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From the Land of Band Box Records

Gals & Guys Who Gave Us Rock ‘n Roll! (& the 78)

October 22, 2019
craigr244

Rock-a-Billy/Rock/Rhythm & Blues Pioneers from the 1950’s on 78 RPM

Birth of the ’78’

The first 78’s showed up near the very end of the 19th Century, and continued on into the mid 1950’s and in some instances, a bit later into the 50’s before finally giving way to the 45 rpm (which was first introduced in by RCA in 1949.  Columbia Records had actually introduced a 7-inch record format in March of 1949 – a 7-inch 33 1/3rd version – but the RCA 45 rpm format would prevail and Columbia would quickly get with the program.  Columbia, in fact, was the pioneer introducing the first 33 1/3 12-inch record in June of 1948.

Arnold or Wing?

Many sources report that Eddy Arnold’s 45 on RCA Victor catalog number 48-0001 was the very first commercially available 45 – but that is now challenged citing the release of a 45 titled “Pee Wee the Piccolo” on RCA 47-0146 as the debut 45 – produced in December of 1949 and made available in 1949.

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The Paul Wing “Pee Wee” track would be issued many times by RCA Victor in sets – singles – even 78 rpm over the early years following it’s initial release.

Who knows?  Doesn’t really matter much as I see it.

78’s did not necessarily rotate at exactly 78 rpm’s – in fact – the speed varied between 78 and 80 revolutions until a ‘standard’ was settled on in the mid 1920’s at 78.26 rpm’s.  Most of the 78’s measured 10-inches in diameter.  This afforded a recording time of about 3 minutes.  Prior to the 78, discs spun at rotation speeds varying from 60 rpm clear up to 130 rpm’s!

Record producers were reluctant to let go of the 78.  So many record buyers owned 78 rpm turntables and many could scarcely afford to relinquish them and purchase one of the new 45 rpm spinners.

Onto the Pioneers Who Gave Us Rock ‘n Roll

Here is a mix of rock and R&B legends who started things off for us – all of these managing to be released on the 78 RPM format.  Surprisingly, there were 78’s still being pressed well into the 1950’s.  The guys and gals who kicked it off – rock-a-billy – R&B – and straight ahead rock and roll listed here on 78 rpm discs.

There are several rather obscure early rock-a-billy guys and gals thrown in here – just for kicks.  The R&B artists dominate – since they very early on kicked things off in the direction of what would be “rock ‘n roll’.

Johnny Ace – Duke – 1952

(John Marshall Alexander Jr. – Memphis, Tennessee)

Faye Adams – Herald – 1953

(Fanny Tuell – Newark, New Jersey)

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Marie Adams – Peacock – 1952

(Ollie Marie Givens)

Lee Allen – Ember – 1958

(Lee Francis Allen – Pittsburgh, Kansas)

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Eddie Arnold – RCA Victor – 1954

(Richard Edward Arnold – Henderson, Tennessee – “The Tennessee Plowboy”)

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Charline Arthur – RCA Victor – 1955

(Texas)

Sil Austin – Mercury – 1956

(Sylvester Austin – Dunnelion, Florida)

Lavern Baker – Atlantic – 1956

(Delores Williams – Chicago, Illinois)

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Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – King – 1958

(John Henry Kendricks – Detroit, Michigan)

Otto Bash with the Rhythm Rockers – Hidus – 1955

(Otto Edward Bash)

Bill Beach – King – 1950

(William Beach – Glencoe, Kentucky)

Freddie Bell & The Bell Boys – Teen – 1955

(Ferdinando Dominick Bello – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Jesse Belvin – Specialty – 1952

(Texarkana, Texas)

Jesse Belvin

Boyd Bennett & His Rockets – King – 1955

(Boyd Byron Bennett – Muscle Shoals, Alabama)

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Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones – ABC-Paramount – 1957

(Spartanburg, South Carolina – The Sparkletones were high school classmates)

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Chuck Berry – Chess – 1955

(Charles Edward Anderson Berry – St. Louis, Missouri)

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Big Maybelle – OKeh – 1952

(Mabel Louise Smith – Jackson, Tennessee)

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The Bobbettes – Atlantic – 1957

(East Harlem, New York – first called “The Harlem Queens”

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Eddie Bond & His Stompers – Mercury – 1955

(Memphis, Tennessee)

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Bonnie Lou – King – 1955

(Mary Joan Okum – Towanda, Illinois)

The Boogie Ramblers – Goldband – 1955

(Louisiana)

Earl Bostic – King – 1950

(Eugene Earl Bostic – Tulsa, Oklahoma)

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Jimmy Bowen – Roulette – 1957

(James Albert Bowen – Santa Rita, New Mexico – a member of “The Orchids”)

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Chuck Bowers – Choice – 1956

(Arkansas)

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Tiny Bradshaw – King – 1952

(Myron Carlton Bradshaw – Youngstown, Ohio)

Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats – Chess – 1951

(Clarksdale, Mississippi – was a member of Ike Turner’s “Kings of Rhythm”

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Lillian Brooks – Epic – 1955

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Ted Brooks – Decca – 1956

(Theodore Brooks – sang with several gospel groups including “The Gospel Four”)

James Brown with the Famous Flames – Federal – 1956

(James Joseph Brown – Barnwell, South Carolina)

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Nappy Brown – Savoy – 1955

(Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp – Charlotte, North Carolina)

Roy Brown – De Luxe – 1950

(Roy James Brown – Kinder, Louisiana)

Ruth Brown – Atlantic – 1953

(Ruth Alston Brown Weston – Portsmouth, Virginia)

Edwin Bruce – Sun – 1957

(William Edwin Bruce, Jr. – Keiser, Arkansas)

