville, California (BCD 16153 AH)

Dialogue; Looking Back In Anger; Greystone Chapel; FBI Top Ten; Portrait Of My Woman; Dialogue; Mama Had Country Soul; Pick A Bouquet; Dialogue; If This Prison Yard Could Talk; Step Right This Way; Frisco Song; Keep Steppin'; Measure Of A Man

In March 1971 a staggering, uncompromising album was released on the independent Mega Records (a label then riding high with Sammi Smith’s distinctive Help Me Make It Through The Night). The album had been recorded at Vacaville Prison, California, and the artist was an inmate, Glen Sherley, serving time for armed robbery. The Johnny Cash connection came about three years earlier when he had been passed a tape of Sherley’s original song, Greystone Chapel, which he quickly recorded as part of his Folsom Prison concert album. Another of Sherley’s songs, Portrait Of My Woman, was covered by Eddy Arnold and enjoyed Top 30 success.

A top team of Nashville sessionmen – Chip Young (lead guitar), Bobby Thompson (dobro/rhythm), Lloyd Green (steel), Henry Strzelecki (bass) and Jerry Carrigan (drums) – backed Shirley when he recorded his album before a full house at Vacaville on January 31, 1971, and the result shows the singer’s complete assurance as an entertainer, mixing powerful prison orientated dialogue with equally powerful songs. It was released a couple of weeks after Sherley was paroled, enjoyed much critical acclaim and secured a short chart run, while he started playing dates with Cash. Greystone Chapel was his only chart single. Sadly Glen Sherley’s success was shortlived and, finding life outside jail did not live up to his expectations, took his life on May 11, 1978. The whole, sad story is told in the cd’s accompanying 20 page booklet.

Over the years Glen Shirley – Live at Vacaville, California has enjoyed underground cult status and remains as strong and compelling today as it did when it originally saw the light of day 35 years ago.

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


A Salute To The Rockin’ Girls

Not only acclaimed worldwide as the foremost reissue label, Germany’s Bear Family Records is equally recognised for its innovative artist series. Now, joining the ranks of such long-running collections as That’ll Flat … Git It and Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight, the label launches Juke Box Pearls, a series devoted to the girls who rocked. Presenting a wholly new slant on the rock ‘n’ roll era, the series will comprise both compilations and single artist releases.


Jean Shepard: Two Hoops And A Holler •  Sandy Selsie: Come On in •  Mimi Roman: I'm Ready If You're Willing • Myrna Lorrie: You Bet I Kissed Him • Jean Chapel: 0o-Ba La Baby (from the Warner Bros. film 'Untamed Youth') • Carol Johnson: Your Wild Life’s Gonna Get You Down •  Bonnie Lou: Daddy-0 • Janis Martin: Cry Guitar • The Davis Sisters: You're Gorse (swinging version) • Anita Carter: That's What Makes The Juke Box Play • Charline Arthur: Hello Baby • 'Nita Rita & Ruby: (He Said Yeah) Baby You're The One • Carol Jarvis: The DJ. With A Broken Heart • Roberta Sherwood: Blue Moon Of Kentucky • Laura Lee Perkins: Kiss Me Baby • Loretta Lynn: Heartaches Meet Mr. Blues • Anita Carter: A Tear Fell • Martha Lynn: I’m Goin’ Huntin' Tonight • Carol Johnson: According To Law • Rose Maddox: Take Me Back Again • Joyce Moore: Better Than Walkin' Home • Martha Lynn: Learning To Love • Jean Chapel: I Won't Be Rockin' Tonight •  Margie Singleton: One Step Nearer To You •  Sandy Selsie: When Jimmy Comes Home

The series kicks off with a 25 track compilation that presents well known rockin’ females like Janis Martin and Charlene Arthur alongside others that’ll probably only be known to the most dedicated of rock ‘n’ roll collectors as well as some surprises with tracks from country ladies hardly known to be associated with the genre.

Among the last named category there’s a real change of pace from stalwarts Loretta Lynn (Heartaches Meet Mr. Blues),  Anita Carter (That’s What Makes The Jukebox Play) and Jean Shepard (Two Hoops and A Holler) while Rose Maddox (Take Me Back Again) and the tragically short-lived Davis Sisters  (You’re Gone) had secured a reputation for more uptempo, feisty recordings.

Other country rooted artists in this collection include Bonnie Lou, Margie Singleton and Carol Johnson, the last named possibly most well known for duetting with Jim Reeves. Among the others to be heard here are Jean Chapel, who had an extremely diverse career that culminated in Nashville as a songwriter, and one-time vaudeville entertainer Roberta Sherwood who, here, gives an entirely fresh approach to Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon Of Kentucky.

Martin Hawkins provides detailed biographies on all the artists in the 76 page booklet that accompanies the cd in this digipac presentation.

Next, further spotlighting the talents of Myrna Lorrie, Laura Lee Perkins and Mimi Roman, each of these females have single cd releases.

MYRNA LORRIE   Hello Baby  (BCD 16743 AH)

Hello Baby • You Bet I Kissed Him (re-recording) • That's What Sweethearts Do • Teenager's Breakup • Topsy Turvy Heart • Die, I Thought I Would (double vocal) • I'm Your Man (& Buddy DeVal) • I'll Be Lonesome When You're Gone • Underway • Moon Shy • Just Released • I've Got Somebody New • Tradewinds • Are You Mine (& Buddy DeVal) (re-recording) • Life's Changing Scene • On A Little Bamboo Bridge • Tears Amid The Laughter • Listen .lo My Heart Strings • Die, I Thought I Would (single vocal) • Are You Mine (& Buddy DeVal) • You Bet I Kissed Him • Life's Changing Scene (slow version)

Myrna Lorrie will be well known to all collectors of Canadian country music as she’s well established as one of the nation’s top entertainers and hosted her own long-running tv show, alongside other shows, during the 1960s and ‘70s.

Commencing singing in her pre-teen years, her career kicked off first in the States with recordings for Abbott (1954-55), following a duet demo with Buddy DeVal of Are You Mine that had been sent to the label.  Although the subsequent commercial recording did rise to #6 in the Billboard charts (with competition  from the Ginny Wright and Tom Tall cover version), she failed to score with subsequent singles and, in 1957, moved on to enjoy a brief sojourn with RCA. Then, as her personal life took preference over her career, she returned to Canada where success came her way when she recommenced entertaining activities.

This collection comprises her rarely heard American recordings, a total of 22 released and hitherto unreleased tracks. Todd Everett provides the facts in the accompanying 26 page booklet that also contains photographs and a discography.

LAURA LEE PERKINS   Don’t Wait Up! (BCD 17294 AH)

Don't Wait Up •  Oh La Baby •  I Just Don't Like This Kind Of Livin' •  Kiss Me Baby •  Gonna Rock My Baby Tonight •  Come On Baby •  Hound Dog •  No One Will Ever Know •  My Babe •  Remember Me (I'm The One Who Loves You) •  Oh La Baby (undubbed) •  Moun­tain Dew •  You Don't Know • I Enjoy Being A Girl

She was initially billed as the female Jerry Lee Lewis and secured the adoration of the rockabilly market with the release of only two Imperial singles – I Just Don’t Like This Kind Of Livin’ c/w Kiss Me Baby and Don’t Wait Up c/w Oh La Baby - yet virtually very little was ever really known about West Virginia born Laura Lee Perkins. That is, until the arrival of this cd compilation which, in the accompanying 42 page booklet, penned by Martin Hawkins, features exclusive interviews in which she explains her short-lived recording career that, in spite of her recordings’ re-emergence on compilation LPs, never enthused a real desire to return to performing.

Here’s a case of a legend living on … a hard-rocking female who, as Laura Lee (aka the long married Faye Kitts) describes herself as “represented  America in the ‘50s” with her complete recording career presented on this cd with hitherto unreleased demos, two sessions for Imperial and a later, three tracks recorded at Albuquerque’s Sundowner Club. Now another “pearl” gets the attention she deserves thanks to Bear Family!

MIMI ROMAN   I’m Ready If You’re Willing  (BCD 17274 AH)

I'm Ready if You're Willing • Honky York Girl • Twenty-One • l Am The Heart (Of A Teenage Girl) • Through (How Can You Say Were Through) • Mama Says • Little Lovin’ • Cheater's Luck • Love Bells • Mr. Opportunity (& Billy Gray) • I’ll Leave The Door Open • Tonight I Made You Mine • Oh I Like It • We're Taking Chances (& Billy Gray) • The Wind Up • I’ll Always Wonder * Dar­ling (Come Back To Me) • Another Woman's Man •  Wrap It Up And Save It • Have A Heart • .Jamaica Jitney •  Weary Blues From Waitin’  • Dance With Me •  The Lady And The Arab • My Tears Are Beginning To Show

Owen Bradley, long-time head of Nashville’s Decca Records, would joke that he was charged with "a country singer who wanted to go pop, and a pop singer who wanted to sing country.” The country singer was Patsy Cline, the pop singer was Mimi Roman. She was born in the Bronx, New York but, in contrast to her urban roots, first gained attention when proclaimed National Rodeo Queen at Madison Square Gardens which led on to tv work and appearances on Cincinnati’s Midwestern Hayride.

Signed to Decca, her first single was the Hank Williams’ Weary Blues From Waitin’ (recorded on stage at Grand Ole Opry) in 1954, followed by six Nashville studio sessions (1955-58). While she recorded songs by Nashville writers, the singer had little input into her choice of material and much originated out of New York including I’m Ready If You’re Willing, which had been cut earlier by Johnny Horton. She also recorded a duet single with Billy Gray (We’re Taking Chances c/w Mr. Opportunity), toured with such as Carl Smith and Ronnie Self and later sang with Pee Wee King’s band. But, while still in her twenties, she gave up performing and returned to New York.

This 25 track collection is the first full length cd devoted to Mimi Roman’s music and Todd Everett tells her story in the accompanying 30 page booklet.

Bear Family now offers to chance to see and hear more about its releases on YouTube. Links for the above cds are:

Meet The Pearls -

Myrna Lorrie -

Laura Lee Perkins -

Mimi Roman -

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


Following on from the surprise best-selling success of its first cd release Oh So Many Years, Bear Family Records has now released two more cds by the traditional country music family group the Bailes Brothers.

THE BAILES BROTHERS  Remember Me: The Legendary King Sessions 1946 (Bear Family BCD 17132 AH)

Building On The Sand • What Will You Be Doing Then • Romans Ten And Nine • Were Living In The Last Days Now • No One To Open The Door • Somebody's Praying For You • He'll Strike You Down • Ashamed To Own The Blessed Saviour • Broken Marriage Vows • Discontented Are You Darling • Down The Valley of The Shadow • Laughing Through The Tears • Its Hard To Leave So­mebody That You Love • Everybody Knew The Truth But Me • Should I Let You Go • Crying Over You • Remember Me • The Fu­ture Holds Nothing • She Has Forgotten • All The World Is Lonely Now • Something Got A Hold Of Me • An Empty Mansion • Daniel Prayed • Jesus Is The One

THE BAILES BROTHERS  Standing Somewhere In The Shadows: The Legendary King Sessions 1953, plus   (Bear Family BCD 17133 AH)

That's What We Need • Jesus Blood • I Can't Help What Others Do • There's A Difference In Religion And Salvation • Avenue Of Prayer • There's A Handwriting On The Wail • Muddy Sea Of Sin • Goodbye Halleluiah I'm Gone • God's Hand Rules The World • I'll Run All The Way • Watch And Pray • Standing Somewhere in The Shadows • WALTER BELLES: 'Cause He Loved Me First • Saved • JOHNNIE BELLES: I Owe It To My Heart (*) • You Make Me Live Again(*) • Its Bound To Happen(*) • So Much(*) • Ballad Of Honest Abe • Hula Star • (If I Were) Alone With God • He Will

(* indicates harmony vocals by WEBB PIERCE)

West Virginia’s Bailes Brothers' previous collection Oh So Many Years (Bear Family BCD 15973 AH), released in 2002 and comprising recordings made for Columbia during period 1945-47, brought the harmony tradition of one of country music's foremost family groups to brand new audiences. Although the group comprised four brothers – Johnnie, Kyle, Walter and Homer, they generally worked in combinations of two.

