Monday, February 7, 2011

Jimmie Heap & The Melody Masters on Imperial 8112

Jimmie Heap and the Melody Masters (Perk Williams, vocalist) - Honky Tonkin' Women / Curtain of Tears (Imperial 8112)

"Honky Tonkin' Women"

Should a man devote himself to scholarly pursuits, or surrender to the temptations of worldly pleasures? It's a timeless theme in poetry and literature, here reinterpreted by the great Perk Williams. It's hard to argue with the clear logic of the final verse:

Why study about harmonics
When Deep Ellum's in my bones?
And these honky tonkin' women won't leave me alone

Below: Jimmie Heap and the Melody Masters, KTAE broadcast, Taylor, Tx., early 1950s. From left: Cecil "Butterball" Harris, Jimmie Heap, Horace Barnett, Perk Williams, Bill Glendenning, and Arlie Carter. Note Grand Prize beer banners and shirts. Click to enlarge. Courtesy Kevin Coffey Collection.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Homer Zeke Clemons on Imperial 8088

Homer Zeke Clemons - Sell the Coldest Stuff in Town / Feeling Low - Feeling Blue (Imperial 8088)

"Sell the Coldest Stuff in Town"

"Feeling Low-Feeling Blue"

Homer Clemons' recordings would be notable enough just for their musicianship, which remained at a high level from his earliest session for Swing to his final ones for Imperial. What makes them even more remarkable is his refusal to change with the times, and continue to make risque double entendre songs as if nothing had changed since 1936. "(I) Sell the Coldest Stuff in Town" from 1950 is yet another example of this. Like Clemons' other efforts, this hokum blues had originated during the wild and reckless Depression years, with Whistling Bob Howe and Frankie Griggs' "The Coldest Stuff in Town" (from 1935). I would guess that Clemons had been performing it, and others, like "Operation Blues," since that time. But this type of material was strongly discouraged by the country music industry in the late forties. Lyrics were now supposed to be as generic and homogenous as possible, to ensure maximum radio airplay and sales. Obviously you couldn't play "Sell the Coldest Stuff in Town" over the air.

Homer Clemons on Swing 1001 can be heard here.

Homer Clemons on Imperial 8091 can be heard here.

Below: The Jimmie Davis band in Baton Rouge, May 9, 1944. From left: Joe Shelton (mandolin), Homer Clemons (bass), Moon Mullican, Jimmie Thomason (fiddle), Charlie Mitchell (steel guitar), and Curly Perrin (vocals).