Sonny Burgess – Sun – 1956

(Albert Austin Burgess – Newport, Arkansas)

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Johnny Burnette & His Rock & Roll Trio – Coral – 1956

(John Joseph Burnette – Memphis, Tennessee – Dorsey Burnette – Memphis, Tennesse – Paul Burlison – Brownville, Tennessee)

Freddie Burns & His Ranch Boys – Star Talent – 1950

The Cadillacs – Josie – 1955

(Harlem, New York)

The Cardinals – Atlantic

Johnny Cash & The Tennessees Two – Sun – 1955

(John R. Cash – Kingsland, Arkansas)

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The Chantels – End – 1957

(The Bronx – New York)

Jean Chapel – Sun – 1956

(Opal Jean Amburgey – Neon, Kentucky)

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Bobby Charles – Chess – Later Alligator – 1955

(Robert Charles Guidry – Abbeville, Louisiana)

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Ray Charles – Atlantic – 1953

(Ray Charles Robinson – Albany, Georgia)

The Charms – Rockin’ – 1953

(Cincinnati, Ohio)

Harry Choates – Macy’s Recordings – 1950

(Rayne, Louisiana)

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Eugene Church – Class – 1958

(St. Louis, Missouri)

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Don Churchill & His Texas Mavericks – 4 Star – 1952

Jimmy Clanton & His Rockets – Ace – 1958

(Raceland, Louisiana)

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Sanford Clark – MCI – 1956

(Tulsa, Oklahoma)

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Joe Clay – Vik – 1956

(Claiborne Joseph Cheramie – Gretna, Louisiana)

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The Clovers – Atlantic – 1951

(Washington D.C.)

Eddie Cochran – Liberty – 1957

(Ray Edward Cochran – Albert Lea, Minnesota)

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Jackie Lee Cochran – Brunswick (UK) – 1957

(Dalton, Georgia)

Curley Cole – Gilt-Edge – 1952

The Collins Kids – Columbia – 1955

Lawrencine “Laurie” and Lawrence “Larry” Collins – Reno, Nevada)

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The Colts – Vita – 1955

(Bakersfield, California)

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The Commanders – Decca – 1955

Sam Cooke – Specialty – 1957

(Samuel Cook – Clarksdale, Mississippi)

Cowboy Copas – King – 1947

(Lloyd Estel Copas – Blue Creek, Ohio)

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The Coronets – Chess – 1953

(Cleveland, Ohio)

The Crickets – Brunswick – 1957

(Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly and Joe B. Mauldin – Lubbock, Texas)

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The Crows – Rama – 1953

Mac Curtis – King – 1956

(Wesley Erwin Curtis Jr. – Fort Worth, Texas)

The Danderliers – States – 1955

(Chicago, Illinois)

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Danny & the Juniors – ABC-Paramount – 1957

(Danny Rapp, Joe Terry, David White and Frank Maffel – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – started off as the “Juvenaires”

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Larry Darnell – Regal – 1950

(Leo Edward Donald, Jr. – Columbus, Ohio)

Bob Davies & the Rhythm Jesters – Rama – 1957

(Robert Davis)

Link Davis – Starday – 1957

(Lewis Lincoln Davis – Sunset, Texas)

Margie Day – Dot – 1951

(Margie Hoeffler – Norfolk, Virginia)

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Larry Dean – Rich-R’-Tone – 1952

Jimmy Dee & The Offbeats – Offbeat – 1957

(Kansas)

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The Del Vikings – Mercury – 1957

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

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Lorrae Desmond & Her Rebels – Parlophone (UK) – 1957

Jimmy Dickens – Columbia – 1955

(James Cecil Dickens – Bolt, West Virginia)

Bo Diddley – Checker – 1955

(Ellas Otha Bates – McComb, Mississippi)

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Varetta Dillard – Savoy – 1951

(Harlem, New York)

Floyd Dixon – Aladdin – 1950

(Jay Riggins, Jr – Marshall, Texas)

Bill Doggett – King – 1953

(William Ballard Doggett – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Jackie Doll & His Pickled Peppers – Mercury – When They Drop the Atomic Bomb

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Fats Domino – Imperial – 1951

(Antoine Domino Jr. – New Orleans, Louisiana)

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The Dominoes – Federal – 1950

(New York City, New York)

Don & Dewey – Specialty – 1957

(Dewey Terry and Don Harris – both born in Pasadena, California)

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Glenn Douglas – Decca – 1956

The Drifters – Atlantic – 1954

(New York City, New York)

Dave Dudley – King – 1955

(David Darwin Pedruska – Spencer, Wisconsin)

Roy Duke – Mart – 1957

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Jack Earls & The Jimbos – Sun – 1956

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Jimmy Edwards – Mercury – 1957

(James Arthur Edwards – Chiswick, England)

Tommy Edwards – MGM – 1951

(Thomas James Edwards – Richmond, Virginia)

The Eldorados – Vee Jay – 1954

(Chicago, Illinois)

The Esquire Boys – Nickelodeon – 1953

The Everly Brothers – 1957

(Isaac Donald Everly and Phillip Everly – Muhlenberg County, Kentucky)

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Werly Fairburn – Savoy – 1957

Charlie Feathers – Sun – 1955

(Charles Arthur Feathers – Holly Springs, Mississippi)

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H-Bomb Ferguson – Savoy – 1952

(Robert Princeton Ferguson – Charleston, South Carolina)

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Al Ferrier – Excello – 1957

(Alfous Glenn Ferrier – Montgomery, Louisiana)

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Sonny Fisher – Starday – 1955

(Therman Fisher – Chandler, Texas)

