BURL IVES The Wayfaring Stranger

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Between McCarthy era testimony, a slew of unbelievably bad 1960's LPs, and Claymation snowmen, it's pretty easy to forget that at one time, Burl Ives was a dynamic and convincing performer of American folk songs. When I picked this 78 album up at a local junk store, the latter day Burl was on my mind and it languished on my shelves for some time. I'm glad I finally gave these discs a spin, though, because they're wonderful.
This album of three 78rpm discs was recorded and released by Asch Records (Moses Asch, later to found the Folkways label) in 1944. Asch 78s of this era are notoriously lo-fi and noisy, but enjoyable nonetheless. Incidentally, Columbia released an 78 set by Ives in 1944 with the same title, but comprised of different tunes.


1. Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Buckeyed Jim
2. The Bold Soldier, The Sow Took The Measels
3. The Foggy Foggy Dew
4. Black Is The Color
5. The Blue Tail Fly
6. Henry Martin (Pirate Ballad)

*download here*

JIMMIE OSBORNE Original King Recordings

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Attic's new friend, Bobsluckycat, has kindly supplied these 49 tracks by Jimmie Osborne, whose Audio Lab LP was featured a couple of posts back. He transferred them from the original King LPs in his collection, and states:

These are listed by song title, record number and recording date. Missing B or A sides of any number have never been re-issued outside the original 78rpm and/or 45rpm release. Most were very topical, for the time, which date badly. Some are gospel songs or just missing. A few songs beyond the 49 here in 1954 and 1955 were never re-issued at all and probably only saw very limited release (1000 copies total or less) to fulfill the contract between King and Mr. Osborne which ran 7 years.
Jimmy Osborne was a minor country star, who put out some pleasing recordings, but while he had regional followings, he couldn't latch on to the "Big" one. I don't know why. He was at WLS, KWKH, WLW on their radio & TV shows, but never caught on there. He was mostly a low paid radio D.J. and when his King contract ended at the beginning of the rockabilly/rock-n-roll era, his career was essentially over in country music. When you listen to these songs, the melodies on some may sound familiar. Reason being is while Osborne wrote the lyrics to a lot of his songs, he "borrowed" heavily from previous songs for the melodies. Some more than others.

Many thanks to Bobsluckycat, who's lucky cat, Mr. Lucky, is pictured below!


1. My Heart Echoes (King 715 A) (10-1947)
2. Your Lies Have Broken My Heart (King 715 B) (10-1947)
3. Forever Far Apart (King 725 A) (10-1947)
4. It's So Hard To Smile (King 725 B) (10-1947)
5. Mom Is Dying Tonight (King 736 A) (12-1947)
6. A Vacant Sign Upon My Heart (King 736 B) (10-1947)
7. Son, Please Meet Me In Heaven (King 768 A) (12-1947)
8. Not Unloved Nor Unclaimed (King 768 B) (12-1947)
9. The Death Of Little Kathy Fiscus (King 788 AA) (04-19-1949)
10. Your Lovin' And Huggin' (King 817 A) (04-19-1949)
11. Tears Of St. Ann (King 817 B) (08-31-1949)
12. Forever And A Day (King 831 A) (08-31-1949)
13. I'm Gonna Strut My Stuff (King 831 B) (08-31-1949)
14. What A Price To Pay For Love (King 863 A) (08-31-1949)
15. You're The Only Angel (King 863 B) (03-12-1950)
16. God Please Protect America (King 893 AA) (07-26-1950)
17. The Moon Is Weeping Over You (King 893 A) (07-26-1950)
18. The Old Family Bible (King 908 A) (10-02-1950)
19. The Door To My Heart Is Wide Open (King 926 A) (10-02-1950)
20. My Saddest Mistake (King 942 A) (07-26-1950)
21. No Bitter Tears (King 942 B) (10-02-1950)
22. I Hate To Be Jealous (King 958 A) (03-27-1951)
23. Tell Me Daddy If You Know (King 958 B) (03-27-1951)
24. He'll Come Like A Thief In The Night (King 971 A) (03 -27-1951)
25. It's Just A Habit With You (King 988 B) (10-11-1951)
26. Love Me Or Leave Me (King 1012 A) (10-11-1951)
27. It's Me Who Has To Suffer (King 1012 B) (10-11-1951)
28. Missing In Action (King 1038 A) (12-1951)
29. Give Back My Ring And Picture (King 1038 B) (12-1951)
30. A Million People Have Died (King 1048 A) (12-1951)
31. God Has Taken My Flower (King 1048AA) (03-27-1951)
32. How Many Hearts Can You Break (King 1066 A) (10-11-1951)
33. We Can't Take It With Us To Our Grave (King 1066 AA) (12-1951)
34. Mama Don't Agree (King 1117 A) ( (07-31-1952)
35. Automobile Baby (King 1117 B) (07-31-1952)
36. This Evil Life Don't Pay (King 1144 A) (07-31-1952)
37. Don't Slam The Door (King 1144B) (07-31-1952)
38. Nag, Nag, Nag (King 1193 A) (03-1953)
39. I'm Scared To Go Home (King 1193 B) (03-1953)
40. Hills Of Roan County (King 1231 B) (03-1953)
41. You All Come (King 1295 A) (11-10-1953)
42. My Tissue Paper Heart (King 1314 A) (11-10-1953)
43. It Just Tears Me All To Pieces (King 1314 B) (11-10-1953)
44. I Did And I Does And I Do (King 1354 A) (04-20-1954)
45. A Tennessee Ocean (King 1354 B) (04-20-1954)
46. Blue Days And Lonely Nights (King 1363 A) (04-20-1954)
47. An Empty Old Cottage (King 1993 A) (09-02-1954)
48. Helpless Heart (King LP 730 Previously Unissued)
49. You Get The Roses, I Get The Thorns (King LP 892 Previously Unissued)