After initial struggles, they first gained attention when Roy Acuff took an interest in their career, securing Walter and Johnnie a writer’s deal with Acuff-Rose Music, then securing them an successful audition with WSM and their debut on the Grand Ole Opry in September 1944. During the next two years they became one of the show’s most celebrated acts with their music balancing the show’s traditional and contemporary elements. Acuff also introduced the group to Columbia Records, with such songs as Dust On The Bible further adding to their popularity.

But it wasn’t plain sailing at Columbia and while they impatiently waited for their records to be released (the war created a material shortage but delays were further impacted, no doubt, by Billboard magazine which reviewed their music as suiting “the old folks at home” generation rather than for the all-important, money spending jukebox market), the Bailes jumped ship and recorded 24 titles for King Records in a WSM studio over a weekend in late summer/early autumn 1946 (the exact date having been lost).

It’s these titles that appear on the first of the two new cds, Remember Me, with Walter and Johnnie Bailes providing the energetic harmony vocals, while Homer Bailes is heard on fiddle. Also playing on this mammoth session were Ernest Ferguson (mandolin), Shot Jackson (steel guitar) and Ramona Jones (bass). Unfortunately, because of the Columbia contract, these recordings – which comprised 17 Bailes originals – was held off the market for long after they had been recorded, with eight never being released until now, one being the non-original Remember Me (penned by Scotty Wiseman) which became their theme.

Soon afterwards a scandal involving Johnnie Bailes and a married woman (who subsequently fell from a second story window in a Nashville hotel) led to the group being promptly fired from the Grand Ole Opry. But fresh opportunities lay ahead in Shreveport, Louisiana where they would become headliners on the Louisiana Hayride, launched in April 3, 1948. But in spite of their increasing popularity – which, at one time, saw two different Bailes Brothers bands created to meet the increased workload - morale and money led to problems. Walter had already quit from performing to take up preaching and the other brothers split to go their own separate ways, with Johnnie even spending in a Federal Correction Institution.

Nevertheless their music continued to sell and, in 1953, Walter and Johnnie reunited as a gospel duo to record again for King. Walter had written several new hymns and the brothers' intense voices had lost none of their power on the three sessions recorded in San Antonio during 1953, with steel guitar and bass helping Johnnie’s mandolin recapture much of the Bailes’ great 1940s ensemble sound and texture.

It’s these recordings that make up a dozen of the tracks assembled for the second cd Standing Somewhere In The Shadows, the remaining items comprising two solo recordings by Walter and eight by Johnnie in 1957 and ’59. By then Johnnie Bailes had become involved with Webb Pierce and Jim Denny’s radio stations, which (through their connections) resulted in a handful of single releases on Decca and a honkytonk sound more familiar with Pierce’s output, who’s heard adding harmony vocals on several of the tracks. Johnnie also cut a couple of political inspired songs, The Ballad of Honest Abe and Hula State.

The cds are also accompanied by booklets, with Dick Spottswood’s very detailed biographical information (which also reveals an insight into the Bailes' personal lives alongside the music of the era) supported by fascinating Timeline charts, photographs and discographies. With these releases Bear Family Records once again provides an invaluable service to country music collectors and historians. Not only do Remember Me and Standing Somewhere In The Shadows contain hitherto unreleased material but none of the commercial recordings have been available since the 78 rpm era!

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; e-mail: 


New CDs From Marty Robbins and Red Sovine

Among the newest releases from Bear Family Records are cds from veteran country music entertainers Marty Robbins and Red Sovine, both presenting styles different from what they’re best remembered. The former, arguably best known for hardcode country and gunfighter ballads, is heard here in a more rocking mood while the latter, the master of the sentimental narration, shows off his country roots.

MARTY ROBBINS  Rocks (Bear Family BCD 17245 AR)

Jeannie and Johnnie; Grown-Up Tears; Ruby Ann; It’s Driving me Crazy; Maybelline; Baby’s Gone; Ain’t Life A Crying Shame; You’ve Been So Busy Baby; Sometimes I’m Tempted; Teenager’s Dad; Long Tall Sally; Respectfully Miss Brooks; Long Gone Lonesome Blues; Pain And Misery; That’s All Right; Tennessee Toddy; I’ll Know You’re Gone (& LEE EMERSON); Knee Deep In The Blues; You Don’t Owe Me A Thing; Mean Mama Blues; Mister Teardrop; Pretty Mama; I Can’t Quit (I’ve Gone Too Far); Baby, I Need You (Like I Need You); Footprints In The Snow; Just Married; Teen-Ager Dream; Stairway Of Love; She Was Only Seventeen (And He Was One Year More)

Of course Marty Robbins, besides being a highly original entertainer, was also a master of many musical moods with his recording taking in pop standards and Hawaiian songs besides a mass of instantly familiar country hits and gunfighter ballads. Back in his early recording days, at a time when rock ‘n’ roll dominated the charts, he also enjoyed several hits in that genre – among them That’s All Right, Maybelline, Tennessee Toddy and Long Tall Sally, though they couldn’t really be described as hardcore rock ‘n’ roll alongside the likes of Elvis, Haley or Holly – rather, more rockabilly.  Randy Fox, who wrote the notes in the accompanying 32 page booklet, opinions that Singing The Blues (this set includes the follow-up, Knee Deep In The Blues) effectively finished Robbins’ career as rockabilly singer and he moved on to wider musical endeavours.  Nevertheless he made further impact in the rockabilly market by writing Sugareee, a song that received several covers and only recorded by Robbins as a live version (and the concluding track in this collection).

In spite of moving on from rockabilly – and breaking through to wider audiences with such as Ruby Ann, Ain’t Life A Crying Shame and a cover of Bill Monroe’s Footprints In The Snow - Marty Robbins still kept the the new, young generation of record buyers in mind with such material as She Was Only Seventeen, Jeanie and Johnny, Just Married and Teenager’s Dad during his early days on Columbia Records. Complimenting the music, this period of this iconic entertainer’s career is covered in the accompanying booklet that also includes photographs and discography.

RED SOVINE  Juke Joint Johnny (Bear Family BCD 17268 AH)

Okey Dokey; When I Get Rich; Sundown Sue; You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree Now; I'm Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away The Key); The Intoxicated Rat (My Little Rat (1); I'll Worry You Out Of My Mind; Billy Goat Boogie; Don't Worry; Till Today; It’d Surprise You; Farewell, So Long, Goodbye; Sixteen Tons; Juke Joint Johnny; I Hope You Don't Care; My Little Rat (2); No Thanks, Bartender; You're Calling Me Sweetheart; Why Baby Why (& WEBB PIERCE); Wild Beating Heart; You Used To Be My Baby; Don't Drop It; How Do You Think I Feel; Down On The Corner Of Love; Poor Man's Riches; Are You Mine; Courtin' Time In Tennessee; Hold Everything (Till I Get Home); Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So); Four Arms; The Cajun Queen

The latest release in Bear Family’s “Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight” series spotlights Red Sovine, an artist probably best-known for his chart-topping narrations Giddyup Go and the CB radio tear-jerker Teddy Bear, both also giving him pop crossover success. But there was much more to this Charleston, West Virginia born artist and the 31 tracks selected here, culled from the MGM and Decca catalogues, reveals him as a genuine hillbilly singer of the grand order. He did briefly make waves in the rockabilly market with Juke Joint Johnny, and the similar styled I Hope You Don’t Care, but these recordings owed much more to country music than mainstream rock ‘n’ roll. Otherwise Sovine kept to straight, hardcore country routes – the kind of music that boasted steel guitar and fiddles. Unfortunately his MGM recordings (which included novelties like The Intoxicated Rat and Billy Goat Boogie) failed to make any impression and he wasn’t until Decca, and a pairing with Goldie Hill on Are You Mine (originally the flipside of Ko Ko Mo) that he made his chart debut, next came a number one as he teamed with Webb Pierce on Why Baby Why.

Presenting a wide range of material that includes covers of Sixteen Tons, Down On The Corner Of Love and You Used To Be My Baby, the selection concludes with the nearest to a narration – the semi-sung The Cajun Queen. Besides being well representative of Red Sovine’s early career (before becoming one of the chief hitmakers on Starday Records), the music is backed up with detailed biography information provided by Randy Fox in the accompanying 45 page booklet, moving from his childhood years and initial struggles to his close friendship with Hank Williams that helped to open up the doorways. There’s also photographs and a discography.

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


Not Just A Truck-Driving Hitmaker

Bear Family Release 5 CD Box Set

 In the relatively short-lived period when truck driving songs enjoyed great chart popularity, Red Simpson was one of the big four – the others being Dick Curless, Dave Dudley and Red Sovine. Although he had never driven a truck, he won conviction for the genre with songs like Roll Truck Roll, Diesel Smoke Dangerous Curves, Country Western Truck Drivin’ Singer and his biggest contribution to the movement, I’m A Truck. Now probably more forgotten than remembered, Bear Family Records salutes the singer by not only spotlighting his truck driving songs but his complete recorded repertoire from 1957 to the year that he retired from touring, 1984, in a 165 song, 5 cd collection that not only includes his Capitol Records tracks but also material from several independent labels.


(Bear Family BCD 16944 EK)

 Red Simpson may have charted truck driving songs, and popularized the image of life on the road, but his talents were far, far broader. As a member of the West Coast’s Bakersfield community, he was at the center of the vibrant honky-tonk scene that spawned Buck Owens and Merle Haggard – and wrote hits for both of them! He was a multi-instrumentalist who composed hundreds of songs and earned a reputation as one of the area’s most respected and successful songwriters. He was Bakersfield’s answer to Harlan Howard but “never really gotten his due” said his 1980s duet partner Lorraine Walden. “Buck and Merle became big stars, but Red held his own. He could write a ballad better than just about anybody”.

Joseph Cecil Simpson (or, Joe, as the family called him, even after everyone else knew him as Red) was born in Higley, Arizona – the youngest in a large family that was constantly on the move, always on the lookout for a better way of life. It was such ambition that led the Simpson’s to settle in the Arvin Migrant Camp, Weedpatch, on the outskirts of Bakersfield in 1937, three years after his birth. (The camp later gained notoriety after John Steinbeck spent time there, researching his novel “The Grapes of Wrath”). Later, with enough money saved, the family brought property in an area known as “Little Okie” and it was there, at the age of five, that the youngster first sang in public – in the front room of a house used as a church and dubbed “Red” by a Pentecostal pastor.

Red Simpson’s route into the music business came via his brother Thomas (known as “Buster”, nineteen years his senior) who joined The Orange Blossom Playboys, the band of Bill Woods, long regarded as the father of the Bakersfield music scene. He was inspired by both his brother and Woods and when he was old enough to make some money shining shoes, he hung out at the various clubs in the area, getting the opportunity to meet up with such artists as Hank Williams and Tex Ritter.

After serving in the Navy where, in his spare time, he taught himself to play guitar, fiddle and mandolin, Simpson worked occasionally as a backup musician in the bands of Woods and newcomer in town, Buck Owens, until he found steady club work himself. By the mid ‘50s he was regularly visiting Capitol’s recording studios, hanging out with Bakersfield musicians that producer Ken Nelson was using on his artists’ sessions. Around the same time he started as a songwriter and got his first cut with Sad, Sad Saturday Night recorded by Johnny Taylor on the Bakersfield based Fire label. A step further up the ladder came when The Farmer Boys, on Capitol, cut his Someone To Love and, in 1957 he made his own recording debut on Tally with Sweet Love c/w Dolly Blues although the single was released under the name Glen Ayers, the drummer who paid for the session! “That was kind of a surprise” Simpson admitted. “I didn’t know what he was gonna do. Ol’ Glen was a con man but I said, what the hell, it’s a record!”. Appealing more to the teen market, he laughingly called both songs junk although Billboard gave the single a moderate review.