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The Five Keys – Aladdin – 1951

(Newport News, Virginia)

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The Five Royales – Apollo – 1952

(Winston-Salem, North Carolina)

The Flamingos – Chance – 1953

(Chicago, Illinois)

Red Foley – Decca – 1956

(Clyde Julian Foley – Blue Lick, Kentucky)

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The Four Blazes – United – 1952

(Chicago, Illinois)

The Four Buddies – Savoy – 1950

(Baltimore, Maryland)

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Johnny Fuller – Imperial – 1956

(Edwards, Mississippi)

Lowell Fulson – Swing Time – 1950

(Atoka, Oklahoma)

Gene & Eunice – Combo – 1955

(Forest Gene Wilson – San Antonio, Texas and Eunice Levy – Texarkana, Texas)

Hal Goodson & The Raiders – Solo – 1957

(Texas)

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Curtis Gordon – RCA Victor – 1953

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Roscoe Gordon – RPM – 1951

(Memphis, Tennessee)

Lou Graham – Gotham – 1952

(Lou Graham Lyerly – North Carolina)

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Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell – Starday – 1955

(Rudolph Paiz Jimenez – Saspamco, Texas)

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Dewey Grooms & His Texas Longhorns – Imperial – 1949

Guitar Slim – Imperial – 1951

(Edward Jones – Greenwood, Mississippi)

Hardrock Gunter – Decca – 1951

(Sidney Louis Gunter, Jr. – Birmingham, Alabama)

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Bill Haley with Haley’s Comets – Essex – 1953

(William John Clifton Haley – Highland Park, Michigan)

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Roy Hall ( & Alley Cats) – Decca – 1955

(James Faye Hall – Big Stone, Virginia)

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Doug Harden and the Desert Suns – Hummingbird – 1956

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Ray Harris – Sun – 1956

(Tupelo, Mississippi)

Wynonie Harris – King – 1950

(Los Angeles, California)

Wilbert Harrison – Savoy – 1954

(Wilbert Huntington Harrison – Charlotte, North Carolina)

Dale Hawkins – Chess – 1957

(Delmar Allen Hawkins – St. Mary Parish, Louisiana)

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Linda Hayes – Recorded in Hollywood – 1952

(Berta Williams – Linden, New Jersey)

The Hearts – Baton – 1955

(New York, New York)

Bobby Helms – Speed – 1955

(Robert Lee Helms – Harrisburg, Indiana)

Al Hibbler – Atlantic – 1950

(Tyro, Mississippi)

Ersel Hickey – Epic (Canada) – 1958

(Brighton, New York)

Chuck Higgins – Aladdin – 1953

(Charles William Higgins – Gary, Indiana)

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Buddy Holly – Coral – 1957

(Charles Harden Holley – Lubbock, Texas)

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John Lee Hooker – Sensation – 1950

(Tulwiler, Mississippi)

Johnny Horton – Mercury – 1953

(John LaGale Horton – Los Angeles, California)

Joe Houston – Macy’s – 1951

(Joseph Abraham Houston – Long Beach, California)

Howlin’ Wolf – Chess – 1954

(Chester Arthur Burnett – White Station, Mississippi)

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Ivory Joe Hunter – King – 1950

(Kirbyville, Texas)

The Isley Brothers – Gone – 1958

(Cincinnatti, Ohio – Ronald, Ernie, Rudolph, O’Kelly, Vernon and Marvin Isley with Chris Jasper)

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Wanda Jackson – Capitol – 1957

(Wanda Lavone Jackson – Maud, Oklahoma)

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Elmo James – Trumpet – 1951

(Elmore Brooks – Richland, Mississippi)

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Etta James & The Peaches – Modern – 1955

(Jamesetta Hawkins – Los Angeles, California)

Jesse James & All the Boys – 4 Star – 1952

Jesse & Marvin – Specialty – 1952

(Jesse Belvin & Marvin Phillips – Los Angeles, California)

Jesse Belvin

Little Willie John – King – 1956

(William Edward John – Cullendale, Arkansas)

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Lonnie Johnson – King – 1950

(Alonzo Johnson – New Orleans, Louisiana)

Corky Jones – Pep – 1956

(Buck Owens – Alvis Edward Owens Jr. – Sherman, Texas)

George Jones – Starday – 1954

(George Glenn Jones – Saratoga, Texas)

Bill Justis – Phillips International – 1957

(William Everett Justis Jr. – Birmingham, Alabama)

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B. B. King – RPM – 1951

(Riley B. King – Bena, Mississippi)

King Charles – Folk Star – 1956

Baker Knight – Decca (UK) – 1957

(Thomas Baker Knight Jr., – Birmingham, Alabama)

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Buddy Knox – Roulette – 1957

(Buddy Wayne Knox – Happy, Texas)

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The Larks – Apollo – 1951

(Plainfield, New Jersey)

Brenda Lee – Decca – 1957

(Brenda Mae Tarpley – Atlanta, Georgia)

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Dickey Lee & The Collegiates – Sun – 1957

(Royden Dickey Lipscomb – Memphis, Tennessee – composed “She Thinks I Still Care” recorded by George Jones)

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Jerry Lee Lewis – Sun – 1957

(Fernday, Louisiana)

Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers – Specialty – 1953

(Joseph Christopher Liggins Jr. – Seminole, Oklahoma)

Little Richard – Specialty – 1955

(Richard Wayne Penniman – Macon, Georgia)

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Little Walter & His Jukes – Checker – 1954

(Marion Walter Jacobs – Marksville, Louisiana)

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Jimmie Logsdon – Decca – 1954

(James Lloyd Logsdon – Panther, Kentucky)