Please note that due to size, the 49 files have been split into two folders.

*download folder #1 here*

*download folder #2 here*


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The little 45rpm disk pictured here is another total mystery. I purchased it about five years ago in a thrift shop in Wallaceburg, Ontario. It contains two great country tunes by one Jimmy Williams, with both of the compositions credited to Hank Martin. I'm assuming the "JW" tag for both the label and publishing company is a reference to Mr. Williams. The only other info shown is "W. Cutcher/R. Jacoby Productions", with no indication of a date or locale on the label. I have no idea who either Williams or Martin are; I'm pretty certain this is not the Jimmy Williams that recorded with Red Ellis on Starday. I have been unable to find any reference to this record online, as you can imagine, there are many people who go by these names!
The "a" side, "Two's A-Plenty - Three's A-Crowd" is fairly uptempo, while the flip, "Revenge" is a good deal slower, and a pretty convincing honky-tonk "weeper". The recording quality is somewhat raw and lo-fi (the brief tape drop-out on the second side is on the actual disk), but I find this record very enjoyable. Williams is a good, if not especially technical, honky-tonk singer, and the harmony on the choruses adds a lot to these performances. To my ears the sparse rhythm section consists of acoustic rhythm, electric bass, and snare, with the vocal driven along by an incessant but tasteful steel player.
All in all, this is nice little country obscurity. It's hard to say if this is a local act from Southwestern Ontario, or was left behind by someone "passing through". We may never know, but, as always, if anyone has any info about this record, please drop me an email to lonesomelefty@yahoo.ca
Happy listening!


1. Two's A-Plenty-Three's A Crowd
2. Revenge

*download here*

JIMMIE OSBORNE Singing Songs He Wrote

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I recently went looking around the blog-sphere to see if I could find any Jimmie Osborne albums, and alas, no luck. I therefore decided to remedy the situation by presenting this LP on King's Audio Lab label. This dinner plate of a disc was issued in 1959, and features twelve tunes composed and performed by the late Kentucky singer. This is great postwar southeastern country music, Osborne's style is reminiscent of of Acuff, the Bailes Brothers, Hank Williams, etc. Unfortunately, Jimmie commited suicide in 1957 and is not as well remembered he should be.
The links below contain more biographical information:

Biography @ Hillbilly-Music.com

Biography @ rocky-52.net


1. The Death Of Little Kathy Fiscus
2. It's Just A Habit With You
3. Give Back My Ring And Picture
4. We Can't Take It With Us To Our Grave
5. How Many Hearts Can You Break
6. You Get The Roses, I Get The Thorns
7. God Has Taken My Flower
8. This Evil Life Don't Pay
9. I Hate To Be Jealous
10. Nag, Nag, Nag
11. Mama Don't Agree
12. The Moon Is Weeping Over You

