The Tackett Brothers Band "Long Haired Country Boy" (Programme Audio, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Dave Scott & Tim Padrick)
This Midwestern progressive 'grass band did indeed include a slew of Tacketts -- brothers Danny Lee, David Lynn, Larry Randall and Timothy Scott Tackett, along with Justin Wallace on banjo and Rory Harper playing dobro. They play some bluegrass oldies and standards -- stuff by the Stanley Brothers, Larry Sparks and the like -- as well as a lot of non-canonical rock and country covers, tunes like Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" and "4 + 20" by Crosby Stills & Nash... and, of course, Charlie Daniels' hippiebilly classic, "Long Haired Country Boy."
The Talbot Brothers "The Talbot Brothers" (Warner Brothers, 1974) (LP)
(Produced by Bill Halverson)
Beautifully produced, classic-sounding '70s country-rock, with an explicit religious overtone. The Talbot Brothers -- John And Terry -- were the driving force behind the '60s band Mason Proffit, where they had explored some spiritual themes, but here they more openly reveal themselves as what was once known as "Jesus freaks," which is to say, sex-and-drugs-friendly hippies of an evangelical bent. The siblings pioneered what became known as "Christian rock," with an impressive lineup of top talent behind them: in addition to a bunch of rock-scene studio cats such as David Lindley, Leland Sklar and Russ Kunkel, twangsters like Josh Graves, Randy Scruggs and Sneaky Pete Kleinow add to the country vibe. Most of the songs are Talbot originals, although Little Feat's Lowell George contributes the album's opening track, "Easy To Slip," and outlaw country songwriter Lee Clayton contributes the slinky, swampy "Carnival Balloon." It's a very nice, very '70s record, one that fans of Brewer & Shipley would appreciate -- although you gotta be willing to hang with the Christian messaging, because it is inescapably present. One track, the gear-jamming "Moline Truckin'," has a raunchier, more secular feel -- a fun song that apparently got left off the later reissue LP, which was retitled Reborn. Go figure.
Marion Tallent "Antiques" (Police Records, 1970) (LP)
(Produced by Tony Andreason)
Don't worry... I will resist all temptation to pun about how "Tallent-ed" this guy was and limit myself to simply saying that this is an immensely charming, shoot-from-the-hip, off-the-cuff, faux-lounge rock record from a Minnesota local who definitely had a sense of humor and a nice, relaxed attitude. Yeah, there's some twang in the mix, mostly on a couple of Chet Atkins-y chicken-pickin' tunes, though mostly there's a groovy mix of bossa, pop and jugband music... Reminds me of that great old Banana & The Bunch album, which was made around the same time. I'm not sure what the connection was, but this album was produced by Tony Andreason, who was in the Trashmen. This has been reissued on MP3, though the track listing is a little screwy, breaking medleys such as "You're Getting More Midwest Everyday" (love that title!) down into separate tracks. Whatevs. I'm not sure if the Pat Donohue listed as the bass player is the same Twin Cities superpicker who's been fronting the Prairie Home Companion band for a bazillion years, but it seems highly likely. I wouldn't call this a "country" record, but it's definitely worth checking out, regardless.
James Talley - see artist discography
Lewis Tally & The Whackers "Nite Time At Pat & Charlie's" (Tally Records) (LP)
(Produced by Charlie Brown, Merle Haggard, Fuzzy Owen & Lewis Tally)
This is sort of a split LP, featuring two lesser-known singers from the early Bakersfield scene... Lewis Tally was a longtime friend of Merle Haggard and a cast member of Herb Henson's Trading Post TV show, as well as the founder of the Tally Records label, a West Coast indie which Haggard took over in the early '70s. Side Two of the album features vocals by drummer Henry Sharpe, who was a member of Tally's band, along with lead guitar Jack Collier and steel guitarist Frankie Hardcastle, a Central Valley local from the tiny farm town of Hanford, California. The band had a regular gig at a place called Pat & Charlie's in nearby Ridgecrest, with the bar's owner Charlie Brown presumably putting up the dough to produce this LP. Their repertoire includes a bunch of songs by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, as well as a couple of obscure ones by Bakersfield stalwart Fuzzy Owen, "Jam It (Up Your Heart)" and "Ole What's Her Name," as well as an instrumental number from Frankie Hardcastle raunchily called "Tally Whacker," which closes the album. It don't get much more Bakersfield than this!
Tommy Talton, Bill Stewart, Johnny Sandlin "Happy To Be Alive" (Capricorn, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Johnny Sandlin)
A footnote to the band Cowboy, this features frontman Tommy Talton and some of his buds, playing bluesy virtuoso rock -- starts out with a mellow, country-ish vibe, but gets more electric and streetwise, ending up in a kind of Stones-y jam-session. Some songs, like "Baby Could We Be Alone?" and "Help Me Get It Out" have a raunchy tone that brings Todd Rundgren and Steely Dan to mind, maybe Tom Petty as well, though he was still a few years down the pike at this point. Kind of a stretch to call this a "hippiebilly" record, though.
Talty Road "Talty Road" (Royal T Music, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Bill Howard & Michael Echart)
A Dallas, Texas band who recorded in Nashville, ala the Flatlanders...
Tanglefoot "Tanglefoot" (Generic Records, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Paul A. Rothschild & Roger Mayer)
Yikes. This Pennsylvania-based ensemble mixed folk, orchestral pop, gospel and a bit of country-rock twang, but lacked subtlety or finesse. Some of the more country-based tunes, such as "A New Banjo Song," are horribly strained, and it took me a while to realize that maybe this was a Christian folk-pop group, and not a twang band, but either way, there's a wealth of overwrought arrangements, big, blunt key changes and iffy vocals, along with a lot of original material that's of an equally un-subtle calibre. I gave 'em a fair shake, but just in fairness to you all out there in cyber-land, I can't honestly say that I can recommend this post-hippie pop-folk muddle. It just didn't work for me, and I can't imagine it would do much for you, either.