Trini Lopez – King – 1959

(Trinidad Lopez III – Dallas, Texas – First band was “The Big Beats”)

Bobby Lord – Columbia – 1956

(Robert L. Lord – Sanford, Florida)

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Willie Mabon – Chess – 1954

(Willie James Mabon – Hollywood, Tennessee)

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Bill Mack – Imperial – 1952

(Shamrock, Texas)

Warner Mack – Decca – 1957

(Warner McPherson – Nashville, Tennessee)

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Carl Mann – London (UK) – 1959

(Huntingdon, Tennessee)

The Marigolds – Excello – 1955

(Nashville, Tennessee – all members had been inmates in the Tennessee State Prison)

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Mitzi Mars – Checker – 1953

Grady Martin – Festival (Australia) – 1957

(Thomas Grady Martin – Chapel Hill, Tennessee)

Janis Martin – RCA Victor – 1956

(Janis Darlene Martin – Sutherlin, Virginia)

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Percy Mayfield – Specialty – 1950

(Minden, Louisiana)

Jimmy McCracklin & His Blues Blasters – 1950

(James David Walker Jr., – Elaine, Arkansas)

Skeets McDonald – Capitol – 1956

(Enos William McDonald – Greenway, Arkansas)

Edna McGriff – Jubilee – 1952

(Tampa, Florida)

Clyde McPhatter – Atlantic – 1955

(Clyde Lensley McPhatter – Durham, North Carolina)

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Memphis Slim – Master – 1950

(John Peter Chatman – Memphis, Tennessee)

Mercy Baby – Ace – 1957

(Julius W. Mullins – Rawl Springs, Mississippi)

Lucky Millinder – King – 1950

(Lucius Venable Millinder – Anniston, Alabama)

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Roy Milton – Specialty – 1950

(Roy Bunny Milton – Wynnewood, Oklahoma)

The Moonglows – Chance – 1953

(Cleveland, Ohio)

The Frank Moore Four – Embassy – 1955

Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Aladdin – 1951

(Johnny Dudley Moore – Los Angeles, California)

Merrill Moore – Capitol – 1953

(Merrill Everett Moore – Algona, Iowa)

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Sparkle Moore – Fraternity – 1956

(Barbara Morgan – Omaha, Nebraska)

Rocket Morgan – Zynn – 1959

(Rodderick C. Morgan)

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Vance Morris & His Alabama Play Boys – Nashboro – 1959

Roy Moss – Mercury – 1956

(Plainview, Arkansas)

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Moon Mullican & His Rockets – King 1956

(Aubrey Wilson Mullican – Pine County, Texas)

Ricky Nelson – Verve – 1957

(Eric Hilliard Nelson – Teaneck, New Jersey)

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Hoyle Nix – Queen – 1955

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The Nutmegs – Herald – 1955

(New Haven, Connecticut)

Johnny Olenn & The Jokers – TNT – 1956

Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings – Sun – 1956

(Roy Kelton Orbison – Vernon, Texas)

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The Orioles – Jubilee – 1952

(Baltimore, Maryland)

Johnny Otis – Savoy – 1950

(Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes – Vallejo, California)

Bunny Paul – Essex – 1954

(Detroit, Michigan)

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The Penguins – DooTone – 1954

Carl Perkins – Sun – 1955

(Carl Lee Perkins – Tiptonville, Tennessee

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Piano Red – RCA Victor – 1950

(William Lee Perryman – Hamton, Georgia)

Webb Pierce – 4 Star – 1952

(Michael Webb Pierce – West Monroe, Louisiana)

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Barbara Pittman – Sun – 1956

(Memphis, Tennessee)

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The Platters – Federal – 1954

(Los Angeles, California)

Elvis Presley – Sun – 1954

(Elvis Aaron Presley – Tupelo, Mississippi)

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Terry Preston – 4 Star – 1951

(This is Ferlin Huskey – Ferlin Eugene Husky – Cantwell, Missouri)

Lloyd Price – Specialty – 1952

(Kenner, Louisiana)

Vern Pullens – Spade – 1956

(Bogalusa, Louisiana)

Marvin Rainwater – MGM – 1955

(Marvin Karlton Rainwater – Wichita, Kansas)

Wayne Raney – King – 1952

(Wolf Bayou, Arkansas)

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The Ravens – National – 1950

(New York City, New York)

Jimmy Reed – Vee Jay – 1953

(Mathis James Reed – Dunleth, Mississippi)

Don Reno & Red Smiley & The Tennessee Cutups – King – 1957

Jody Reynolds (& the Storms) – Demon – 1958

(Denver, Colorado)

The Rhythm Rockers – Sun – 1956

Billy Riley – Sun – 1956

(Bill Lee Riley – Pocahontas, Arkansas)

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Bill Riley & The Little Green Me – Sun – 1957

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The Robins – Savoy – 1950

(San Francisco, California)

Marty Robbins – Columbia – 1952

(Martin David Robinson – Glendale, Arizona)

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The Royal Teens – ABC-Paramount – 1958

(New Jersey)

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Jack Scott – ABC-Paramount – 1957

(Giovanni Domenico Scafone, Jr — Ontario, Canada) – See Marv Goldberg’s Site

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Mack Self – Sun – 1957

(Wiley Laverne Self – Calico Bottoms, Arkansas)

Ronnie Self – ABC-Paramount – 1956

(Springfield, Missouri)

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The Shadows – Lee – 1950

(New Haven, Connecticut)

Ray Sharpe – London American – 1959

(Edward Ray Sharpe – Fort Worth, Texas)

Shirley & Lee – Aladdin – 1952

(Shirley Goodman & Leonard Lee – New Orleans, Louisiana)

