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.

UPDATES

• Update on Les Randall acetate.
• Thanks to Bob more info on Bill Harris.
• Added info on Reavis Recording Studio.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

WIBC Jamboree

The Daily Banner,
December 1942
Indiana had many local live stage shows broadcasting from various places in the state. The show aired on WIBC, Indianapolis, and proved to be extremely popular with the station's listeners. The Jamboree was one of the earlier shows of its type.

WIBC started its Jamboree program in the early 1940s, possibly in 1940 or 1941. It was, however, on the air as early as December 1942. The show's cast included mostly singers and musicians who were working at WIBC plus country music stars of the day added to the line-up frequently. For example, in February 1944 Ernest Tubb and Pee Wee King appeared on the Jamboree. By 1944, famous radio and recording artist Hugh Cross was the emcee of the show.

The Jamboree did not only had its regular Saturday night stint in Indianapolis but also staged shows during the week from different places around Indianapolis. The show was held from such places at the Tomlinson Hall, the Armory, and the Keith Theatre (all Indianapolis) or the Cloverdale High School in Cloverdale, Indiana. 

The show was on air at least until the summer of 1945.

The list of the cast members of the WIBC Jamboree is long and surely, there are names on it that many will recognize. Many of the singers also appeared on several other stations and stage shows.


The Daily Banner, Greencastle, Ind.
November 13, 1944
• Hugh Cross, emcee
• Judy Perkins
• Linda Lou Martin
• Rufe Davis
• The Utah Trailors
• Vern Morgan
• Cal Fortune
• Casey Clarke
• Curly Baker
• Blue Mountain Girls
• Quarntine, comedy character
• Chick Holstine
• Emmy Lou
• Lazy Ranch Boys
• Byron Taggart
• Bud Bailey and his Down Easters
• Harpo and Tiny
• Marion Martin
• The Haymakers
• Prairie Pioneers
• Curly Miller, emcee
• Bill Haley and the Saddlemen
• Bobby Cook and his Texas Saddle Pals
• Fiddlin' Red Herron

Monday, October 2, 2017

KTAN live show

In 1958, radio station KTAN of Sherman, Texas, aired a Saturday afternoon live country music show. Billboard mentions this program in a February 3, 1958, article but mentions not the name of the show. Tiny Colbert, popular band leader in West Texas, hosted the show from the KTAN studios. The cast was made up mainly of local singers and musicians.

Colbert, described by Billboard as a "barefooted tap dancer heard on Warrior Records," had been around in Texas for some time. He fronted a band already in 1954 that performed in the Odessa and Lamesa areas and at one time also inlcuded Eddie Miller and Durwood Haddock. Colbert and his band also recorded several discs for Bluebonnet Records.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Frank Gilreath on Torino

Frank Gilreath and the Southern Swingsters - Homesick for Home (Torino 45-1052, 1969)

There are a couple of Frank Gilreaths in the United States and a quick search did not turn up anything particular on this special Frank Gilreath here. Reading the name of his band, the Southern Swingsters, one may expect a western swing outfit, which it is not, of course. Both songs are straight mainstream country cuts.

Torino was one of the many custom labels operated by Style Wooten in Memphis.

Read more:
Torino Records Discography
The Ballad of Big Style Wooten

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Country Cavalcade

The WMNI Country Cavalcade 
special thanks to Matt Mnich and Bob O'Brien

WMNI, a powerful country music station in Columbus, Ohio, during the 1960s and 1970s, hosted a live stage show called the “Country Cavalcade.” Contrary to many other shows of its type, the Cavalcade began its history relatively late at the end of 1974. At that time, many of the old live stage shows had ended.


WMNI turned to a country music programming in late 1965. The station was owned by North American Broadcasting, headed by William R. “Bill” Mnich, who had founded the company in 1958. Both the Southern Theatre and the hotel next to the theatre, known as the Grand Southern Hotel, also belonged to North American Broadcasting. Shortly after WMNI became a country station, live stage shows were organized at the Southern Theatre and the much larger Veterans Memorial Auditorium, beginning in 1966 with great success. These shows, however, were not broadcasted over radio.