David Tanner "The David Tanner Album" (Royal T Music, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Phil York & David Tanner)
Taos "Taos" (Mercury, 1970)
Heavily influenced by Crosby Stills & Nash, The Byrds and various boogie-rockers and sunshine pop bands of the era, these guys from New Mexico were more of a rock-harmony band, though they experimented earnestly with twangy shadings in their music -- haphazard steel guitar, mandolin riffs and some out-of-tune guitar strumming (as a mistakenly "country" sound, as on "On The Way Down") This isn't the bestest hippie rock album ever, but it is an authentic memento of its times, and folks who are into CS&N or Buffalo Springfield will probably get a kick out of this as well. Plus, it's another piece of the desert-twang jigsaw... they sure had a lot of hippiebilly bands out there in the Southwest, didn't they?
Tarwater "Tarnation" (American Heritage Music Corporation, 1975) (LP)
(Produced by Tarwater)
A longhaired twangband from Boise, Idaho... Haven't heard them yet, but the album sports liner notes by Pinto Bennett, so that may provide some indication of their rowdiness level...
Barry Tashian - see artist discography
Buck Taylor "Kissing' My Memories" (Windi Records, 197--?) (LP)
(Produced by Gary Young & Rolf Erickson)
Walter Clarence Taylor was a Hollywood native who worked as a character actor in film and TV, most notably playing Deputy Newly O'Brien on the show Gunsmoke, and in numerous westerns for years to come... He's backed here by a Southern California crew who are mostly unfamiliar to me, including Dan Robbins on lead guitar and Art Sanchez playing steel. It looks like this album was made while he was still on Gunsmoke: there are several cover songs of late '60s/early '70s hits -- Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain," Merle Haggard's "Swinging Doors," Everybody's Talkin'," "Rose Garden," "Me And Bobby McGee" -- as well as a couple of songs credited to Roger Hill, one by producer Gary Young (the title track, "Kissing' My Memories") and one by Taylor himself ("Take Her By The Hand"). The liner notes say this was his first record; it's anybody's guess if he made any others. (Later in life, Taylor took up painting, and is known for his western-themed work.)
Chip Taylor - see artist discography
Helen Taylor & The Taylor Sisters "Country" (Helen Taylor Records) (LP)
(Produced by Jack Logan)
A rock-solid honkytonk set from Ewing, Nebraska's Helen Taylor an accomplished guitarist who recorded original music as well as covers, and led her own, all-female band which is pictured on the back cover. They were originally called the Country Misses, but legend has it that in the late '60s Johnny Cash suggested they change the name because at the time the word "country" was out of fashion in show business. Taylor may have recorded some singles as well, but I think this was her only album... According to the liner notes, it was recorded in Nashville, but they don't say what musicians are playing on the sessions, so I'm not sure if it was her own band backing her or not... Anyway, Taylor was a fine singer -- earthy, charismatic and direct, and very much in the Loretta Lynn style. She covers Loretta's "Coal Miner's Daughter," as well as a couple of Kris Kristofferson songs and a version of John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads," which probably places this (undated) album at around 1972, despite the impressive, '60s-style beehive hairdos on the band photo... The most enjoyable stuff on here, though, is the original material, with one song written by Taylor ("The Things I Already Know") and another credited to the same publishing company but written by Dave Hall and Louis Redding ("It's Not The Miles You Traveled") as well as novelty numbers like Hank Mills' "I Don't Think You Love Me (I Know You Do)." Old-school honkytonker Faron Young contributed liner notes and was one of many nationally-known stars who knew and performed with Ms. Taylor. She passed away in 1976 from pancreatic cancer, only a few years after this fine album had been recorded. During her career she toured nationally and in Europe, played Vegas, did USO shows in Vietnam and of course performed at countless county fairs and other local venues. It's a shame she didn't get the chance to record more, though, as this really is a fine album with a ton of authentic twang.
Kate Taylor "Sister Kate" (Atlantic-Cotillion, 1971)
(Produced by Peter Asher)
I'm adding this one mostly as a buyer-beware, cautionary listing. This album by singer Kate Taylor, sister of singer-songwriting superstar James Taylor, often makes its way into country and folk bins, but I think that's largely because she's wearing a big blue denim jacket that reads "rural," but is really just and early '70s fashion thing. Oh, sure, there are traces of twang: some LA country-rock heavtweights pitch in -- Bernie Leadon, Linda Ronstadt, J.D. Souther -- but they're mostly way in the background, although bluegrasser John Hartford does add more overt twang with a banjo riff on a version of Elton John's "Country Comfort." Also, she does a weirdly lethargic boogie-rock version of the old George Jones hit, "White Lightning." Mostly, though, this is just a big LA singer-songwriter popfest, with her singing stuff by Carole King, her brothers James and Livingston Taylor, and of course all these elite popstars pitch in on the recordings. Perhaps most surprisingly, a song by British folkie Beverly Martyn. Can't say as I'm a big fan of Taylor as a vocalist, nor of the music itself... It's inoffensive, but kind of subpar '70s pop, with a few riffs that will feel familiar, but little to excite most twangfans.
Mary Taylor - see artist discography
Thomas Taylor "Little Rockie's Lovin' " (Renee Records) (LP)
(Produced by Bud Comte)
The T-Bones "Presenting... The T-Bones" (Cuca Records, 1964-?) (LP)
A western swing/polka dance band from Wisconsin, sometime in the 1960s, from the looks of it... Most of the material is polka and waltz-oriented, but there are some country songs in there as well, and several that spotlight the steel guitar. The group included lead guitarist Jerry Carlisle, rhythm guitarist Jimmie Hintz, accordion player Ed Borberich and drummer Kidd Carson. The band's name is a reference to their shared involvement in Wisconsin's ag industry -- two of them worked as livestock sellers at the Milwaukee Stockyards, while the other two sold farming equipment. In fact, the album was sponsored by the Milwaukee Stockyards itself, and the liner notes go into great detail about the organization, including a rundown of its annual sales for 1963. Round 'em up, boys!