The Silhouettes – Ember – 1957

(Philadelphia – first called “The Thunderbirds”)

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Frankie Lee Sims – Ace – 1957

(Dallas, Texas)

Eddie Smith & The Chiefs – King – 1955

Huey “Piano” Smith & The Clowns – Ace – 1957

(Huey Pierce Smith – New Orleans, Louisiana)

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Ray Smith – Coral – 1951

(Meiber, Kentucky)

Warren Smith – Sun – 1956

(Humphreys County, Mississippi)

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The Spaniels – Chance – 1953

(Gary, Indiana)

The Spiders – Imperial – 1954

(New Orleans, Louisiana)

Clyde Stacy & The Nitecaps – Candlelight – 1957

(Haskell Clyde Stacy – Eufaula, Oklahoma)

Andy Starr – MGM – 1955

(Franklin Delano Gulledge – Combs, Arkansas)

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Frank Starr & The Rock-A-Way Boys – Lin – 1955

(This is Andy Starr)

Gene Summers and His Rebels – Jan – 1958

(Dallas, Texas)

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The Swallows – King – 1951

(Baltimore, Maryland)

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Tom Tall – Fabor – 1954

(Tommy Lee Guthrie – Amarillo, Texas)

Rufus Thomas Jr. – Chess – 1951

(Cayce, Mississippi)

Junior Thompson with the Meteors – Meteor – 1956

(Cecil Houston Thompson Jr.)

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Willie Mae Thornton – Peacock – 1951

(Oakland, California)

The Treniers – OKeh – 1952

(Mobile, Alabama)

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Justin Tubb – Decca – 1955

(Justin Wayne Tubb – San Antonio, Texas)

The Turbans – Herald – 1955

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Ike Turner – Federal – 1957

(Izear Luster “Ike” Turner Jr. – Clarksdale, Mississippi)

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Joe Turner – Atlantic – 1955

(Joseph Vernon Turner Jr., – Kansas City, Missouri)

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Conway Twitty – Mercury – 1957

(Harold Lloyd Jenkins – Friars Point, Mississippi)

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Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps – Capitol – 1956

(Vincent Eugene Craddock – Norfolk, Virginia)

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Wade & Dick – Sun – 1957

(Wade Moore and Dick Penner)

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Riley Walker & His Rockin’ Rangers – Atomic – 1954

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Dinah Washington – Mercury – 1950

(Ruth Lee Jones – Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

Muddy Waters – Chess – 1954

(McKinley Morganfield – Issaquena County, Mississippi)

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Alvis Wayne – Westport – 1956

(Paducan, Texas)

Paul Westmoreland – 4 Star – 1954

(Tyler, Texas)

Onie Wheeler – Columbia – 1956

Larry Williams – Specialty – 1957

(Lawrence Eugene Williams – New Orleans, Louisiana)

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Sonny Boy Williamson – Trumpet – 1951

(Alex Miller – Tallahassee County, Mississippi)

Chuck Willis – OKeh – 1952

(Harold Willis – Atlanta, Georgia)

Jimmy Witherspoon – Modern – 1950

(James Witherspoon – Gurdon, Arkansas)

Dale Wright with the Rock-Its – Fraternity – 1958

(Harlan Dale Riffe, Middleton, Ohio)

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Malcolm Yelvington – Sun – 1956

(Covington, Tennessee)

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Eddie Zack (& His Cousin Richie) – Columbia – 1955

(Edward Adrian Zack – Providence, Rhode Island)

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Birds of a Feather….

October 19, 2019
craigr244

The Great “Bird” Groups….

… and some lesser known birds….

Image result for tweety birdImage result for big birdImage result for chilly willy

The “bird” groups predated the ‘official’ arrival of rock and roll – meaning mainstream acknowledgement of such an arrival.  They flourished beginning in the late 1940’s and garnered considerable followings from the black record-buying public.

The most hailed ‘bird’ groups were undoubtedly The Ravens, The Orioes, The Crows and The Penguins.

THE BEL-LARKS – RANSOM – 1963

(Syracuse, New York – Formed 1958 – Eric Simmons Jr., Robert Reese, Frederick Simmons and Robbert Baggett – Roselind Allen would join later )

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THE BLUE JAYS – CHECKER – 1953

(Oakwood Park, Chicago – Personnel unknown – See the “Doo-Wop Blog” for listing

THE BLUE JAYS – MILESTONE – 1961

(Los Angeles, California – Leon Peels, Van Earl Richardson, Alexander Manigo and Leonard Davidson – “Lover’s Island” would be their only charting record – reaching number 31 Hot 100 but failing to reach the R&B charts)

THE BLUE JAYS – LAURIE – 1959

(Unknown origin)

THE CARDINALS – ATLANTIC

(Baltimore, Maryland – Ernie Warren, Leon Hardy, Donald Johnson, Jack Aydelotte – Charted three times on the R&B Charts with “The Door Is Still Open” their highest charting record at number 4 in 1955)

THE CARDINALS – ROSE – 1963

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Al Turner – Lynn Thomas – Reginald Grant – Oscar Drummond – Mitchell Robinson and Billy Davis – Recorded more prominently as “The Equadors”  – photo is the Equadors)

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THE CROWS – RAMA – 1953

(Harlem, New York – Daniel Norton, Harold Major, Bill Davis, Gerald Hamilton and Mark Jackson – Had one R&B Chart Hit – the very popular “Gee” which reached number 2 R&B and number 14 on Pop Charts in 1954)

THE DEL-LARKS – EAST WEST – 1958

(Plainfield, New Jersey – formed around 1958: Sammy Campbell, Ronald Taylor, Jimmy Anderson, and James Jeff Jeffers – The Del-Larks did not have any charting recordings.)

