Oklahoma music legend, rockabilly singer Clyde Stacy, was killed in a car accident, November 6, 2013. He was traveling northbound on Highway 69 near Muskogee when he drove into a truck that had stopped on the highway.
Clyde Stacy was born August 11, 1936 on a farm near Chetotah, Oklahoma. He became interested in playing the guitar during the late 1940s/early ’50s and formed his first bands. In 1955 Clyde formed The Nitecaps in Tulsa, Oklahoma, performing a mix of rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, blues, and country. So Young, recorded in 1957, became Clyde’s only hit record, climbing to position #68 on the Billboard charts. The band performed on ‘American Bandstand’ and tour nationally.
Clyde’s records sold well in Canada, but almost made no noise in the U.S.A. A last 45 under his name was released in 1961, and masters from two 1962 or ’63 recording sessions remained unissued until 1993. He had moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1960, and he continued working the club circuit playing blues, country and rockabilly. Fifteen years later he moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Clyde Stacy retired from the music business in 1985. More than 25 years later he was persuaded to return to the stage at ‘Viva Las Vegas’ in 2011.
Bear Family has released “Hoy Hoy” with his greatest recordings in the “Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight” series in 2011.
“Black musicians’ stories, largely hidden until now, are told in vivid detail and with impeccable research in a new CD set called Black Europe, a monumental (in every sense of the word) release that chronicles the history of black music in Europe up to 1928.”
John Clarke – The Independant (UK)
Friday, November 22, 2013
To read the entire online feature, please CLICK HERE
Christian Van den Broeck from Belgatone has successfully opened his ‘Black Imagary’ exhibition at Brussels, a showcase for rare images from the 1890s into the 1930s. ‘Black Imagery’ shows artifacts and memorabilia from an early almost forgotten era when African artists, and Arfican-American artists were performing and working in Europe.
Bear Family’s recently released CD/book documentation on the history of black music in Europe, ‘Black Europe’, focussing on approx. 1,250 recordings made prior to 1927, is also shown as part of the exhibition.
More details and photos from the opening event can be found HERE
Bear Family Records’ Release of the Complete Johnson City Sessions/”Johnson City Sessions Weekend,” Johnson City, Tennessee, October 17-20, 2013
The location recording sessions held by Columbia Records in Johnson City, Tennessee, in October 1928 and October 1929 have long been overshadowed by what happened just up the road one year earlier–Victor Records’ legendary Bristol Sessions of 1927. In 2011, Bear Family Records released the complete 1927 and 1928 Bristol Sessions recordings, and that box set, The Bristol Sessions, 1927-1928: The Big Bang of Country Music, received worldwide attention and garnered two Grammy Award nominations. Yet the Johnson City Sessions recordings are also worthy of receiving widespread attention, and Bear Family Records is making that possible withthe release of a new box set entitled Can You Sing or Play Old-Time Music?: The Johnson City Sessions, 1928-1929. Featuring all 100 extant recordings from the sessions in Johnson City distributed over 4 CDs and including a 136-page book offering extensive research into the Johnson City Sessions, this box set compiles many classic recordings of old-time Appalachian music recorded in Johnson City at the cusp of the Great Depression. These sessions netted many definitive old-time music recordings, including “The Coo-Coo Bird” by Clarence Ashley, “Down on Penny’s Farm” by The Bentley Boys, “The Old Lady and the Devil” by Bill and Belle Reed, “Three Men Went A-Hunting” by Byrd Moore and His Hot Shots, “Roll On Buddy” by Charlie Bowman and His Brothers, “Johnson City Blues” by Clarence Greene, and “West Virginia Blues” by The Moatsville String Ticklers. Indeed, given the high quality of the aforementioned recordings and many others from Columbia Records’ location recording sessions in Johnson City, it is surprising that the Johnson City Sessions were never researched until now.
Bear Family Records founder and owner, Richard Weize, and London (UK) music journalist, Tony Russell, will be attending the scheduled “Johnson City Sessions Weekend” events in Johnson City, Tennessee, this coming weekend, celebrating the release of Bear Family’s boxed set, The Johnson City Sessions, 1928 – 1929. Liner notes and biographies were written by Ted Olson and Tony Russell.
Listen to co-author Ted Olson’s interview on West Virginia Public Radio show “Inside Appalachia.” It lasts about 12 minutes, beginning at 20:25 on the podcast retrievable via this weblink:
For much of the 1950s Elsie Jo and Mildred Miller were inseparable. By 2013 the likelihood that they would see each other again was remote at best. Both were experiencing significant health issues and were living in different parts of the country.
Ten years older than Millie, Jo had married Millie’s brother, Roy. They began singing together as part of the Miller Trio, while Millie was still a teenager. Their radio show over WTUP in Tupelo led to an audition with Sam Phillips, who was smitten by the girls’ sweet country harmony.
