RARE GEMS FROM BEAR FAMILY Jerry Lee Sings Gospel and Preaches Religion Unreleased Solo Session from Bonnie Guitar Bobby Lord and George & Earl Shake The Shacks

RARE GEMS FROM BEAR FAMILY
Jerry Lee Sings Gospel and Preaches Religion
Unreleased Solo Session from Bonnie Guitar
Bobby Lord and George & Earl Shake The Shacks

 

JERRY LEE LEWIS   Old Time Religion
Looking For A City • I’m Longing For Home • Life’s Railway To Heaven • Someone To Care • If We Never Meet Again/I’m Gonna Meet You In The Morning • Down The Sawdust Trail • There’ll Be Peace In The Valley • Precious Memories • The Old Rugged Cross • It Will Be Worth It All When We See Jesus • I Know That Jesus Will Be There • I’m In The Gloryland Way • Tomorrow May Mean Goodbye • Amazing Grace • On The Jericho Road • I’ll Fly Away • My God Is Real • When Jesus Beckons Me Home • I Won’t Have To Cross Jordan Alone • Keep On The Firing Line
(Bear Family BCD 16685 AH)
Jerry Lee Lewis possessed gospel roots and recorded gospel music several times during his career – but this selection (originally released on vinyl by Bear Family, as part of a massive box set) is very different from those previously released commercial recordings. Taped in 1970, in a small church on the outskirts of Memphis – the church that his then wife Myra attended – it reveals Lewis at a stage in his career when he renounced worldly music and returned to a music of his early days. “I believe in that old time religion” he declared and performed 20 gospel songs – Life’s Railroad To Heaven, Peace in the Valley, Precious Memories, Old Rugged Cross, Amazing Grace and I’ll Fly Away, among the most well known –  amidst exuberant cries of “hallelujah”, “Jerry Lee is saved” and spontaneous bouts preaching the good word. At the same time, though, not completely overlooking the commercial aspects of his profession by also telling the congregation, which he respectfully addresses as “ladies and gentlemen”, that copies of his latest album will be on sale following the service. “You need the album and we need the money”. Musically Old Time Religion is a rare insight into the musical background of this iconic figure who, accompanied by his regular band, performs with a greater raw passion than can be heard on any of his studio gospel recordings. But, just a few months later, he was back to his worldly ways and music. Sun Records historian Hank Davis provides a background to this stage of The Killer’s life in the accompanying 35 page booklet which also contains a transcript of the complete concert, songs and speech. A truly fascinating 65 minutes.
BOBBY LORD   Everybody’s Rockin’ But Me
So Doggone Lonesome • No More, No More, No More Hawk-Eye • I Can’t Do Without You Anymore • Beautiful Baby • Run, Honey Run • You Robber You • Everybody’s Rockin’ But Me • Pie Peachie Pie Pie • The Fire Of Love (1) • Ain’t Cha Ever Gonna? • Sittin’ Home Prayin’ For Rain • What A Thrill • Swamp Fox • Too Many Miles (Down The Road) I’d Rather Be Blue • Why Should I Cry • High Voltage • Just Wonderful • Am I A Fool • I Know It Was You • Party Pooper • Sack • The Fire Of Love (2)
(Bear Family BCD 16524 AH)
Although Bobby Lord enjoyed several minor hits in the late 1960s/early 70s on Hickory and Decca, as well as hosting his own tv show, this Florida born artist had begun his recording career on Columbia in 1954, thanks to songwriter Boudleaux Bryant sending a tape of the artist to the label’s Don Law. Able to tackle both ballads and uptempo honky-tonk/rockabilly with equal ease, this 24 track collection mainly centres upon the latter as one of the latest releases in Bear Family‘s ever expanding “Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight” series. Lord’s initial session at Columbia immediately showed the singer’s vocal dynamics as the belter  No More, No More, No More had equally solid backing from Chet Atkins (guitar), Don Helms (steel guitar), Jerry Rivers (fiddle) and “Papa” John Gordy (piano).  Such similar Grade A musicians were to be featured on his subsequent sessions. Among several songs that Bryant contributed to the Lord career was the country novelty, Hawk-Eye, a recording that Columbia backed with several trade ads (though it lost out to Frankie Laine’s version, released by the same label albeit through its pop division) while I Can’t Do Without You Anymore and a cover of Johnny Cash’s So Doggone Lonesome are solidly country. There’s also some ballads – I’d Rather Be Blue and Why Should I Cry, among the cd’s four hitherto unreleased tracks – though the greater amount of recordings are firmly uptempo and well representative of the era’s changing trends. Rich Kienzle provides notes in the accompanying 34 page booklet (which also includes photographs and discography), explaining that Bobby Lord’s greater success came on television and that he walked away from music when he felt it was time, turning his skillls to a successful business career. He died on February 16, 2008.