THE DIXIE HUMMINGBIRDS – PEACOCK – 1957

(Greenville, South Carolina – A gospel group – I’ve included them here due to their influence on many vocal groups who would follow – They formed in 1928 – Original members James B. Davis, Barney Parks, Ira Tucker – They selected their name based on the hummingbird being “the only bird that could fly both backwards and forwards – since that was hour our career seemed to be going…”)

THE DRAKES – 1953

(Chicago, Illinois – Formed in 1953: Tom Daniels – Robert Anderson – William Anderson – Lincoln Mabins and Ira Anderson – They did not record as “The Drakes” but did as “The Dream Kings” on Checker – Dream Kings shown)

THE EAGLES – CITATION -1951

(Washington D.C. – Formed in the early 1950’s: Group included Flash Griner the lead singer – Releasing 3 singles in the early 1950’s none charted

THE FALCONS – REGENT – 1951

(This is a different group from the Falcons shown next which formed in 1955)

THE FALCONS – UNART – 1959

(Detroit, Michigan – Eddie Floyd, Mack Rice, Joe Stubbs, Willie Schofield – Wilson Pickett would come on later in 196)

THE FEATHERS – ALADDIN – 1954

(Los Angeles, California – Johnny Staton, Louis Staton, Johnny Harris, Don Harris and Mitchell Alexander – Johnny Staton shown below with a later group – “The Individuals” – The Feathers did not chart

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THE FIVE HOLLYWOOD BLUE JAYS – RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD – 1952

(Los Angeles, California – These guys were actually a group called “The Debonaires” – They had links to “The Flairs” as well as other west coast R&B groups – Two members were Cornell Gunter (Coasters) and Richard Berry (Crowns, Cadets, Flairs and many more)

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THE FLAMINGOS – CHANCE – 1953

(Chicago, Illinois – Formed in 1953: Nate Nelson, Zeke Carey, Jake Carey, Paul Wilson and Johnny Carter – The Flamingos charted R&B 9 times with “I Only Have Eyes For You” reaching number 3 R&B and number 11 Hot 100 – Seven of their songs reached the Hot 100)

THE HAWKS – IMPERIAL – 1954

(New Orleans, Louisiana – This group was put together by Dave Bartholomew – the trumpet player, and co-composer for Fats Domino – group included Allen “Fat Man” Matthews, Albert Veal, Buddy Morris, Willie Thrower and Joe Gaines – The group evolved out of another New Orleans group “The Harmonizing Four” – The Hawks did not find their way onto any of the national charts.)

(Photo from Marv Goldberg’s Site)

WILLIE HEADON & THE FIVE BIRDS – AUTHENTIC – 1956

(Don’t know much about Headon and these Birds – Headon was backed at one time by The Penguins)

THE LARKS – APOLLO – 1951

(Wilson, North Carolina – Formed in 1951: Eugene Mumford, Raymond Barnes, Thermon Ruth, Alden Burns, David McNeil – Charted twice R&B – with “Eyesight to the Blind being their biggest hit reaching number 5. – These are not the 1960’s  “Larks”)

THE LARKS – MONEY – 1964

(Los Angeles, California – This group was the trio of Don Julian, Ted Walters and Charles Morrison.  The “Jerk” charted number 7 Hot 100 and number 1 R&B – their only R&B hit and only appearance on the Hot 100.  Odd for a group to go number 1 and out!

THE MEADOWLARKS – DOOTO – 1955 (WITH DON JULIAN)

(Los Angeles, California – Leader Don Julian would later form “The Larks” of “The Jerk” fame from the 1960’s which are Posted here as well.  Though quite popular in in local markets, the Meadowlarks failed to place any songs on any national charts – Members of the Meadowlarks included Earl Jones and Ronald Barrrett).

THE ORIOLES – JUBILEE – 1952

(Baltimore, Maryland – They formed in 1948: Sonny Til, Alexander Sharp, George Nelson, Johnny Reed and Tommy Gaither – Placed 11 songs on the R&B Charts with three number one songs – “Crying in the Chapel was their biggest hit remaining at number 1 for 5 weeks R&B and going to number 11 Hot 100.)

THE OSPREYS – EAST WEST – 1958

(Harlem, New York – Robert Council – Maurice Williams – Jackson Thompson and John Miro – the label was an Atlantic subsidiary label formed in 1957 and featured another ‘bird’ group of sorts “The Del Larks”

The Ospreys

THE PENGUINS – DOOTONE – 1954

(Los Angeles, California – Formed in 1953: Cleveland Duncan, Dexter Tisby, Bruce Tate, Curtis Williams – Charted twice on the R&B charts with the monster hit “Earth Angel” going to number 1 R&B and number 8 Pop Charts)

THE QUAILS (THE FIVE QUAILS) – MERCURY – 1957

(Cleveland, Ohio – Art Kirkpatrick – James Williams – Billy Fulgrum – Woody Woodall and Billy Strawbridge)

THE RAVENS – NATIONAL – 1950

(New York City, New York – Formed in 1946: Jimmy Ricks, Warren Suttles, Leonard Puzey and Ollie Jones – They charted R&B 11 times  with 1952’s “Rock Me All Night Long” their biggest hit reaching number 4.  They did not enter the Hot 100 pop charts )

THE ROBINS – SAVOY – 1950

(San Francisco, California – Formed in 1945 one of the very earliest ‘bird’ groups: Bobby Nunn, Terrell Leonard, Billy Richard, and Roy Richard) – They would later become the highly successful Coasters – but as The Robins charted 3 times on the R&B charts with their monster hit “Double Crossing Blues” remaining at number 1 for five weeks!)

