Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.
The Story of Eddie Bond's Millionaire and Western Lounge labels
Memphis music personality Eddie Bond had many occupations at the same time. A singer, club owner, radio DJ, TV personality, producer, promoter, and label owner are likely only a couple of functions. He set up his first label Stomper Time Records in 1959, named after his background band, the Stompers. He went on to cut countless 45s for small local labels, including the Millionaire and Western Lounge imprints.
Eddie Bond at KWEM
After Stomper Time folded in ca. 1961, he switched to small Arkansas and Memphis based labels, for which he recorded various discs. Bond filed a petition in bankruptcy in early 1965.He had led a night club in partnership with Baxter Turnage butthe club proved to be unsuccessful however, and after Turnage's sudden death in 1964, Bond was left alone with the debths. Bond however, was provided with enough engagements, recording releases and his steady job as the programm director of KWAM. He released "Cold Dark Waters" on Buford Cody's Memphis label in 1965, which turned out to be a moderate seller for Bond. Soon, things were "looking rosier" for Bond, as Billboard reported in February 1965, and around the same time, he became involved in the Millionaire Music Corporation, which included a
publishing firm and two labels, Millionaire and Western Lounge (also
shortened to Western at times). The company's name and its slogan "That Million Dollar Memphis Sound," which was printed on both labels variously, were of ironic nature, regarding Bond's financial problems. It is not clear to me if Bond really owned the companies but he was at least heavily involved in them. In November 1965, Billboard reported that the Western Lounge on 1298 Madison Avenue, Memphis, had set up a label of the same name. Bond's involvement in this label was not mentioned probably due to his bankruptcy. The first two discs on the label were by Dean Cross, a local singer who regularly appeared at the Western Lounge. On February 13, 1966, Cross took part in a charity concert at the Lounge at also included Ace Cannon, Ray Scott, Jerry Fox, and Eddie Bond.
Bond released several 45s on Millionaire as well as an album "Favorite Country Hits from Down Home" (Millionaire #MLP1618) in 1967. Both Millionaire and Western Lounge became dormant after 1967. Bond recorded one disc for Stan Kesler's XL label in 1968 and that same year, his Tab recording label came into existence, for which he recorded steadily during the early 1970s.
Millionaire MM-126 Lloyd Arnold Wake My Heart () / That's How I Wake Up (Lloyd Arnold) T4KM-5279 / T4KM-5280 (RCA) 1966
I've Got to Tell Somebody (Ed Veglio, Wm. H. Talbert) / I Just Thought I'd Ask ()
TK4M-4066 / ? (RCA)
Millionaire MC 444/5 (698B-9721)
Is My Ring on Your Finger (Wayne Walker) / The Little Black Book (Webb Pierce; Wayne Walker; Polly Harrison)
T4KM-9721 / T4KM-9722 (RCA)
1966 Millionaire MC-446 Eddie Bond Looks Like a Monkey () / Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our Future () 112 / 113 1967 Western Lounge Western Lounge 1298 Dean Gross Hello Frisco, Goodbye Viet Nam (Gene Rowe) / The Stronger of the Two (Gene Rowe) SO 2731 / SO 2732 (Plastic Products) 1965 Western Lounge W-1300 Dean Cross Look In My Boot (Curtis Marshall) / Six By Six By Three (Curtis Marshall) TK4M-4030 / TK4M-4031 (RCA) 1966 Western Lounge W-1301/2 Tommy Tucker Everybody's Darlin' Plus Mine (Robbins) / Sorry About That (Edna Lee) TK4M-4547 / TK4M-4548 (RCA) 1966 Western W-111 The Fabulous Jack Fargo Little Rosa (W. Pierce; R. Sovine) / I Just Dropped In to Say Goodybe (J. Pierce) P-14 / P-15 Note: This disc was also released in 1962 on Pen #111. Western Lounge WPR-311 Frankie Bonds Ballad of H. H. McKnight (Tommy Tompsen) / Go on Break My Heart (Frankie Bond) A / B
Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin!
