06 January 2014

Jeff Hughes, who recorded for Mel Tillis' obscure label?

Who was this Jeff Hughes who recorded a single for Mel Tillis' obscure label? And may have recorded more?

This record is the release on the label Tillis TI-1002:
"If I Had The Right" b/w "Sorrow's Tearing Down The House (That Happiness Once Built)" (sample).
The Tillis Recording Company must have been a label of Mel Tillis, who was the producer and composer (of the B side). I know of only 1 other release on this Tillis record label (Tillis 1001: Johnny Wiggins "It’s no surprise" / "I'm not gonna love you anymore", probably 1960 or 1961). I did not find any other Tillis' release, the label might have stopped after 2 efforts.
Mel Tillis' song on the B side is a May 1962 release by Stonewall Jackson. Hughes' version on the Tillis label may come from about the same time. Probably his version is the original. The song on the A-side was copyrighted in 1961, the (original?) version was on a Kitty Wells LP.
So, date of the release of Jeff Hughes' single may well be 1961/1962 as a source claims, based on the Columbia ZTSB-listing, corresponding end 1961/ begin 1962

Then there is another Country flavoured record release from 1962 from a Jeff Hughes on the Karen label:
"Our Space Man Did Come Back" (listen) b/w "I Should've Kept Moving", Karen 59 (May 1962).
Both sides are a Hughes composition, probably both written by Jeff Hughes himself, though BMI-files couple the A side to a June Hughes and the B to a Jess Hughes. But the Library of Congress copyrights are both by Jeff Hughes. Billboard mentions the release May 5 and gives both sides a 3-star rating ('moderate sales potential'). An eBay seller writes: "great rockabilly tribute to the historic outer space flights of astronaut John Glenn and the flip is a fine country bopper". The novelty song is chosen in a later years various artists compilation cd, "Out Of This World Flying Saucers", now titled "Our Space Man Came Back".

I don't know if these two records are by the same Jeff Hughes. For the time being, I suppose so.
They both seem to be from around 1962, when the Gettysburg Times write of a Jeff Hughes, "famous recording star", playing with the Southland Playboys. In 1963, newspapers mention the Jeff Hughes Band of York, PA. Same man?

Over the years, there are a couple of more songs  to be found composed by several Jeffrey Hughes'. But I doubt if they deal with the same Hughes who recorded that 45 for the Tillis label. And these days there's a Jeff(rey Paul) Hughes playing in a band called Chaparral.

28 December 2013

Who was the Jeanie Greene who recorded 1964-1965?

I'm trying out to find who was the obscure singer Jeanie Greene who recorded two sides in 1964.
She seems to be another girl singer than the rather well known girl by the same name who recorded for Atco and Elektra in 1968-1971, see Jeanie-2. Jeanie-2 is soul, while 'my' Jeanie-1 is country.

I know of two records that 'country' Jeanie Greene recorded:

  • April 1964: "Land of Lovin' (The License Plate Song)" b/w "The Doggone Machine", released on Kangaroo 45-K-28, also released on Sparton 1263 (Canada).
    Kangaroo was the label of songwriter Les Kangas, who wrote both sides. Les Kangas was an interesing 1950s C&W songwriter. A song writer who could not read music but could write (most novelty) songs. His best known song was "Beetle Bug Bop" (1955) by the Collins Kids 
  • Probably end 1964: "What'll I Do?" b/w "Halfway Loved", released on Beck 45-106. The A was a good old John D. Loudermilk song, the B was written by Walker & Powell. Click to hear samples. The song What'll I Do is copyrighted December 1964, while the Raleigh Register of Jan. 15th 1965 mentions a music dance in Big Ed's Owl Club with What'll I Do-recording artist Jeanie Greene. So I guess release was late 1964.
Where is this Jeanie from? The Kangaroo-label is a San Gabriel CA label, as the label says, though other sources name it a Houston TX label. The Beck label is the Chuck Nary label from West Virginia, which also is where the Raleigh Register comes from.

Who can give me more information...?

19 May 2010

Jan Sanders - who was this singer?

I think it is rather unlikely that I will ever learn more about the artist Jan Sanders who recorded just one 45-record in 1962. But who knows if this blog entry may help....

The poor facts:
Jan Sanders recorded for the New York label Todd one record: the songs "Teenager Three" backed with "You Reap Just What You Sow", on Todd-1075.
The release was reviewed by Billboard on July 7th, 1962. The record got a 4-star rating ("strong sales potential"): The teen-age triangle is told, both sung and spoken, by the lad here. He sings against a simple backing employing trombone, organ rhythm and fem chorus.
The record was also released in Canada on REO-8648.

