Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Man In Black

Starday SLP 264 - Big "D" Jamboree 

Happy Birthday to the Man in Black. Johnny lived next door to Don Pierce out at the lake in Hendersonville. I have fond memories of riding past Johnny's house with Don in his boat, hearing how they had each used the same architect (Braxton Dixon) and had in fact very similar homes. When Johnny would occasionally become too ill, Don would often set him up (ie, lock him up) in his guest cottage and take care of him until he got cleaned up. On one occasion, Johnny sobered up and before he left he gave to Don an animal hide and wrote on the back of it, "To Don Pierce, the only man I'd ride the river with." It was written in red ink, but Johnny swore to Don he had written it with his own blood. I remember Don showing it to me the first time I went to his house. It was one of Don's proudest possessions. In the mid-'60s Starday leased and issued a few Johnny Cash recordings on LP compilations, and of course there were several Cash soundalike records on the Dixie label in the late '50s (courtesy of folks like Benny Barnes, Sleepy LaBeef, and others), but my favorite Johnny Cash moment on Starday comes from the "live" Big "D" Jamboree LP (SLP 264). Here, Starday recording artist Frankie Miller kills time by doing some artist impressions, including a very funny one of "Johnny 'moneybags' Cash" himself. 

Check it out here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3M1DnQmIPA&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Goofin' Records Presents a Double CD Release Party

Nate Gibson & Friends - The Starday Sessions (GRCD 6177)
The Hi-Fly Rangers - Another Gear (GRCD 6178)

Howdy there Friends. Very exciting day! My first CD on Goofin' Records is coming out in just three weeks! The CD is a tribute to Starday Records and it is being released at the same time as the Starday Story paperback version. On the CD I recorded some of my favorite Starday tunes with the Barnshakers, Deke Dickerson, Double K, the Hi-Fly Rangers, Lester Peabody, Wyatt Maxwell, Sean Mencher, Jerry Miller, and many other special guests. My pal Rudy "Tutti" Grayzell even wrote the liner notes. It will be an honor to perform with both the Hi-Fly Rangers and members of the Barnshakers at the CD release and I'd like to invite everyone I know to the party. 

The Hi-Fly Rangers, who appear with me on four songs from The Starday Sessions, are also having their newest CD on Goofin' released at the same time. I have heard many songs from the CD, including a great version of Adele's Skyfall and several originals by Vesa Haaja and Double K, and they all have a great sound on them! Vesa booked us this sweet gig at the Shamrock in Vantaa and it's going be a swell party indeed!

Please come, tell your friends, and we'll hope to see you there! If for some reason you can't make it to Helsinki that night, but you'd like to buy a CD, please visit www.goofinrecords.com.

Who? Nate Gibson, the Hi-Fly Rangers, and friends from the Barnshakers

What? CD Release Party

Where? Shamrock, Peltolantie2, 01300 Vantaa, Finland

When? Saturday, March 16, 2013. 8:00 p.m.

Why? For the love of rock and roll!


Moi ystävät. Tosi iloinen päivä! Minun ensimmäinen CD Goofinilta ilmestyy jo kolmen viikon päästä! CD on kunnianosoitukseni Starday Recordsille ja se ilmestyy samaan aikaan pehmeäkantisen Starday Records kirjan kanssa. CD:llä minä soitan minun suosikkibiisejä Barnshakersin, Deke Dickersonin, Double Kin, Hi-Fly Rangersin, Lester Peabodyin, Wyatt Maxwellin, Sean Mencherin, Jerry Millerin ja monen muun kanssa. Tällä keikalla, minulla on kunnia soittaa Hi-Fly Rangersin ja Barnshakersin kanssa ja minä haluan kutsua teidat kaikki mukaan juhlaan.

Hi-Fly Rangers soittaa minun kanssa neljä biisiä Starday Sessions CD:lla. Heidän uusi oma CD ilmestyy Goofinilta samaan aikaan! Minä olen kuullut monia biisejä heidän uudelta levyltä, ja se kuulostaa tosi hyvältä! Vesa järjesti meille tämän makean keikan Shamrockissa, Vantaalla, ja siitä tulee hieno ilta!

Kerro ystävillesikin ja toivotavasti nähdään pian! Jos sinä et voi tulla, mutta sinä haluat ostaa CD, menee www.goofinrecords.fi.

Kuka? Nate Gibson, Hi-Fly Rangers, ja ystävät Barnshakersista

Mita? CD Julkkarijuhla

Missä? Shamrock, Peltolantie 2, 01300 Vantaa

Milloin? Lauantaina,16. maaliskuuta 2013. klo 20:00

Miksi?: Koska me rakastamme rock ja rollia.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meet the Starday Story Contributors: Part One

L-R: Kent Heineman, Nate Gibson, Lars Lundgren. Photo by Pete Hakonen.