Here is a nice compilation by Bob O'Brien, featuring "rare R&B" that all of you will enjoy, I'm pretty sure. Track information has been carefully researched by Bob and can be found in the original file names. ♪♫ track list: 1. Bill Doggett Combo - Big Dog, Pt. 1 2. Mildred Anderson with Bill Doggett‘s Combo - You Ain‘t No Good 3. Bill Doggett Combo - Glo‘ Glug 4. Mildred Anderson with Bill Doggett‘s Combo - Your Kind of Woman 5. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - Castle Rock 6. Anisteen Allan with Lucky Millender & his Orch. - I‘m Waiting Just for You 7. The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man 8. Fats Domino - The Fat Man 9. Jimmy Forrest - Night Train 10. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - Night Train-All Night Long Medley 11. Big Joe Turner - Chains of Love 12. Jackie Brenston with Ike Turner‘s Band - Rocket 88 13. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - Pink Champagne 14. Julia Lee & her Boyfriends - The Spinach Song 15. Oscar McLollie & his Honey Jumpers - The Honey Jump, Pt. 1 & 2 16. Rusty Bryant‘s Carolyn Club Band - The Honeydripper 17. Jimmy Preston & his Prestonians - Rock this Joint 18. Annie Laurie - 3 Times 7 19. Louis Jordan & his Tympany Five - Saturday Night Fish Fry 20. Big Joe Turner with Wynonie Harris - Battle of the Blues, Pt. 1 21. Wynonie Harris with Big Joe Turner - Battle of the Blues, Pt. 2 22. Big Jay McNeely - 3-D 23. Hadda Brooks - Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back 24. Wynonie Harris with Lucky Milliner & his Orch. - Oh! Babe 25. Albert Ammons, Meade ‘Lux‘ Lewis, Pete Johnson - Boogie Woogie Prayer (live)
Judging from the sound of this record, it was recorded and released in the 1970s. I wasn't able to turn up any info on Cindy Price, unfortunately, but the background band is credited as "Marianna Jamboree Band." It is likely this was the house band of the "Arkansas Jamboree" in Marianna, Arkansas, a live stage show that also included rockabilly musician Jimmy Evans and his daughter Debbie for years. Country music singer Truman Lankford was also part of that show for five years. The Arkansas Jamboree was produced partially by Jack Richard Northrup and also released a LP (see here). It is neither to be confused with the "Arkansas Jamboree Barndance" (later renamed "Barnyard Frolic"), which aired over KLRA from 1946 until 1960 in Little Rock, nor with the 1980s Arkansas Jamboree in Hot Springs.
Delta Records was one of the labels Dan Craft was operating out of his recording studio in West Memphis, Arkansas, which is located only 50 miles northeast of Marianna. Songwriter Harold F. "Buddy" Clements registered six different songs with BMI. Apart from that, he left no info behind. The publishing firm Jamdan also published compositions by Sonny Blake, who also recorded for Dan Craft.
The great quantity of artists with the name "Bob Taylor" in the music business makes it hard to tell who is who. This one, and this is pretty sure, was a local Memphis artist. However, several persons with this name appeared over the years in the Memphis music scene and it is again difficult to tell them apart (if this is necessary at all).
Today's Bob Taylor was born Robert R. Taylor and recorded at least five records for the Express label (likely his own imprint), another two for Gene Williams' Cotton Town Jubilee Records and one for Style Wooten's Tentay custom label.
The chronology of Taylor'sExpress singles is not clear. The first one was probably the sentimental "Timber
Falling" b/w "It's All Over Now," which was produced by Thomas Wayne
and thefore probably recorded at Roland Janes' Sonic Studio in Memphis.
The disc was pressed by Wayne Raney's Rimrock plant in Concord,
Arkansas. The record label credits Taylor as "The Singing Truck Driver"
and shows a truck as the label's logo. It is obvious Taylor held a day
job as a truck driver. Four more discs on Express followed. Publishing was credited to Rexclan Publishing Company, which has 22 compositions listed by BMI, the majority of them by Bob Taylor. It can be assumed Express as well as Rexclan were both Taylor's own companies.