In June 1962, "Teenagers Three" was labeled one of the Mighty Mitchell Battle Winners in the San Francisco KYA Swingin' Sixty Charts.
But the song apparently did not chart.

The A-side was written by Jan Hutchens according to the label, but BMI claims the song to be written by a V. Pinelli. May be the same guy, for Pinelli's composition "Save a minute, lose a wife" is elsewhere labeled a Jan Hutchens composition.
Is Jan Hutchens the same as Jan Sanders?

Googling on Jan Sanders gives no specific information. The name is a very common (Dutch) name. Singer Jan Sanders is male, while in English the name Jan often is female.

UPDATE Jan. 2010:
I've got a great reaction from rockabilly singer Keith O'Conner Murphy who knew Jan back in the sixties. Jan Sanders in fact is Jan Hutchens, born in Wabash, IN. Read his reaction in the comments section below!

UPDATE Apr. 2011:
I've got a reaction from Greg Peterson. He was close friend with Jan Tillman Hutchens who was from Wabash, IN. See reaction below. Greg is planning to make a website/blog in Jan's honor. He checks with Keith to see if they are talking about the same Jan Hutchens, who apparently lived a colourful life under many names.

11 November 2009

Emmy Oro - fantastic rockin' girl

It was the song "Fish House Function" by Emmy Oro that blew my mind. It starts off kind of slow, then speeds up a little, halfway the music goes wilder and at the end, that fantastic part sung in Italian and rolling piano, it rocks like mad.
What was this song about, who was this fantastic rockin' girl??

When Bob Dylan played the song in his Theme Time Radio Hour, he commented: "we play an artist that confuses us totally: I know nothing about Emmy Oro, except that she recorded this song, and by the end of it, she starts talking a language that I can't understand. A song that raises more questions than it answers. First time I heard it, was on a hot summer day, I thought I was hallucinating!"
So Bob, read below who Emmy Oro was!

The artist is Emmy Oro & her Rhythm Escorts. Composer credits were: words Mel Howard (ps. for Neville T. G. Hall), music Emily Orofino. The song was recorded late 1960 for the Chelsea label. That New York label was formed in November 1960 by Frank Allen, and Michael and Richard Orofino. Emmy Oro was born as Emilia Gramaldi in 1919 in Queens, New York. She was married to Michael J. Orofino.
On the other side of the record was another Howard/ Orofino composition Is it a sin?, a good doowop ballad.
So after all, 'savage rockin' girl' Emmy Oro was in fact over 40 years of age when she recorded her great sides.

I contacted Paul Orofino, who was very helpful in giving information about his aunt Emmy. He wrote:
"Aunt Emmy was an amazing person, and my favorite aunt. Chelsea Records was formed by my older brother, Richard, my Uncle Michael (Emmy's Husband). He is the voice you hear on Fish House Function as the Judge ("Now tell ME what was going on"). Believe it or not, Fish House Function was recorded in my house with me on the piano, and then mixed at a small studio.
Emmy was an amateur singer as a very young woman but gave it all up to have a family. Then, when her children became older, she and my uncle Mike decided to do a record together. This was the start of Chelsea Records. She did record one other record on Chelsea: her rendition of Sophie Tucker's great "Some of these Days". This is an amazing record with full orchestra.
Emmy Oro passed away in 1982 from Cancer. I love the fact that you are interested in her and enjoyed her record "Cross Eyed Cat Named Sam". She loved singing the part in Italian."

Chelsea discography, first 10 releases:

1001 (1960/61): Emmy Oro & her Rhythm Escorts
Is it a sin? / Fish House Function (for a cross eyed cat named Sam)

1002 (Jul. 1961): The Keytones
Don't Tell William / Parking Field 4

1003: ? (Some people list Emmy Oro & Grp "Is it a sin" as Chelsea 1003. Correct?)

1004: The Keytones
I Was A Teenage Monster / I Don't Care

1005 (1962): Emmy Oro with Billy Costa & Orch.
Some Of These Days / Is it a sin?

1006 (Mar. 1962): Jimmy Wilde (=Paul Orofino)
Crazy eyes for you / Bonnie Bonnie

1007 (Jun. 1962): Vito Columbo
This Time It's Really Goodbye / Jezebel

1008: ?