Hedidn’t return to the recording studios for a further five years, after gigging in Ridgecrest (113 miles in the desert) and working the round of live country music shows on television. He cut the novelty Big Bank Robbery for LA based Lute Records, which had hit previously with another novelty, Alley Oop by the Hollywood Argyles. Produced by Leon Hart, it has become the singer’s rarest record. In 1963 Hart produced another single, One Day With My Baby, this time released on his own Millie label and the artist was billed as “Red (Suitcase) Simpson” because he was regularly with a suitcase full of his original songs. Sung to the tune of Six Days on The Road, it was something of an answer to Dave Dudley’s big hit and, although he wouldn’t have known it at the time, foreshadowed his success in the truck driving genre.

The move into the songwriting big-time came via Buck Owens who, first, recorded his original King Of Fools in 1962 and gave him his first chart hit two years later with Close All The Honky Tonks, though it was the Charlie Walker “cover” that went Top 20. Around the same time the recently parole Merle Haggard recorded his You Don’t Have Far To Go (as the B side of Tommy Collins penned Sam Hill). Hag subsequently recorded the song three more times. Owens continued to record a mass of Simpson’s songs including The Band Keeps Playin’ On, Let The Sad Times Roll on, (I Want) No One But You, Gonna Have Love, Kansas City Song and Sam’s Place (which gave the writer his first number one). In one year alone, 1965, Owens recorded 19 Simpson compositions and, at the same time, he brought him in as a musician on his Capitol sessions. That’s when producer Ken Nelson started watching him.

 In August 1963 Dave Dudley’s Six Says On The Road rocketed up the charts. A few months later Jimmy Martin and the Willis Brothers had chart success with Widow Maker and Give Me Forty Acres respectively, and followed up wit albums that featured more trucking material. Ken Nelson realized the growing popularity of such material and wanted to get into the act. That when the multi-talented Cliffie Stone (musician, tv host, music publisher and A&R at Capitol) suggested Red Simpson and, although his recording session didn’t include any trucking songs, the second visit to the Capitol Recording studios (December 6, 7 and 8) was comprised wholly of such material. These included Truck Drivin’ Man, Nitro Express, Big Mack, Truck Driver’s Blues, Six Days on The Road and Roll Truck Roll, the last title being chosen as the first single. But even before that made its chart debut, followed by the eponymous album, the singer was back in the studio cutting songs for a second album (“The Man Behind The Badge”), albeit this comprised both truck and police themes. The next chart single – The Highway Patrol - came from this collection which was followed by Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves.

Unfortunately Red Simpson’s product failed to sell in any great quantity and he was dropped from the label in 1968, around the same time falling out with Buck Owens because of the latter’s hardnosed approach to business. He then increased his working involvement with Haggard as a band member as well concentrating on his writing with Cliffie Stone’s Central Songs music publishing company. (The fifth disc in this collection includes eleven acoustic demos made for the company, none of which have ever been previously released).

In 1971 he recorded tracks for Gene Breeden’s Portland Records, one of the songs being Hello, I’m A Truck (written by Bob Stanton, a postman from Granger, Washington) which created an immediate radio buzz. Capitol acquired the master and re-signed Simpson as an artist. It gave him the biggest hit of his career, peaking at #4 in the Billboard charts and followed by another eponymously titled album. Simpson remained with Capitol for two years and revisited the charts a couple more times with Country Western Truck Drivin’ Singer and Awful Lot To Learn About Truck Drivin’ and, among his album releases, was the festive offering “Truckers Christmas”.

His departure came at the time the label’s county division was officially moved to Nashville in an effort to move it from hillbilly to a more contemporary image although he didn’t help his profile as he wasn’t driven by the need to be a star. According to record owner Breeden, “he wouldn’t do major bookings … he’d rather drink with his buddies. And when he did do a show, he’d arrive in town the night before and sit in with bands at the local bars. The club owners would complain because it was cutting into their business. People weren’t going to pay to see Red’s show when they could catch him sitting in with the local bands.”

Back with Portland Records, the new association kicked off with the novelty single Streakin’ The Opryland Park. Next came Truck Driver’s Heaven (based on the 1950s hit I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven), which was picked up by Warner Bros, and his final chart entry, another novelty The Flying Saucer Man And The Truck Driver.

Besides presenting all his commercial releases (alongside Capitol and Portland, several other independent labels like Ambassador, Cougar and 51-West),  this box set also includes all the unreleased Capitol masters and 18 previously unissued demos, adding up to a total of 165 recordings. It also offers the opportunity to hear the writer’s own versions of songs that Buck Owens recorded.

Accompanying the cds is a 108 page hardcover book in which author Scott B. Bomar details the Simpson career, drawing upon interviews with the artist himself as well as Gene Breedon, Merle Haggard, Buddy Mize, Ken Nelson and Fuzzy Owen among others. The text provides valuable insight into the songs and the recordings as well as Simpson’s relationships with both Owens and Haggard, his happy and dark days, and personal life. It is extremely well illustrated with photographs, many previously unpublished and from rare sources, and is completed with a discography.

And, in the USA, the “Hello, I’m Red Simpson” box set was greeted with great aplomb as it tied in with Red Simpson’s 78th birthday on March 6 and, two days later, a “Tribute to Red Simpson” concert was staged at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. Then he’ll be Bakersfield’s Ambassador at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame when the “The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country” exhibition opens on March 23 (running through December 2013).

For more information on the Red Simpson box set and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


Full Track Listing.

.DISC ONE: Sweet Love • Dolly Blues • Big Bank Robbery •  Big Bank Robbery, Part 2 • One Day With My Baby • Dippy Daddle Love • Jeannie With The Light Brown Cadillac • George For A Day • I've Just Lost You • Ukulele Bailey • Truck Drivin' Man • Truck Driver's Blues • Six Days On The Road • Give Me Forty Acres • Nitro Express • My Baby's Waitin • Motivatin’ Man • Highway Man • Big Mack • Happy Go Lucky Truck Driver • Runaway Truck • Roll Truck Roll • The Highway Patrol • The City Police • Sidewalk Patrol • Rules Of The Road • Dreams Are Made For Fools • I Fell In Love With You • I'm Gonna Write Momma For Money • I'm Actin' Like My Old Self Again • I Just Cry A Little • It's My Last Night In Town • There Ain't Nothin' Happenin' To Me • The Big Bank Robbery

 DISC TWO: You're Under Arrest • County Sheriff • Workin' For The Highway Patrol • Johnny Law • Sheriff Sam • Bad Man Highway Patrol • I'm Turnin’ In My Star • 25 Years On Patrol • Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves • Black Smoke A-Blowin Over 18 Wheels (That's Home Sweet Home) • Truck Daddy • I’ll Be Goin' Home To Momma •  A Tombstone Every Mile •Piggyback Blues • Take Me Home • Born To Be A Trucker • Jacknife • Truck Drivin` Fool • Sleeper, Five-By-Two • Old Sam • He Reminds Me A Whole Lot Of Me • Party Girl • Mini-Skirt Minnie • Honky Tonk Women • The Lonely Old House • Happy Travelin' Man • I'm A Truck • Where Love Used To Be • Knights Of The Road • Drugstore Truck Driver • Road Rhythm • Motel Joe

 DISC THREE: Good Old Truckin' On • Truckin' Man • Just Kept On Truckin' • Gas, Food And Lodging • Lady Of The Road • Country We­stern Truck Drivin' Singer • You're The First • Truckin' On Down The Road • Ole Ben • Hold On Ma'm (You Got Yourself A Hon­ker) • Fur Coats And Fancy Clothes • Certainly a The Ballad Of Billy Jones • Those Forgotten Trains • You're All Over My Mind • Jericho Jones • Milesaver Man • Awful Lot To Learn About Truck Drivin’ • You Still Got A Hold On Me • Gas, Food And Lodging •  Feelin' Like Tarzan • Truckin' Trees For Christmas • Blue Blue Christmas (For This Truck Drivin' Man) • Christmas Wheels • The Old Christmas Truck • Toys For Tots • Santa's Comin' In A Big Or Truck • Dad Will Be Home For Christmas • Little Toy Trucks • Gone Home For Christmas • Out On The Road For Christmas

 DISC FOUR: Bill Woods From Bakersfield • Bull-Shippers • I'm A Pretty Good Man • Blackboard Of My Heart • Honky Tonk Ladies Lo­verman • Squirmin' • Yip Yip • If The World Ran Out Of Diesel • Gordon's Grocery Store • Truck Drivin' Man And Wife • Your Truck Drivin’ Man's Comin' Home • Streakin' The Opryland Park • Love Has Never Done A Lot For Me • Bull-Shippers • Message From Home • Inflation • It Ain't Even Halloween • Truck Driver's Heaven • The Flying Saucer Man And The Truck Driver • I Miss You A Little • Longest Run • Benny And Me • Sam's Place • Take Me Into Your World • The World Keeps Turning Around • We're Back To Strangers Again • Gonna Have Love • Ain't It Something • Close All The Honky Tonks • We Split The Blanket • I Had A Girl Like Her One Time • Kansas City Romeo

 DISC FIVE: Just Call Me Texas • Trophies • Buffalo Beauty • Don't Touch My Hat •   Lady Lookin' For Love • Me And Ole CB • Looking At The World Through A Windshield • I'll Have Another Cup Of Coffee (Then II Go) • Movin' On • 18 Wheels Hummin' Home Sweet Home • Truck Drivin' Son Of A Gun • Drivin' My Life Away • Dear Mr. President • Ronnie, Baby • Lucky Ole Colorado • Time Changes Everything • The Flying Saucer Man And The Truck Driver • Lady Of The Road • A Little Bit Of Her • You Put My World Back Together • Living For You • World Full Of Love • You're A Better Man Than Me • Poco • The Lonely GI • Ship Of Love • I Ain't Found Me One • Play The Guitar Softly • Honky Tonks And Heartaches • Walkin' Out Backwards • Ill Have To Live Without You • I'm Gettin' Over A Heartache • Here Again, Gone Again • Don't Think I Will • Here Today Gone Tomorrow Daddy • She Belongs To You

Jim Reeves, Chet Atkins, Bobby Bare & Anita Kerr Singers in Europe

Bear Family releases unique 4 CD, DVD & Book Box Set

Back in April 1964, at a time when Beatlemania was taking over the world, RCA Records went against the grain by taking country music to Europe. With Jim Reeves headlining a high profile package, the lineup also featured Chet Atkins and Bobby Bare with the Anita Kerr Singers providing the background vocals, adding that necessary enhancement to the still relatively new, smooth Nashville Sound.

Billed as “The Sound of Tomorrow”, the tour took in such locations as Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Brussels, packing a busy 19 day schedule that comprised public concerts and military bases, television appearances, recording and media interviews. It was a hot package: Jim Reeves, in spite of the British invasion, rode the country and pop charts with 25 Top 10 hits in the Billboard charts, together with substantial overseas success; Bobby Bare had crossed over to the pop charts with Shame On Me and Detroit City; and Chet Atkins, co-founder of the Nashville Sound and hit-making record executive, was fast on the way to becoming acknowledged as one of the world’s finest guitarists. Even the Anita Kerr Singers, whose vocals graced numerous hit records, had enjoyed success in their own right with Joey Baby.

This box set documents the tour in sound, vision and print. Although previously presented under the title Nashville Stars On Tour, the event had been casually covered with a single LP release. This new collection, thanks to radio and television tapes, tells a much fuller story with material that has never previously seen the commercial light of day.

