Monday, December 31, 2018

David Miller

Wiki page


another one of Miller's recordings on Allen's blog:

An excerpt from the book Country: A Regional Exploration, by Ivan Tribe, 2006

"On Dec 16, 1924, in its Cincinnati studio, Gennett recorded the first country vocalist from West Virginia, a former national guardsman named David Miller (1893-1959), who lost his eyesight and was billed as "The Blind Soldier".  Like Puckett [Riley], Reneau [George], Miller usually earned his living as a street singer in Huntington.  Although the Tweedys and Miller recorded several sessions and did programs on radio, neither ever had the impact or success that the better known artists on the New York-based labels experienced." 

An excerpt from the book  "Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia", by Ivan M. Tribe, 1984, The University of Kentucky Press.

W.R. Callaway, a sometime Huntington resident and talent scout, wielded a guiding hand in the career of Miller and other recording artists from that area.

...Miller was not a West Virginian, but he had lived in the Mountain State for several years.  Born in the small Ohio river community of Miller, in Lawrence County, Ohio, on March 7, 1893, David Miller worked primarily as a laborer on a local fruit farm before entering military service in World War I.  Soon after joining the army, he developed granulated eyelids which caused eventual blindness, but he government turned down his pension request.

He had earlier moved across the river to the Huntington suburb of Guyandotte and taken up his music seriously to sustain himself and his family.  Known as "The Blind Soldier", miller developed a unique guitar style and possessed an adequate, albeit archaic and perhaps erratic tenor vocal style.  Much of his recorded work remains unreleased, leading one to question the evenness of its quality.

Miller placed a number of fine old ballads, hymns and especially antiquated popular songs on record over the next seven years but never attained much fame outside the Huntington area and relatively little even there.  He did play extensively on WSAZ, the local radio station, but often as part of a group.  The Gennett record label was the only one to use his real name, and they sold fewer copies than Champion, on which label he was known as Oran Campbell, or as Dan Kutter and Frank Wilkins on Sears Roebuck releases.  All of Miller's 1929 Paramount releases used the pseudonym Owen Mills, and on his 1931 work for the American Record Corporation, sometimes only the nickname "The Blind Soldier" appears on the labels.  Although Miller remained active until just a few years before his death on November 1, 1959, he remains little known even to that small fraternity of dedicated old-time record collectors.  This is unfortunate because Miller constituted one of the most traditional singers and guitar players ever to record, even in the earliest years.  His repetoire, for instance, included such material as an early white version of the Negro ballad "That Badman Stacklee", the old sentimental Civil War song "Faded Coat Of Blue", "It's Hard To Be Shut Up In Prison" (a variant of traditional "Logan County Jail" and the guitar instrumentals "Jailhouse Rag" and "Cannonball Rag".

Gennett 6175
Year:  1927
Label location:  Richmond, Indiana
Pressed by:  Gennett

The Lonesome Valley:

Don't Forget Me Little Darling:

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Lester McFarland & Robert A. Gardner (3rd post)

Lester McFarland at left, Robert A. Gardner at right

Brunswick 109
Year:  1927

Are You Tired Of Me, My Darling

You Give Me Your Love And I'll Give You Mine

Those on my email list will be sent a link to download extra Mac and Bob songs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Jules Herman And His Orchestra

There were three discs that I know of that were recorded at Kay Bank and pressed with Soma catalog numbers in 1958, to commemorate the 100th year of the state's existence.  Each disc was issued with sheet music in a sturdy mailing envelope.  I'm not sure who the recipients were.  Perhaps a radio giveaway or members of the Minnesota Historical Society.  I have all three discs, but this one I am lacking the envelope and sheet music.  Will most likely find it someday, but for now I thought I'd share it, to get folks ready for the Minnesota State Fair, starting next week.

Side A vocal:  Lois Best
Sibe B vocal:  The Casualaires

Soma 1096
Year:  1958
Label location:  Minnesota
Pressed by:  Kay Bank

The Iota Song

The Tourist's Polka

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Dick Ford

A previous version of this post had an obituary.  I later learned that it was not the same person as found on this recording.

Soma 1082
Year:  1957
Label location:  Minneapolis, Mn
Pressed by:  Kay Bank

Mary Ellen

Lawdy, Lawdy, Miss Clawdy

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Soma (miscellaneous)

The first Soma 45rpm, circa 1955

Wall in the offices of the company
For the past few years I have taken up the task of acquiring copies of every disc issued by Soma records of Minneapolis.  The company didn't leave behind any ledgers that we know of, so a full discography is unavailable.  I compiled an excel file (included in download) listing all the discs I know of.  On that list there are 281 singles (78rpm and 45rpm) and roughly 50 Lps.  I am missing about 70 of the 45s, and need to upgrade about 30 of my discs that are lower quality than VG+.  The first 30 or so discs were pressed on both 45rpm and 78rpm.  Many of the first Soma discs were songs originally issued on the FM Recordings label in Hollywood, CA.  Not sure how that came to be.  Those who knew are most likely deceased.  I hope someday to have all the records, but I'm not entirely sure I'll end up finding all of them.  It's been fun so far and I have no reason to give up. I don't have plans to do anything with the collection once (or if) it is ever complete.  I suppose I have plenty of time to think about it.

I thought I'd upload some of the lesser known discs, which individually wouldn't be worth posting.  I have also included my list of needed records, in case anyone out there can help.   And inside the download folder is a brochure catalog (says complete but it is not) printed by the company, circa 1963.  I was able to scan this rare document from the collection of Dan Heilicher's son Jamie.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Harry C. Browne

The first issue in Columbia's budget label series.  For those who are not familiar, Columbia released the same sides, with the same matrices (in parentheses) on three different budget labels:  Harmony, Diva and Velvet Tone.  I won't go further into that here, since there is information elsewhere online and in print form.