Bob Teague "Keep On Keepin' On" (We're Country Records, 1984) (LP)
(Produced by Frank Teague)
West Coast honky-tonk from a guy who was pals with Merle Haggard back when Hag was just a punk kid getting busted for taking cars on joyrides, and his career in country music was just a distant dream. Obviously, Teague never made it big like his buddy Merle, but the connection is still there, in their lives and in their music, as well as in the autobiographical song, "Hag And I," which closes out this set of almost-all original material. By the time he cut this album, Teague had moved from Bakersfield to not-too-distant Selma, California, an agricultural suburb of Fresno. The band seems to be made up of locals -- I don't recognize any of their names, which in my book can be a kind of cool sign. Great twangy stuff... It being the '80s, Teague even made a video of the lead song, "A Million Tears Ago."
Terry Teene "The Country Side Of Terry Teene" (Cartwheel Records, 1966) (LP)
(Produced by Terry Teene, Tim Dinkins & Jimmy Wilson)
Midwestern singer-songwriter Terence Blaine Knudson (aka "Terry Teene," 1942-2012) was a kid from Eagle Grove, Iowa who cut some rockabilly and teenpop tunes in the early 1960s, then tried to make it as a pop singer, turning to twang for this LP, which also features several gospel songs. He's best known for the novelty number "Curse Of The Hearse," which he recorded at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, as well as for his work as a professional clown, which apparently included helping develop the character of fast food mascot Ronald McDonald. Although he worked in Southern California and eventually moved to Texas, Teene seems to have still been using Eagle Grove as his home base when he recorded this album. Although the main musicians listed in the band are pretty unfamiliar (Jimmy Collins and Carl Walden on steel guitar, Hank Eschenman on piano, Teene playing guitar) there's also a "thank you" shout-out to Lynn Harper and Jerry Inman, who were both part of the hippie-era on Sunset Strip in Hollywood... Teene was also doing some TV and film work, and had written a book called "Super Sissy" (which I don't recommend you Google... trust me, you won't find the right reference...) Almost all the songs on here are Terry Teene originals, including "We're Gona Put Iowa On The Map," "We're Gona Make Love" and "Eagle Grove, Iowa," which I guess shows his local roots still holding strong... There's also one song written by his producer Tim Dinkins ("Fighting Machine") and another ("Do My Heart A Favor") co-written by west coasters Vern Stovall and Bobby George.
Lynn Teeter "Good Morning Beautiful Lady" (Uniworld Records) (LP)
(Produced by Harold Bradley & Bill Vandevort)
Jack Tempchin "Jack Tempchin" (Arista, 1978)
California-based songwriter Jack Tempchin was one of many mellow rockers in the Eagles orbit, perhaps most famous for co-writing several songs with Glenn Frey, including "Already Gone," and for penning one of their earliest hits, "Peaceful Easy Feeling" as well as "Slow Dancin' (Swayin' To The Music)," which was a late-'70s crossover hit recorded by both pop and country artists. This album, recorded after the breakup of his band The Funky Kings, includes Tempchin's version of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and the epic car-repair novelty song, "Fifteen Days Under The Hood." Those two songs are about it for me on this album, although I admit it's been a long time since I listened to the whole thing; maybe some of the other tracks would have more appeal now.
Glen Temple & The GT Band "Greatest Hits, Volume One" (Citrus Records, 1985) (LP)
(Produced by Thomas C. McElroy & Irvin Kramer)
This album features all songs originals, co-written by Glen H. Temple and drummer Thomas McElroy... Temple used to work in the Ozark Jubilee country circuit until he "moved west" and joined the GT Band (Lord only knows what they were called before he joined...) The liner notes don't say *where* the band was located -- California, maybe??
The Tennessee Hat Band "Breaking Out The Good Stuff" (Melon Patch, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by John Carey & Tennessee Hat Band)
A "solo" set by David Allan Coe's early '80s backing band, packed with all-original material by bandmembers Fred Spears, Jim Richmond and Bill Clark, with Spears penning almost all the songs, including "Under Rachael's Wings," which was co-written (or should I say, Coe-written?) with their boss. Although they had a mainstream pedigree, this is a surprisingly indie-sounding, hippiebilly-ish album, mixing outlaw/barband twang with smoother, sleek Eagles-y country-rock harmonies. The lyrics are generally speaking a little too wordy and rambling for my tastes, but the music is really nice. Definitely worth a spin if you're into the classic 'Seventies indie-twang sound!
Terry & Mary Ann "Little Bit Country" (MTF Productions, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by Sargon N. Yonan)
The lounge duo of Terry Flannery & Mary Ann Marshall -- also known simply as "Terry & Mary Ann" -- recorded this album at the Sargon Recording Studios in Skokie, Illinois and they give a shout-out on the cover to the folks working at the O'Hare-Kennedy Holiday Inn, where I'd assume they had a regular gig. Terry Flannery did the arrangements and plays most of the instruments -- guitars, bass and keyboards -- along with Ms. Marshall on 12-string and 6-string acoustic guitars and drummer Ron Baron rounding out the sound. They cover stuff like "Me And Bobby McGee" and "The Gambler" as well as oldies like "Danny Boy" and "Ghost Riders In The Sky," and Flannery even gets all choppsy with a run-through of the Spanish guitar standard, "Malaguena." The Kenny Rogers cover places this one at least 1979, if not later. They were not great, but this is a very authentic album from a typical '70s lounge act.
Charles Terry "Honkin' " (EKM, 1980)
(Produced by Lloyd Maines)
A tight set of hard-rockin' Texas bar-band country, a smoothly-produced but still gritty album with major assistance from the Maines Brothers band. Donnie, Kenny and Lloyd Maines are all over this album, adding plenty of thump and twang, particularly Lloyd's ever-stellar pedal steel, while the album art shows Mr. Terry riding the mechanical bull at Cold Water Country, the Lubbock, TX bar that the Maines Brothers Band called home base. It's sort of a Mickey Gilley-meets-Moe Bandy vibe, good stuff with a blusey backbeat. This is a very earthy album, with several carnally-themed hard-country songs such as "I Can't Keep My Hands Off You" and "Cravin' Your Body" that really don't mince words... I couldn't find any other info about Mr. Terry, but whoever he was, he sure had friends in the right places. He also had a set of songwriters providing him original material -- Garland Arnold, Jess Demaine, David House and Travis Williams -- although none of them seemed to be playing on this album.