BONNIE GUITAR   By The Fireside
I Couldn’t Believe It Was True A I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry • If Raindrops Were Kisses • Honeycomb • Slowly • My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You • Down By The Riverside • I Really Don’t Want To Know • I Forgot To Remember To Forget • You Win Again • I Don’t Hurt Anymore • Singing The Blues • Your Cheatin’ Heart • I Almost Lost My Mind • Go Back You Fool
(Bear Family BCD  16731 AH)
Over the years Bonnie Guitar (born Bonnie Buckingham) spread her considerable talents over several areas of the music industry. Best known for the country-pop crossover successes Dark Moon, Mister Fire Eyes and I’m Living In Two Worlds (as well as over a dozen more country chart entries), she also mixed recording and stage performances with dj work, record production and label a&r roles including the discovery of The Fleetwoods for Dolphin (later Dolton) Records. But the 15 titles on this cd are the results of probably the most unusual – and most personal – session undertaken by the Auburn, Washington born entertainer as it’s purely the singer accompanying herself on electric guitar. Produced by close friend and top songwriter Don Robertson in February 1959, the songs comprised mainly old favourites and standards that the singer performed on stage. Among the titles are a couple of Eddy Arnold hits, I Couldn’t Believe It Was True and I Really Don’t Want To Know (co-penned by Robertson) alongside country hits Singing The Blues, Slowly, My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You, three Hank Williams compositions and Bonnie’s own If Teardrops Were Kisses. The result is music perfection. One of the purest voiced singers in the business, her vocals are perfectly complimented by guitar work that’s never overplayed. Yet these memorable, intimate sessions were never commercially released and Bonnie Guitar, in Todd Everett’s accompanying notes, has no explanation what producer Robertson has intended to do with them. Now, over 50 years later, they’re at long last available and remain as fresh as the time they were recorded in RCA Victor’s Hollywood studio. Certainly a gem well worth discovering.
GEORGE & EARL   Better Stop, Look And Listen
Fifty-Fifty Honky Tonkin’ • I Guess You Don’t Care • Hi There, Sweet Thing • Don’t Add An Ex To Your Name • The Sundown Train • Your High Tone Ways • I’m Just Passing Through • Flutter Bug • Gold Wedding Band • I Don’t Know Nothing About Nothing • Don’t Fix Up The Doghouse • I’ll Keep Your Name On File • (If You) Got Anything Good (You Better Save It, Save It) • Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes • Going Steady With The Blues • Can I • (All You’ve Given Me Is) Heartaches • Take A Look At My Darlin’ • Cry Baby Cry • Don’t, Don’t, Don’t • Remember And Regret • Eleven Roses (And The Twelfth Is You) • Done Gone • Better Stop, Look And Listen • The Blues Moved In This Morning • After All We’ve Been Through • Doubt • Don’t, Don’t, Don’t (alt)
(Bear Family BCD 17121 AH)
Arguably the most unknown of the artists in this current batch of Bear Family releases are George McCormick and Earl Aycock, who recorded together as George and Earl, and now given the full Bear Family treatment by getting spotlight attention with this “Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight” collection. Their music was straight, down-to-earth hillbilly, firmly fitting the mould of the early and mid 1950s that developed from the sound of Hank Williams. It was a brief partnership though, lasting a mere two years and a dozen songs recorded. Both artists came from different locations. McCormack, a native Tennessean, worked with several bands and artists, including the Opry’s Martha Carson, before landing a deal with MGM and recording a dozen titles (over three sessions), also all released here, among them Fifty-Fifty Honky Tonkin’, a song that Fred Rose had apparently written for Hank Williams. Aycock, similarly serving a  lengthy musical apprenticeship, also connected with the Carson show which led to the two teaming and securing a deal with Mercury. Among their recordings are Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes and If You got Anything Good, both often cited as among the best country duet recordings of all time. But as the rockabilly era developed, George and Earl became quickly overshadowed by another duet teaming, the Everly Brothers. Subsequently McCormick led the Wagonmasters band for Porter Wagoner (and was Dolly Parton’s first duet partner on Wagoner’s tv show) while Aycock moved to Houston and began a long term career as a radio dj (although making some further recordings for Pappy Daily’s labels). Martin Hawkins provides detailed biographical information, together with interviews, in the set’s 38 page booklet that also contains photographs and discography.

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