Leon McAuliffe- The Dancin’est Band Around

Here is a good ole piece of classic country music that has been sorely missed around here for the last month and a half.  It cost me $4.  When I started this blog, it would have cost me $1.

Leon McAuliffe was born right here in the great old city of Houston in 1917.  He was perhaps the greatest steel guitar player of his generation, not only paving the way for the instrument during the early days of Texas Swing country, but setting an influence which would be later picked up by blues musicians.  After playing with the Light Crust Doughboys, he joined Bob Wills band in 1936 at the age of 18.  He would play with Wills up until WWII in 1942.  Besides helping Wills compose “San Antonio Rose”, McAuliffe composed “Steel Guitar Rag” which is perhaps his legacy other than Wills’ calls of “Take It Away Leon”.

Texas State Historical Page on McAuliffe

After the war, McAuliffe formed his own band and had some success.  He also dedicated a good chunk of his life to teaching music as well as business and legal matters related to the industry.  McAuliffe would pass in 1988 at the age of 71.

This record was released long after his WWII service in 1963 on none other than Capitol Records.  Real good collection of songs that I like including “I Fall To Pieces”, “Walk On By”, and “From A Jack To A King”.  No vocals but a lot of excellent steel guitar.

For a sample, I went with “I Love You Because” because I really liked the opening slide line.

Satisfactory.

Ernest Tubb- Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop

This was $2.  Big Tubb fan myself.  Part of me recalls going to his record store in Nashville, Tennessee during a summer trip as a youngster.  But I am not too sure if I am confusing reality with Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Regardless which narrative is true, Tubb’s Record Shop, located on 417 Broadway in Nashville, has been a fixture since 1947.  In its heyday, the store expanded to other Nashville locations as well as out of State but with the general decline in in person music sales, I believe this is the only store left.  Tubb used to host a Midnight Jamboree on Saturday nights in his store.  This was also shown in the movie referenced above.  It is the second longest running radio show.  It also has been moved out of the store.  It is still free however. At the time of writing this, frequent blog subject Connie Smith was the guest host.

Link to Record Store

Anyway, this album came out in 1960.  Pretty good collection of country songs.  I am pretty lazy today so I have linked the Allmusic review which also points out the contribution of the Texas Troubadors as well as the sessionmen on the record.  Easy way out?  Sure.  It is close enough to the weekend so keeping it brief.

Link to Allmusic review

For a sample, I went with “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”.

Good little album.  Satisfactory.

Richard Polasek and the Hub City Dutchmen- Polka Time in Texas

This was $1.60 with discount.  Being from Texas, I decided it would be worth checking out.  German and Czech settlers both of free will and of forced resettlement brought polka to Texas which is a great influence to Tejano music among others.

I could not find much info on either Richard Polasek or the Hub City Dutchmen (which are in none of the pictures) other than that the band was paid $10 per member per gig, Polasek’s mother died in 1976, and the last living member of Joe Patek’s Orchestra, Dan Malik, spent time in the band.  Malik would pass away in 2015. I was half tempted to call the number on the back of the album but I am not even sure if the area code(512) is still applicable (it’s not.  Yoakum is 361 country)

So really all I know is that this was from a polka band formed in 1965 from Yoakum, Texas, a town of nearly 6,000 on the border of Lavaca and Dewitt counties.It is the type of hill country in Texas that boasts a high number of German and Czech descendants.  Oddly enough at the time of this record, Lavaca County was known as the Polka Capital of Texas.  Today, that distinction goes to Fredericksburg by way of State Senate Concurrent Resolution No 99, 73rd Legislature, Regular Session (1993).

Not that I was really looking too deep into this anyway.  This record, released sometime on Dutch Records, features 12 polka tunes. Not much to say other than that.  The albums really delivers on what it promises; polka music.

For a sample, I decided to go with something a bit more contemporary, the band’s cover of good ol’ Hank Williams’ “Your Cheating Heart”. I also went with something a bit more traditional, “Helena Polka”.

Not that I am a huge polka fan or able to really discern good polka from bad, but this is what I expected the album to sound like and it is pretty decent.  Satisfactory.

VA- Six Pack Vol1

There were many reasons I would buy this record.  It was only $1. It also contained two Willie Nelson songs as well as being produced(or compiled?) by the man himself.  Finally, it is a good little collection of outlaw / oddball country.  All these reasons aside, I got is as I never heard Ray Wylie Hubbard’s original version of “Up Against The WallRedneck Mother”.