*download here*


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today marks the 39th anniversary of the passing of Don Messer's legendary "Singing Lumberjack", Charlie Chamberlain. He passed away July 16, 1972, just two days after his 61st birthday, the 14th also marked the hundredth anniversary of his birth. At the time of his death, he had broadcast with Messer on radio and later television for over 40 years, and to Canadians was a larger-than-life legend. As such, Charlie has become an almost mythical figure, about whom many anecdotes circulate, some more borne of reality than others.
Chamberlain was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick in 1911. His mother was widowed early and to assist, Charlie went to work in the lumber woods at the age of eight. In this setting he became an strong and extroverted youngster who was eager to entertain. During WWI, he allegedly sang to the soldiers on passing troop trains, who would throw coins in appreciation. While riding a train himself, a friend of Don Messer's heard Charlie warbling, and put him in touch with the radio fiddler who was looking for a vocalist. Thus began the mutually beneficial association that made Canadian musical and broadcasting history. Charlie Chamberlain performed pretty much exclusively with Messer for the rest of his career.
Chamberlain is most often recalled as an incredible character, a true "Good Time Charlie". A huge man with huge appetites, he seems to have lived his life "in the moment". Charlie preferred to receive his pay from Messer in cash, even asking for small bills which were easier to spend. He was notoriously generous, and quite freely shared his money with friends and neighbours, and although he was one of Canada's most loved and recognized entertainers, he always kept a day job. During the sixties, when Don Messer's Jubilee was pretty much the highest rated TV show in Canada, many a motorist was shocked to have Charlie pump their gas at a service station in Lakeside, NS.
Modern accounts of Charlie often imply his talent was more as an entertainer than a singer, and by the TV years, which are most remembered, the years of hard living had definitely taken a toll on his voice. The early recordings here, however, show that in his prime, Chamberlain was a formidable radio crooner. I have always felt that the Don Messer band in the thirties and forties was sort of like a northeastern equivalent to what Bob Wills was in the southwest; a popular dance band rooted in the local fiddling tradition that nonetheless could play whatever dancers might request, modern or otherwise. This makes Charlie a hard singer to peg genre-wise, here he sings pop of the day, western songs, and a great deal of Irish novelty material. Unfortunately, there seems to be no recordings in circulation of the many lumberjack ballads for which Charlie was noted in his early radio years.
Tracks 1-12 in this collection are drawn from 1940s Apex label 78s and radio transcriptions, and track 13 is a 1958 radio performance. Chamberlain is backed on these by Don Messer and his Islanders. Tracks 14-23 are the contents of Charlie's only solo LP, a collection of Irish songs first issued in 1967 on the Point label (reissued in the 70s on MCA Coral, shown below). The final track is a solo performance from a 1967 LP of hymns with Marg Osburne. On the LP tracks, Charlie is accompanied by Rae Calder at the organ.
On a personal note, I really enjoy the 78 era stuff the most, in particular "Swinging To The Rhythm Of An Irish Jig", about swing music taking over at the local ceilidh(!), and "I Had A Hat", which cleverly interpolates Miss McLeod's Reel and the Irish air Port Láirge (sometimes called "Rose Tree") in a 1940s pop context. I would like to thank Andyrama for the use of a rare Messer promo LP from which "The Broken Down Piano" and "Goin' Back" were sourced.
Incidentally, there are many great clips of Charlie on YouTube. A couple of favourites are a series of National Film Board vignettes, one of which is here, and a take from Don Messer's Jubilee of Charlie performing Acadian mouth music while Don fiddles "The Old Man and The Old Woman", seen here.

1. The Broken Down Piano
2. Goin' Back
3. Somebody's Thinking Of You Tonight
4. Goin' To The Barndance Tonight
5. Swinging To The Rhythm Of An Irish Jig
6. Valley In The Sky
7. I Had A Hat
8. Jack The Sailor
9. MacNamara's Band
10. It's The Same Old Shillelagh
11. Clancy Lowered The Boom
12. The Tread On The Tail Of Me Coat
13. I'm Alone Because I Love You
14. The Ballymaquilty Band
15. How Can You Buy Killarney
16. The Sweetest Music Comes From Ireland
17. That Old Irish Mother Of Mine
18. With My Shillelagh Under My Arm
19. There's Nothing Like The Smile Of The Irish
20. Isle Of Innisfree
21. The Mountains Of Mourne
22. The Stone Outside Dan Murphy's Door
23. Galway Bay
24. He

*download here*

RAMBLIN' ROSS ALLEN Memories of Hank

Friday, July 15, 2011

Featured today is a piece of Canadian country music history, the first LP ever issued on the Arc label's early 500 series, "Memories of Hank Williams as sung by Ramblin' Ross Allen" (spelled "Allan" on the cover, but "Allen" on the label and back slick). Arc Sound Ltd. was a producer of amps and P.A. equipment originally located in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. In the late fifties they began to dabble in record production, turning out several cheap "top hits" type LPs. The release of the this album in 1959, however, marked the beginning the Arc label in earnest; it was the first in a decade long series of productions which were for the most part recorded in Toronto utilizing local talent. A majority of these, especially the earlier ones, were country. The albums recorded during this time have preserved the music of several Canadian country artists that would otherwise would be lost to the ages; the type of performers who while not national stars, would have had followings on regional radio or TV and in clubs. Arc also released many country albums by Americans who were popular and toured in Canada, including many artists featured on WWVA's Wheeling Jamboree (from Wheeling, West Virginia), heard extensively in Eastern Canada.
Unfortunately, I have very little information regarding Ramblin' Ross Allen. Unlike many Arc LPs which at least provide a locale of origin for the artist, the notes to this LP only state that "Ross Allen is one of the most promising young Country singers today." An online source provides a birth date of February 27, 1937, and he also had a self titled LP as well as some singles released on the London label. Otherwise, he is somewhat enigmatic. If anyone can provide more information on Ramblin' Ross, please contact me and I'll post it.
The present download contains the twelve LP tracks, as well as jacket and label scans including the 2nd edition of the jacket (most of the earliest Arc albums were later released with more "colourful" covers) shown below.


1. I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You
2. Your Cheating Heart
3. Moanin' The Blues
4. Jambolaya
5. Mansion On The Hill
6. Mind Your Own Business
7. Nobody's Lonesome For Me
8. Baby We're Really In Love
9. Two Different Worlds
10. Why Don't You Love Me
11. I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
12. Wedding Bells

*download here*