Discs 1 and 2 presents the Stockholm concert (April 14). The first disc kicks off with the “back-up” musicians and singers, Reeves’ Blue Boys (Leo Jackson, Dean Manuel, Henry Strzelecki and Ken Buttrey) and the Anita Kerr Singers (Anita Kerr, Dottie Dillard, Louis Nunley and Gil Wright), presenting a handful off songs before Bobby Bare takes the stage for a five song set commencing with Shame On Me and including a medley of inventive impersonations that takes in such as Tex Ritter, Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Gene Autry and Elvis Presley. The disc concludes with a dozen numbers from Chet Atkins finely displaying his distinctive guitar work alongside informative and interesting dialogue.

The second disc is wholly devoted to Jim Reeves’ performance, working his way through ten of his most popular songs – I Love You Because, Four Walls, He’ll Have to Go, Adios Amigo and Mexican Joe among them – his smooth, attractive vocals instantly revealing why he achieved such immense popularity (which continues to this day) and ensuring a ecstatic reaction from the audience.

Disc 3 is titled “The German Concert”, with the first 18 tracks featuring the artists on stage. This is followed by recordings derived from a tv show (“Western Songs Marke Nashville”) taped off-air by a Dutch collector. The original tapes contained inherent defects, subsequently minimized by engineering techniques, but otherwise probably would have never have seen the light of day. The disc concludes with Jim Reeves being interviewed by broadcaster/journalist Kitty Prins.

Following the success of the tour, the German record executives decided to follow up by requesting that several of the artists record songs in the German language, to be released specifically for that market. 22 such songs make up the fourth cd and, besides offerings by the Anita Kerr Singers and Bobby Bare, recordings were also made Willie Nelson (newly signed to RCA), Jim Ed Brown, Stu Phillips and Skeeter Davis. (A full track listing follows below). Jim Reeves was also scheduled to record in Germany but tragedy, just three months later, ensured that it was never to be - nor a proposed tour of the British Isles, a project discussed during a promotional visit to London that followed the European visit.

Accompanying the audio comes the pictures, with the 63 minute DVD catching all the artists in concert at the Njaadhallen Sportshall in Oslo, Norway. Recorded as a television special, the quality is excellent (albeit it in black and white, naturally for the period) and provides the only visual insight into this ground-breaking tour. Launched with the Blue Boys’ instrumental Steel Guitar Rag, the Anita Kerr Singers go through three finely arranged numbers before a young Bobby Bare performs four hits that launched a lasting career. Chet Atkins, in a seven song set, makes guitar picking seem simplicity itself (!) and Jim Reeves concludes the concert performances with equal ease, presenting those smooth vocals that were not only an essential ingredient of the Nashville Sound but also the formula that was to ensure a worldwide appreciation that has continued into the 21st century. Prior to the concert performance, the DVD commences with the artists arriving at Shiphol Airport, Amsterdam (April 17) and Reeves singing I Love You Because in the airport lounge.

Historic facts, in German and English text, are recalled in the 112 page, hardcover book and backed up with a mammoth treasure trove of photographs, reproductions of press clippings and promotional items.. Providing an accurate slant on the German aspect of the tour, Richard Weize provides a first hand account from notes that he had written for the “European Hayride” fanzine, several years before his obsession with country music led to the creation of Bear Family Records. Now, over 40 years later, Weize comes full circle by installing the experience in an invaluable box set that gives country (and pop) fans a genuine gem.

For more information on this set and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:

Complete track listing of Nashville Stars On Tour:


1. JIM REEVES’ BLUE BOYS: Steel Guitar Rag / Introduction
3. THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: I'll Hold You In My Heart
5. THE BLUE BOYS: Wheels
6. BOBBY BARE: Shame On Me
7. BOBBY BARE: 500 Miles Away From Home
8. BOBBY BARE: Medley Of Impersonations
9. BOBBY BARE: Detroit City
10. BOBBY BARE: Jambalaya
11. THE BLUE BOYS: San Antonio Rose
12. CHET ATKINS: Alabama Jubilee
13. CHET ATKINS: Windy And Warm
14. CHET ATKINS: Drown In My Own Tears
15. CHET ATKINS: Wildwood Flower
16. CHET ATKINS: Yes Ma'am
17. CHET ATKINS: My Town
18. CHET ATKINS: Medley: Greensleeves / Streets Of Laredo
19. CHET ATKINS: Chets chats
20. CHET ATKINS: Show Me The Way To Go Home
21. CHET ATKINS: Yankee Doodle Dixie
22. CHET ATKINS: The Peanut Vendor
23. CHET ATKINS: Tiger Rag
24. CHET ATKINS: Gravy Waltz


1. JIM REEVES: Billy Bayou
2. JIM REEVES: I Love You Because
3. JIM REEVES: Bimbo
4. JIM REEVES: Four Walls
5. JIM REEVES: Yonder Comes A Sucker
6. JIM REEVES: He'll Have To Go
7. JIM REEVES: Adios Amigo
8. JIM REEVES: I Can’t Stop Loving You
9. JIM REEVES: Mexican Joe
10. JIM REEVES: Danny Boy


1. THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: Night Train To Memphis
2. BOBBY BARE: 500 Miles Away From Home
3. CHET ATKINS: Windy And Warm
4. JIM REEVES: Billy Bayou
6. BOBBY BARE: Shame On Me
8. CHET ATKINS: The Peanut Vendor
9. JIM REEVES: Welcome To My World
11. BOBBY BARE: Detroit City
12. CHET ATKINS: Wildwood Flower
13. JIM REEVES: Four Walls
14. JIM REEVES: He'll Have To Go
15. CHET ATKINS: Greensleeves - Streets Of Laredo
16. GROUP: Auf Wiedersehn


2. THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: Singapur(La-Di-Da-Songs)
3. THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: Bye, Bye Baby (Bye Bye Blackbird)
4. THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: Cowboy's Heimweh (Home On The Range)
5. BOBBY BARE: Rosalie
6. BOBBY BARE: Alle glauben dass ich glücklich bin
7. WILLIE NELSON: Whisky Walzer
8. WILLIE NELSON: Little Darling (Pretty Paper)
9. JIM ED BROWN: I Heard From A Memory Last Night
10. BOBBY BARE: Good Old Tennessee
11. BOBBY BARE: Das Haus auf der Sierra
12. BOBBY BARE: Wilder Wolf und Brauner Bär (So ist das Leben)
13. BOBBY BARE: Molly Brown
14. THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: Sentimental Cowboy
16. JIM ED BROWN: Mickey
17. JIM ED BROWN: Renate und Karin
18. JIM ED BROWN: Golden Girl
19. JIM ED BROWN: Schöne Mädchen, die können nicht treu sein
20. STU PHILLIPS: Irgendwann sagt man Goodbye
21. STU PHILLIPS: Ol' Kentucky
22. SKEETER DAVIS: G. I. Johnny


1. The arrival at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Holland on Friday April 17, 1964
2. Jim Reeves sings I Love You Because in the Airport Lounge with his guitar
The Njardhallen Sportshall, Oslo, Norway on Wednesday April 15, 1964:
3. Introduction
4. THE BLUE BOYS: Steel Guitar Rag
6. THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: I'll Hold You In My Heart
8. BOBBY BARE: Shame On Me
9. BOBBY BARE: 500 Miles Away From Home
10. BOBBY BARE: Jambalaya
11. BOBBY BARE: Detroit City
12. CHET ATKINS: Alabama Jubilee
13. CHET ATKINS: Wildwood Flower
14. CHET ATKINS: Yes Ma'am
15. CHET ATKINS: Malaguena
16. CHET ATKINS: Greensleeves / The Streets Of Laredo
17. CHET ATKINS & THE BLUE BOYS: Peanut Vendor
19. JIM REEVES: I Love You Because
20. JIM REEVES: Bimbo
21. JIM REEVES: Four Walls / The Blue Canadian Rockies / Four Walls
22. JIM REEVES: Yonder Comes A Sucker
23. JIM REEVES: Adios Amigo


BONNIE GUITAR   Only The Moon Man Knows  (Bear Family  BCD 16744 AH)

Hello, Hello, Please Answer The Phone • If You See My Love Dancing • Two Loves Have I • Clinging Vine (& LEE GOTCH) • Dream Dreamers • Lover Oh Lover • Open The Door To Your Heart • My Heart Turned Gypsy • In The Heart Of A Song • If You Don't Care TOM TALL) • Only The Moon Man Knows • I Feel A Heartache Comin' On • Fool Around • Lover Oh Lover • Heart's Desire • Shanty Boat • Please, My Love • Frantic Party • You Gave Her Your Kisses • Where Are The Words • Heart's Desire • Innocent Lies • Everybody Knew But Me • Don't Keep Me Waitin’ • Don't Bring Me Roses Red • I Couldn't Believe It Was True • Ain't You 'Shamed • Midget Auto Blues • Robin In The Pine • The Cherry Tree • Cowboy Serenade • Sailing Thru' The Sunny San Juan Isles • I Lost My Turkey (In The Depot In Albuquerque) • Bronco Buster's Rag (instrumental)

After two cds spotlighting previously unreleased, easy listening recordings from 1959 and 1961 – available as part of Bear Family’s Velvet Loungesseries – now here’s the chance to gather Bonnie Guitar’s earliest singles, the material that led on to a Dot Records deal and chart debut Dark Moon, the title for which she’s best known. But success didn’t come easy for the Ashburn, Washington singer who was born into a musical family, worked the round of talent contests (winning her first with a version of Jimmie Rodgers’ Mississippi Moon), local clubs and concerts, leading on to performing with her husband Paul Tutmarc as the K-6 Wrangers on radio and at country music venues. She commenced writing songs and recording on the local Morrison label as Bonnie Tutmarc in 1951, followed by a handful of sides for Rainer where she was credited as the vocalist with Paul Tutmarc & The Wranglers. Based in Seattle she also worked as a radio dj and recorded demos, one coming to the attention of Fabor Robinson who signed her up as a session player and recording artist as well as convincing to adopt the name ‘Guitar’ (as she played guitar so much).

Her first release on the Fabor label, recorded in late 1956, was Hello, Hello, Please Answer The Phone c/w If You See My Love Dancing, the production emphasizing her distinctive mellow voice which bridged pop and country realms. Subsequent releases included a couple of duets – Clinging Vine (with Lee Gotch) and If You Don’t Care (with Tom Tall) – while this cd also includes several hitherto unreleased items. It was while with Fabor that she recorded Dark Moon, the song eventually being released on Dot Records and commenced a run 0f a dozen hits on the label. Todd Everett provides the notes, combined with interviews, in the accompanying 50 page booklet which also features photographs, record label displays and discography.