Jerry B. Terry "The Devil And My Lady" (Sounds, Inc.)
(Produced by Gene A. Cash)
Originally from Ottawa, Illinois, singer Jerry Terry wound up doing country gigs in Vegas, and recorded this album in Nashville, probably around the end of the '70s. He covers Waylon's "Good Hearted Woman," but the rest of the record is all-original material, with Terry credited on four songs, and producer Gene Cash and Dale Cash (his brother?) penning the rest.
Ken Terry "...And The Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch Gang" (Campfire Records) (LP)
(Produced by Jim Sanders & Larry Sanders)
Geez, I didn't even know that Loretta Lynn had a dude ranch... but she does! It's part of her estate at Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, a beautiful former plantation that she bought back in 1966, when she first hit the bigtime. Apparently it's Loretta herself who likes to call the place a "dude ranch," rather than a theme -- that's 'cause she's not all fancy even though the place itself looks pretty swank. Of course, any self-respecting dude ranch needs to have a house band, and for a while Ken Terry and his pals filled the bill. This is a kind of standard-issue souvenir album, packed with cover songs of oldies and a few more contemporary hits and even a few originals. The oldies include "Rocky Top," "Wild Side Of Life" and "I'm My Own Grandpa," while the newer tunes include "South Is Gonna Do It Again," "Texas Women" and "Women I Never Had," as well as a version of Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again," which helps place this undated album into at least the early '80s. Ken Terry contributes the kiddie-oriented novelty number," while the group's gal singer wrote a couple of tunes with an almost folk-freak feel, "You" and "You Made It All So Real." Some tracks are credited to a band called Sweetwater, and they also spotlight an eight-year old named Miss Courtney Stevens, who sings cutesy versions of "Frankie And Johnny" and "Never Ending Love." These folks had a nice county-fair musical quality, though weren't top talent, as heard on the gruelling cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying," in which their plodding, out-of-tune bassist dominates. But if you enjoy the souvenir album sound, this is a fine example of the genre.
Steve Terry "Wine Women And Sorrow" (Melwood Music, 1980)
(Produced by Steve Terry & Phil York)
An uber-indie DIY release from Rowlett, Texas... All but one of the songs are credited to Steve Terry.
Jack & Debi Tewalt "Special Delivery" (Pure Love Records, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Don Caldwell & Lloyd Maines)
Late '70s Christian country from Texas... Jack Tewalt was a divinity student who graduated from a Baptist divinity school in Fort Worth and went on to become a music minister in Texas and Georgia (with a day job in real estate...) This album was produced by Lloyd Maines and features a hefty chunk of the Maines Brothers band, including some tasty guitar and pedal steel from Lloyd Maines.
Texana Dames "Texana Dames" (Amazing Records, 1992)
This all-female trio was a spinoff of the fabled West Texas group, the Supernatural Family Band, which included mother Charlene Hancock, and siblings Traci and Conni Hancock.
Texas Lone Star "Desperados Waiting For The Train" (Bear Family, 1977/1992)
A trans-Atlantic collaboration between Texas hippiebillies Rich Helt and Bryan Seegers and German country enthusiasts, including singer Ulli Mohring and singer/steel guitarist Herman Lammers-Meyer, who went on to a long solo career as a honky tonk traditionalist. This album is largely an indiebilly jam session, with covers of country-rock and outlaw classics such as "Wild Horses," "Wild Horses," "Friend Of The Devil," and "Luckenbach, Texas." Bear Family released this album as a CD in 1992; and though I haven't seen an LP copy of it, the band refers to it on the liner notes of their second album (below) so it must have been released in the '70s and sold at shows. (Or maybe not? Anyone know for sure?)
Texas Lone Star "In The Desert" (JA Records, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Ali Alterbaum)
Apparently Rich Helt made an annual tradition of his trips from Houston to West Germany, and recorded a second album with Ulli Mohring and a new lineup of Texas Lone Star that brought in songwriter-guitarist Steve Reynolds, who at the time was deeply ensconced in the Austin indie scene. It's an odd album. There's an uneasy mix of '70s-style soft-rock and old-school alterna-twang... Four of the songs are by Reynolds, and they have a more overt rock feel, reflecting his blues/electric rock background, while Helt contributes the breezy, anthemic "Arizona" and "Never Find My Way Back Home," while the twangiest tunes come from the kraut contingent: Ulli Mohring adds two songs that embrace hillbilly iconography, including the shambling, unruly "Stumbling Out Of The Stumble Inn," a song paying homage to Tempe, Arizona's legendary cowboy bar, and even namechecks Chuck Wagon & The Wheels. (His second song, "In The Desert," is a gooey country-rock number reminiscent of America or Firefall, complete with soprano sax... ewwww.) Also, Herman Lammers-Meyer pitches in again with some nice steel guitar licks on three of the tracks. I wouldn't call this a twangcore classic, but soft-rock enthusiasts might get a kick out of it, and the Stumble Inn tribute is worth keeping on the radar.
Texas Renegade "Texas Renegade" (Texas Records, 1983) (LP)
Texas Trilogy "No Refund" (Trilogy Productions, 1981) (LP)
A trio from Grand Prairie, Texas who offer three original songs along with covers of tunes by Larry Gatlin, Michael Martin Murphey and Ian Tyson, as well as a version of Craig Fuller's "Amie." Nice, singalong, folkie country-rock stuff... Their original songs include "Dee-Vor-Cee" and "Mid-Cities Madman" by singer-bassist Jerry Johnson and "Small Town Lady," by guitarist/banjo picker Bob Moore.