THE STARLINGS – DAWN – 1955

(New York City, New York- formed in 1951: Larry Gales, Stan Gilbert, Jackie Marshall, Johnny Johnson and Clyde Franklin)

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THE SWALLOWS – KING – 1951

(Baltimore, Maryland – Lawrence Coxen, Irving Turner, Norris Mack, and Early Hurley – Placed two singles on the R&B Charts with “Beside You” their highest ranking song at number 8).

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THE SWANS – RAINBOW – 1953

(Greenburg, New York – Formed in 1951: Ray Roberts – Donald Sledge – James Bradham and Charlie Drew)

THE SWANS – BALLAD – 1953

(St. Louis, Missouri – Leroy Boyer, Ernest Washington and Walter Harper)

The Swans (2)

THE SWANS – FORTUNE – 822

(Toledo, Ohio – Henry Goodwin – Tommy Jones – Earl Fontain – Byron Thomas)

THE SWANS – CAMEO – 1964

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Jeanne Thomas, Catherine Nichols and Rosa Waters – this group backed The Sapphires on their recordings – The Swans released about a half dozen records  and continuing to their only chart appearance – the novelty “The Boy With The Beatle Hair” which dented the Hot 100 at number 85 with a short 4 week run – also recorded under the names “The Sweet Three”, “The Mellow Moods”, “The Dreamers” and “Honey Love and the Love Notes”)

THE WRENS – RAMA – 1955

(The Bronx, New York – Bobby Mansfield, George Magnezid, Francis Conception and Jimmy Archer – They – like so many others – were encouraged by the success of the Crows with their hit recording “Gee”)

 

Sweet Little Rock and Rollers….

October 18, 2019
craigr244

The “Female Elvis” – a Little Bit Country a Little Bit Rock n’ Roll

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Janis Martin was born in Sutherlin, Virginia in March of 1940 – Janis Darlene Martin.

Her earliest influences (beyond her own musical family) were country stars Hank Williams (of course) and Eddy Arnold.  Entering a singing contest a very young age  in her home state – she walked away the winner out of a competing field of over 200 contestants.

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This placed her on a path to further her career traveling and performing with Cowboy Copas along with country singer Mary Workman who performed as “Sunshine Sue” on the “Old Dominion Barn Dance” out of Richmond, Virginia.  Young Martin would join Sue on the Barndance as a regular member.

Country music would hold her for a couple of years but then it was time to cut loose and take a shot at rock and roll.  Her entry way into rockabilly was a song titled “Will You Willyum”.  She recorded the song to help out radio station WRVA DJ Carl Stulz – providing him a demo record for him to pitch.  When RCA executives listened to the demo they requested that the girl on the demo be given the opportunity to formally record it for RCA.

Although the song did not dent the national Hot 100 or the country charts – it enjoyed steady sales and over time sold more than three quarters of a million copies.

Because Martin had signed on with RCA just a couple of months behind Elvis Presley, it was only natural that the label would hype her as “the female Elvis”.   Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker (never really a colonel) approached Martin’s family about taking her under his wing.  The Martin’s had learned that Elvis had recently collapsed after a performance from exhaustion and so made the decision not to place their daughter’s fate in his hands.

Janis would sign on with a Jim Reeves tour and continue to record for RCA.  She made at least one appearance on American Bandstand as well as Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show” and also appeared at the Grand Ole Opry – as she was also recording country music.  In 1957 Janis would join a large troupe of RCA artists touring Europe – including The Browns, Hank Locklin, Jim Reeves and Del Wood all pictured below.

Trouble For Janis

Janis stayed on with RCA  into 1958 cutting 11 singles – before a controversy struck.  Martin married at the young age of 15 – something that her parents attempted to keep quiet but when RCA learned of her marriage (and a pregnancy) she was promptly dispatched.

A 10-inch RCA Victor LP titled “Janis & Elvis” on RCA in South Africa somehow made it to the record stores in that country.  But the parent company in the States quickly squashed it – having it pulled from the shelves.  South African copies of that LP are hard to locate – a 1984 French release is shown here – an unauthorized reproduction.  The LP provided the public with an idea that Elvis and Janis were actually singing together – which they were not.

She released a few more singles  two on Palette in 1960 – and that was pretty much the end of her recording career.  She did gain favor in Europe later on in the 1970’s and 1980’s in Europe as so many American rockers have done – toured awhile and appeared on some compilation albums and such.

Sadly Janis Martin passed away in 2007 losing a battle to cancer at the age of 67.  She wasn’t our first female rocker, but she was a good one – making her rockabilly forerunners proud.

Janis Martin Singles Discography

RCA 47-6491 – April, 1956

Cash Box April 7th, 1956

RCA 47-6560 – June, 1956

Cash Box – July 1956 – Janis with The Browns

RCA 47-6652 – September, 1956

RCA 47-6744 – November, 1956

RCA – 47-6832 – March, 1957

RCA 6983 – July, 1957

Cash Box August, 1957

RCA EP – EPA 4093 – July, 1957

Billboard August, 1957

RCA 47-7104 – November, 1957

RCA 47-7184 – March, 1958 (B side “Good Love”)

The Cash Box ad below (Martin shown lower left) announced that Janis had released this single as well as appearing on March 8th, 1958 on the “New Dominion Barn Dance”.  Further announces a national tour including “American Bandstand”, and the Wisconsin State Fair.