EDDIE NOACK'S 1950's RECORDINGS (3 cd set)

EDDIE NOACK   Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Bear Family BCD 17142 CH)

DISC ONE: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes • Triflin’ Mama Blues • Pyramid Club • Simulated Diamonds • Hungry But Happy • Raindrops in The River • Frown On The Moon  • Unlucky Me • Green Back  Dollar • Tragic Love • I Can't Run Away • I'd Still Want You • Music Makin' Mama From Memphis • Please Mr. Postman • There's A Place In My Heart • I'm Going To See My Baby • Too Hot To Handle • How Does It Feel To Be A Winner • Nothing • First And Last Thing • (As The Band Played) Paul Jones • Pride • Spoken Message to Don Pierce • Don't Worry 'Bout Me Baby • As Long As You Call • Forlorn, Forgotten, and Forsaken • Walking The Street • Simulated  Diamonds • Moonlight On The Water • Hungry But Happy • Raindrops In The River • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes • Un­lucky Me

DISC TWO: Fair Today, Cold Tomorrow • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes •     Take It Away Lucky • Don't-Trade • Left Over Lovin’ • Don't Worry ‘Bout Me Baby • It’ll Be so good to You • Think Of Her Now • Wind Me Up • If It Ain't On The Menu • Me And My New Baby • The Life you Lived • You Done Got Me • The Life you Lived • If Hearts Could Talk • When The Bright Lights Grow Dim •  Think of Her Now • It Ain’t Much But It’s Home • For You I Weep • You Done Got Me • The Worm Has Turned • She Can’t stand The Light Of Day • Think Of Her Now • Scarecrow • Dust On The River • What's The Matter Joe • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (alt) • For You I Weep (alt) • Can You answer To God? • Lucky In Cards • Mr. Nice Guy • Six Feet Down • Relief Is Just A Swallow Away • Are You Really Here • It’s Hard To Tell an Old Love Goodbye • That Certain You Know What

DISC THREE: Can’t Play Hookey • My Steady Dream • Have Blues – Will Travel • The Price of Love •  Relief Is Just A Swallow Away • It’s Hard to Tell An Old Love Goodbye • Love’s Other Face • Don’t Live There Anymore • Walk ‘Em Off • The Man On The Wall • Shake Hands With The Blues (1) • A Million Friends But No Sweetheart • Don’t Look Behind • A Think’ Man’s Woman (A Lovin’ Man’s Gift) • Shake Hands With The Blues (2) • Sunflower Song • To Weak To Go • Firewater Luke • The Price Of Love (alt) • The Same Old Mistake • Invisible Stripes • So Funny I Could Cry • Shotgun House • I Slipped Out Of Heaven • Firewater Luke • Invisible Stripes • The Same Old Mistakes • Shotgun House • Where Do You Go (When You say Goodnight) • Love Is For Fools • The Life You Lived • I Speak Your Name • The Same Old Mistakes • You Got A Woman

To country music fans a few decades back, Eddie Noack enjoyed a very dedicated following. In fact the opening notes that accompany this three cd set confirms the fact by reflecting upon his UK tour in 1976, a tour in which a very ill artist hardly gave his best but, nevertheless, attracted the crowds. Two years later he was dead.

Now Bear Family Records commences its retrospective of the Noack career with the first of two releases, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes spotlighting the years 1948-61 with recordings that appeared on the Gold Star, 4-Star, TNT, Starday, Faith, D, Dixie and Mercury labels, together with a mass of material that never previously saw the commercial light of day.

A native of Houston, Texas, Eddie Noack grew up with sounds of string bands and hillbilly music surrounding him and, by the late 1940s, the city had become a haven for country music. He made his first step up the entertainment ladder in 1945 when he won an amateur talent contest and worked for a week in a vaudeville show at  five dollars a day. Around the same time he started writing songs and, a couple of years later, made his radio debut on radio station KREL.

With his celebrity status established locally, he made contact with Bill Quinn’s Gold Star label, suggested that he cut some tracks and walked away with a recording contract and a single, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes b/w Trifflin’ Mama Blues. Although this, and subsequent singles, hardly stood out from a surfeit of records originating out of the Houston area, the releases enabled him to move on to better paid gigs – among them playing as member of the Western Jamboree Cowboys, although it meant putting up with the argumentative band leader and club owner, R. D. Hendon who lacked any musical or singing ability. But it did lead to recording I Can’t Run Away which brought Noack in contact with Harold W. (“Pappy”) Daily, the largest jukebox owner in Texas and a link to 4-Star Records. Daily, who was soon to become actively involved in George Jones' career, with was the man who would have the biggest impact on Noack's life and produced the remainder of his material in this collection as well as having ownership interests in most of the labels.

Unlike many other artists who briefly recorded rockabilly, Noack firmly resisted the temptation stating that he was “pure country” and proved the point with his original songs, among them here with the re-recorded Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (4 versions). Too Hot To Handle and Blues – Will Travel, all helping to build his country music fan base. Another original song, These Hands, wound up a Top 5 hit for Hank Snow, causing him to be remembered more as a songwriter than singer in later years. Among other artists who recorded one of his songs were George Jones (No Blues Is Good News and For Better Or For Worse), Curtis Gordon and Ernest Tubb (Don’t Trade) and Hawkshaw Hawkins (If It Ain’t On The Menu).

Comprising all of his 1950s singles, plus 13 unissued masters and alternative takes, along with 27 acoustic demos, this 104 track set gives the fullest overview ever fir an artist completely overlooked by any major label reissues.

The 102 page booklet accompanying Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - penned by Andrew Brown and drawing upon interviews Eddie Noack gave to Bill Millar and Ray Topping at the time of the ill fated 1976 UK tour - provides a revealing insight into the artist’s career and music, alongside equally informative notes on the Houston country music scene, “Pappy” Daily, the various record labels (in particular, Starday, and its subsequent development) and Noack’s time in the US military serving in Germany. Besides photographs and reproduction of record labels, there’s the extensive discography that’s always a part of any Bear Family release.

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


Bear Family Release 4 CD Box Set With 68 Page Book

After his eleven year tenure with Capitol Records, which charted 40 Top Ten Singles (24 of them number one’s), Merle Haggard signed with MCA in 1976. His complete recordings for this label are now released by Bear Family, following on from the three earlier box sets that featured his former label material.

Although Haggard continued to enjoy great success on Capitol, he had begun thinking about semi-retirement, “wanting to get out of the limelight before I got too old” he told Chicago Tribune columnist Jack Hurst, then pondered what would be missed if he did quit. Around the same time the situation at Capitol was changing, with Buck Owens' contract adversely affecting the other artists on the label and producer Ken Nelson having no say in either recordings or release schedules. But Nelson, who nurtured the artist’s creativity, agreed to carry on supervising Haggard’s sessions until his contract expired in 1976, after his own retirement a couple of years earlier.

So, after a five month break, Merle Haggard re-assembled The Strangers, signed on Leona Williams as part of his show (at the same time time beginning a stormy personal relationship and, in time, a brief marriage) and looked around for the best record deal. It came with MCA and he commenced recording his first album during Christmas week 1976, with Nashville becoming his home base for the majority of recordings during the following years.

His association with MCA was far shorter than his days with Capitol and his recorded output - 111 tracks spanning from 1976 to 1981 - was a far more eclectic mix. And, although he might have been competing with the label's heavy sellers Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn and Tanya Tucker, he did enjoy sixteen chart entries (the majority being Top 10, if not Top 5) – If We’re Not in Love By Monday; Ramblin’ Fever/When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again; From Graceland To The Promised Land ; I’m Always on A Mountain When I Fall; It’s Been A Great Afternoon/Love Me When You Can; Red Bandana/I Must Have Done Something Bad; My Own Kind Of hat/Heaven Was A Drink Of Wine; The Way I Am; Misery and gin; Leonard; Rainbow Stew; Dealing With The Devil; It’s All In The Game; Make-Up And Faded Blue Jeans; and the chart-topping I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink.

He also charted a duet with Leona Williams, The Bull And The Beaver, and another number one, Bar Room Buddies, this being a duet with Clint Eastwood from the soundtrack of Eastwood’s movie Bronco Billy and released on Elektra Records, also included in this box set.

He released eight LPs, the first being Ramblin’ Fever with the majority of tracks produced by Hank Cochran at Nashville’s Glaser Studio and two – I Think It’s Gone Forever and If We’re Not In Love By Monday being the final items under the helm of Ken Nelson at Hollywood’s Capitol Studio. The album was soon followed by My Farewell To Elvis, his loving tribute to the entertainment whom he had met in Las Vegas in 1969 – “I left his suite disappointed because Elvis didn’t really seem ‘bigger than life’ offstage. I guess I felt a little bit cheated to discover that he was a human being like the rest of us” he reflects in Dave Samuelson’s detailed notes in this set’s accompanying book.

Nevertheless, in spite of the disappointment, Presley's music impacted upon Haggard and this tribute collection – produced by “Fuzzy” Owen at the Jack Clement Studio in two quick sessions – revived eight Presley hits, led off by Hag's original From Graceland To The Promised Land (written during the course of a relatively short car journey) and concluded with a few brief words. Although it was rush released, Haggard requested that MCA hold the album until late October as he didn’t want it seem that he was exploiting Presley’s death. He had recorded tribute albums previously (in particular, the Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills collections), but this set presented Haggard in fresh surroundings with his interpretations of such as Are You Lonesome Tonight, Don’t Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel and Blue Suede Shoes.

During this period of his life, the songs frequently reflected his dark mood fuelled by drugs and alcohol, and further aided by his tempestuous co-dependency with Leona Williams – and possibly best heard by the album I’m Always on A Mountain When I Fall with its array of ballads, described by one journalist as “distressingly slow-moving” but enhancing the album’s reputation among long-time Haggard aficionados, with the track It’s Been A Great Afternoon working out as one of the singer’s better selling singles. Then came Serving 101 Proof, with Haggard regaining writing enthusiasm after his marriage to Williams (Bob Eubanks, who booked live shows for a decade, once told the singer that he was at his most creative when he was having women troubles). This album also introduced newly installed MCA VP Jimmy Bowen as producer who, determined to change the way Nashville recorded music, only cut one or two songs on a session (instead of the normal four) and took three months to finish work on this ten song collection, even though Haggard handled most of the production!

The Way I Am – recorded piecemeal with three different producers ("Fuzzy" Owen, Don Gant and Porter Wagoner) – mixed new songs, including four originals, with oldies from veterans Ernest Tubb and Floyd Tillman. The title track, which rose to #2 in the charts, captured the singer’s mood and philosophy at the time. Then came Back To The Barrooms, with its lengthy I Think I’ll Stay Here And Drink, giving the singer his only number one on the label, and Leonard, his poignant tribute to the troubled Tommy Collins. Three songs that never made the album, Help Save The Wild Life, Lay Your Hands On My Heart and Dealing With The Devil are issued for the first time in this box set.

Merle Haggard’s final two albums for MCA (before he moved on to Epic) comprised a hot concert recording – Rainbow Stew: Live In Anaheim – and Songs For The Mama That Tried, a beautiful set of gospel songs dedicated to his 92 year old mother, Flossie Haggard Scott. Besides including such familiar items as What A Friend We Have In Jesus and Keep On The Sunny Side, it includes Hank Williams' When God Comes And Gathers His Jewels and newer material by Kris Kristofferson (Why Me) and Marijohn Wilkin (One Day At A Time) with the penultimate track, The Old Rugged Cross, including a deeply moving testament to his mother.

In addition to the commercially released items, MCA had one other album in the can which Epic acquired as the label didn’t want their product undermined by previously recorded material. Reportedly paying $120,000 for the ten unreleased masters (all presented in this collection), the majority of these tracks appeared on the 1984 collection It’s All In The Game. Headed up by the much recorded pop standard title track, the album also included Pennies From Heaven intended as a unrealized Bing Crosby tribute.

Among the other items in this set is the recently discovered, original version of Troubadour and three items - The Man In The Mask alongside two narrations - produced by Britain’s John Barry (best known for his work on the James Bond films) for the soundtrack of the commercially doomed movie The Legend Of The Lone Ranger.

As can be expected from Bear Family, the recordings are accompanied by a lavishly produced, LP size hard cover book – on this occasion running 68 pages in which Dave Samuelson’s informative notes about this period of this artist’s life and recordings are interjected with anecdotes and supplementary information with many comments by the artist himself. (The box set was produced with Haggard's full co-operation). The book has such fine diversions as a summary of the earlier Capitol years; the passages related to Leona Williams, “a crazy stubborn woman had a lot of strange ideas”; attempting to record on his isolated cabin on Lake Shasta and ending up with a lot of farmyard noises; Jimmy Bowen’s approach to recording country music, creating larger budgets and using different musicians; the ignored “live” version of The Fightin’ Side Of Me to capitalize on a middle-east political situation; and concludes with several paragraphs devoted to his career after MCA. Illustrated with numerous photographs and reproductions of album covers, there’s also a Scrapbook section and discography.

