Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jerry Dove on TNT 122

Jerry Dove and his Stringbusters (vocal by Bob Martin) - You're Wasting Your Time / Stand Still (TNT 122)

"You're Wasting Your Time"

The TNT label of San Antonio is like the Rodney Dangerfield of Texas labels -- despite releasing something like 200 singles and EPs between 1953 and 1966, it's never gotten much respect. This is understandable: of the many country artists who recorded for the label, only Bill Anderson became famous. Next to Starday or Sarg (its closest relatives), there was comparatively little rockabilly and rock and roll on the label. There was an interesting R&B/gospel series, but it only lasted for ten releases. And of course, the label's country output is littered by unbelievably stupid novelties by Red River Dave (who had a financial stake in the company). Anybody who can listen to "James Dean's Deck of Cards" all the way through without thoughts of suicide must have a serious masochistic disorder.

Local labels shouldn't be of interest solely because they're local: they need to have actually been creative or unique in some way. But Bob Tanner doesn't seem to have had any sort of guiding vision like Pappy Daily or Charlie Fitch had. There's probably more bad releases on TNT than good ones. So the Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome is, ultimately, deserved. Tellingly, although Starday and Sarg have been anthologized for 30+ years now, the first TNT retrospective only appeared in 2009.

None of this has any bearing on this superb single from Jerry Dove and his Stringbusters, however. Dove was a San Antonio car dealer who led a band on weekend gigs for many years (he had recorded for Everstate back around '49). He is best remembered today for his rather lame attempt at rockabilly ("Pink Bow Tie," also on TNT), but I think he should be remembered for this single. A young Bobby Martin, who later sang with several Alamo City groups, wrote and sang "You're Wasting Your Time." The A-side is the original version of the great ballad "Stand Still," which Tanner wrote, and is also sung nicely by Martin. Wink Lewis and Charlie Walker both covered this without success. This should have been at least a regional hit, but I'm guessing that TNT's promotional budget didn't exceed the cost of an enchilada dinner at Mi Tierra. Billboard gave it a lukewarm review in its May 7, 1955 issue:

The Stringbusters heard here are: Jerry Dove (rhythm guitar), Jimmy Latham (lead guitar), Jack Jackson (fiddle), B.J. Clay (steel guitar), and Pat Patterson (bass). No photos of this band have ever surfaced...but the Internet has been known to work small miracles before, and perhaps one will turn up in cyberspace one day.