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Jay Bruder’s  big Washington music retrospective set, “R&B in D.C. 1940-1960” has been released by Bear Family Records and is available from their website.  It’s been reviewed in the Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine.  .

Sunday October 24


Tonight on The Home Town Special Bill Browning’s Echo Valley Boys get things going with a splash doing “Wash Machine Boogie.” That remined me that old fashioned washing machines used to use clock timers so we follow with Cecil McNabb’s “Clock Tickin’ Rhythm,” and Phil Flowers “Tick Tock.” Hank Williams makes a return appearance with “Fly Trouble” and the sound-a-likes fall in right behind. It’s past time for a little levity. Bob Corley does his best to break the political stalemate, and Homer and Jethro do a surprisingly respectful send up of Paul Williams big dance hit “The Huckle-Buck.” “Little Boy Blue” leads us from rockabilly to bluegrass before it even had a name. Joshua White and his Carolinians demonstrate why he was billed as The Singing Christian. Montana Taylor give us a lesson in Boogie Woogie, before it had that designation with “Detroit Rocks.” And Detroit did rock with The Detroit Count who gives us a tour of Hastings Street. Many of the blues artists who worked Chicago before the Second World War were still alive and well in the 1950s. Len and Phil Chess had the good sense to bring them into the studio to see what they could do. The results were not earth shaking, but the surviving records give us a good sense of how Big Bill Broonzy, Washboard Sam, and Memphis Minnie tried to update their style to fit in with the emerging Chicago electric blues sound. While these greats were making their last stand in Chicago new sounds were taking over Memphis with vocal groups such as The Prisonaires, The Five Tinos, and Hunky Dory’s group. The last, a Memphis DJ with a gospel background, had tracks released by Houston’s Don Robey at Peacock which we hear. Other Memphis DJs including B. B. King and Moohah The Magnificent also recorded great records in the late 1940s and early 1950s. We turn back to Washington, D.C. with two pop/r&b ballads from The Heartbreakers who recorded at RCA Victor under the auspices of Mrs. Lillian Claiborne and her DC Records operation. Jimmy DeBarry and Walter Horton take us out with an ultra-distorted guitar and harmonica instrumental which borrows heavily from an Ivory Joe Hunter tune. And that’s it for tonight! Hope you hear something you enjoy!

Thank you for your donations to Bluegrass Country.

Jay Bruder

Wash Machine BoogieEcho Valley BoysIsland 2Sep1957
Clock Tickin’ RhythmCecil McNabbKing 5116Feb1958
Tick TockChris Allen rn Phil FlowersHollywood 1101Sep1959
Fly TroubleHank WilliamsMGM 10073Oct1947
The Morning After The Night BeforeDayton HarpGilt-Edge 5085Feb1952
Moanin’ The BluesNorman BullockM and J CW-2 RiteNov1956
Mr. ChairmanBob CorleyRCA Victor 47-6587Jun1956
The Huckle BuckHomer and Jethro w June CarterRCA Victor 48-0144Nov1949
The Huckle-BuckPaul Williams and his HucklebuckersSavoy 683Jan1949
Hucklebuck DaddyJimmy Preston and His PrestoniansGotham 175Apr1949
Hucklebuck with JimmyFive KeysAladdin 3099Jun1951
Have A Good TimeRuth Brown with The James QuintetAtlantic 973Aug1952
Dear Little Boy of MineRuth BrownAtlantic 907May1950
I’ll Tell My Mama On YouKingbeatsFlash 1553Sep1964
Long Time No SeeFrank Hunter and His Black Mountain BoysRich-R’-Tone 1049circa1952
I’m Changing Business All AroundJack Lane Tn Valley BoysRich-R’-Tone 464Feb1950
The Girl Behind The BarStanley BrothersRich-R’-Tone 420Jan1948
Glory To His NameJoshua White and his CaroliniansColumbia 35202Jun1941
Five String RagLonesome Pine FiddlersRCA Victor 205546Dec1953
Detroit RocksMontana TaylorVocalion 1419Apr1929
Hastings Street Opera Part 1Detroit Count rn Bob WhiteKing 25830 fm JVBcirca1948
Hastings Street Opera Part 2Detroit Count rn Bob WhiteKing 25830 fm JVBcirca1948
Diggin’ My PotatoesWashboard Sam w Joshua Altheimer (p)Bluebird 8211May1939
Diggin’ My PotatoesWashboard SamChess 1545July1953
Little City WomanBig BillChess 1546Aug1953
Me and My Chauffeur BluesMemphis MinnieOKeh 06288Aug1941
Me and My ChauffeurMemphis MinnieChecker 771Apr1953
Just Walking In The RainPrisonairesSun 186Jul1953
Sitting By My WindowFive TinosSun 222Aug1955
I Want My Baby BackHunky Dory rn Chester McDowellSun NOIcirca1958
I Wonder WhyChester McDowall (sic)Duke 302Dec1958
Baby Don’t Leave MeChester McDowall (sic)Duke 302Dec1958
All Shook OutMoohahStarmaker 501Nov1953
Take A Swing With MeB. B. King w Tuff Green Orch.Bullet 315Oct1950
Pledging My LoveJohnny AceDuke 136Jan1955
HeartbreakerHeartbreakersRCA Victor 47-4327Oct1951
There Is TimeHeartbreakersRCA Victor 20-4849Aug1952
EasyJimmy [DeBarry]& Walter [Horton]Sun 180Feb1953