The idea of a regular Saturday night stage show came from Bill Mnich. The start for the “Country Cavalcade” finally came late in 1974. Mnich was the driving force behind the show, as he booked the acts, produced and managed the Cavalcade. Emcee of the show was Ron Barlow, DJ and program director of WMNI from 1970 until 1975 or early 1976. Barlow then left due to a disagreement with Mnich and was replaced by Carl Wendelken, who also shared managing /producing credits with Mnich. Rick Minerd, who helped Wendelken at times with the emcee work, recalled: “Our Country Cavalcade was a local version of WSM's Grand Ole Opry Show and like the grand daddy of them all we featured live acts on Saturday nights from a beautiful historic theatre.



The show was airing live over WMNI and taped for broadcasting over the Mutual Network, which included over 600 stations at that time and exposed the Country Cavalcade to a large audience across the United States. It was also tried to broadcast live over the network, which was stopped again shortly afterwards, however, since it caused too many problems (the show had to be broadcasted simultaneously in four different time zones). A book called “Historic Columbus: A Bicentennial History” devoted some space to WMNI and also the Cavalcade: „In the mid to late 1970s, nationally known entertainers appeared before packed houses at the Southern Theater. The shows were broadcast on WMNI and distributed to hundreds of other radio stations over the Mutual Radio Network.”At some point in 1976, the show was dropped from the network but continued to air over WMNI.

Many of the artists were local acts but some of them enjoyed some success, even nationally. Ott Stephens was an recording artist on Chart Records from Nashville during the 1960s and also partially owner of that label. He appeared regularly on the Country Cavalcade. Although he had sold his interests in Chart by the time the Cavalcade went on the air, a lot of the Chart recording artists nevertheless made regular performances on the show through him. The artists profited from the nationwide exposure of the show and some of them even reached the Billboard country charts.
Regulars of the show included:

• Kenny Slide, fiddler and part of the show’s house band
• Ric Queen, drummer and part of the show’s house band
• Kenny Pugh
• Lionel Cartwright
• Patti Ramsey
• Rick Minerd, DJ at WMNI and at one time emcee of the show
• “Captain” John Gammell, began performing on the show in 1972
• Bill Jolliff
• Kevin Mabry and Liberty Street, local country and rock group – Kevin Mabry guitar/vocals; Bill Purk lead guitar/vocals; Gary Markin bass/vocals; Harold Fogle steel guitar; Victor Mabry drums – won a Country Cavalcade talent contest in 1976 as reported by the Marysville Journal-Tribute on October 8, 1976
• Debbie Fowler
• Mike O’Harra
• Patti Gaines
• Dick Shuey, Award recording artist in 1978
• Kenny Vernon, Chart recording artist
• LaWanda Lindsey, Chart recording artist
• Pat Zill
• Howard Writesel
• Tommy Hawk
• Walt Cochran and the Holly River Boys
• Chuck Howard

On March 6, 1979, the “Circleville Herald” referred to one of the regular Cavalcade Saturday shows as follows: “CAVALCADE PLANS CONCERT – The WMNI Country Cavalcade will present David Houston and the Persuaders live in concert on the Southern Theatre Stage, Columbus 8 p.m. Saturday. Also appearing will be some of the area’s finest entertainers. Newark's Debbie Fowler, Amanda’s Ken Pugh, Patti Gaines from Huntington, W. Va. and Mike O'Harra and syn¬chronizations from Columbus will round out this night of entertainment. The WMNI Country Cavalcade is presented every Saturday night.



Our friend Bob O’Brien, who put me on the track of the Country Cavalcade, was able to track down Matt Mnich, son of Bill Mnich. Matt was kind enough to give us an insight of the show’s history, for which we are very thankful. I also appreciate Bob’s great help in bringing light to one of the lesser known stage shows. A great portion of the information came from Matt and Bob.

In 1979, the Southern Theatre was closed down as it had fallen into disrepair at that point. The closing of the theatre also meant the end for the Country Cavalcade. WMNI continued to put on live stage shows in Columbus on an infrequent basis, which were not heard over radio, however. Nevertheless, these events proofed to be successful, too, well into the 1980s.