Like most people in this state who spent time in bars, I was very familiar with Jeff Jeff Walker’s version (which was posted some time ago on this site).  So, when I saw the original on this, buying it was a done deal.  This record, released by Lone Star Records in association with Mercury, in 1978, also features Nelson, Cooder Browne, novelty country singer Don Bowman, Steve Fromholz, and the Geezinslaw Bros.  Apparently, Lone Star was Nelson’s own label.

For a sample, I really liked the instrumental, “Lonesome Rider” as performed by Cooder Browne, which is the name of the group and not a person.  I also wrongly thought that this was a Bob Wills’ standard. So I was wrong on two counts with this today. The band featured Larry Franklin on vocals and fiddle. who also recorded with Asleep At The Wheel. This is from the one album they released (on Lone Star).

I also really liked the Geezinslaw Bros.’ “Who’s A Fool”.  Hailing from Austin Tx, the Bros are really the comedy/musical duo of Sammy Allred and Son Smith.  They were active musically from sometime in the 50’s up into 2005.

Finally, you got to go with the girl you brought to the dance so here is Ray Wylie Hubbard’s classic, “Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother”. Hubbard, born in Soper, OK in 1946 is still active today.

Good Little Record.  Satisfactory.

Al Dean- Mr Cotton Eyed Joe Plays For Urban Cowboys

If you would think about what are my most popular posts, they are not the big names or the popular records.  In contrast, they are the local and regional artists. The smaller a footprint one has on the web, the more hits my blog gets.  So among the top 5 posts was an album I had posted from this artist, Mr Cotton Eyed Joe himself, Al Dean. This was $4, by the way.

My earlier post on Dean.

I was saddened to hear that Dean had passed away from cancer in October of 2016 at the age of 85.  It was happy to hear though, that he was posthumously(just last month) inducted into the South Texas Music Hall of Fame.  There is an excellent story about Dean and this event from this blog below.

Blog post about Mr Cotton Eyed Joe

Yet another blog post.

As Dean’s bands have been family affairs, at times including his brothers, this album features his sons, and his wife Maxine.  This record , released by Kik-R Records from Houston, was obviously a marketing attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the movie, Urban Cowboy.  It is also my belief (which the blog above somewhat confirms), that Dean is responsible for the version of the song that most of us who grew up in this state remember. This is no small accomplishment and I can state without any sign of hyperbole, that this puts him in a signifcant place among Texas musicians.     They don’t play it anymore, but it was common place at sporting events, along with the crowd hollering “Bull Shit”.

Pretty good record.  All instrumentals though. If I knew this, I would have posted a few of the singing songs he did on the first record I posted, (Hell, if I knew he past, I would have posted “Roughneck Paycheck”, which was one of my favorites.  Anyway, this is a collection of popular country instrumentals.  I will have to note, however, that the hole on my copy is off center and as a result, the record’s sound is a tad off.  Other than that, great little album.

 

For a sample, I went with “Release Me”. I did not go with the namesake song (which is among one of my favorites) as I posted it from the last album.

Good little album. Satisfactory.  My respects to Mr Dean and his family.

 

Roy Head- A Head of His Time

This little gem was $4.  Not going to pass up music with Houston ties at this price.During Continental Club’s anniversary last year (or was it two years ago?), I saw Roy Head perform briefly.  I wish I would have stuck around to watch more.

Head, born in Three Rivers, TX in 1941, came to fame with his band the Traits and the single “Treat Her Right”, released by Houston’s own Don Robey.  A great example of Blue-Eyed Soul, the single was kept out of the #1 spot by the Beatles’ “Yesterday”. Head, as the singer, had a stage presence that rivaled James Brown.

Anyway, by the time the 70’s rolled around, Head was into country music and that is where this comes from. On one hand, it was a stretch from the sound he was doing in the Sixties On the other hand, Head was always pushing the boundaries of genres so it really made sense. The second of two albums released in 1976 as well as the second of three for ABC/Dot records, this album is a good collection of country tunes as well as standards.  Pretty good album.  It concludes with a rousing version of R&H’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

Head, who lives in the Humble area, performs sporadically.  His son Sundance was on the Voice as well as American Idol.  Furthermore, the Chronicle did a story on Head last year that is pretty good.  I was a little taken back when I read about tricks  I thought was original about but in reality were already done by Head. Oh well.  It is good to admit when you are beat.

