Sunday, May 15, 2011

Floyd Tillman on Daffan 113

Floyd Tillman - Cold, Cold Beer / Floyd's Song (Daffan 113)

"Cold, Cold Beer"

Probably one of Floyd Tillman's least known records, "Cold, Cold Beer" was recorded for the Daffan label in 1956 while he was at the nadir of his fame, and may not have actually been released (it's taken here from Bear Family's The Daffan Records Story). Both sides hark back to his 1930s roots, with Floyd supplying his own acoustic lead guitar, and the inimitable Pete Burke on piano. "Unplugged" hokum blues was definitely not what the public wanted to hear in 1956. What Floyd later dubbed "the Great Depression of country music" had by then been ushered in by pop/rock music, leaving "old-timers" like then-41 year old Tillman in the dust.

Country music writers have said that Floyd went into "semi-retirement" after his Columbia contract expired in 1954, but this may be a charitable way of saying that he could no longer get gigs or sell records. He probably thought he had nothing to lose by cutting this session (two other songs were issued as Daffan 103). Just a few years previous he had appeared on the cover of Billboard (see below).

A film of Floyd performing "Slippin' Around" on Nashville TV with Hank Garland from this period has surfaced.

Below: Floyd Tillman at Magnolia Gardens, Houston, early 1950s. Click to enlarge.

Below: Floyd Tillman at Dessau Hall near Austin, c. January, 1957. L to R: Jack Green, Hub Sutter, Johnny Bush, Tiny Smith, Floyd Tillman. Click to enlarge.

Below: Floyd in his studio on the cover of Billboard, April 15, 1950.

Below: Detail of above. Click to enlarge.