DAVEY GIBBS and his Country Hoppers

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Two wonderful albums are featured in this post. I know very little about this fantastic Canadian country band, other than what is written in the notes to the LP at left, RCA Camden CAL-704. It states that Davey and the Hoppers began in 1948 as the "Riders of the Southern Trails" and went on to broadcast out of Kingston and then Peterborough at the time of the album's release. An online obituary notes that David William "Davey, The Country Kid" Gibbs passed away in 2000, and had resided in Peterborough and Belleville.
The notes on CAL-704 identify the band members as follows:

"With his great vocalizing and guitar stylings, Davey Gibbs (the Country Kid) heads the group, staunchly supported by Garry "Gizz" Watt on the fiddle, Fred "Pappy" Ryan on the steel guitar, Paul "Hiker" Gurry on a "take off" Spanish guitar and Larry "Dooley" Protheroe on the bass fiddle."

Although the second LP ("Mister Hoedown", RCA Camden CAL-775) features only a generic back slick advertising other RCA Camden titles, the cover photo shows the same band members, so we may assume the LP features the same personel. On the second cover it may also be noted that Ryan is shown on dobro instead of steel and Gurry, rather than electric guitar is shown with a mandolin. Both covers feature a border collie posed with the band, which the above-quoted notes explain thus:

"Like any team, the Country Hoppers have a silent partner - in this case, Smokey, the faithful canine mascot, a favourite of concert and TV audiences everywhere."

These albums are excellent in all regards, well performed and well recorded. Gibbs, despite being leader, sings only four numbers across the two LPs, and these are superb. "Love's A Losing Game" is so good, I hope there was at one time a single release of the tune, if only so it could have been played on local jukeboxes. The balance of the numbers are instrumentals; fiddle tunes, steel and dobro solos and and ensemble pieces. What strikes me most is how a band from central Ontario covers so much variety with only five musicians, honky-tonk country, ballads, with southern instrumentals right alongside Canadian square dance tunes.
Based on the issue numbers, it's a pretty safe bet that CAL-704 was released in 1962 and CAL-775 a year later in 1963. I hope you all enjoy these recordings, in my opinion they're another lost gem of Canadian country. If you have any other info about this band you would like to share please drop me a line. Enjoy!

Includes jacket and label scans.


1. Smokey's Rag
2. Old Vienna Special
3. Love's A Losing Game
4. Southern Comfort
5. Twinkle,Twinkle,Little Star
6. Mockin' Bird Hill
7. Travellin' Joe
8. Born To Cry Alone
9. Rose City Chimes
10. Ragtime Annie
11. Buckshot Rag
12. Lord Alexander's Reel
13. Honky-Tonk Baby
14. Buck Fever
15. This Is Southland
16. Red Wing
17. Pappy's Dobro Chimes
18. What's Your Reason For Your Teasin'
19. Cliff's Jig
20. Speedin' West

*download here*


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