In 1963 and 1965, Taylor had two releases respectively on Cotton Town Jubilee in West Memphis. He possibly appeared on Gene Williams' Cotton Town Jubilee show as well. Through Williams, Taylor made the connection with Style Wooten, who made his first steps in the recording production business at that time. In 1965, Taylor recorded for Wooten's Tentay label "After the Trial" b/w "Like a Crazy Fool" (both Rexclan Publ.). This is what we know for sure.
There was also a Bob Taylor who played drums with Narvel Felts in the 1950s and another one who became president of the Memphis Federation of Musicians. Murray Nash also recorded a singer named Bob Taylor on his Do-Ra-Me label in 1963. All three could be the same Bob Taylor from Memphis, which has to be proofed yet.
Express ES 1: Bob Taylor, the Singing Truckdriver - Timber Falling / It's All Over Now Express ES 2: Bob Taylor - Ode to Jimmy Hoffa / Our Country Has Had It
Express 711: Bob Taylor and the Mystics - Love That Woman / Like I Want to Be Loved (1962) Express 713: Bob Taylor - Don't Accuse Me / Blue Lights Express 714: Bob Taylor - Hall of Fame / You'll Never Want for Love
Cotton Town Jubilee 107: Bob Taylor - If I Had Back What I Used to Have / Walking the Street (1963)
Cotton Town Jubilee 114: Bob Taylor - Did You Miss Me / You've Gone and Broke My Heart (1965)
Tentay 45-1041: Bob Taylor - After the Trial / Like a Crazy Fool (1965)
Stan Kesler's Crystal label has been overshadowed by his other efforts in Memphis and popular American music history. Crystal marked Kesler's first steps as an independent record producer and although it was only a rather short-lived venture, it was home to a handful of noteworthy singles, some of them enjoy cult status among rockabilly collectors. Stanley Augustus Kesler was born on August 11, 1928, in Abbeville, Mississippi. It became evident in his early years that Kesler was a talented musician, as he learned to play mandolin and guitar as a child. He joined the US Marines in the 1940s and it was during this time that he mastered also the steel guitar. After his discharge in 1946, he began working with a couple of country bands. First he performed with an outfit that also included his brothers, then joining Al Rodgers' combo in Amarillo, Texas.
By 1950, Kesler had moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he soon found work with different groups as a steel guitarist. The most prominent of them was Clyde Leoppard's Snearly Ranch Boys, a western swing band that enjoyed great popularity in Memphis and West Memphis, playing regular shows on KWEM and being the house band at the Cotton Club in West Memphis. Kesler would work on and off during the 1950s and 1960s with the band and many members of the Ranch Boys. Leoppard managed to organize a recording session for the band at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service in 1955. Kesler not only played steel on the session but provided also the song material, "Lonely Sweetheart" and "Split Personality," the latter co-written with fellow Snearly Ranch Boy William E. "Bill" Taylor, who also was the vocalist on those sides. Sam Phillips released the band's recordings on his country label Flip Records in February 1955.
