BIRMINGHAM RECORD COLLECTORS
DEDICATED TO THE COLLECTING OF MUSIC, ITS PRESERVATION AND LASTING FRIENDSHIP
THIS MONTH’S MEETING
MEETING THIS SUNDAY, MAY 2nd @ FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF FULTONDALE 1PM
NEXT MEETING, JUNE 13TH.
It’s time to make preparations for our August Record Show. We will spend some time at this month’s meeting making those plans. We will also take some time and spin some fun tunes. Drop by and enjoy what we like to do, play music.
We have scheduled for our June meeting, Dave White, aka Brother Dave The Birmingham Rave. Brother Dave worked in the radio broadcasting industry for over 20 years. Over those years he worked with and became friends with the likes of Sonny Duke, Neil Hemphill, Sam Frazier, Don Mosley, Doug Layton, Johnny Click, Bob Cain, Bo Munday, Doug McCain, Joey Roberts and Hank Williams, Jr. He will have lots of stories and memories to tell so be sure to be at that meeting.
Two future guests have been contacted and will be mentioned when the details are confirmed. Stay tuned.
THE BIRTH OF ROCK & ROLL PROJECT
We started Mike’s project many months ago and are just about at the end. This month we will look at some familiar tunes and artists. There will be one more part after this month and we will conclude our journey. Once again, thanks to Mike for doing the research for this educational trip through the growth of the rock era.
PART 23: Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two: ‘Get Rhythm’
Recording Date: April 2, 1956, Sun Recording Studio, Memphis, TN. Written by Johnny Cash. Vocal by Johnny Cash. Electric Guitar: Luther Perkins. Upright Acoustic Bass: Marshall Grant. Record Producer and Sound Engineer: Sam Phillips.
An early Rock & Roll masterpiece. Still no drummer in the studio. Cash threaded another dollar bill through the strings of his acoustic guitar and strummed the rhythm. Another one of Sam Phillips’ finest hours as a Sound Man. The minimal amount of natural echo and reverb is just right, bringing out the clarity and beauty of the performance. Here the sound comes not from tape delay, but from Phillip’s knowledge of the acoustics of his one room, 10’ by 20’ Sun Studio, his skillful placement of each of the musicians and microphones, and the wonderful balance of his mono mix. As we listen to the optimistic message delivered by Cash through his lyrics we are once again hearing Rock & Roll music being born in the year 1956.
Johnny Cash recorded and sold over ninety million records during his long career. He was given the rare honor of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
Part 24: Gene Vincent: ‘Race With The Devil’ and ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’
Recording Date for “Race With The Devil” and “Be Bop A Lula”: May 4, 1956, Bradley Recording Studio, 804 16th Avenue South, Nashville, TN.
Vocal on both tracks by Vincent Eugene Craddock, a/k/a Gene Vincent, age 21, from Norfolk, VA. Lead Guitar on both tracks by Cliff Gallup, age 26, from Norfolk, VA., at that time an unknown musician. Gallup played a Gretsch 6128 “Duo Jet” solid body electric guitar, fitted with a Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece, plugged into a Standel 25L15 Amplifier (25 watts, one 15” speaker), with echo units constructed by Gallup from old tape recorder parts.
Gallup’s amazing lead guitar work on these two tracks demonstrate why many look to him as the most talented, imaginative, influential and versatile electric guitarist in the history of Rock & Roll.
In February 1956, Gene Vincent entered a talent contest in Norfolk VA. He won the contest and was immediately signed a management contract with a Norfolk D.J. whose “radio name “ was “Sheriff Tex Davis” ( real name: William Douchette ). Davis put together a band of local musicians to back Vincent. This band included Norfolk guitarist Cliff Gallup. Davis named the act “Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps”. The group recorded a demo that Davis sent to Capitol records. The label invited the band to come to Nashville to audition, and possibly record. It was Capitol’s policy to record any new artist with backing by only the best session musicians available, and those players were in the studio on May 4, 1956. The story goes that when the Capitol record producer and the session musicians heard the Norfolk band and Gallup play during the audition, they put their instruments back in their cases and encouraged Vincent and the Blue Caps to record with no assistance from them. The session pros were blown away by Gallup’s technique and creativity. He used a flat pick held in his thumb and forefinger, and two finger picks on his middle and ring fingers, leaving his little finger to manipulate the vibrato bar.
On the strength of his playing on this first session in Nashville, Gallup could easily have become a session guitarist in Nashville, Los Angeles or New York. In fact, Capitol offered to sign him as a session guitarist. Gallup politely declined. He was a family man with a day job in Norfolk. He didn’t want to move, and he did not want to tour with Vincent. He recorded one more time with Vincent in Nashville after the May 1956 date, then returned to Norfolk, working for and later retiring from a local school system in Norfolk, as Director of Maintenance and Transportation, after many years of employment. Gallup played for his own pleasure all of the years of his life, playing small dates and venues in the Norfolk area with a few musician friends. He performed at a local spot with a group called the “HI-FIs” two days before his sudden death of a heart attack at age 58.
Vincent was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Cliff Gallup was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
THE HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC
Recently a friend loaned me DVD’s of the Ken Burns documentary, The History Of Country Music. I began watching it not sure how I would like it but I have been pleasantly surprised and found it to be almost addictive, wanting to put the next DVD in the player when one concluded. At this time I have two DVD’s left and will probably begin from the beginning to refresh my thoughts on all the info contained. I highly recommend that if you get a chance to view the series, do so. There are eight DVD’s totaling about sixteen hours of very interesting info about the roots of country music, artists, producers, musicians, and even the history of some of the South’s biggest radio stations are included. I plan on playing some of the DVD’s at future meetings.