That Sound Music "Range Rider" (That Sound Music Publishing, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Rick Holbrook & Tom Wolverton)
I'm not entirely sure, but it seems like this may have been some kind of song-poem album, with several different vocalists, including the songwriters singing on the tracks they composed, although it could have just been a very egalitarian and far-flung band. About half the songs are credited to Steve McGehee, and Pam Sorenson and Russ Sorenson sing on a couple of different tracks. Anyone know about these folks? I couldn't find much info about them online... The album doesn't indicate where this record was made, though producers Rick Holbrook and Tom Wolverton were later involved with the Shiloh Amphitheater, as part of a church group in Kalona, Iowa, so I guess they were Midwesterners -- they were both more directly involved in the next That Sound Music album, with Steve McGehee playing a minor role, while the rest of the musicians on this album had pretty much moved on. Apparently that second album, the fancy-titled Beautiful Rotavele Music, wasn't quite as "rural" sounding as this one.
Thelma With Jerry Lee & The Mustangs "Sings Patsy Kline" (Ponderosa Records, 1965) (LP)
(Produced by Norman Baker)
I could not, for the life of me, find out what Thelma's last name was, or any info about "the Mustangs," or why they made a tribute to Patsy Cline, but misspelled her name. Regardless, there was a teensy bit of info in the liner notes: Thelma was born June 16, 1946 in Camden, New Jersey and was apparently eighteen or nineteen when she recorded this album. She did have a remarkable ability to mimic Cline's vocal tones, if not her confident phrasing and command of the material -- similarly, the backing band had some talent but never really gels as a unit on these sessions, and seems to have been disinterested in the material. The pedal steel player is pretty good, but it's harder to gauge the strengths of the lead guitar, as his work generally seems loosely strung together, and is often at odds with Thelma's vocals, most notably on their version of "Walking After Midnight," where the noodly blues licks almost drown her out... It's a notably low-budget, one-take kind of recording and is oddly charming as a result... There's never a moment where you go, oh yeah! man, that's how that song should sound! but you do feel the authenticity of an East Coast gal with a passion for Pasty Cline... Anyone out there with more info about this album? I'm all ears!
Them Fargo Bros. "The Studio Recordings: 1976-1981" (2010)
A digital-era reissue of from-the-archives material by the New Hampshire-based band, Them Fargo Bros., which featured songwriter Bill Madison, who had released his own solo folk album, Sunday Mornin' Hayride, before starting this country-rock band in '74.. I'm not sure if any of these tracks really came out on vinyl, back in the day, or whether they are gathered here for the first time in album form.
Them Fargo Bros. "1979" (1979-?)
A previously-unreleased album recorded by this regionally-known New England country-rock band at a live gig at North Conway, NH's Oxen Yoke Inn... Apparently the band toured quite widely throughout the '70s and early '80s and stuck together until the early 1990s, in one form or another.
Jack & Mike Theobald "With Bluegrass Country" (Shiloh, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by G. Humphrey & Dale Davis)
Brothers Jack and Mike Theobald were from the Wichita, Kansas area - apparently they were in the first bluegrass band in the state of Kansas, the Bluegrass Country Boys, formed in 1963, and remained stalwarts of the Sunflower State bluegrass scene for decades to come...
Bob & Bobbie Thomas "Favorite Country Hymns" (Superior Recordings) (LP)
Originally from Iowa, the father-son duo of Bob and Bobbie Thomas were featured performers on the 1960s/early '70s edition of WGN-TV's "Barn Dance" country variety show in Chicago, which by the end of the 'Sixties had become a nationally syndicated program. Bobbie Thomas was a child prodigy, learning to play guitar and perform onstage at age five; later on his brother Scott joined the group, which then became billed "Bob & Bobbie, Plus One." Although this is an all-gospel album, they regularly performed secular material on the show, as can be heard on the 1965 album, Saturday Night At The Old Barn Dance, which probably came out around the same time as this disc... I'm not sure if the Thomases recorded any other albums as a duo.
Dale Thomas "For The Life Of Me" (Wahoo Records, 1969-?) (LP)
(Produced by Dale Thomas)
Dale Thomas "The Territory Band -- With Melissa Thomas" (197--?) (LP)
(Produced by Dale Thomas & Ken Simon)
Steel guitar player Dale Thomas formed his first country music group, the Bandera Boys, way back in 1956(!) and established himself as a regional country performer along the Iowa/Illinois border. He landed a major label contract a few years later, cutting a single for Dot Records, and recorded infrequently over the years while also appearing on local TV programs, both as a backup musician for polka/dance bandleader Leo Greco, and as a show host himself. Thomas cut this album in Skokie, Illinois with his thirteen-year old Melissa Thomas daughter singing and playing bass, along with Kenny Schultz thumping drums, Jerome Vogel sawing fiddle and Jeff Spangler picking lead guitar. Thomas was used to covering oldies and popular tunes, so he packed this LP with all-original material, including several songs where Melissa sings lead. Sideman Jeff Spangler sings on a tune he wrote: " 'Til The Feeling's Right." On a side note: years later, Spangler married Melissa Thomas, the couple eventually moved to Texas and, true to her dad's predictions on this album jacket, she learned several other instruments. The Spanglers made a go of it, playing in Vegas and elsewhere, though later they settled down and became pastors in Texas; their daughter, Averielle, also became a musician. Mr. Thomas kept his band(s) running well into the 21st century and self-released several CDs, including the one below.
Dale Thomas "The Back Forty" (20--?) (CD)
This retrospective disc includes the songs from Thomas's 1959 Dot single, "Hello Lonesome" and "Too Young To Love," as well as 'Sixties recordings made with his TV band, and even a song that his daughter recorded when she was thirteen, "As Each Night Goes By."
Darrell Thomas "Brand Of A Country Man" (Lee Mace's Ozark Opry, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Harold L. Luick)
An Iowa native who became a member of Lee Mace's Ozark Opry, Darrell Thomas wrote six of the ten songs on this album, including tunes like "Billboard Cowboy," "Me, Her And The Telephone" and "Waylon, Sing A Song To Mama."