Hey there friends,

In what I hope is an often recurring theme on this blog, I now present to you, Part One of Meet the Starday Story Contributors.

This weekend I took a trip to Stockholm with my friend Pete Hakonen to attend Sweden's largest record show and help out with the Goofin' Records table. As this was my first record digging trip to Stockholm, my expectations were high. On the boat ride from Turku I had trouble sleeping, choosing instead to review my many lists of records I was hoping to find and studying the currency exchange rate: Let's see, 8.5 Swedish krona equals one euro which is the same as how many US dollars? Ah, forget it. I'll just buy it!

Once we arrived in Stockholm, we rushed over to Jan Karlin's House of Oldies. The shop was closed, the owner was on vacation, but Pete's friend came to let us in, let us peruse the selections, and chat us up about country music. Turns out, the kind man was actually Lars Lundgren, of page 228 fame in The Starday Story!  Lars is a serious country music collector and has been contributing to the Hillbilly Researcher publications, Praguefrank's Country Music Discographies, various Bear Family box sets, as well as the Starday Records custom listing. It was an honor to meet him in person and I very much enjoyed talking with him about his love of bluegrass, country, and Starday. Then he showed me two full boxes of rare and early Starday and Starday custom 45s for sale. Needless to say, it was a GREAT day! In case anybody in the States is having trouble finding the rare Texas-era Starday 45s in unplayed condition, now you know where to book your next flight!

Saturday morning brought about the record fair and as we suspected, by 8 in the a.m. dealers were already set up and the room was quite crowded. Among the first people I met at the fair was Kent Heineman, another record listing contributor to The Starday Story (see also page 228)! Kent is a very serious country music collector, a contributor to Praguefrank's Country Music Discographies, and on the editorial board at Sweden's mighty fine American Music Magazine. I really enjoyed talking with him about his collection and love of country music whilst perusing his country music records for sale at the fair.

A couple things surprised me about this record fair. For starters, it was the first time I have ever been at a record fair and have been able to look through multiple boxes FULL of rare Starday and Starday-Dixie custom pressings, not to mention multiple boxes filled with top shelf, top condition AudioLab and King LPs too! (My favorite takeaway from the show: Frankie Miller SEP 184 with the picture sleeve.) Secondly, I was surprised by the amount of people in Sweden who had already read the Starday Story and I was mighty grateful for the positive feedback I received from everyone about it. A few people even expressed interest in distributing the Starday book in their shops, so if you are in Sweden and wanting to get a copy of the book, it is likely to get easier in the near future! More importantly, I'm mighty grateful for people like Lars and Kent who made the Starday Story possible! Without Lars', Kent's, and their like-minded record-collecting bretheren's many years of collecting and documenting the Starday releases, many of these great records would still remain a mystery today.

On the boat ride home, I'm left shuffling my feet to the Latin-flavored pop band on stage, playing roulette with min/max bids of 50 cents per spin, shopping in the duty-free candy store, but mostly anticipating my arrival home and the immediate spinning of some classic Starday records at 45 rpm. My many thanks to Pete for making the trip possible and the great company, to Lars and Kent for taking time to meet with me and talk about the music we love, and to every dealer at the show who talked to me about music and who sold me their records for cheap. I'll be back, Sweden, and I'll look forward to meeting more of The Starday Story record listing contributors in my travels in the coming months!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weighing In at One Pound, No Ounces, I'm Happy to Announce the Birth of The Starday Story Paperback Edition

HOORAY, The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built paperback version has arrived!

What's new, you ask? A much cheaper price tag, lots of new record listings (with huge thanks to Udo Frank and many others), a couple corrections (with thanks to Orangie Ray Hubbard and Betty Amos for noticing the small mistakes), an updated author bio, and a shiny banner on the back cover announcing it as the Winner of the 2012 Belmont Book Award for Best Book on Country Music. I'm so happy I stuck my tongue out.

Sincere THANKS to the wonderful staff at the University Press of Mississippi for a job well done!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NEW PODCAST: Henry Glassie and his historic Ola Belle Reed Recordings

Photo: Bean Blossom, IN. 2009. Good times had at the Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Music Festival, where Indiana University bluegrass and country music researchers unite! Pictured here L-R: Judy McCullough, Tim Dolan, Tom Adler, Betsy Adler, Pravina Shukla, Henry Glassie, and Nate Gibson. Photo by Mark Miyake.