Accompaning this post is a 12 track compilation entitled "The WMNI Country Cavalcade" put together by Bob O'Brien. This compilation includes recordings by some of the Country Cavalcade members.

♫♪



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bill Harris

Marlon Grisham - Square Watermelon Seed (Cover 45-711)

This apparently Memphis based songwriter is some kind of a mystery to me. Bill Harris appeared as a songwriter on a couple of independent Memphis record labels by local artists, including Marlon Grisham, Eddie Cash, and Jim Climer.

BMI reveals that Harris' full name is William Alvan Harris, Jr. There was a William Alvin "Dubbye" Harris, born  on July 31, 1940, and passed away on March 30, 2005. At the time of his death, this William Alvin Harris was living in Waterford near Holly Springs, Mississippi (south of Memphis across the Tennessee-Mississippi state border). He was buried at the Hill Crest Cemetery in Holly Springs, the ceremony was led by Brother Frank Feathers (a cousin to Charlie Feathers). William Alvin Harris was a self-employed truck driver. I'm pretty sure this is our man.

Harris was not only a songwriter but also a musician and band manager in the 1950s. He became a member of Harold Jenkins' group in 1956 as a bass player and recorded several (unreleased) sessions at Sun with Jenkins. He shared the position with Jimmy Evans, another Sun musician. When Jenkins went to Nashville to record for Mercury and became "Conway Twitty," Harris was finally replaced by Evans (who, in turn, was replaced by Nashville studio musician Lightnin' Chance in 1958).  

At the same time Harris left the Jenkins band (late 1956/early 1957), he met up with another young singer, Memphis born Eddie Cash. Harris soon became Cash's manager and organized the Peak and Fernwood recording sessions for Cash. He also wrote one of his songs, "Thinkin' Man." Cash left Memphis for Chicago in 1960 but Harris remained in Memphis. It is possible Harris then became Marlon Grisham's manager.

Harris first appeared as a songwriter with "She's My Technicolor Baby" in 1954 (copyrighted on October 21 according to the Catalog of Copyright Entries). BMI has listed several more songs under different names by Harris.

Harris' compositions also included:

Jungle Love, recorded by Marlon Grisham on Clearpool
Square Watermelon Seed, recorded by Grisham on Cover
Tall Mac the Lumberjack, with Jim Climer, who recorded it on Fernwood
Tonight's the Night, published by Bill Black's Lyn-Lou publishing firm
Thinkin' Man, recorded by Eddie Cash at Fernwood studio and leased to Todd Records 

Thanks to Bob

Friday, September 1, 2017

Pee Dee Opry

The "Pee Dee Opry" was the creation of Charles Edward "Slim" Mims, a local entertainer in South Carolina. Mims was born in 1918 in Columbia, South Carolina. He began his musical career in 1935 and founded his band, the Dream Ranch Boys, in 1940. The boys became his background band for at least 20 years. His wife Patty Faye was also with the group as well as later famous Country musicians Glenn Sutton and Jimmy Capps.

Slim Mims and the Dream Ranch Boys on WBTW, ca. 1950s. Patty Faye Mims seated and
Slim Mims as "Uncle Ugly" behind the camera.

Mims hosted a stable of local shows during the 1950s. He entertained the audiences over WJMX with his "Dream Ranch Jamboree" in Florence, South Carolina, but also hosted a show on WBTW-TV and the "Silent Flame Jamboree" on WNCT-TV in Greenville, South Carolina.

The "Pee Dee Opry" was a later show of Mims', as we first found mention of this show in 1961 in a Billboard issue. The name of the show came from the name of northeastern region of South Carolina, which is called "Pee Dee." Mims was booking the ccts of the Opry and also produced it, while he and the Dream Ranch Boys led through the show. Mims also appeared as the comedy act of the Pee Dee Opry, known as "Uncle Ugly" (a character he already had developed much earlier).