Sunday October 17


Tonight on The Home Town Special we start off with a little rockabilly from the end of the 1950s which shows the inroads of the music it helped to spawn, rock ‘n’ roll. Many songs have backstories, but the twisted tale behind “Love Is Strange” by Mickey and Sylvia has a fascinating Washington connection involving Bo Diddley, his second guitarist, Jody Williams, and young Washingtonian, Billy Stewart. Our Sunday afternoon host, Dick Spottswood asked to hear Orval Prophet’s version of “Molly Darling” and that request is a pleasure to oblige. Too often I only play a few seconds of the closing instrumentals for each hour, so I thought I’d let your hear the entirety of “Dig These Blues” by The Four Clefs. Some might say that in this song they just stung together a bunch of blues cliches. That’s true, but they chose some very tasty ones and the performance became hugely influential. It was repressed many times well into the 1950s. It’s a real oversight that RCA has not reissued it since. We finish the hour with two contrasting versions of “I Got Down On Me Knees and Cried Holy.” The Mellotones take it straight on while Washington’s Progressive Four give it a Jubilee treatment. Before I forget, the closing instrumental is a great banjo and fiddle piece from The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers of West Virginia called “Five String Rag.” Boogies kick off the second hour and that gives us an excuse to revisit the career of Cecil Gant who busted onto the national market in 1944 as “The G.I. Singsation” with a song called “I Wonder.” He first recorded that title for the African-American owned Bronze Record Co. of Los Angeles. After it started selling widely, it was picked up by Gilt-Edge, another independent label, but one with the clout to pull off national distribution. They pushed the record to national hit status. Cecil Gant took a sentimental view of love and romance, Wynonie Harris usually had a more physical approach to the topic which he demonstrates in “Hard Ridin’ Mama.” Not to be outdone Eunice Davis counters with ” I’m A Wild West Woman” and Soldier Boy Houston wraps things up with his “Western Rider Blues.” Houston was very much an enigma until just a few years ago when his social security death index report helped researchers track down his family who reported that he spent most of his working life working on the grounds crew at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Riverside, California -ironically, an easy drive from dozens of blues researchers who would have loved to have captured his story firsthand. Then we get to jumpin’, and jivin’ with some “Cat Music,”, and finish with a new kind of boogie from the stable of artists Sam Phillips built at the Memphis Recording Service as he launched Sun Records in the early 1950s.  So much music. . .hope you hear something you enjoy!

Thank you for your donations to

Let’s Go BabyBilly EldridgeVulco 1501Feb1959
Dancin’ DollArt Adams & the Rhythm KingsCherry 1019May1960
Black CadillacJoyce GreenVaden 112circa1959
I Don’t Need A RocketshipRoy Baker & His Happy TravelersVaden EP-102early1960s
Love Is StrangeMickey & SylviaGroove 4G-0175Nov1956
Billy’s Blues Part 2Billy Stewart, Jody Williams Chess 1625Apr1956
Love Is StrangeBo DiddleyChecker NOIMay1956
Oh Molly Dear -Civil War datedB. F. SheltonVictor V-40107Jul1927
Molly DaringOval ProphetDecca 28338Aug1952
Molly DarlingEddie ArnoldRCA Victor 48-0017Mar1949
Green Grow The LilacsMaddox Brothers & RoseColumbia 4-21099Apr1953
Dig These BluesThe Four ClefsBluebird 8655Mar1941
You’ve Been A Good Ole WagonLil GreenRCA Victor 20-2417Aug1947
Take Me Back To Little RockLil GreenRCA Victor 20-2417Aug1947
On The Banks of the Old PonchartrainHank WilliamsMGM 10073Oct1947
When Elephants Roost In TreesRandy HughesTennessee 718Jul1950
Looking For A CityMellotonesColumbia 39215Feb1951
I Cried HolyProgressive FourDC 8038late1947
Five String RagLonesome Pine FiddlersRCA Victor 205546Dec1953
Blackberry BoogieJohnnie Lee Wills and his BoysRCA Victor 20-5001Oct1952
Ninth Street JiveCecil GantBullet 258Oct1946
I WonderCecil Gant The GI SingsationGilt Edge 500Oct1944
It’s The GirlCecil GantBullet 258Oct1946
Hard Ridin’ MamaWynonie HarrisAladdin 208Feb1948
I’m A Wild West WomanEunice DavisDerby 760Apr1951
Western Rider BluesSoldier Boy HoustonAtlantic 971Aug1952
Jump Little Children JumpLeroy DallasSIW 522May1949
Jump ChildrenInternational Sweethearts of RhythmGuild 141Oct1945
Jump ChildrenDave BartholomewImperial 5308Oct1954
Howdy PodnerFats DominoImperial LP-9065Nov1955
Cat MusicDave BartholomewImperial 5308Oct1954
Goin’ DowntownFive KeysAladdin 3119 NOIMar1952
Hit That Jive JackThree B’s and A HoneyDC 8945AJan1948
Hit That Jive JackKing Cole TrioDecca 8630Oct1942
Feeling GoodJunior ParkerSun 187Aug1953
Come Back BabyDr. RossSun193Jan1954
Tiger ManRufus ThomasSun 188Sep1953
I Feel So WorriedSammy LewisSun 218May1955
EasyJimmy [DeBerry] & Walter [Horton]Sun 180Feb1953