Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Here`s a good, country electric guitar record. Jackie got started as a professional musician in the late 40`s by my estimation. He could play about anything. I have heard recordings with him on 5-string banjo playing "sort of bluegrass" with what I believe to be 2 finger picking. He was also a good lap steel picker. I think I have saw a film clip of him playing lap steel with Lonzo & Oscar before. Probably the best place to look for Jackie early in his career is in the old Gannaway Country Show films from about 1952 -1955-ish where he plays electric lead guitar in some episodes on a pretty strangely shaped guitar. He wasn`t the very best electric guitarist, but in the 50`s was likely in the top 10 in country music. He also done studio session musician work in the 50`s and 60`s, so there`s no telling how many times we may have heard him and didn`t know it was him. He played in Roy Acuff`s Smoky Mountain Boys for most of the 60`s, possibly starting in the late 50`s.
What Jackie is most famous for though was his career on Hee Haw. He temed up with Jimmie Riddle to do the Eeephin` & Hambone act. Hambone is a technique of slapping various body parts with your hand (or hands) to make "music", mostly a rhythm technique. Jackie was the Hambone part of the act. There is some videos on You Tube of them from Hee Haw doing their act.
Enjoy this one!
Click here to download Jackie Phelps - Golden Guitar Classics
Monday, October 18, 2010
Here a nice LP by a great artist. Jimmie started professional music with the Swift Jewel Cowboys (which I`ve never heard or know anything about) In the late 30`s on accordion. Then, about 1940 or 41 Roy Acuff hired him. At first he played mostly accordion (for some reason accordion was popular in country music then, likely due to the popularity of Pee Wee King. Bill Monroe even used one for awhile.) As time went by through the 40`s he gradually switched to mostly harmonica. Listen to Roy Acuff recordings in the 40`s to really hear Jimmie.
Jimmie was a GREAT harmonica player. Besides playing and recording with Acuff, he was a session man on many records in the 60`s.
He was well known for making and imitating all sorts of sounds. One thing he was famous for was the great old harmonica standard, The Fox Chase, and was very good at making the sounds with his harp and voice.
Now friends----the thing he is best remembered for is his stint on Hee Haw with Jackie Phelps (Phelps had played electric guitar with Acuff in the 60`s and him and Riddle got together then) performing their act of Hambone and Eeephin`. If you ever saw it one single time you`ll remember it. I loved it when I was a kid.
Now a little about the LP. It`s a good harmonica record, but don`t really capture Jimmie somehow for me. Still a good download though.
Click here to download Jimmie Riddle - Country Harmonica
Here is where Jimmie really starts to get interesting (at least to my warped taste). I have included scans of both the promo copy and the public issue of the 45.
Click here to download Jimmie Riddle - Decca 45
Now we are gonna get just plumb ridiculous! I had found a few things of Jimmie on the internet about Eeephin`.
1. Jimmie`s Eeephin` Lesson
2. Little Eeephin` Annie (an early 60`s release by a rock artist I can`t remember the name of, so sorry)
3. Last known recording of Jimmie Eeephin`
Click here to download Jimmie Riddle Eeephin`
I have heard a rumor that Jimmie recorded another LP, but have never been able to find one or any information about it. PLEASE contact me through the blog if you have any information about it.
Below is a picture of a cd that is available of Jimmie Riddle and Jackie Phelps. It was apparently recorded and never released by Starday on LP for some reason. If you like the downloads, you`ll really like the cd. Huntin` Blues is a great one!!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
A Very aptly named album. The Crook Brothers and Sam & Kirk McGee had been on the Grand Ole Opry from it`s birth pretty much (at least within about 6 months of it`s birth) till each one of them passed away. Sam McGee passed away in 1975 (on the Opry 50 years) and Kirk in 1983 (on the Opry 58 years). Herman Crook passed away in 1988 at age 89 and was still performing, very well at that (on the Opry 63 years, a record I believe).
On thing that made the Crook Brothers unique was that they were led by Herman`s harmonica as lead instrument, not the fiddle. The Crook Brothers were originally Herman and his brother Matthew playing twin harmonicas. Sometime around 1929, Matthew quit to become a policeman, leaving Herman as the groups star. From that time on the group featured twin harmonica and fiddle as the lead instruments, still pretty unique. Also, Herman added another member to the group on banjo, Lewis Crook. As unusual as Crook is for a last name, Herman and Lewis were not related. Herman and Lewis were both in the band till Herman passed away in 1988. Here`s a little known piece of Opry trivia---in the early days of the Opry, the Crook Brothers occasionally featured a vocal tune. Lewis Crook was the first person to sing Will The Circle Be Unbroken on the Opry. This song has became somewhat of an anthem for country music.
The McGee Brothers, Sam & Kirk, were pretty popular stars in their time. Discovered by none other than Uncle Dave Macon, they teamed up with Macon and got started in their musical careers that way. Sam was a virtuoso finger-picker on the guitar in the old country-parlor style and was also very blues influenced. He also played 5-string banjo and banjo-guitar. Kirk was a really good 5-string picker, both in clawhammer style and 2 finger style. He was also a good 2 finger guitar player. He also played fiddle some. Sam`s vocals leaned toward comic and novelty songs while Kirk leaned towards sentimental type tunes. They were popular Opry performers all through the years.
The songs on this record are all good`uns. All the Crook Brothers tunes are songs you would expect to hear a Tennessee string band play. The McGee`s tunes are a little more varied. ALL are great tunes, both for the songs and the musicianship.
In the download I have included a song not on the LP. The tune is Lost Indian by the Crook Brothers. It was recorded at the session but not released on the record. It was released on one of the many Starday various artist LP`s. I wonder how many tunes was recorded by each group that wasn`t released. Sam & Kirk made many records through the years, but Herman Crook was reluctant to make records for some reason. I heard that this sold well enough that Herman was approached again to record and just wouldn`t, too bad for us.
Hope you enjoy this one!
Click here to download Opry Old Timers - Sam & Kirk McGee and The Crook Brothers