The Flip single had brought Kesler to the attention of Sam Phillips and he began working for Phillips as a musician, songwriter, and engineer. Elvis Presley recorded Kesler's "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (co-written with Bill Taylor) and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" (co-written with Charlie Feathers) in 1955 for Sun. Kesler also played on many country Sun recordings during this time. In late 1956, Kesler learned to play bass, which eventually became his main instrument. After leaving his mark at Sun, Kesler set out on his own in late 1957 and went into partnership with Eugene Lucchesi and Drew Canale. They foundedCrystal Records with Kesler running essentially the label in creative terms, while Lucchesi and Canale mainly served as investors. The first single was by Jean Kelly, "Someone to Love" b/w "I Keep Forgetting" (Crystal #500), released in either late 1957 or early 1958. Kelly was born in 1935 in Braden, Texas. Next up was Don Hosea, who also recorded for Sun and for Billy Lee Riley's Rita label. Hosea recorded "Everlasting Love" for Crystal, which was later that year recorded by Barbara Pittman for Phillips International. Originally hailing from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Hosea spent much of the 1950s and 1960s in Memphis, performing with the Snearly Ranch Boys and the Bill Black Combo. He left for Nashville in 1967, where he found work as a songwriter. Jimmy Knight with "You'll Always Be Mine" b/w "Hula Bop" (Crystal #502) had another interesting disc on Crystal. Knight was also a member of the Snearly Ranch Boys at the time of this release and sang with Kesler's vocal group "The Sunrays." The Stan Kesler-Bill Taylor written "Hula Bop" was likely one of the band's standards, as it had been recorded three years earlier by Snearly Ranch Boy Smokey Joe Baugh for Sun with the band providing the backing. Crystal #503 was by Jimmy Pritchett, another of Kesler's discoveries. Kesler rented studio time at radio WHBQ to record the Ramon Maupin penned "Nothing on My Mind" and the stunning "That's the Way I Feel" with Pritchett but Kesler ran into problems with the equipment at the studio. Therefore, he instead used Sam Phillips' Sun studio. Sources often credit the Snearly Ranch Boys playing on this record but actually the background band sounds more like Sun's rockabilly staff of Roland Janes (guitar) and Jimmy Van Eaton (drums). May it as it be, the single made some noise around Memphis but finally shared the fate of its presecurors and went nowhere. According to Kesler, there were a couple of other releases on Crystal, which have yet to be located, however. Kesler became dissatisfied with his partner Canale and recalled: "Canale put in a thousand dollars and expected back 10,000 next week [...]. Me and Drew wouldn't work." In the end, Crystal was shut down and in 1959, Kesler began a new project with Clyde Leoppard and Jack Clement, opening their own recording studio for a short time. Kesler later established the Echo Recording Studio on Manassas Avenue and ran the Pen and XL labels. Under his supervision, a couple of big pop hits were produced in Memphis during the 1960s and 1970s. He eventually returned to Sun and engineered sessions there well into the 2000s.
Jean Kelly, the Cotton Patch Cinderella
Someone to Love (Stan Kesler) / I Keep Forgetting (William E. Taylor)
C-100 / C-101
Everlasting Love (Stan Kesler) / I'll Try Again (Don Hosea)
Billy Eldridge was a member of the Fireballs, a local rock'n'roll band from Fort Pierce, Florida. They were recording for Vulco Records, a small label operated by Irvin Vulgamore, who also owned a small record shop that had opened in early 1956. The Fireballs were founded in 1958 or earlier and were led by Pat Richmond. Members included Jim King, Pat Richmond (vocals), Vern Strickland (lead guitar), Billy Eldridge (vocals/guitar), Jim Sanders (guitar), Leo Law (piano), and Jac Morris (drums). Discovered by Vulgamore while playing a club date in 1958, they were asked by Vulgamore to record for him. At Criteria Studios in Miami, the band cut a staple of songs, including the famous "Let's Go Baby." Written by band member Jim King, the song wasn't more than an idea when they decided to record it during the session. On that same session, the Fireballs backed up local DJ Doug Dickens with Eldridge on lead guitar. Dickens recorded "Raw Deal" and "Lucy's Graveside." "Don't Stop the Rockin'" / "Honey Bee Baby" by the Fireballs with Pat Richmond on vocals made up both the label's and the band's first release (Vulco #1500) in 1958. It was followed by "Let's Go Baby" with vocals by Billy Eldridge (Vulco #1501) in early 1959. The songs were published by Henry Stone's Sherlyn-Pent publishing company and "Let's Go Baby" was received well locally. Stone was possibly responsible for bringing it to the attention of the United Artists label, which issued the single nationally on its subsidiary Unart. Billy Eldridge and the Fireballs built up quite a reputation locally, performing at clubs and bars around Fort Pierce. They also appeared several times on Uncle Martin Wales' "Sunset Ranch" and Happy Harold's shows, both originated from the Miami-Dade area. After another single ("Take My Love" / "Half a Heart", Vulco #1506), they recorded today's pick in 1961. While "There's a Reason" was a typical ballad from those days, the flip "It's Over" is an haunting performance by the band, although it is considered to be inferior to "Let's Go Baby" by collectors. The disc was arranged and produced by Fireballs member Vern Strickland and both songs were Eldridge originals. One more record appeared ("Sneaky" / "Maria Elena", Vulco #1510) but soon after, the Fireballs probably disbanded. Eldridge then embarked on a solo career. He joined up with another Fort Pierce resident, Gary Stewart, and they began writing songs. After they managed to get their composition ""Poor Red Georgia Dirt" recorded by Stonewall Jackson, the duo moved to Nashville, where they successfully settled as a songwriting duo. Eldridge recorded for Kapp in 1969 but he and Stewart returned to Fort Pierce in the early 1970s. Stewart took another approach in 1973 and went on to national fame as a country singer. Eldridge continued to play at bars on weekends in Fort Pierce.