MERLE HAGGARD The Troubadour
(Bear Family BCD 17250 DK)

Full track listing:

DISC ONE: Troubadour; I Think It's Gone Forever; If We’re Not Back In Love By Monday; Ramblin' Fever; When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again; Ghost Story; Set Me Free; Love Somebody To Death; Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride At All; My Love For You; The Last Letter; From Graceland To The Promised Land; Blue Christmas; Are You Lonesome Tonight; In The Ghetto; Don't Be Cruel; Jailhouse Rock; Love Me Tender; That's All Right (Mama); Heartbreak Hotel; Blue Suede Shoes; Merle's Farewell To Elvis; I'm Always On A Mountain When I Fall; Life Of A Rodeo Cowboy; It's Been A Great Afternoon; Love Me When You Can; There Won't Be Another Now; Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me); There Ain't No Good Chain Gang; The Dream; The Immigrant; Mama, I've Got To Go To Memphis 

DISC TWO: The Bull And The Beaver (& LEONA WILLIAMS); I'm Getting' High (& LEONA WILLIAMS); Red Bandana; Driftwood; Sing A Family Song; Footlights; Got Lonely Too Early This Morning; Heaven Was A Drink Of Wine; I Can't Get Away; My Own Kind Of Hat; I Didn't Mean To Love You; Roses In The Winter; I Must Have Done Something Bad; The Way l Am; Wake Up; Sky-Bo; No One To Sing For (But The Band); Remember Me (I’m The one Who Loves You); Life's Just Not The Way It Used To Be; Where Have You Been; Take Me Back And Try Me One More Time; I’Il Always Be Glad to Take You Back; It Makes No Difference; It’s Been So Long Darlin’; Misery And Gin; Bar Room Buddies (& CLINT EASTWOOD); You Babe

DISC THREE: My Life’s Been Good; Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa; Love Keeps Hanging On; It’s All In The Game; Why Can’t I Cry; Bleachers; Love don’t Hurt every Time; Susie; Pennies >From Heaven; Make-Up And Faded Blue Jeans; Ever Changing Woman; Help Save The wild Life; Leonard; I Don’t Want To Sober Up Tonight; Dealing With The Devil; Can’t Break The Habit; Lay your Hands on my Heart; Back to The Barrooms Again; Our Paths May Never Cross; I Don’t Have any More Love Songs; I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink; I Don’t Want To Sober Up Tonight; The New Cocaine Blues; Easy Come, Easy Go; Easy Come, Easy Go (alternative)

DISC FOUR: When God Comes And Gathers His Jewels; Supper Time; He Walks With Me; Softly And Tenderly; Why Me; Where No One Stands Alone; One Day At A Time; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; Swing Low Sweet Chariot; The Old Rugged Cross; Keep On The Sunny Side; The Fightin' Side Of Me; If We Make It Through December; Misery And Gin; I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink; Back To The Barrooms Again; Our Paths May Never Cross; Medley (The Running Kind / I'm A Lonesome Fugitive); Rainbow Stew; Blue Yodel #9; Dealing With The Devil; Fiddle Breakdown; Sing Me Back Home; Pearl Beer; The Man In The Mask; The Legend Begins (narration); The Breaking Of Silver (narration)

Other Merle Haggard releases on Bear Family Records:

Untamed Hawk (Tally & Capitol recordings 1962-68) (5 cd box set and 52 page book) – BCD 15744 EI

Hag (Capitol studio recordings 1969-76) (6 cd box set with 140 page book) – BCD 16749 FK

Hag (Capitol recording 1968-76: Concepts, Live & The Strangers)
(6 cd box set with 120 page book) – BCD 16782 FK

Same train – A Different Time (cd with 20 page booklet) BCD 15740 AH

Old Loves Never Die (duets with Leona Williams) (cd with 24 page booklet) – BCD 16411 AH

Merle Haggard’s duet album with Bonnie Owens “Just Between The two Of Us” is included in the Bonnie Owens’ collection Queen Of The Coast
(4 cd box set with 76 page book) – BCD 16178 DK

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361;


 The New Johnny Cash cd from Bear Family Records

After you may have thought that there could be no more new Johnny Cash cds, the innovative Bear Family Records comes up with an equally innovative release!

Titled Unseen Cash, this is a cd and photo album.Comprising live Johnny Cash performances, this collection features recruiting programmes recorded on behalf of the US military, Country Style USA was recorded for the Army while Country Music Time was for the Airforce. The format of each programme would feature a star singing a few of their contemporary hits alongside a special guest, here Carolee Cooper and Johnny Western respectively. Cash’s songs included There You Go, Give My Love To Rose, Home of The Blues, I Got Stripes and Pickin’ Time.

The cd is accompanied by a 26 page booklet, with award winning writer Colin Escott providing an introduction followed by 14 pages of hitherto unseen photographs taken during the time of the star’s association with Sun Records by Memphis photographer William Speer.

Presenting Cash the artist in a thoughtful, brooding mood, the photographer had commented: “I don’t usually take smiling jackass pictures. If you’re looking at a person with a smile, all you see is the smile. The smile kills the hold thing. The picture is in the eyes” while Speers’ wife Vancil had developed a sense of who was going to make it and who wasn’t. “It was like an electrical charge in the room. You can tell the famous one or the ones who were going to be famous. They stand out in a room without you even knowing who they are”.

The photos in this new cd package clearly reveal that Johnny Cash had that indefinable star quality.

JOHNNY CASH    Unseen Cash (Bear Family BCD 17308 AH)Country Style USA – Stay All Night, Stay A Little Longer (intro); There You Go; Give My Love To Rose; White Silver Sands (Carolee Cooper); Home Of The Blues; Stay All Night Stay A Little Longer (outro).Country Music Time – Intro; I Got Stripes; Pickin’ Time; Ten Years (Johnny Western); Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Outro. Unseen Cash, an essential item for all Johnny Cash collectors, will also be released in limited edition 12” vinyl format in April (Bear Family 18009 BAFX)

This new cd adds to the Johnny Cash recordings already released by Bear Family Records, which includes the box sets: The Man In Black Vol 1 (1954-1958) - 5 cd box set with 36 page booklet (BCD 15517 EH) The Man In Black Vol 2 (1959-1962) - 5 cd box set with 40 page booklet (BCD 15562 EH) The Man In Black Vol 3 (1963-1969) - 6 cd box set with 46 page booklet (BCD 15588 FI) Come Along And Ride This Train – 4 cd box set with 40 page booklet (BCD 15563 DH) The Outtakes – 3 cd mini-box (cd size) with 100 page booklet (BCD 16325 CR)

 For more information on Johnny Cash and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.  phone: 01453 886252;  fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:

Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb & Various Artists Compilations In Bear Family’s Country Boogie Series
Following in the path of its long-running That’ll Flat …. Git It! series, which presented a couple of dozen cds spotlighting rockabilly culled from the various record labels, Bear Family Records launched another, destined long-to-run series a couple of years ago under the title Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight. Whereas rockabilly drew from country and r ‘n’ b roots, this new series spotlighted the overlooked and generally neglected country boogie, disproving the myth that country boys didn’t get hip to the jive until Elvis came along. From the mid-1940s onward, country musicians were really shaking the shack. If you’ve ever wondered where the first generation rockabilly stars got half their style and half their cool, Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight provides the answer.

Already released in the series are compilations from Johnny Bond, The Carlisles, “Little” Jimmy Dickens, Red Foley, Pee Wee King, Maddox Bros & Rose and Faron Young, Bear Family Records now makes available another three, crammed packed cds …… this time featuring various artists from the RCA Victor vaults alongside compilations from two of country music’s most legendary and most distinctive sounding country entertainers, Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight!

Burn That Candle (CHARLINE ARTHUR); Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) (HAWKSHAW HAWKINS); Truck Driving Man (TERRY FELL); I Like Your Kind of love (MELVIN ENDSLEY); Blackberry Boogie (JOHNNIE LEE WILLS); Moon Joe (LAWTON WILLIAMS); Welcome To The Club (CHARLINE ARTHUR); Ling Ting Tong (HAWKSHAW HAWKINS); I Can Hear You Cluckin’ (TERRY FELL); Hep Cat Baby (EDDY ARNOLD); ROCK-A-Bye Boogie (DAVIS SISTERS); Hound Dog (JACK TURNER); Caffeine And Nicotine (CURTIS GORDON); So Lovely Baby (JOHNNIE & JACK); If It Ain’t On The Menu (HAWKSHAW HAWKINS); Just Look, Don’t Touch, He’s Mine (CHARLINE ARTHUR); Waitin’ For My Baby (Rock, Rock) (HAWKSHAW HAWKINS); That’s What I Like (TERRY FELL); Keep A-L:ovin’ Me, Baby (MELVIN ENDSLEY); Oo Oooh Daddy (JOHNNY LEE WILLS & HIS BOYS); Lightning Jones (LAWTON WILLIAMS); Honey Bun (CHARLINE ARTHUR); It Would Be A Doggon Lie (HAWKSHAW HAWKINS); Fa-So-La (TERRY FELL); Beatin’ Out The Boogie (On The Mississippi Mud) (LEE BELL); The Christmas Boogie (DAVIS SISTERS); Walkin’ A Chalk Line (JACK TURNER); Hadacillin Boogie (HANK PENNY); Move It on Over (JOHNNIE & JACK); Satisfied (MARTHA CARSON)

(Bear Family BCD 16864 AH)

Selected from the RCA Victor archives, this 30 track, 68 minute running time, collection lays on the fiddles and steel guitars throughout, all adding to the various artists’ genuine country credibility. Whereas rockabilly would often display its’ r ‘n’ b roots, there’s no doubting the country foundation that’s heard throughout this selection.

Perhaps several of the artists may not be familiar names to contemporary country music enthusiasts, though many contributed to the music’s commercial development and enjoyed considerable success in a bygone era. Eddy Arnold is among the most well known, and still reigns as country music’s all-time top chart artist, but changed his style somewhat with the Top 10 placed Hep Cat Baby. Top 1950s duo, Johnnie & Jack make a couple of appearances, the second giving a rousing version of Hank Williams’ Move It On Over; Hawkshaw Hawkins (who died in that plane crash that also took the lives of Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas) gives a country touch to the pop hit Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) just one of his quartet of offerings; the short-lived Davis Sisters display very fast, close harmonies on Rock-A-Boogie; Martha Carson presents her most well known title (though never a hit, strangely), the self-penned Satisfied; and western swing band leaders Johnnie Lee Wills and Hank Penny add their mid-west musical roots to the proceedings.

Among the (maybe) lesser known, Terry Fell performs the original version of the much covered Truck Driving Man; Melvin Endsley works a couple of his originals with I Like Your Kind Of Love and Keep A-Lovin’ Me, Baby; Charlene Arthur stood out from the demure image of her ‘50s female country parts – and boogied, perfectly showing her skills with such recordings as Burn That Candle and Honey Bun; and Alabama’s Jack Turner’s version of Hound Dog was one of several hillbilly covers recorded prior to Presley’s!

This selection of cuts is definitive proof that rock ‘n’ roll had hillbilly as well as R&B roots and squashes any impression that Elvis was the first to shake things up at RCA Victor! To throw even more light on the music, the cd comes with a 44 page booklet that provides a stack of information on the artists and recordings, penned by Colin Escott.

Now shake the shack more with collections from Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb, both 30 trackers and provide perfect introductions (should they be needed) to these Country Music Hall of Fame icons.