Link to Chron Story

In an earlier post this week, I mentioned that there were four songs from this month that I added to my guitar repertoire.  Two of them were posted yesterday.  The third is on this album and is presented here: “Angel With A Broken Wing”.  I particularly like the second verse.

Great little record. Satisfactory.

 

VA- 4 Kings of Country Music

This little gem was either $1 or $3, I can’t remember anymore.  I am leaning more to the $1 theory. But either way, you can’t go too wrong with this collection, which features hits from four of country music’s biggest stars the comedic Roger Miller, the sausage king Jimmy Dean, celebrated drunk riding mower-er George Jones, and Hee-Haw’s own Buck Owens.

This album, released by Nashville/ Starday Recordings in 1966, features previously released music.  Pretty good collection of works by these kings. I did not realize this until I read the back cover but all four artists were born in Texas despite leaving it for Nashville/ California.

For samples, I was really drawn towards two songs, George Jones’ “That’s The Way I Feel”, and Buck Owens’ “Down On The Corner Of Love”, which I believe was Owen’s first single.  Other than this and Miller’s “Poor Little John”, most of these songs I believe are from albums and b-sides. Overall, this is a really good collection of tunes.

Top Rated record.  Not much else to say about this. Woo-Hoo!  Quick post today!

Ray Price- Sings Heart Songs

Woo hoo!! Friday.  Here is a subject I have completely exhausted on this blog.  That is because he is one of my favorites.  This was $4 and despite the cover being beat, was actually in decent shape.  I like the title.  Sounds like it was written by Thor.

This was Ray Price’s first album, released in 1957.  Pretty good little way to start one’s career.  I don’t think it made a whole lot of noise chart wise. but Price did have a slew of top singles including “Crazy Arms” under his belt when this was released.

A lot of good songs but of course, I am drawn to my favorites and Price’s version of “Faded Love” is no exception.  Therefore here it is as a sample.

Great album- Top Rated.

VA- Cotton Eyed Joe & Other Texas Dance Hall Favorites

This was $4.  I got it for good ol’ Cotton Eyed Joe, which is sort of a rite of passage in Texas.  I am reminded of the words of a friend of mine, Cullen, who told me if you are going to pay music in Texas, got to know “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Jole Blon”, which is also on this record.

This record was released in 1979 by producer/ engineer David Stalling’s Delta Records.  The label, based in Nacogdoches, I believe put out records by various country musicians as well as other genres.  This album was recorded at ACA Studios in Houston and features Ex-Texas Playboys Herb Remington on steel guitar and Bob White on fiddle.  Eddie Nation, from Houston, handles the lead guitar.  Apparently, he also played on some of Freddy Fender’s albums.

This record is what the title implies, a collection of Texas dance hall favorites.  No vocals on here. Instead, it is all instrumentals.  A lot of classics on here besides the two mentioned above, including ” Faded Love” Whiskey River”, “San Antonio Rose”, “Waltz Across Texas”, and “Maiden’s Prayer”.  Probably would have liked some vocals on this, but the songs are quite technically good country playing.  Decent album.

For a sample, as I always go with the same tunes, here is “Cotton Eyed Joe” along with “Faded Love”.

Good Record. Satisfactory.

Ray Price- I Fall To Pieces

Of course I am going to throw some country into this anniversary month.  And of course it is going to be Ray Price.  I have posted various albums of his on this site.  This was $4.00 .  Besides being a Price fan, the track list probably led me to get this album. On the personal front, I spent the weekend in Edmonton with a whole lot of family.  It was my pop’s 75th birthday party.  It was a pretty good time.  I saw a lot of family I hardly ever get to visit.  I had to give a brief speech for which I had procrastinated writing (much like this blog).  The plan was to write the speech on the West Jet flight up but I decided to watch Rogue One instead and was thus forced to write something during my layover in Calgary Airport (which I believe is one of the poorly designed airports in North America).    Well, I got it done and the speech was well received.  

This album came out in 1969 on Harmony Records, a subsidiary of the parent, Columbia Records.  Consisting of previously recorded material, this collection seems to cull together songs made famous by other singers such as the title track, “San Antonio Rose”, and “Cold Cold Heart”.  Good album.  What more could you ask?  It is that classic Ray Price sound. As a side note, I think I mentioned it last Ray Price post, I did but if not, I am still highly disappointed with Price’s portrayal in the Hank William’s Biopic I Saw The Light.  I mean he came off looking like a huge putz.

For a sample, I went with “I’m Tired” and “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes”

Satisfactory album.