Another bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin!
Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan) born in Baltimore Maryland in 1915 was a jazz and pop singer with a very thin, almost waifish voice who, after a troubled childhood and playing Harlem clubs was discovered in 1935 and signed to Brunswick Records and then had major success on Columbia and Decca Records well into the 1940's, including "Solitude" featured here. "Lady Day" as she was known had a successful career, including three sold out concerts at Carnegie Hall during her lifetime and other venues including Europe and a cornacopia of solid jazz recordings right up to her death in 1959 despite the fact that her life was filled with professional and personal problems and financial problems intensified by her blatant use of alcohol and heroin, which killed her in 1959, essentially hospitalized in police custody and near penniless in a New York City hospital at age 44.Her life was a long and at times sordid story packed into those few short years which can be found elsewhere. Her music and her voice lives on, thanks be to God.
♪ Billie Holiday - Solitude Helen Humes born in 1913 in Louisville Kentucky, the only child of a well-to-do Black couple and was raised with a solid background in church singing and piano and organ lessons. By age 14, she had the good luck to be recorded by Okeh Records and again in in 1929. at age 16. Music did not appear to be in the cards for her professionally, but a trip to Buffalo New York turned into a $35.00 a week job singing with a small group for a long while. 1936 saw Helen at the Cincinnati Cotton Club still making that $35.00 a week. Count Basie came through Cincinnati about that time and offered Helen $35.00 a week to replace the now gone Billie Holiday. She turned him down flat as she was already making an easy $35.00 a week with Al Sears and his small group whom she originally played with in Buffalo N.Y. During a gig in New York City, producer John Hammond convinced her to record 4 sides with the Harry James Orchestra and that led to four years with the aforementioned Count Basie and his band. The nearly constant touring after four years took a toll on her health and, stressed out, she quit the band in 1942. After recovering at home in Louisville, John Hammond came calling again and insisted that she return to several dates in New York City. In 1944, Helen moved to L.A. and did work at film studios and limited tours with Jazz At The Philharmonic and started to record again in an early R&B style and had a couple of hits from 1945 into 1950, but otherwise her career stagnated and
after some touring in Europe and a few American Jazz Festivals, Helen retired and stayed retired in Louisville until 1973 when she returned to the Newport Jazz Festival which was followed by very successful European tours and a series of LP's for the French label Black And Blue Records, also picking up the Music Industry Of France Award in 1973 and regular engagements in New York City.
