Monday, August 24, 2009

L.M. Whatley, Jr. on Whatnot 101

L.M. Whatley, Jr. and the Whatnots - Dreams That Flow / One Love Is Not Enough For Two (Whatnot 101)

"Dreams That Flow"

"One Love Is Not Enough For Two"

The Whatnots sound like they're wading in the cool waters of the Starday custom series circa 1957. Therefore it was quite a surprise for me to discover that this record is actually timestamped 1964. Like Lee Rose, the Whatnots were a Northeast Texas country band who didn't give a rat's behind about the "Billboard Hot 100" or the latest trends in country music. Of course, that also helps explain why this record is about one copy away from non-existence.

"Dreams That Flow" was recorded at the Burton Harris Recording Studio in Mount Pleasant. The only thing that Burton remembered about the band was that they were from Pittsburg, Tx., which is about 12 miles south of Mt. Pleasant. It was pressed on their own "Whatnot" label by Rite (11929/11930).

Eddie Noack on TNT 110

Eddie Noack - Too Hot To Handle / How Does It Feel To Be The Winner (TNT 110)

"Too Hot To Handle"

While "Too Hot to Handle" became a minor standard in the '50s, Eddie Noack's original version remains little known. It was apparently recorded around 1950-51 for Gold Star, but Bill Quinn didn't release it at the time; it only came out after Sonny Burns had cut it for Starday in the fall of 1953. It also represented a lyrical breakthrough for Eddie, who, up to this point, had written some pretty ordinary material. Did anyone else catch the subtle put-down "you think you got something that you haven't got" (i.e., a penis)?

"Too Hot to Handle" never got the treatment it deserved. Sonny Burns' version features a sluggish vocal and band; Gene O'Quin's version is dominated by a steel guitar played as deliberately corny as possible; Eddie's own version here is strong in the vocal department but weak musically. Only Lattie Moore's version quite cuts it in my book.

"I'm just a country boy..." -- not. At the time this was released in late 1953/early 1954, Noack was going to class at the University of Houston, completing a degree in journalism there in 1954. He was, in fact, one of the few Texas country singers of his generation to obtain a college degree. This was probably done for the benefit of his parents (and to stay out of the Korean War, according to his steel guitarist, Joe Brewer), who must have been appalled that Eddie seemed intent on making country music his permanent career. Later that year, he would sign with Starday.

Eddie's TNT single must not have a sold a lot. I've only seen three copies in 20 years, two on 78 and one on 45.