Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dick Stubbs on Starday 143




Dick Stubbs - Wired For Sound / Hillbilly Swing (Starday 143)

"Wired For Sound" Link to Soundcloud


"Hillbilly Swing"



Dick Stubbs was a steel guitarist from Oklahoma who was part of the fertile Los Angeles scene of the late 1940s and '50s. He worked in Merle Travis's band for a few years, and played on lots of LA sessions -- I wouldn't be surprised if some records that people think feature Speedy West in fact have Stubbs on them. As far as I know, his one stop at Starday in 1954 was the only record he put out under his own name. Both sides are fantastic instrumentals featuring Stubbs and the underrated guitarist/fiddler Dickie Phillips, who eccentrically played both guitar and fiddle in his lap, a la Thumbs Carlille. If you've ever seen the Soundie video of the Tex Williams band performing "Tulsa Trot," you have seen Phillips' amazing technique in action. Does anybody remember him?

"Wired For Sound" was recorded at Crystal Studios in Los Angeles with Don Pierce producing.



10 comments:

  1. Mr. Brown--

    Another footnote or two about Dickie Stubbs. He was the original steel guitarist on the Town Hall Party television show, but was replaced by Marion Hall by 1955. Stubbs also bought the fourth Standel amplifier, after Speedy West, Joe Maphis and Merle Travis, and Stubbs' was colored green like his Town Hall Party cohort Joe Maphis. I talked to Stubbs one time on the phone and he told me he traded that amp in on a trip from Los Angeles to Texas somewhere in the San Angelo area. It should pop up on Craigslist any day now.

    Last thing, I have been trying to find more info about Dickie Phillips for years, a few of the old timers remember him but no one seems to know what happened to him. Apparently he and Thumbs Carlille came up with the same approach completely on their own, however, neither was influenced by the other.

    Deke

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  2. I am Dickie Phillips' niece. My uncle played the way he did because he began playing at the age of 3, and his family had only an adult size fiddle and guitar. He sat on a piano bench and learned to play--left-handed at that. The entire Phillips family was musically talented, but Dickie was the only one to make it his career. He spent five years in the mid-1940s in a Tuberculosis Hospital where he lost a lung and nine ribs before being cured by the new myacin drugs tested on him. He resumed his music and played with Tex Williams, Bob Scobie, Spike Jones and Arthur Godfrey, among others. Alcohol ruined his career, and he came back to Missouri in the early 1970s and kicked the addiction. He made a couple of USO tours after that, but played mostly locally for the rest of his life. He died in 1991. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who may have known him. Teresa Phillips Walker twalker@iland.net

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    1. My grandfather was John Closser from Missouri who played guitar with Mr. Phillips "Dickie". Terfaye is right they long told stories that Dickie was just 3 and could not hold the fiddle up. Determined to play the little boy played it in his lap.

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  3. Thanks for that great info about Dickie Phillips.

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  4. When I was a LOT younger I played a lot of dances with Dickies brother Cap and played with Dickie a time or two. I met him about '53 when he was back visiting family. He borrowed my guitar and blew us away. Very underrated picker.

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    1. Teresa Phillips WalkerJuly 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      My uncle Cap was as good on fiddle as Dickie (at least that's my opinion). I loved him dearly. He was a shy man except when it came to music. All of the Phillips siblings are now deceased, but their legacy lives on in several of their children and grandchildren who also play and sing.

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  5. I am Dick Stubbs' nephew and I lived with him before his death. I have an original copy of the record and I still have Dick's Pedal Steel guitar which he kept after his years in L.A. Dick didn't speak much about his playing days when I lived with him, but occasionally would play something for me. Anyone who is interested in Dick Stubbs can contact me.

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    1. Hey Garry Im Jack Propps I grew up in windsor village apts in okc with The Stubbs Dickie jr was my best friend, I worked for Dick at Comsumer electronics as a delivery driver. I play drums here in nashville, And your right save for the little chat, dick almost left his historic career behind to raise his family. And it really devastated him when dickie was killed in the van wreck in dallas in 1978. Howes Marilyn, Diane and Denise.

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    2. I have a double neck national lap steel guitar with dick stubbs name on it and it has seminole texas written beside it. Do you know if this was his? 580-285-2068 Larry

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  6. Dick was also the steel guitarist with the Gene Davis band for part of 1959 as the house band at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood.

    Gene's son Randy has a great pic of the band together.

    J.

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