Saturday, October 16, 2010

Morris Mills on Macy's 127

Morris Mills and The Rithumakers - I'd Like to Slip Around / Don't Play This Record (Macy's 127)

"I'd Like to Slip Around"

While RCA-Victor extolled their new seven inch, 45 rpm vinylite format as "the sensible, modern, inexpensive way to enjoy recorded music" in the April 2, 1949 issue of Billboard, many more years passed before most labels adapted to this "sensible" new size. It is easy to understand why. Jukeboxes were the lifeblood of the record industry. There were no 45 rpm jukeboxes in 1949; only slowly would they emerge and, eventually, supplant the 78 rpm jukebox.

Thus, this release on the Macy's label -- the only one known on 45 -- was quite a novelty when it came out around June, 1950. Probably intended purely as a promotional gimmick, it could not have sold much, as it could only have been played on a new RCA 45 turntable at the time. (It was also released as a 78.) It is a "Gold Star process" pressing, and that, too, is something of a surprise. The ever-inventive Bill Quinn quickly figured out a way to master and press records on the new format, but this went unnoticed, as there hardly was any demand for 45s among the local Houston labels until the mid-fifties. By then Quinn was out of the pressing business. A Gold Star repress of "Jole Blon" and a few releases on the Humming Bird label are the only other local 45s I know of from this period.

Morris Mills was a singer from Lufkin who worked a lot in Houston and Beaumont during these years. The backing group on this "answer" record to "Slippin' Around" includes most of Jerry Irby's band: Deacon Evans on steel, Jack Kennedy on piano, and Tony Sepolio on fiddle. Macy's was riding high in the summer of 1950, as the Billboard ad below illustrates, but the regional hits would dry up by late the following year.

Below: Billboard ad, July 15, 1950. Click to enlarge.