HANK SNOW The Goldrush Is Over

I'm Movin' On; The Rhumba Boogie; Unwanted Sign Upon Your Heart; The Golden Rocket; (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I; The Wreck Of The Old 97; Confused With The Blues; Don't Hang Around Me Anymore; Ben Dewberry's Final Run; Blue Ranger; One More Ride; Music Makin' Mama From Memphis; The Goldrush Is Over; Lady's Man; I Don't Hurt Anymore; The Reindeer Boogie; Honeymoon On A Rocketship; Southern Cannonball; Can't Have You Blues; Conscience I'm Guilty; Dog Bone; Hula Rock; Loose Talk; Squid Jiggin' Ground; The New Blue Velvet Band; Tangled Mind; On A Tennessee Saturday Night; I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail; Miller's Cave; I've Been Everywhere

(Bear Family BCD 16813 AH)


Thirty Days; I’m A Long Gone Daddy; Mean Mama Blues; Jimmie Rodgers’ Last Blue Yodel; Walkin’ The Floor Over You; I Ain’t Goin’ Honky Tonkin’ Anymore; Filipino Baby; So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed; My Tennessee Baby; You Narly Lose Your Mind; Tomorrow Never Comes; Tennessee Border #2 (& RED FOLEY); Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin; So Doggone Lonesome; Let’s Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello; Don’t Forbid Me; Don’t Brush Them On Me; Counterfeit Kisses; Two Glasses, Joe; Kansas City Blues; Have You seen My Boogie Woogie Baby; This Troubled Mind of Mine; My Hillbilly Baby; I’ll Get Along Somehow; Do It now; Mister Blues; White Silver Sands; Crazy Arms; Tennessee Saturday Night

(Bear Family BCD 16866 AH)

The Hank Snow collection might well be subtitled “Greatest Hits” as it features a number of this Nova Scotia born entertainer’s chart titles, including the number ones The Golden Rocket, I Don’t Hurt Anymore, I’ve Been Everywhere and the song that truly set his career in motion, I’m Movin’ On – a record that stayed at the top of the charts for 21 weeks, the longest time that any song stayed in that position.

The possessor of a highly distinctive vocal styling – a hallmark of many country singers before shades of pop took over the contemporary country music scene – and an equally distinctive guitar picker, Snow was also the master in handling intricate and often tongue twisting lyrics – as heard by such as other hits like Music Makin’ Mama From Memphis, Lady’s Man, Rhumba Boogie, Hula Rock and, of course, the frantically fast paced I’ve Been Everywhere. His repertoire was diverse and, here, moves from hints of the West with The Blue Ranger to classic trains songs like The Golden Rocket, Ben Dewberry’s Final Run and The Wreck Of The Old ’97. He even pays tribute to his early life with a salute to the Nova Scotia fishermen with Squid Jiggin’ Ground.

Among his many achievements, Hank Snow helped put Elvis Presley on the map as a tour support act (and provided him with A Fool Such As I) and, although he may have hated rock ‘n’ rock, showed that he could create an energetic recording as good as any rockabilly.

If anyone should be credited as the originator of honky-tonk music, then Texas born Ernest Tubb must claim the honour. This 30 track collection of up-tempo recordings proves it, each track oozing character and believability, with the gritty realism and warmth making up for the instances when Tubb’s voice wavers off-key. He bridged the pre-war years of his childhood influence Jimmie Rodgers and the post-war world of the honky-tonk and the developing Nashville Sound.

Several of Tubb’s chart hits are included, among them Thirty Days, Mean Mama Blues, Tomorrow Never Comes, Let’s Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello, Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin, Two Glasses Joe, Tennessee Border #2 (a duet with Red Foley that gave a humorous variation of Hank Williams’ original) and Walkin’ The Floor Over You, the 1941 hit that quickly became a hallmark song.

Ernest Tubb made records like none other, genuinely country and a universe away from today’s pop-country workings. He never read music nor ever wanted to, and it didn’t matter whether he hit a wrong note. “I’m not looking for perfection. Thousands of singers have tried that. I’m looking for individuality. I sing the way I feel like singing at that moment. I never sang for the dollar. I sing because I wanted to sing”. Music was his way of life and he was adored by crowds that packed the dance halls that he played over the decades. To those people it was real music, honky-tonk music …. Ernest Tubb’s music that counted. This cd provides the chance to sample over 77 minutes of it.

Both sets of tremendous recordings are given further insight into the respective artist’s careers with booklets, penned by Colin Escott and completed with rare photographs and detailed discographies.

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU.

phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:


4 cd Box Set Completes Bear Family Retrospect

Back in 1988, Bear Family Records began the monumental task of issuing every recording by Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music. Now, nearly 20 years and 5 box sets later, the task is completed. With this last collection, his final recordings, covering the period 1981-1994, are brought together in one box set comprising four compact discs and an 84 page, hardcover book.


(Bear Family BCD 16637 DK)

Bill Monroe’s final recordings add up to a mixed bag of items, with the legendary Hall of Famer loosening the tight reins he held over his earlier work, resulting in a music that holds far wider appeal than just for the bluegrass aficionados. This is most apparent that the recordings made with several mainstream country artists, including the likes of Waylon and Willie who, just a few years earlier, had defined their own musical intentions and picked up the “outlaw” tag. On the other hand, a second tribute album put the spotlight firmly upon bluegrass, uniting Monroe with several other leading exponents of the music. This collection also includes a hitherto unreleased gospel album, a concert recorded at the Grand Ole Opry and a radio special hosted by Marty Stuart.

The first disc kicks off with a succession of Monroe original instrumentals, recorded over the period February 3-19, 1981, produced by Walter Haynes, carrying on the task he had done for the past decade. With accompaniment, on the majority of tracks, by Wayne Lewis (guitar), Mark Hembree (string bass) and Kenny Baker (fiddle), the titles included such favourites as Ebeneezer Scrooge and Come Hither To Go Yonder, as well as Evening Prayer Blues, a tribute to early Opry performer DeFord Bailey. Released as Master Of Bluegrass, it was planned as “the mandolin album … the first one I’ve ever made” the artist commented, though background voices were added to My Last Days On Earth (another first for a Monroe recording), a track acclaimed as the album’s showpiece and was widely assumed that it was written as a last will and testament.

Disc one also features the unreleased live gospel album recorded at Cathedral Cavern, near Huntsville, Alabama, which featured many of Monroe’s longtime favourites including Precious Memories, Little Shepard, Wicked Path Of Sin and In The Gloryland Way. A project originated by Bill Monroe, this collection of songs – with the working title “the cavern album” - gains its first commercial airing in this box set, having been shelved after its completion 25 years ago, the most likely reasons being due to production and artistic differences.

The second cd brings together country and bluegrass entertainers paying their respects to the Father of Bluegrass Music. On an album released as Bill Monroe And Friends, a star line-up of 1980’s big country names add their voices to Monroe’s tenor vocals and mandolin work including Mel Tillis, Oak Ridge Boys, John Hartford, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs, Barbara Mandrell and Emmylou Harris. All the selections were composed by Monroe, the exceptions being With Body And Soul (sung with Waylon Jennings) and I Still Miss Someone (with Johnny Cash). Back in more natural surroundings, Stars Of The Bluegrass Hall Of Fame finds the father in the company of such disciples as Osborne Brothers, Carl Story, Jim & Jesse, Country Gentlemen, Mac Wiseman and Seldom Scene.

Now working with producer Emory Gordy Jr., the partnership saw old traditions mixed with contemporary recording techniques, brought together for the albums Bluegrass ’87 and Southern Flavor, both to be found on the third cd. The old ways continued with Monroe maintaining how his band should set up in the studio – everyone standing, gathered in a semi-circle, with eye contact and no headphones or sound baffles. Meanwhile Gordy had discovered the ideal way to adopt the artist’s music to the new digital technology with one of the main advantages being the ability to take parts of one performance and seamlessly patch them into another. Southern Flavor is regarded as the producer’s masterpiece: it received much critical acclaim and one of the tracks – Old Brown Country Barn – was nominated for a Grammy Award.

October 1989 saw Bill Monroe celebrating his 50th anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry, and both the Opry and MCA felt the occasion should be marked with an Opry concert album. Back by musicians Thomas Dollison (vocals/guitar), Blake Williams (baritone vocals/banjo), Billy Rose (string bass) and Clarence ‘Tater’ Tate (bass vocal/fiddle), Live At The Grand Ole Opry comprised tracks taken from appearances during May and June 1989. Treading familiar ground, the material such longtime classics as Molly and Tenbrooks, Footprints In The Snow, Precious Memories, Rawhide, In The Pines, Pike County Breakdown and I’m Working On A Building.

With the Opry recordings leading off this set’s fourth disc, the tracks continue with material produced for the gospel album Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord, laid down during the period May and July 1990. Accompanied by the Bluegrass Boys, several of the songs featured appearances by guest artists Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, Bobby Osborne, Jim & Jesse and Ricky Skaggs. This was Monroe’s last official studio release and the box set concludes with conversation and music with Marty Stuart (providing guitar accompaniment), recorded as a radio promotion for the 1994 four cd set titled The Music Of Bill Monroe, released by Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame. Between the conversation, the two artists perform Southern Flavor, Never Leave The “A” String, Tennessee Blues, I Love To Be Over Yonder, Rawhide and Sally Goodin.

My Last Days On Earth concludes the recording career of Bill Monroe, an amazing inventive musical journey that began in 1936 and fully chronicled by Bear Family Records. As with the previous releases, the cds are accompanied by a book – this time an 84 page, hardcover LP sized book written by Neil V. Rosenberg and the late Charles Wolfe, co-authors of The Music of Bill Monroe (University of Illinois Press: 2007). The box set book details all the recording sessions, providing an insight into the songs and musicians, alongside a mass of photographs taken during the period 1980-90 and full discography information.

Please see below for complete track listing of My Last Days On Earth.

In addition to releasing Bill Monroe’s last recordings, Bear Family Records also made available – a couple of years ago – a four cd set and one DVD of Monroe’s performances when touring Germany in 1975 and 1989. Titled Far Across The Water – Bill Monroe In Germany (Bear Family BCD 16624 EK), the 1975 tour saw one of the Bluegrass Boys best lineups – Kenny Baker (fiddle), Ralph Lewis (guitar), Bob Black (banjo) and Randy Davis (bass) – backing their leader on many of his best-known songs, including Muleskinner Blues, Footprints In The Snow, Rollin In My Sweet Baby’s Arms and Doin’ My Time, alongside a medley with German band, the E. L. Hillbillies. The second tour, which followed several bouts of ill health (but didn’t stop Monroe performing with his old vigor), saw a lineup featuring Tom Ewing (mandolin/tenor vocals), Blake Williams (banjo/baritone vocals), Billy Rose (acoustic bass) and Clarence ‘Tater’ Tate (fiddle/bass vocals). The concert recordings comprise 63 songs on the four cds, while the DVD presents 30 songs and an interview with Bill Monroe.