Gus Thomas "Gus Thomas" (Jamboree USA Records, 1972) (LP)
(Produced by Ray Pennington)
Country singer Gus Thomas joined the cast of the WWVA Jamboree show as a performer and emcee in 1968, and frequently performed with his wife, Jo Ann Thomas. He hosted the radio program during a transitional time when the venerable Opry-like program was shifting towards a more modern country/countrypolitan image, and helped tweak the show's on-air format. Thomas left the Jamboree at the end of 1973, and as far as I know, this was his only album. After he left the show there was talk of another album, but I don't know if that panned out. Although Thomas had a lot of name recognition in the country music industry, none of his songs ever charted... This record includes "Morning Train To Cleveland" and "It's Not The End Of Everything," and reprises a couple of songs from an earlier Jamboree single, "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast" and "My Greatest Hour."
Guthrie Thomas "Sitting Crooked" (Singing Folks Records, 1974) (LP)
(Produced by Ray Gideon & Guthrie Thomas)
Singer-songwriter Guthrie Thomas is one of the best and most under-the-radar artists in the genre... This was his first album, recorded in Los Angeles with originally only five hundred copies pressed.
Guthrie Thomas "Dear Ginny" (Singing Folks Records, 1975) (LP)
(Produced by Guthrie Thomas)
Guthrie Thomas "Guthrie Thomas One" (Capitol, 1975) (LP)
(Produced by Nicolas Venet)
Guthrie Thomas "Lies And Alibis" (Capitol, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Guthrie Thomas, Carter & Steve Cropper)
Guthrie Thomas "Kidnapped" (Eagle Records, 1977) (LP)
(Produced by Guthrie Thomas & Larry Hirsch)
Guthrie Thomas "This One's For Sarah" (Taxim Records, 1978)
(Produced by Guthrie Thomas & Albert Cecere)
Guthrie Thomas "The Poisonous Beauty" (Eagle Records, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Guthrie Thomas)
Guthrie Thomas "As Yet Untitled" (Line Music, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Guthrie Thomas)
Guthrie Thomas "Buffalo" (Eagle Records, 1983) (CD)
(Produced by Guthrie Thomas)
A mellow, contemplative, stripped-down folkie set, just Guthrie Thomas and guitar, and a lifetime of soulful reflection. More of a folk record than I normally am into, but compelling nonetheless, in a quiet kinda way.
Thomas Sisters "Western With The Thomas Sisters" (Viking Records) (LP)
Well, this is certainly an odd an unsatisfying record... and downright weird and misleading as well! Yeah, sure, it says it's by the Thomas Sisters, but the first thing you hear -- on every track -- is this big, booming, goofy male chorus, and every once in a while some gals chime in with some bland oooh-waahh pop vocals chorus stuff. So, wait -- what?? I'm confused. Anyway, my guess is this is a cheapie label "album" that was repurposed from some previous release... Maybe it used to be the Saguaro Chorus or something like that in a past lifetime, and the evil geniuses at Viking Records said to themselves, "hey, weren't there some girls on that record, too??" The music is weird, too... It's old-school singing cowboy material, chestnuts like "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie" and "Cool Clear Water," but done in some bizarre squaresville-pop chorus style, all very 1950s. It's also a mystery disc: lord knows who was actually on this one. That being said, a glance at the list of records on the back cover shows that Viking released a fascinating array of country artists, including Andy Devine, Roy Self, Louise Massey, Dick Thomas, and various tribute albums recorded by super-obscuro artists like Sally Bee, etc. I doubt they had the rights to any of these recordings... but, hey, if a few LPs fell off the back of a truck near a few music stores, who's to know?
Tex Thomas & The Danglin' Wranglers "Dare To Dangle" (Pennies From Heaven, 1980) (LP & MP3)
(Produced by Vince McGarry)
An Austin artist... This isn't all country (more blues and big band, but with a bit of twang here and there...) Nonetheless, Lucky Oceans plays steel as part of the Danglin' Wranglers...
Bobby Thompson "Sings Blues 100 Proof" (Tom Paul Jones Productions, 1973) (LP)
(Produced by Allene Randall)
A swinging set from hillbilly honkytonker Bobby Thompson, who was originally from El Paso, Texas but living near Oklahoma City when he cut this solo set. Many of the tracks on here have minimal instrumentation, with a slightly clunky guitarist who gets a little jazzy while Thompson settles into a crooning mode, though other songs have a more robust, hardcore country sound, including the title track (which was also released as a single). It's likely that the picker was Thompson himself: earlier in the '70s, Thompson had been working as the guitarist in the Sonny James band, but he went solo around '72. There's some fun stuff on here, particularly "Blues 100 Proof," which opens with the couplet, "I'm a loner/an alcoholic wreck... which seems worthy of comparison to Merle Haggard or Dale Watson and other honkytonk giants. He also covers songs by Merle, Ned Miller and others... Dunno if he cut any other records after this, but this one's kind of nice and heartfelt.
Glenn Thompson "Country Songs I Love To Sing" (Big T Records, 196-?) (LP)
(Produced by Walt Copeland)
A farm kid from rural North Carolina, like many country musicians Glenn Thompson traveled around and had a lot of gigs in his youth... Before serving in WWII, Thompson was working down in Florida, and after he demobilized, he found a radio gig in his home state before founding a hillbilly radio show called the "Virginia Barn Dance," in 1949, leading a regional band through the 1950s. He retired from the music business for several years, but by the time he cut this (mid-'60s?) album, Thompson was back on the air, hosting a daily radio show on WBBB, in Burlington, NC. His backing band for these sessions included Don Causey (bass), Jackie Dee (rhythm guitar), Marvin Hudson (steel), Dicky Robertson (drums) and Jimmy Saunders (lead guitar). Thompson also released numerous singles on a bunch of mega-indie labels, though I'm not sure if he recorded any other full LPs.
Ronnie Thompson "Macon's Mayor Ronnie Thompson: Here I Am" (Starday Records) (LP)
(Produced by Bud Hobgood & Louie Innis)
I have no idea what kind of closed-door back scratching took place in the making of this album by the venerable Starday label, although it should be said that it wasn't entirely a vanity project. Georgia politician Ronnie Thompson, Macon's first-ever elected Republican mayor, was also an accomplished country singer who had started his career in the late 1950s and cut several singles before veering into a career in politics. Elected in 1967 on a wave of anti-civil rights backlash, Thompson was known as a "law and order" mayor and wound up well to the right of President Nixon, who he frequently criticized as being too squishy and compromising. But I guess the guy could sing... This album has a lot of country standards -- four songs by Hank Williams and one by Merle Haggard, along with two originals by Thompson himself, "Room Full Of Emptiness" and "Downtown Country Girl," and a rendition of the gospel standard, "Just A Closer Walk With Thee." There's also some soul music on here, including a version of "Dock Of The Bay" (Thompson was an Otis Redding fan) and two songs by producer Bud Hobgood and his songwriting partner Judy Russell: Hobgood was tight with soul king James Brown, who Thompson claims to have been a friend of in the album's effusive liner notes. Sure... just as long as no one tries to go on strike, everything should be just fine.
Sam Thompson "Songs Of The Oil Field" (Jack O'Diamonds Music, 1974) (MLP 1001) (LP)
(Produced by Ed Thomas)
An odd one... Not just because it's a whole album of songs about oil drilling in the American South and the Panhandle, but because this album is basically a song-by-song remake of an album that composer Alex Zanetis recorded about ten years earlier ("Alex Zanetis Writes And Sings The Stories Of The Oil Fields.") The songs are all the same, except for one which has been minorly re-written as an homage to producer Ed Thomas (who apparently was an oil worker himself...) As Zanetis had done in '64, this album lines up top studio talent of the era: the studio crew is a virtual who's who of "usual suspects" superpickers: Dave Kirby on lead guitar, Buddy Emmons, Leon Rhodes, Weldon Myrick, Bobby Thompson, etc., whereas Zanetis had been working with pros such as Floyd Cramer, Jerry Kennedy, Grady Martin and Charlie McCoy.
Don Thomson "Banjo In The Sky" (Grass Ridge, 1982) (LP)
I think this was mostly a straight-up bluegrass album, but the cover art is so great and so goofy, that it certainly deserves mention here. It's a picture of picker Don Thomson standing on the roof of the music shop he worked at in Rolla, Missouri, perched next next to the store's giant mock-up of a banjo... Completely dopey, but completely cool.
Kenneth Threadgill "Yesterday And Today" (PSG Recording Studios, 1974) (LP)
(Produced by Rod Kennedy)
Known as "the father of Austin country music," old-timer Kenneth Threadgill (1909-1987) was an iconic figure and an important early patron of the Texas music scene. In his youth, Threadgill was a devotee of blues yodeler Jimmie Rodgers, and worked as a regional musician during the Great Depression before opening his own bar in the 1930s. For the next several decades, Threadgill's Tavern became a nurturing ground for local talent, hosting open-mic nights and touring acts, as well as Threadgill himself singing in his own old-school style. This album, which was created with the help of the Kerrville Folk Festival, compiles music recorded over the span of a decade or so, including mid-'60s demo tapes, a song from Threadgill's first seven-inch single, and live recordings from Kerrville and other, less formal venues. Throughout these tracks, Threadgill stays true to his roots, singing plenty of Jimmie Rodgers oldies and other songs of a similar vintage and hue, all with an admirable roughness, though also with a sense of unrushed authority. The year this album came out, Threadgill retired from ownership of the bar, selling it to the hippiefolk running the Armadillo World Headquarters, though he continued to host shows and perform at the soon re-opened Threadgill's restaurant.
Kenneth Threadgill "Silver Haired Daddy" (Armadillo Records, 1980-?) (LP)
(Produced by Henry Alrich)
This later album features Texas folkie locals Bill and Bonnie Hearne backing Threadgill and singing harmony, with Johnny Gimble on fiddle... The record was made with the help of the folks at Armadillo World Headquarters in the waning days of the venue, and like his first album features bluesy oldies from a bygone era.
Three Faces West "Three Faces West" (Outpost, 1969) (LP)
(Produced by Lynn Calloway)
The first album by Texas songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard -- this was his highschool band, formed with Wayne Kidd and Rick Fowler, with George Sanders on drums... More of a rock'n'roll thing, but still worth tracking down if you're a fan. They were, I believe, named after an old John Wayne film...
Tom Throckmorton "Loose Wheel" (Nashville Goose Records) (LP)
This was a set of country comedy stuff, including parody songs, ala Homer & Jethro: the title track was a parody of the Kenny Rogers hit, "Lucille." All the songs were written by Wayne M. Richey, and sung by Tom Throckmorton, who appear to have been from Pennsylvania, although the Nashville Goose record label was in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Go figure!
Thunderhill "I'm Going Home" (Minco Records) (LP)
This band from Keyser, West Virginia had been around for a long time before they cut this album... A few singles came out 'way back in the '60s, when -- as the Thunder Hill Singers -- they covered Marianne Faithfull's "As Tears Go By" (which is also included on this LP...) and several other folk classics. That early folkie trio featuring core members Jim Broome (lead vocals), Ed Jordan (lead guitar), and Jerry Marsh (on bass) released a few singles and later expanded to a full band, going into more of a country/country-rock direction. Although they were from West Virginia, the album's liner notes inform us that "the group is presently based at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland resort area," and toured regionally on the Eastern seaboard. The album includes covers such as "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "Good Hearted Woman," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "Don't It Make You Want To Go Home." Not sure of the date, but I'm guessing late '70s on this one...
Billy ThunderKloud & The Chieftones "...Where Do I Begin To Tell The Story..." (Superstar Records, 1972) (LP)
Vincent Clifford, aka "Billy ThunderKloud" was the lead singer for Canada's "all Indian band," who scored a surprise commercial hit with "What Time Of Day," which peaked on the US Country charts in 1975. They never topped that success, but managed to place a few songs on the charts over the next couple of years, and stayed together as a working band for over a decade more.
