Following on from the surprise best-selling success of its first cd
release Oh So Many Years, Bear Family Records has now released
two more cds by the traditional country music family group the Bailes
THE BAILES BROTHERS  Remember Me: The Legendary King Sessions
1946 (Bear Family BCD 17132 AH)
On The Sand • What Will You Be Doing Then • Romans Ten And Nine • Were Living In
The Last Days Now • No One To Open The Door • Somebody’s Praying For You • He’ll
Strike You Down • Ashamed To Own The Blessed Saviour • Broken Marriage
Vows •
Discontented Are You Darling • Down The Valley
The Shadow
• Laughing Through The Tears
Its Hard
To Leave So­
That You Love • Everybody Knew The Truth But Me • Should I Let You Go • Crying
Over You • Remember Me • The Fu­
ture Holds
Nothing • She Has Forgotten
All The
World Is Lonely Now • Something Got A Hold Of Me • An Empty Mansion •
Prayed • Jesus Is The One
THE BAILES BROTHERS  Standing Somewhere In The Shadows: The
Legendary King Sessions 1953, plus  
(Bear Family BCD 17133 AH)
What We Need • Jesus Blood • I Can’t Help What Others Do • There’s A Difference
In Religion And Salvation • Avenue Of
Prayer •
There’s A Handwriting On The Wail • Muddy Sea Of Sin
Halleluiah I’m Gone • God’s Hand Rules The World

I’ll Run
All The Way
Watch And
Pray • Standing Somewhere in The Shadows • WALTER BELLES: ‘Cause He Loved Me First
• Saved

: I Owe It
To My Heart (*) • You Make Me Live Again(*) • Its Bound To Happen(*) • So
Much(*) • Ballad Of Honest Abe •
Hula Star
• (If I Were) Alone With God • He Will
(* indicates harmony vocals by
’s Bailes
‘ previous collection Oh So Many Years (Bear Family BCD 15973
AH), released in 2002 and comprising recordings made for
Columbia during period 1945-47, brought
the harmony tradition of one of country music’s foremost family groups to
brand new audiences. Although the group comprised four brothers – Johnnie, Kyle,
Walter and Homer, they generally worked in combinations of two. After initial
struggles, they first gained attention when Roy Acuff took an
interest in their career, securing Walter and Johnnie a writer’s deal with
Acuff-Rose Music, then securing them an successful audition
WSM and their debut on the Grand Ole Opry in September 1944.
During the next two years they became one of the show’s most celebrated acts
with their music balancing the show’s traditional and contemporary elements.
Acuff also introduced the group to Columbia Records, with
such songs as Dust On The
further adding to their popularity.
But it wasn’t
plain sailing at Columbia and while
they impatiently waited for their records to be released (the war created a
material shortage but delays were further impacted, no doubt, by Billboard
magazine which reviewed their music as suiting “the old folks at home” generation
rather than for the all-important, money spending jukebox market), the Bailes
jumped ship and recorded 24 titles for King Records in a
WSM studio over a weekend in late
summer/early autumn 1946 (the exact date having been lost). It’s these titles
that appear on the first of the two new cds, Remember Me, with Walter and Johnnie Bailes providing
the energetic harmony vocals, while Homer Bailes is heard on fiddle. Also
playing on this mammoth session were Ernest Ferguson (mandolin), Shot Jackson (steel guitar) and
Ramona Jones (bass). Unfortunately, because of the Columbia
contract, these recordings – which comprised 17 Bailes originals – was held off
the market for long after they had been recorded, with eight never being
released until now, one being the non-original Remember Me (penned by Scotty Wiseman) which became their
Soon afterwards a
scandal involving Johnnie Bailes and
a married woman (who subsequently fell from a second story window in a
Nashville hotel) led to the group being
promptly fired from the Grand Ole Opry. But fresh opportunities
lay ahead in
Shreveport, Louisiana where they would become
headliners on the Louisiana Hayride,
launched in
April 3,
. But
in spite of their increasing popularity – which, at one time, saw two different
Bailes Brothers bands created to
meet the increased workload – morale and money led to problems. Walter had
already quit from performing to take up preaching and the other brothers split
to go their own separate ways, with Johnnie even spending in a Federal
Correction Institution.
Nevertheless their music
continued to sell and, in 1953, Walter and Johnnie reunited as a gospel duo to
record again for King. Walter had written several new hymns and
the brothers’ intense voices had lost none of their power on the three sessions
recorded in
during 1953, with steel guitar
and bass helping Johnnie’s mandolin recapture much of the Bailes’ great 1940s
ensemble sound and texture. It’s these recordings that make up a dozen of the
tracks assembled for the second cd Standing Somewhere In The Shadows, the
remaining items comprising two solo recordings by Walter and eight by Johnnie in
1957 and ’59. By then Johnnie Bailes
had become involved with Webb
and Jim Denny’s radio
stations, which (through their connections) resulted in a handful of single
releases on Decca and a honkytonk sound more familiar with
Pierce’s output, who’s heard adding harmony vocals on several of the
tracks. Johnnie also cut a couple of political inspired songs, The Ballad of Honest Abe and Hula State.
The cds are also
accompanied by booklets, with Dick
’s very detailed biographical information (which also reveals an
insight into the Bailes’ personal lives alongside the music of the era)
supported by fascinating Timeline charts, photographs and discographies. With
these releases Bear Family Records
once again provides an invaluable service to country music collectors and
historians. Not only do Remember Me
and Standing Somewhere In The
contain hitherto unreleased material but none of the commercial
recordings have been available since the 78 rpm era!

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