RCA 47-7318 – August, 1958

Palette PZ 5058 – August, 1960

Palette PZ 5071 – September, 1960

Cash Box January, 1961

Big Dutch Label BD-2085 – October, 1977

Big Dutch Label BD-2086 EP – December, 1977

Fluke 1003 – 1980

Rockabilly and Rocking Gals

Only a select few managed to break through with chart success:

Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson generally alone but sometimes with others (“The Party Timers” and duets with Billy Gray) managed 30 charts recordings on the Country & Western charts between 1954 and 1970.

She cracked the Country Top 10 three occasions with “In the Middle of a Heartache” being her most successful at number 6.  Three of her singles “crossed over” to the Hot 100.

Rose Maddox

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Rose successfully transitioned from her time with her brothers in “The Maddox Brothers and Rose” to go solo.  Her family group was credited on the Ken Burns’ documentary with being the first ‘rockabilly’ recording/performing stars.  None of their recordings from 1948 on into the later 1950’s would reach the country charts but their popularity transcended their recordings – They broke out of the poverty of migrant workers who had traveled from Alabama to California – when – according the the Burns program – one of the brothers had enough of migrant misery and decided that music would be their escape.

Rose – beginning in 1959, placed 14 songs on the country charts – She teamed up with Buck Owens who had migrated to Bakersfield, California for four of those tracks.

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Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee – born Brenda Mae Tarpley – from the beginning was a rockabilly ball of fire – who smoothly proceeded on to achieve a career on the charts which places her near the top of all female artists.  Brenda placed 55 songs on the Hot 100, achieving two number one’s (“I’m Sorry” and “I Want To Be Wanted” both in 1960 and 12 Top Tens.

Brenda had only one country charting single during her first 13 years with Decca Records – “One Step at a Time” in 1957.  But then in 1969 Brenda again made the cross over with “Johnny One Time” and then again in 1971 with “If This Is Our Last Time”.  From there on – Brenda was ‘country’ all the way – placing 33 songs on the C&W charts – none of which went Hot 100.

Brenda’s First Appearance on the Charts – March, 1957

Appropriately enough perhaps – her “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” – which had first charted at number 14 in 1960 on the pop charts (and again in 1961 and 1961) would be Brenda’s final chart appearance – reaching number 62 Country in 1998.  The picture sleeve shown below on the left was actually issued in 1958 – a year in which it did not chart – The sleeve on the right is the 1960 reissue.

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Click Here to visit my Brenda Lee Page “A Rock-A-Billy Journey”

Linda Gail Lewis

Trade Ad – October, 1970

Linda Gail Lewis, younger sister of pioneer rocker Jerry Lee Lewis – never dented the Hot 100 charts with a rockabilly song – but rockabilly is indeed how she kicked off her career.  Her first release on ABC-Paramount “Break Up The Party” was a hard rocker – followed in 1966 with “Jim Dandy” on Columbia.  In short order she would settle down and turn to traditional country – with limited solo success – placing three songs on the C&W charts – and placing two more singles on those charts – teaming up with big brother Jerry.

Gail and Jerry – November, 1969

Following is a selective presentation of some of the ladies who gave us rock and roll!

CHARLINE ARTHUR – RCA VICTOR – 1955

(Texas)

BABETTE BAIN – RENDEZVOUS – 1959

(Riselle Babette Bain – starred in a handful of motion pictures)

BETTY BARNES – TNT – 1955

LILLIAN BROOKS – EPIC – 1955

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JO ANN CAMPBELL – ELDORADO – 1957

(Jacksonville, Florida – Placed 4 songs on the national Hot 100 charts)

JEAN CHAPEL – SUN – 1956

(Opal Jean Amburgey – Neon, Kentucky)

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LORRIE COLLINS – COLUMBIA – 1959

(Lawrencine May Collins – Tahlequah, Oklahoma – former girl friend of Ricky Nelson – teamed with brother Larry in the “Collins Kids”.)

JACKIE DEE – GONE – 1957

(Jackie DeShannon)

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LORRAE DESMOND & HER REBELS – PARLOPHONE (UK) – 1957

JOYCE HARRIS – DOMINO – 1960

(Bowling Green Kentucky – also performed as “Sinner Strong” – she recorded with the Texas group “The Slades”  singing on their ‘answer song’ to “You Cheated” titled “I Cheated” show below – She started off singing with her sister Judy and recording together as Joyce and Judy)

WANDA JACKSON – CAPITOL – 1957

(Wanda Lavone Jackson – Maud, Oklahoma)

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BRENDA LEE – DECCA – 1957

(Brenda Mae Tarpley – Atlanta, Georgia)

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ALIS LESLEY – ERA – 1957

(Alice Lesley – Chicago, Illinois – the “female Elvis”)

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LINDA GAIL LEWIS – ABC-PARAMOUNT – 1965

(Ferriday, Louisiana – sister of Jerry Lee Lewis)

MARGARET LEWIS – RAM – 1959

(Margaret Ann Lewis – Snyder, Texas – with “The Thunderbolts” – sang back-up on some Dale Hawkins recordings

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ROSE MADDOX – COLUMBIA – 1955

SPARKLE MOORE – FRATERNITY – 1956

(Barbara Morgan – Omaha, Nebraska)

BUNNY PAUL – ESSEX – 1954

(Detroit, Michigan)

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LAURA LEE PERKINS – IMPERIAL – 1958

(Alice Faye Perkins – Virginia)

BARBARA PITTMAN – SUN – 1956

(Memphis, Tennessee)

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SALLY STARR – CYMAX – 1959

(Sally Beller – Kansas City, Missouri)

SUE THOMPSON – MERCURY – 1952

(Eva Sue McKee – Nevada, Missouri)

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THE TRACEY TWINS – RESERVE – 1955

(Eudi and Euni – Cleveland, OH)