Here’s a gal who knows her country music. Glad to have you back One Mint Julep.
THE RETURN OF ONE MINT JULEP - PETTIN’ PARTY MIX
From about 2005 to 2009, I had a honky tonk radio show on WNYU. The four years of doing the show really were a dream come true, and I learned a great great deal about country music, but I got a little oversaturated and haven’t listened to those records much lately. My friend Raph and I have been trading mixes back and forth, and thinking of my next contribution got me thinking about a subject that was debated in places like Hank’s Saloon and Freddy’s when we’d all had too many bourbons: can country music be sexy? Sure, it can be cute, creepy, funny, raucous…but if you were getting down to business, would you ever put on hillbilly music? (no, Nashville Skyline doesn’t count). This mix delves into a few different eras and preferences (we’ll even verge on the bizarre and possibly criminal), and maybe you’ll find something that turns your damper down.
1) Alex Battles - Honky Tonk Radio Girl theme
2) Homer Clemons & His Texas Swingbillies - Operation Blues (Blue Bonnet, 1947) Hoo boy. A twisted low-down western swing blues number that makes no bones about playing doctor. If you like this, there’s an even better version recorded a few months earlier with a more traditional jazz lineup. Unfortunately, there is something like 1 remaining copy on the planet, but through the magic of the internet, you can hear it here.
3) Jack Guthrie - Trouble in Mind (Capitol, 1946) Woody’s cousin with a nice rendition of the blues standard.
4) Floyd Compton & His Western Troubadours - She Won’t Turn Over For Me (Renown, early 1950s) Definitely not even a little bit romantic, I couldn’t resist this one out of Detroit. If you have any imagination at all, this song is filthy.
5) Merle Travis - So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed (Capitol, 1947) More innuendo. We don’t get it these days, but this song is a series of allusions to cigarette ads.
6) Hank Penny - Locked Out (King, 1947)
7) Hank the Drifter - Don’t You Lock Your Daddy Out (New England, I would guess early 50s) No, not Luke the Drifter, Hank Williams’ alter ego. This belongs in the extensive and somewhat dubious category of impersonation records, which were all over the place during this period. But Joe Lombardie does himself proud here, managing to muster a performance shockingly similar to the man himself.
8) Ann Jones & Her Western Sweethearts - You Won’t Find Me Singing The Blues (King, 1952) The first of several badass-sexy ladies in the lineup. Really nice slide work on this one.
9) Jimmy Swan - Triflin’ On Me (Trumpet, 1952) A measured vocal performance in the style of Lefty Frizzell or Webb Pierce combined with that perfect lazy tempo, if you’re into that kind of thing.
10) Ferlin Husky - I’ll Babysit With You (Capitol, 1955) Things are starting to get a little strange (you’ll be my daddy, and my…what?) but Ferlin, who died this past March, was a supremely talented crooner, and a real looker too.
11) Sunshine Ruby - Too Young To Tango (RCA Victor, 1953) Somewhere Nabokov is smiling, if you know what I mean.
12) The Collins Kids - Rock Boppin’ Baby (Columbia, 1958) Lorrie Collins hits this one out of the park, at age 16, backed up by her 14-year-old virtuoso guitar player brother. What? Yeah. This was the year before she married Johnny Cash’s manager, aged 34. I feel like me and Lawrencine would have been good friends.
13) Billy McGhee - I’ll Copyright My Baby (RCA Victor, 1952) As an attorney, I appreciate a man who understands the importance of protecting one’s intellectual property.
14) Boots Gilbert with Chuck Hatfield & The Treble-Aires - Man! Turn Me Loose (Fortune, 1954) Another Detroit single with a deep minor key commanding female vocal that’ll haunt you for a while. Her man’s home, and he’s mighty sore.
15) Roberta Lee & Hardrock Gunter - Sixty Minute Man (Decca, 1951) Ultimately, it doesn’t come anywhere near to the swaggering original by Billy Ward & the Dominoes, but our pair does an earnest job. This period when country and R&B were both in full swing and sharing with each other (see also, Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris’ version of Hank Penny’s Bloodshot Eyes, etc, etc) is one of my favorites.
16) Blackie Crawford - Jump Jack Jump (Coral, 1952) The September 13, 1952 issue of Billboard says this song “should spin some in the coin phonos.”
17) Wanda Jackson - Whirlpool (Capitol, 1960) Including this song is basically cheating and destroying the difficulty of the exercise. I don’t care.
18) Gordon Terry - Wild Honey (live on Ranch Party TV show, 1958) This guy eventually burned out on amphetamines and ate too many cheeseburgers, but in his prime, a real dreamboat.
19) Harold Jenkins - Long Black Train (MGM, 1960) Unfortunately, this man would become Conway Twitty. But he had some real mojo before that happened.
20) Hank Williams, Sr. - Ramblin’ Man (MGM, 1954) See #17, same sentiment applies. Listening to Hank’s laserbeam voice of pure fear, dread, and longing can be an intense experience, but letting yourself be vulnerable can lead to the most meaningful relationships, right?
21) Tiny Hill - Diesel Smoke (Dangerous Curves) (Mercury, 1952) The classic is by Doye O’Dell, but this one has a little extra somethin’ somethin’.
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