Between 1955 – 1957 there were five recording sessions at Sun (including two as background singers for other artists). Thirteen titles were recorded under the Miller Sisters name and three singles were released. The Miller Sisters were at Sun during the label’s golden era. Elvis drifted in and out of their sessions (and flirted with Millie); rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers played spoons on their first release, and their second record appeared packaged with Folsom Prison Blues and Blue Suede Shoes on the label’s release schedule.
Their last record (Sun 255) was released in August, 1956. Over the subsequent years, Millie and Jo drifted apart. Millie gave up her native Mississippi for family life in Indiana. Both women had four children and made a life outside the music business. Time passed.
In January 2013 Bear Family Records celebrated Sun Records’ 60th anniversary (and their own 38th anniversary) by releasing three landmark box sets to commemorate Sam Phillips’ recordings in the country, blues and and rock fields. Each of the three Sun boxes had originally appeared on vinyl in the 1980s and was more than overdue for digital updating with additional recordings, photos and information.
Hank Davis, one of the box sets’ three producers along with Martin Hawkins and Colin Escott, proposed a Miller Sisters reunion to the ‘Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’ as a way of celebrating the release of the three Bear Family Sun boxes. The event, headed by Hank Davis and Rock Hall MC Jason Hanley, was scheduled for September 14, 2013 and took place in front of an enthusiastic audience of record collectors and Sun aficionados.
For a while it appeared the reunion might not occur. Just days before the event, Millie broke her ankle seriously enough to require surgery. She brought her wheelchair to the reunion. For Jo, on the eve of her 86th birthday, attending the reunion required a grueling 13 hour drive. Both were rewarded by a suite at the Hyatt Regency and a backstage buffet that included chocolate-dipped strawberries. Jo’s attendance was kept secret from Millie until the last minute. Even her two daughters and granddaughter were part of the conspiracy. Finally there was a knock on Millie’s door and Jo walked in. The tearful reunion that followed was worth the wait.
The only empty chair on stage belonged to Richard Weize, president of Bear Family Records, whose circumstances made it unable for him to attend at the last minute. To honor Richard’s role in producing the three Sun boxes, producer Hank Davis placed a pair of blue jeans (Richard’s trademark overalls were not available) on the vacant chair onstage and included the “denim Richard” in the program. Following the event, a member of the audience approached Hank and offered to buy the designated denim for framing in his music trophy room if Hank would sign it. Hank politely declined, but did sign copies of his own Bear Family CD, One Way Track.
Photo by Yana Hoffman & Hank Davis
Texas rockabilly singer Mac Curtis passed away on September 16, 2013.
The Rock and Roll of Fame inductee was born Erwin Curtis Jr. on January 16, 1939 in Fort Worth, Texas. He began playing guitar while in his early teens. After moving to Weatherford, he started a school band that played locally. In 1955 they were offered a record contract from King Records in Cincinnati. When the debut single, “If I Had me A Woman” was released in 1956, ‘Mac’ Curtis was only seventeen. Between 1956 and 19058, King Records released a string of 45s.
After joining the US military, Curtis became a deejay in Korea. He continued to work as a deejay after his return, and recorded several albums for various record companies. With the growing popularity of rockabilly during the 1970s, he recorded for Rollin’ Rock Records and appeared on festivals.
Mac Curtis died on September 16, following injuries received in a car accident.
More details and a discography can be found on Wikipedia
After a short illness, Marvin Rainwater, country and rockabilly singer and songwriter, passed away on September 17, 2013. Rainwater will be remembered for several major hits during the late 1950s.
He was born Marvin Karlton Rainwater on July 2, 1925 in Wichita, Kansas. After World War II he became fascinated with Roy Acuff and started writing songs and playing music. In May 1955 he got his big break when he won first place on Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts show. Since 1955, he was a regular on the Ozark Jubilee TV show for several years, and he signed with MGM Records. “Hot And Cold” was one of the great rockabilly sides he recorded for the label.
During the late 1950s, he became one of the first country music artists to cross over into the pop market with tunes like “Gonna Find Me a Bluebird” which sold more than one million copies, followed by a duet with Connie Francis, “The Majesty Of Love”, another million-selling hit record. Songs like “Whole Lotta Woman”, “I Dig You Baby”, and “Nothin’ Needs Nothin’ (Like I Need You)” made him popular in England. More million sellers like “My Love Is Real”, “My Brand Of Blues” and “Half Breed” followed in 1959. When his voice began to give out, Rainwater disappeared in retirement, only to reappear, soon. He continued to record for various US and European record labels and has occasionally appeared on European rockabilly festivals.