Bill Monroe on Bear Family:

Blue Moon of Kentucky (1936-1949) (6 cd box set) – BCD16399 FL

Blue Grass (1950-1958) (4 cd box set) – BCD15423 DH

Blue Grass (1959-1969) (4 cd box set) – BCD 15529 DH

Blue Grass (1970-1979) (4 cd box set) – BCD 15606 DI

My Last Days On Earth (1981-1994) (4 cd box set) – BCD 16637 DK

Far Across The Blue Water (4 cd + 1 DVD) – BCD 16624 EK

Two Days At Newport (single cd) – ACD 25001 AH

Live At Vanderbilt (single cd) – BCD 16614 AH

For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail:

Bill Monroe: My Last Days On Earth – track listing:

Disc 1 – Old Ebenezer Scrooge (instrumental); Go Hither To Go Yonder (instrumental); Right, Right On (instrumental); Lochwood (instrumental); Old Danger Field (instrumental); Fair Play (instrumental); Melissas's Waltz For J.B. (instrumental); Lady Of The Blue Ridge (instrumental); My Last Days On Earth (instrumental with vocal backing); Evening Prayer Blues (instrumental); . Precious Memories; Little Shepherd (instrumental); The Old Crossroads; Wayfaring Stranger; In The Gloryland Ways; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; Shouting On The Hills Of Glory; Baptize Me In The Cumberland River; Wicked Path Of Sin; I'll Fly Away

Disc 2 – My Louisiana Love (& Mel Tillis); Is The Blue Moon Still Shining (Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers); My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin' (& Ricky Skaggs); Old Riverman (& John Hartford); With Body And Soul (& Waylon Jennings); I Still Miss Someone (& Johnny Cash); Blue Moon Of Kentucky (& The Oak Ridge Boys); The Sunset Trail (& Willie Nelson); Kentucky Waltz (& Emmylou Harris); My Rose Of Old Kentucky (& Barbara Mandrell); I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling (& The Osborne Brothers); True Life Blues (& Carl Story); Lord, Protect My Soul (& The Country Gentlemen); Travelin' This Lonesome Road (& Mac Wiseman); I'm On My Way Back To The Old Home (& Jim & Jesse); Mighty Dark To Travel (& Jim & Jesse); Remember The Cross (& The Seldom Scene); Let The Gates Swing Wide (& Tater Tate); Can't You Hear Me Callin' (& Ralph Stanley); The Golden West (instrumental) (& Bobby Hicks); Old Brown County Barn (instrumental) (& Bobby Hicks); I'm Going Back To Old Kentucky (& Del McCoury); Bluest Man In Town (& Del McCoury)

Disc 3 – Dancin' In Brancin' (instrumental); Jekyll Island (instrumental); Stay Away From Me; Music Valley Waltz; Angels Rock Me To Sleep; The Long Bow (instrumental); God Holds The Future In His Hands; The Old Crossroads; Southern Flavour (instrumental); Stone Coal (instrumental); Texas Lone Star (instrumental); Sugar Loaf Mountain (instrumental); The Days Gone By; White Rose; Life's Highway; Give Me Wings; What A Wonderful Life; Take Courage Un' Tomorrow

Disc 4 – Molly And Tenbrooks; Footprints In The Snow; Sittin' Alone In The Moonlight; Precious Memories; Rawhide; My Sweet Darlin'; In The Pines; Love, Please Come Home; Pike County Breakdown (instrumental); I'm Working On A Building; Watermelon Hanging On The Vine (instrumental); Just A Little Talk With Jesus; Harbor Of Love; Are You Lost In Sin?; He'll Take You In; Just Over In The Glory Land; Baptize Me In The Cumberland River; You're Drifting Away; This World Is Not My Home; Cryin' Holy Unto The Lord; Shine Hallelujah Shine; Boston Boy (instrumental); Southern Flavor (instrumental); Never Leave The E-String (instrumental); Tennessee Blues (instrumental); I'd Love To Be Over Yonder (instrumental); Rawhide (instrumental); Sally Goodin (instrumental)


Bear Family Release Second Box Set

Rockabilly Classics & Country Recordings

Back in 1999, Bear Family released its first Bob Luman box set – a five cd collection bringing together his recordings for Epic and Polydor Records during the period 1967-77. Now, with this new release that comprises his output for Imperial, Capitol, Warner Bros and Hickory (1955-67), plus demos and other rarities, the Bob Luman recording history is complete.

BOB LUMAN Let’s Think About Living (Bear Family BCD 16259 DL)

Although he is regarded as one of rockabilly’s most famous names, Bob Luman’s music stretched a far wider area as this collection clearly reveals. In retrospect his rockabilly output was fairly limited and, once into the Nashville mainstream, his recordings covered stone country, country-pop and crossover, all fitting within the parameters of the Nashville Sound. His biggest hit, though, came near the beginning of his recording career – Let’s Think About Living – a lament to all those country singers being killed off in song, a pseudo rockabilly offering that enjoyed chart topping country-pop crossover success in 1960.

Like many other young singers of the early and mid ‘50s, Elvis Presley affected their styles and aspirations. Born Bobby Glynn Luman, he was born in Blackjack, Texas and was hesitant in choosing between baseball and music ….. that is, until he caught Presley in action during a tour of the Lone Star State. Then it was clear what career to pursue – and it wasn’t to be just leading a fairly traditional country band. Further enthusiasm came when he crossed paths with Mac Curtis, then beginning his career on King, and success at a Houston talent contest led Luman to cut his first demo session: these six titles, including Let Her Go and In The Deep Dark Jungle, kick off this collection. Shortly afterwards, with no recording deal but a growing reputation, he joined the cast of the Louisiana Hayride. There he teamed up with guitarist James Burton and, with other musicians, formed his new group, The Shadows. (The members would later move on to work with Ricky Nelson and Burton, of course, became an essential member of Presley’s ensemble).

Bob Luman’s first recording deal came with Imperial, signed by the label’s president Lew Chudd, who had already brought other Hayride artists Slim Whitman and Charley Walker to the roster. Luman worked four sessions for Imperial, all in 1957, which presented material that was geared towards both grown-ups (All Night Long and Amarillo Blues) and younger (rockabilly classics like Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache, Red Hot and Svengali) listeners, with the his strong vocals powerfully backed by Burton’s guitar work. This early period of Luman’s career also saw him making appearances on the West Coast’s weekly Town Hall Party (now seen on a Bear Family DVD release) and in the cult Roger Corman, low budget movie “Carnival Rock”.

Although Luman’s Imperial recordings didn’t producer any hits, it stirred up attention (one result being that Warren Smith, on Sun, covered Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache) and he moved on to Capitol Records. The results of this two session, two single, sojourn were less than spectacular and next came the fledgling Warner Bros. Records, which was angling towards the teen market having recently signed the Everly Brothers. After two misses the dejected singer was ready to quit the business and try his luck with baseball, were it not for the Everly’s who suggested that he meet with their mentors, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, as they felt the songwriters would have the right song for him.

With one single owing on his Warners contract, Bob Luman cut Let’s Think About Living on July 11, 1960 in Nashville. Within three months it was riding high in both the Pop and Country Music charts – and set to make similar impressions in several international markets. Besides giving him his much sought after success, the song was also set to alter the whole foundation of his career as it brought music publisher Wesley Rose (head of Acuff-Rose Music and the publishers of the Bryant’s songs) into his life. From then on, through the rest of his Warner Bros. contract and continuing with Hickory Records, up until 1967, Rose guided Luman’s career with the proverbial iron hand in a velvet glove. He was the man essentially in charge, deciding what the artist recorded and what the label released. But Rose wasn’t able to take charge in the affairs of Uncle Sam. Just when Luman needed to make personal appearances and concert performances, he received his call-up papers and began a period of military service. But he did managed to fit in recording dates at weekends and achieved a degree of attention with The Great Snowman, a song – cites its’ composer John D. Loudermilk – that was entirely wrong as a follow-up, adding that Rocks Of Reno worked much better.

With no further hits on Warner Bros., and military service over, Luman began a new recording era on Hickory Records, a division of Acuff-Rose Music, and although the Acuff-Rose writers monopolized the recording schedules – among them the aforementioned Loudermilk and the Bryants, alongside others like Don Gibson, Roy Orbison and Doug Kershaw – they did provide him a succession of chart hits, albeit minor ones. They included The File, Five Miles From Home, Poor Boy Blues, Come On And Sing, Hardly Anymore, If You Don’t Love Me, It’s All Over (But The Shouting) and Still Loving You during a five year period. While with the label he also recorded a couple of duets with Sue Thompson, Too Hot To Dance and I Like Your Kind Of Love.

Bob Luman moved on to Epic Records in 1968 and made around 25 chart appearances during his nine year association with the label, giving him his greatest period of success. This came as a country artist, his biggest hits being Lonely Women Make Good Lovers, Neither One Of Us and Still Loving You, a new version of his earlier Hickory hit. The Epic recordings, and the subsequent Polydor titles, are already covered in Bear Family’s earlier box set.

This new set, Let’s Think About Living, comprises 117 titles from his earliest years of recording (1955-67), and brings together recordings that, previously, were scattered across dozens of obscure or out-of-print LPs and CDs. Besides the recordings for the various labels, which also includes unissued items and some alternative versions, there’s also the early demos and the songs heard on the “Carnival Rock” soundtrack. The 4 cds are accompanied by a lavishly illustrated 102 page book by music historian Hank Davis which details Bob Luman’s career and includes previously unpublished interviews with James Burton, John D. Loudermilk and buddies Bobby Bare and Mac Curtis. It is completed with many rare and hitherto unseen photographs and a fully detailed discography, adding up to the set that the Bob Luman fans have been waiting for!

Complete track listing for “Let’s Think About Living” (BCD 16259 DL):

Disc 1: Stranger Than Fiction - You're The Cause Of It All - That's Alright - Hello Baby - In The Deep Dark Jungle - Let Her Go - Let It Happen - No Use in Lying - That's Alright - Hello Baby - Shadow Rock - Jumping With The Shadows - The Creep - All Night Long - Amarillo Blues - Wild Eyed Woman - Red Cadillac And A Black Mustache - Blue Days, Black Nights - This Is The Night - The Creep - All Night Long - Whenever You're Ready - Your Love - Make Up Your Mind Baby - Make Up Your Mind Baby (wild version) - Red Hot - Guitar Picker - Your Love - Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache - Your Love - Make Up Your Mind Baby

Disc 2: Everybody's Talkin' - Chain Of Love - I Know My Baby Cares - Try Me - A Lover's Prayer - Precious - Svengali - My Baby Walks All Over Me - Class of '59 - Loretta - Loretta - Class of '59 - You're Like A Stranger In My Arms - Boom Boom Boom Yippy Yi Ya - Boom Boom Boom Yippy Yi Ya (alt) - My Baby Walks All Over Me - Dreamy Doll - Lonely Road - Buttercup - Love Creator - Let's Think About Living - You've Got Everything - Meet Mr. Mud - Throwin' Kisses - Oh Lonesome Me - Everytime The World Goes 'Round - Why, Why, Bye, Bye - You Win Again - Jealous Heart

Disc 3: Bad Bad Day - I Love You So Much It Hurts - I Love You Because - The Great Snowman - The Pig Latin Song - You Turned Down The Lights - Boston Rocker - Old Friends - Private Eye - Lousiana Man - Rocks Of Reno - Big River Rose - Belonging To You - You're Everything - The Fool - Envy - Hey Joe - You're Welcome - I'm Gonna Write A Song About You - (Can't Get You) Off My Mind - Interstate Forty - Too Hot To Dance (& Sue Thompson) - I Like Your Kind Of Love (& Sue Thompson) - The File - Can't Take The Country From The Boy - (Empty Walls) A Lonely Room - Run On Home Baby Brother - Bigger Men Than I (Have Cried) - (I Get So) Sentimental

Disc 4: Old George Dickel - Tears From Out Of Nowhere - Fire Engine Red - Go On Home Boy - Freedom Of Living - Freedom Of Living (overdub) - Love Worked A Miracle - Poor Boy Blues - Poor Boy Blues (instrumental overdub) - Poor Boy Blues (alternate vocal) - Five Miles Away From Home (Soon I'll See Mary) - The Best Years Of My Wife - So Happy For You - Hardly Anymore - Yes Dear, There Is A Virginia - Come On And Sing - Come On And Sing (alt) - Something Special - Love Stay Away From Me - It's A Sin - It's A Sin (alt) - Almost Persuaded - Saving It For You - Night Without End - Running Scared - It's All Over (But The Shouting) - Still Loving You - If You Don't Love Me (Then Why Don't You Leave Me Alone)

Also available from Bear Family:

Carnival Rock/Teenage Thunder (soundtrack) (single cd – ACD 25003 AH)

At ‘Town Hall Party’ (DVD – BVD 20004 AT)

Luman 1968-77 (5 cd box set – BCD 15898 EL)

For more information on this collection and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail: