Wednesday, July 26, 2006

MGM Rockabilly Collection Vol. 2

The third cassette from the boot sale this week was this excellent rockabilly compilation released in 1981 on the MGM label. Nearly every track is a fine example of rockabilly from the late 50's including artistes such as Jimmy Swan, Bob Gallion and Bob Riley.

Conway Twitty.

"The son of a riverboat captain, Twitty (born Harold Lloyd Jenkins, September 1, 1933; died June 5, 1993) was born in Mississippi and raised in Helena, AR, where he learned to love not only country, but also blues and gospel. When he was ten years old, he joined his first group, the Phillips Country Ramblers, who occasionally performed on local radio. Despite his interest in music, he originally planned to become a professional baseball player. Jenkins was talented enough to be offered a contract by the Philadelphia Phillies, but he was unable to join the team, since he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. While he was serving in the Far East, he sang with a country band called the Cimarrons. Returning to America in 1956, Jenkins still had an open offer to join the Phillies, yet he decided to pursue a musical career after he heard Elvis Presley."

Marvin Rainwater.

"He was born Marvin Percy Rainwater in 1925. After a stint in the Navy during World War II serving as a pharmacist's mate, he turned to music full-time. He had originally been a classically trained pianist, but after an accident had removed part of his right thumb, he turned to country music and soon learned to strum a guitar proficiently enough to accompany his singing and compose songs on it. After putting down roots in nearby Virginia, Rainwater quickly became a fixture on the Washington, D.C., area honky tonk circuit, putting together his first band featuring a young Roy Clark on lead guitar and himself decked out in buckskin jacket and Indian headband. His first recordings came through the auspices of Bill McCall at 4-Star Records. Picturing himself as a songwriter first and performer second, Rainwater was hooked up through McCall with Ben Adleman, a songwriter with a small studio. Rainwater recorded several song demos to be pitched to other artists through Adleman's and McCall's publishing concerns, only to see the demos poorly overdubbed and released at the height of his later fame on a myriad of dime-store budget labels like Crown and others too microscopic to mention."

Ron Hargrave.

"Ron Hargrave was born in New York in 1930 and was the son of vaudeville performers. At age six, he moved with his family to California, where he eventually aspired to a career in movies. In his early twenties, he began doing stunt work and getting bit roles in movies -- including 20th Century Fox's Vicki, a remake of I Wake Up Screaming -- and television, but his big break didn't come until he was drafted. While serving in uniform, he crossed paths with comic Lou Costello, who decided to take over managing Hargrave's career once he was back in civilian life. After a string of uncredited bit parts, he finally got a featured role, in the final Abbott & Costello film, Dance With Me, Henry (1956), playing Ernie, a ukulele-toting hipster who is always annoying the character played by Costello -- this gave him some very funny scenes with the two comedians and some good musical performance bits as well. Hargrave was later signed to MGM Records and recorded a handful of unsuccessful singles."

Conway Twitty - Long Black Train

Marvin Rainwater - Gamblin' Man

Ron Hargrave - Drive In Movie

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spice-the-cat said...

Whoo hoo! I used to have this on vinyl. AWESOME!

Artyblartfast said...

More good tunes- cheers!

michael said...

Glad you like these spice and artyblartfast. I think I must have a dozen or so Rockabilly compilations that I've found over the years and this is one of the best. The Sun records Vol.1 & 2 is probably my favourite.