Contrary to his other shows before, which were mainly TV or studio shows, the Pee Dee Opry was a live stage show held every Saturday night at the Ole Opry House in Darlington, South Carolina. The show in total lasted three hours with one of them airing on WJMC (Florence) and WBSC (Bennettsville, SC). It was also taped in order to broadcast it on other stations in the state. The stable of artists that appeared on the Opry is not known but it included up to 30 different acts.

While the Pee Dee Opry ended its run at some point, Slim Mims continued to entertain people personally and on TV. In the 1970s, he hosted the Slim Mims Show, of which you can see an excerpt below. Mims died in 1994. More on the Dream Ranch Jamboree and Slim Mims can be found at hillbilly-music.com.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cees Klop R.I.P.

The founder of White Label/Collector Records, Dutchman Cees Klop, has passed away this weekend. Klop, who began collecting rock'n'roll records in the 1960s, released countless LPs and CDs on his labels, travelled more than once to the US to track down forgotten artists, ad unearthed recordings that would have sunk without into obscurity otherwise.

Klop was a controversial figure in the collector scene. He often edited recordings to present them as "alternate takes," gave at times wrong info on his LP back covers. Much has been said about him but without him, the world surely would miss a lot of great music.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cornhuskers Jamboree

Continuing our journey through the old-fashioned Country & Western variety shows, today we feature a show that was a bit more famous than some of the others. The Cornhuskers Jamboree enjoyed a long running time on Cincinnati radio and television and featured also some of the big names in country music.

There was a Cornhusker Jamboree on KFAB in the late 1930s, which is a totally different show, however. The first mention of the Cornhuskers Jamboree (sometimes also spelled: Cornhuskers'), which was broadcasted over WKRC in Cincinnati, is in Billboard May 5, 1945. At that time, Bradley Kincaid and Cowboy Copas were the stars of the show plus a stable of lesser known artists. During the summer months of 1945, the Jamboree cast also hosted shows on Carthage Fairgrounds in Cincinnati each Sunday, which also aired over WKRC. These shows became known as "WKRC's Circle B Ranch" and also featured special guest artists in addition to the usual singers and musicians.

The Cornhuskers Jamboree was also touring the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky with a tent show. By May 1946, another veteran performer since the 1920s had taken over the Jamboree, Hugh Cross.

By 1954, the Jamboree had switched from WKRC to WCPO-TV and could now be seen on televison weekdays at 10:30 AM. 

Members of the Cornhuskers Jamboree cast included:
• Cowboy Copas
• Bradley Kincaid
• Hugh Cross
• Jean Hogan
• Colemar Brothers
• Shorty Hobbs
• Rusty Gabbard
• Judy Perkins
• Faye Dorning
• Happy Wilson and the Golden River Boys
• Lily May Ledford

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Silver Sage Round-Up

Another of the many country & western stage shows, the Silver Sage Round-Up was on the air as early as 1949 and was still broadcoasting in 1952. KFSB in Joplin, Missouri, broadcasted the show on Saturday nights, when it was held at different locations in the Joplin and surrounding areas. The show was held at such locations as the Municipal Auditorium in Neosho, Missouri, and the Carthage Memorial Hall. Connected with the show was a duo by the name of "Cookie and Ollie," who moved to WSIP in Paintsville, Kentucky, in 1952.

Part of the show:
Cookie and Ollie
Albert E. Brumley, Jr., son of Albert Brumley, famous gospel songwriter, incl. "I'll Fly Away"
Prairie Sweethearts
• Ozark Mountain Boys
• The Boys from Music Mountain

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Western Star's Serenade

In early 1954, a live country stage show entered the picture. Produced by Peggy O'Riley, the "Western Star's Serenade" was held in Tyler, Texas. A small portion of the show - only 15 minutes - was taped and broadcastet seperately on KGKB (Tyler, Texas). The emcee work was handled by Ed Smith, DJ at KGKB.

Part of the show were:

Jerry Hanson, he recorded some rockabilly for the Starday custom label, Manco and Blubonnet Records from Forth Worth
Dorothy Hanson, maybe related to Jerry?
James Fuller
Roscoe Clark
Western Star Serenaders, house band of the show

If anyone else has more info on the show, please pass it along!