Today I just found out that my podcast about Henry Glassie and his historic Ola Belle Reed recordings is now live on the Archives of Traditional Music's website. Henry recently deposited his original Pennsylvania field recordings to the ATM and shortly thereafter I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with him about the collection. I had a blast editing and producing this podcast and I hope y'all enjoy hearing it. My sincere thanks to Henry Glassie-- it's really hard to imagine there being a better storyteller alive-- and to Alan Burdette for his patient guidance and wisdom throughout this project! And of course, my thanks to Ola Belle Reed for working with Henry and making these wonderful recordings!

To listen to and/or read the podcast, just follow this link: http://www.indiana.edu/~libarchm/index.php/

My Gennett Records podcast is also available through the same website.

Monday, February 18, 2013

NEW PODCAST: Gennett Records, Richmond, Indiana, and the Archives of Traditional Music

photo by Nate Gibson

Well, hey, alright! Last summer I produced a 16-minute podcast about Gennett Records and their recent partnership with the Archives of Traditional Music. The final product can now be heard (and read) via the following link. My many thanks to Alan Burdette, David Fulton, and Bob Jakobson for taking the time to meet and talk with me about the label and to seek out new recordings in the ATM stacks. My sincere thanks also to Betsy Shepherd for a wonderful narration. Hope y'all like it!

from the Archives of Traditional Music website: In the small midwestern town of Richmond, Indiana, an incredible diversity of recordings were made by the Starr Gennett company in the first part of the 20th century. Recording the most important artists of the day as well as a host of musicians from a wide spectrum of American vernacular musics, Gennett records left a legacy that is priceless documentation of American popular and regional musics. This podcast produced by Nathan D. Gibson introduces the history of Gennett records, its impact, and the move of a large collection of Gennett 78 rpm records from the Starr Gennett Foundation to the stewardship of the Archives of Traditional Music. The podcast is 16:23 long and you can follow along with the transcript below.

The podcast can be heard and read here: http://www.indiana.edu/~libarchm/index.php/outreach/podcasts.html

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Starday Story is now available in Paperback! Oooohhh...

photo by Kevin Smith

Willie and I want YOU to buy this book!

Alright! I just got word that the paperback version of The Starday Story, winner of the 2012 Belmont Book Award for Best Book on Country Music, is now in the warehouse and is already being shipped! Hooray for an early release! Available now with shipping for less than $25 from Amazon!


The University Press of Mississippi suggests that you buy this book online at Amazon, from the publisher, or at your local neighborhood bookstore.

More information about the book can be found at www.nathandgibson.com/starday.html

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

RIP Merle Kilgore: Starday artist, songwriter, and A&R man

Today's post is to honor the great Merle Kilgore, who passed away this day in 2005. Of course, Merle wrote Johnny Horton's 'Johnny Reb,' Claude King's 'Wolverton Mountain,' and co-wrote Johnny Cash's legendary 'Ring of Fire,' among other country music hits, but he also wrote several hits for Starday in the mid '60s including Frankie Miller's 'Baby Rocked Her Dolly' and Merle's own 'Dear Mama.' In 1963 Kilgore went into the Starday Sound Studios and recorded one LP for Starday. As Kilgore told me back in 2003, "I was on Mercury for a couple years and I left Mercury and got on Columbia Records. Shelby let me off Mercury and Don Pierce said, "Listen, why don’t you come in and do an album for us since your between labels?" I said, "That’s a great idea. So I went in and cut an album on Starday, There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills [SLP 251]... I really love that Starday album I did. I did a song Johnny Cash told me to do. I was working with him too. And he found a song for me about President Lincoln, 'Who Shot Mr. Lincoln’ ['The Death of Abraham Lincoln']. It’s pretty neat."

Merle, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me and share memories about your Starday recordings and your days working for Starday in the A&R department. Rest In Peace!

Listen Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-wO1NQs6ns

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Remembering the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly on Starday

In honor of the day the music died (today's date in 1959), it's sometimes also nice to remember the day the music began. On Oct. 16, 1957, the Big Bopper's first record was released on the Mercury-Starday Country Series. Both sides were great country boppers ('King For A Day' becoming a Top Five hit for Hank Snow in 1961) and it was just the beginning of a great, albeit all to short, career. I'm a bigger fan of the flipside, 'Crazy Blues,' which I covered on the recent GO! GO! GO! album.

Interestingly enough, and slighly less known, Buddy Holly also appeared on a Starday record that same year. Buddy was backing the great Starday honky-tonker Fred Crawford on his 'By the Mission Wall' (45-314) session.

Today was a day in which some great music died, but thankfully we were left with a lot of great recordings which live on. RIP The Big Bopper (aka Jape Richardson) and Buddy Holly (and Ritchie Valens too).

Jape Richardson and the Japetts - Crazy Blues : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqpuuKY-EBE
Fred Crawford - By the Mission Wall : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eUaim1BVVk