[please be aware the N-word is used throughout "Uncle Ned"]

Harmony 1-H
Year:  1925
Label location:  Bridgeport, Conneticut
Pressed by:  Columbia

Uncle Ned

Goodbye, Liza Jane

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Starday Custom Pressings box set

Starday Custom Pressings are sought-after low-pressing gems from the 1950s and 1960s.  Most often only 100-200 copies were made, and the records are highly collectable.  Some fetch more than $1500+, others only $15.  I have been downloading audio from youtube and ebay for the past 10 years, trying to grow my audio archive of this series.  But my efforts pale in comparison to those of Malcolm Chapman and others, who are way ahead of me.  Several CD compilations have previously been issued, in attempts to get these tracks out commercially.  But those sets have focused on the most valuable of the lot, and couldn't be very comprehensive with only 2-3 discs. 

Here Malcolm and his associates have given us a near complete box set of the series, only missing a few numbers.  Sitting down with this box set and its companion book is a delight.  For those who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours that would be required to obtain all the discs, this box set is an easy solution. 

It is the first of what should be 2 or 3 box sets, according to Malcolm.  This box set was put together by Malcolm in cooperation with the same people who are responsible for The Texas Box and The Michigan Box, and others.  It takes up a bit of room on your shelf, but the space is well spent.

Thank you Malcolm for sending me a copy of this wonderful, long-awaited treasure.

Front of box

The book

Back side of box

Monday, April 23, 2018

Len Gale (updated post from 2014)

Golden Wing GW 3011
Year: 1962
Label location:  Minneapolis, Mn
Pressed by: Kay Bank 3309

What Did I Do

Don't Awaken Me

Studio City SC 1006
Year:  1963
Label location:  Minneapolis, Mn
Pressed by:  Kay Bank

Foolish Pride

Sentimental Me

I sent two emails to Len, but no reply.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rose Mae LaPointe

Rose Mae at the Sioux Tribe Fair in Rosebud, South Dakota around 1940.

An online guitar forum discussion concluded that she is playing a Kay Guitar.

Rose Mae Lapointe Desersa was born 1923 in Todd, S.D.  Her name suggests she had French-Canadian ancestry.  Father was Herbert DeSersa, mother was Elsie Kills-Plenty.  It is not known what year she died.

Some remember her being on the radio in South Dakota radio at some point.

Her nephew Jock wrote:

"a traditional woman powwow dancer, a ranch wife, a cook for indian health service, IHS. She drove like a maniac but when she got older, if I seen her comin, i pulled over a bit. i think someone should remake Phantom Buffalo. I believe that was a priest who wrote that. . . . she gave me my first guitar."
Michelle wrote:

"Tahca Sapa, Black Deer. From context, it sounds like the song is about a man named Tahca Sapa hunting phantom buffalo. I heard this song many times on KINI, the radio station in St. Francis."

I'm posting the audio here because I want her family to be able to hear it.

Studio City 1017
Year: 1964
Label location:  Minneapolis, MN
Pressed by:  Kay Bank

Phantom Buffalo:

Maybe Now

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Earl Ketchum's Circle A Ranch Gang

Vocal: Bob Gray

Master Label Recording Co
Year: 1952
Label location: ?
Pressed by:  RCA

Always Means Forever

It's All Over Now

Friday, February 2, 2018

Rex King and the Shatters

Lynn Recording Studios, Rochester, Mn
Produced by John T. Couvrette

Welhaven (no catalog #)
Year: 1966
Label location: Rochester, Mn
Pressed by: Columbia

A: Mighty Lonely World

B:  Blue And Grey

Friday, January 26, 2018

Jimmie Karlin (updated)

Many thanks to Jimmie's granddaughter Joanna for the pictures and information.
Thank you so much for sending me the songs. It is definitely a coincidence that you posted about him on your blog just a few days before his passing. Unfortunately I don't have much information on his performing days, but I can share with you what I do know. His name was James Longo but he went by Jimmie Karlin as his stage name. He loved Johnny Cash and had the opportunity to open for him when he preformed in Utica, NY. He also had a passion for breeding and flying pigeons. His obituary has some more information about his life if you are interested in reading. ( I also included a few pictures of him and one of his guitars. Please feel free to email me if you have anymore questions and I will try my best to answer them. I would also love to see your finalized blog post if you choose to update it.

Mark M115
Year: 1958
Label location:  Utica, NY
Pressed by: ?

Have You Really Gone
Please Don't Walk Upon My Heart

Note:  A happy ending to the recent youtube drama.  The youtube uploader and I have buried the hatchet and have decided to work together, not against each other.  So there's proof civility can go a long way.  I will continue to distribute the audio files via email, because there are others on youtube who would take my files.  So far I have 13 people on the email list.  Send me an email to be added.

Marvin Roberts (updated)

Using photos and information from the artist's nephew Lester, I am updating this post and moving it to the top of the feed.  Original posting was 10/28/11.  Thanks Lester.

Hi Derik,

Found your email on current post.  Here are a couple of pics of Marvin & one is with his wife, Novalene.  He was born Marvin Leon Roberts on Aug 13, 1936 in Atchison, KS & died Aug 5, 2003 in Arkansas.  From what I can remember these songs were played on the radio for a while but then pulled off because they found out his band was not a union band.  He loved music.  He won numerous music competitions. 

Thanks so such for doing this,

E & M 1650
Label location: ?
Pressed by: RCA
Year: 1965


Two Plus Two

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Paul & Archie (2nd post) - Golden Country Memories LP

back (detail)

link to first post:

Slade 05179
Year:  1979
Label location:  Crookston, Mn
Pressed by: Nashville International

Click here to --->>>Download