1009 (Jun. 1962): El Domingos
Made In Heaven / Lucky Me, I'm In Love

19 December 2008

Al Turnage & the Turnpikes - wild Texas rock

I know of two 45's that Texas rocker Al Turnage recorded, and both are fantastic. One is called Hollywood Rock b/w Lonely Days. Original release was on Corsair 605, an obscure rockabilly label, probably 1963-64. Hollywood Rock was recently included in one of those great Buffalo Bop samplers, Rhythm Feet.
The other is Bad News b/w Honey Hush, a record released in 1965 on the Texas label JOX.

Who is this Al Turnage, did he record more?

Hollywood Rock sounds like an early 1960s rocker. Great wild sax and piano rock (sample). The singer's voice reminds a little of John Lennon in his best rocking performances. The music compares to other fantastic Texas sixties rock (early Doug Sahm doing Crazy Daisy, Sam the Sham's Wooly Bully). The song is a Bobby Rich composition.

Bad News has that pounding beat garage rhythm. The JOX-discography says it is from 1965. It sure sounds that way (sample). Al and his band turned from a rock and roll group into a beat group. Piano and sax have gone, Liverpudlian guitars, Starr-drumming and the acoustics of a garage make it a stomping record. The band here plays a cover of a 1964 Johnny Cash hit.

JOX-label is from Texas (San Antone), what makes me think this Al is from that state. There is an Al Turnage Sr. now who works in building designing in Texarkana TX. Is he the same man?? I mailed his company, but got no response so far.

12 September 2008

Lita Marino - one record wonder?

This girl recorded one 45 for Warner Brothers. That is all I know about her. Nothing more.

The record was released in the summer of 1962 on WB 5302. On the A-side was John Loudermilk's Big Daddy, the B-side was "Sittin' On A Train".
The record was a tiny local break out in the fall of '62. In Seattle, Washington, on the KJR Fabulous Fifty, Lita reached a #41-spot on October 1st, 1962.

Listen to a sample of Big Daddy.
She sounds a little like Sue Thompson (Sue actually covered the song 2 years later and reached a bubbling under Billboard's Hot 100 chart position).

Lita's song may have been released in Spanish countries, as a part of the WB sampler "Bailable".

I wonder if there is anybody who can tell me more about this Lita Marino...

Update Jan. 2011
Lita Marino herself gave a reaction to this blog!!! See Reactions below

12 July 2008

Bonnie Prater, Miami rocker

The track "Pass Around The Apples" was selected for a Various Artists CD Honey Doll. A fantastic CD with a bunch of great rocking unknown girl pop rock and roll.
"Pass Around The Apples" is one of the highlights. Very catchy, up tempo song, a haunting voice, wild, rocking guitars. Click to listen to Bonnie Prater's song.

Singer Bonnie Prater is one of these Rock and Roll mysteries. It seems to be impossible to find any information about her.
But I was lucky to get a mail from Kathleen, who happened quite accidentally upon an internet page of me where the track was listed. It was the song by her husbands Aunt Bonnie, who had passed away. She liked to have the song as it meant a lot to her husband, for Aunt Bonnie was a great influence in his life.
I sent the song to them and asked what more information there was about Bonnie Prater.
Here's the story of Bonnie Prater.

Bonnie Morris Prater was born with the given name of Bertha Louise Morris and called Bonnie all her life. She was born on November 28, 1941. She passed away from cancer on March 26, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her singing debut was at age 11 on a local television show in Miami Florida called The Uncle Martin Show. She appeared on the Uncle Harv and Happy Harold shows with her older sister as The Morris Sisters. But when the promoter misunderstood the groups name and announced them as The Massey Sisters and they were a success, they kept that name.
As the Massey Sisters they had a successful career in the local area. Individually Bonnie went on to open shows for Faron Young, Buck Owens, Webb Pierce and other big names that came to the Miami area to perform. At Criteria Studios in Florida, Bonnie sang with individual stars and groups as a back up singer.

In the mid 60's she and her husband, Bill Prater (a studio musician and lead guitarist) started their own band called 'The Cruisers' and played venues in the south Florida area.
In 1968 Bonnie went to Nashville with King Houston to cut her single 'Pass Around the Apples' and back up on the flip side for Houston on 'I Struck the Match'. After hearing her performance Decca Studios offered Bonnie a contract, but she was already signed with Houston, who refused to release her from his contract.
Later Bonnie and Bill went on to do show work with Lee Irvin and the Kentuckians performing in and around the southern United States for several years.

Bonnie and Bill decided to start a family in the 70's and she devoted her time to her two children and husband, eventually leaving Florida and moving to Atlanta, Georgia where she became very successful in the banking business, but continued to entertain family and friends with her beautiful voice.
She is dearly missed by all.

Thank you Kathleen and Bonnie's family for all the information!