Outgoing and gracious to a fault to everyone, Helen was given the Key To The City Of Louisville Ky. in 1975 as well. Helen Humes died from Cancer in 1981 in Santa Monica CA. shortly after the release of her final LP "Helen", recorded live over three evenings June 17, June 18,and June 19 1980. ♪ Helen Humes - Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness
Ella Jane Fitzgerald born in Newport News Virginia in 1917, but grew up in Harlem, was to have one of the longest and successful careers in both Jazz and Popular music with 14 Grammy awards, A National Medal Of Arts, and a Presidential Medal Of Freedom at the top of her accolades. Her early years in the Depression 30's saw her in a girls reform school and street singing in Harlem for change. After winning an Amatuer Contest at the Apollo and a week with the Tiny Bradshaw & His Band at the Harlem Opera House. Ella was brought to the attention of Chick Webb, a noted bandleader who was in need of a female band singer. Reluctant to hire her right away, Ella got a try out at Yale University, and from that success came a job with Chick Webb with a lot of touring nationwide and stays at Webb's home base The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem until Webb's untimely death in 1939. At which time, Ella took over the band and kept it going through 1942 when she disbanded it for a variety of reasons not the least of which was a solo career and a movie offer. Universal Pictures put her in the Abbott & Costello film "Ride 'Em Cowboy" which also starred movie cowboys Dick Foran and Johnny Mack Brown. Ella's two songs "Rockin' And A Reelin' " and "A Tiskit A Tasket", were shot in such a way they easily be cut from copies of the film from wherever theatres in the South and elsewhere didn't want to show them. The songs were left in at various theatres around the country and in the re-releases as well. The film, being an Abbott & Costello film raked in a ton of money. After World War 2, Ella's career hit the heights and stayed there until she was forced to retire due to ill health and diabetes in 1993. Her most notable albums were devoted to famous pop and jazz music composers and a lot of touring in America and Europe and elsewhere. She shared the stage with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and many, many more in many venues world wide and was truly a household world. Ella Fitzgerald passed away in 1996 from diabetes. ♪ Ella Fitzgerald - Putting on the Ritz
Howard Chandler - The Poverty Rag (Marble Hill 300), 1968
Only snippets of info have survived on Howard Chandler, a local Memphis country singer who recorded demo tapes for Sun at some point in 1957. He also released a couple of records on his own labels but otherwise has fallen through the cracks. Although it is stated James Howard Chandler hailed from Mississippi on the back of the Redita LP "Rock from Memphis" (Redita LP #102), Chandler spent most of his live in Memphis, on 1171 Central Avenue to be precise. It can be assumed he did occasional gigs around Memphis from the 1950s onwards and sent a tape of his "Wampus Cat" to Sam Phillips at Sun Records. A countryfied and primitive rockabilly piece with steel guitar backing, Chandler nevertheless got the chance to record another song for Sun, "Golden Band." Nothing else came of this session and both tapes vanished into the Sun vaults. Chandler then simply set up his own record label, Wampus Records, which he operated out of his home on Central Avenue. He re-recorded "Wampus Cat" and released it with "Island of Love" on the flip early in 1958. Two more records on Wampus followed. In 1968, Chandler went into partnership with John Cook, a local label owner and gospel singer, to form Marble Hill Records. Cook also ran the country/bluegrass/gospel label Blake Records and performed country gospel music with his wife Margie. Chandler had the debut release on Marble Hill, "The Poverty Rag" / "No One Will See the Teardrops," on Marble Hill #300. By then, Chandler had switched to strictly country music and several discs on Marble Hill followed. Little else is own about Howard Chandler. He spent the rest of his live in Memphis, where he died in 1989.
Wampus W-100: Island of Love / Wampus Cat (1958) Wampus 104: Black Gumbo Land / A Million Friends Marble Hill 300: The Poverty Rag / No One Will See the Tears (1968) Marble Hill 306: My Old Guitar / Did I Marble Hill 307: There's a Wolf Around / My Bluebird Has Flown (ca. 1970) Marble Hill 312: I Just Got Out of the Can / The Road to Happiness (1970) Marble Hill 317: Another Point of View / You Can't Be My Star Marble Hill 318: Little Boy from Missouri / For All the Soldiers Marble Hill 319: It's Parkin Arkin / I Wouldn't Take the World for Your Love Wampus 105: Mean Ole Tomcat / Before You Wanted to Be Free (1972)
The Muleskinners - Muleskinner Blues '65 (Twin Town TT 708), 1965
Here's a nice version of the old Jimmie Rodgers classic, "Mule Skinner Blues," by a band called the Muleskinners. Released on the Minneapolis based Twin Town label, it was a rip-off of the Fendermen's hit version. Enjoy!