Billy ThunderKloud & The Chieftones "All Through The Night" (Superstar Records, 1973) (LP)
Billy ThunderKloud & The Chieftones "Off The Reservation" (20th Century, 1974) (LP)
Tiana "Yesterday And Today: Introducing Tiana" (Crescent Hill Records, 1981-?) (LP)
(Produced by Dewey Stiltner & Sonny Deaton)
The very essence of a "private press" vanity album, this album showcases an amatuer vocalist from Pennsylvania who was billed only as "Tiana." She had a good voice, although she showboats her way through a lush repertoire of vocal standards and country oldies, tilting more towards pop-standards than twang. Among the country tunes are covers of "Crazy," "Cold Cold Heart" and "Hold Me," while the pop standards include "Yesterday," "Side By Side" and "Cry Me A River." Apparently she went to Nashville to record, and has pedal steel pro Doug Jernigan onboard for the Tennessee sessions, as well as several members of the Deaton family, who were doing studio work at the time. Brief liner notes are provided by Tiana's old high school music teacher, Phil Runzo, and an almost equal amount of text is devoted to detailing his own career -- where he earned his own college degrees, etc. which gives you an indication of where this album stood in relation to the professional music scene. Anyway, although Ms. Tiana had a good voice with a nice timbre (best on the pop ballads) this album simply emanates an aura of amateurism, which on several tunes manifests itself in the giddy, unrestrained performances of some of the backing musicians (notably guitarist Steve Hambree...) Although in all honesty I would be hard-pressed to recommend this album, there's a sincerity and palpable sense of enthusiasm here that has charms of its own, though perhaps mostly only to hipster-collector types who are drawn to records like this more for the "real folks" vibe than for the music itself.
The Tibor Brothers "The Tibor Brothers" (JoMar Records) (LP)
(Produced by The Tibor Brothers & Paul Martinson)
North Dakota's Tibor family certainly had a colorful backstory... Their great-grandfather led a dance band in the 1920s, and their mother learned to play country songs when she was young, teaching her own children to play as well. The Tibors were farmers, but in the 1940s they began to play music professionally, and eventually became so successful that the family split the work up into multiple bands so that they could play more than one gig a night. That was easy since Jospeh and Margaret Tibor had fourteen children(!) born over a span of a couple of decades... Not only that, but the kids were named alphabetically as they were born: Albert, Bernard, Charles, Dorothy, Ernest, Francis, Gerard, Harvey, Irene, Jerome, Kurt, Larry, Marie and Noreen. (And thank goodness they stopped halfway through the alphabet! Their poor mom!) Anyway, this is one of several albums the Tibors recorded over the years, released on their own home label, JoMar Records, which was named after their parents. The songs are all originals, written by various members of the band. (Thanks to NDSU and the Hebron Herald for background info on this band...)
The Tibor Brothers "Land Of Broken Dreams" (JoMar Records, 1978) (LP)
The Tibor Brothers "A Special Old Time Tribute To Our Grandfather -- Featuring All 9 Tibor Brothers!" (JoMar Records) (LP)
In the Great Lakes/High Plains region, when they say "old time music," what they mean is polka. And waltzes. Which is what's on this album... not the Carter Family type stuff from the Appalachians. This one was an homage to their grandfather, Leonard Heckler, who was himself a local musician, pictured on the back cover in 1931, accordion in hand.
Tiny Tillman "Down Memory Lane With Tiny Tillman" (Starway) (LP)
This is what I assume was the lone solo album by a regional Missouri country star, Tiny Tillman, who performed on several Opry-like radio shows, most notably the Kansas City-based "Brush Creek Follies" where he was a cast member from the late 1940s through the early '50s. This self-released record caught my eye for a couple of reasons, notably because of the all-star lineup of hotshot musicians backing him up, including Tommy Hill on guitar, Shot Jackson playing steel, Junior Husky on bass and Tommy Jackson playing fiddle... the elite of the '50s studio crews! There's no discographical info on the jacket, but I'd guess this came out round 1966-69. Anyone know for sure?
Roger Tillison "Roger Tillison's Album" (Atco, 1971)
(Produced by Jesse Ed Davis)
Oklahoma-born songwriter Roger Tillison came from the same "Tulsa sound" scene as J. J. Cale and Leon Russell, moving to upstate New York when Woodstock became a hip retreat for roots-oriented musicians such as the Band and all the folks around the Bearsville studios. This was Tillison's only solo album (until the 2003 release below) and while it was a cult fave, it didn't generate much sales action at the time... The repertoire is half originals, half covers, including an early version of The Band's "Get Up Jake," which they recorded the following year.
Roger Tillison "Mamble Jamble" (2003)
Timber "Part Of What You Hear" (Kapp, 1970) (LP)
This short-lived band was a collaboration between two songwriters, Wayne Berry and George (no, not that one) Clinton who each had distinctive and largely divergent musical interests, with Clinton being (roughly) more of a rocker, and Berry being more on the country/rural/acoustic side of the tracks. They recorded two albums as Timber, followed by a couple of solo albums, and briefly reunited as "Volunteers" for one album in 1976.
Timber "Bring America Home" (Elektra, 1971)
(Produced by Don Gallucci)
A curious mix of white-boy boogie-funk and more rural material, reminiscent of Leon Russell and Little Feat, with Wayne Berry apparently the more versatile songwriter: he contributes a couple of the more effective funk-pop tunes, as well as some twangier, more acoustic material, such as the overtly country "Canada" and the softer, folkie ballad, "Don't Underestimate Your Friends." I'd say Clinton got into heavier, deeper grooves, though I like Berry's songs better. Several tracks also feature a third vocalist, Judy Elliott, a more folk-oriented singer who recorded with Timber on both their albums, and later did some work with Hoyt Axton... I find her a little distracting because she seems stylistically out of sync with the blues-rock vocals of the guys, but she helps create a funky feel in their choruses... Also worth noting is the album's political content - the opening tracks are about social decay and the draft-dodging of the Vietnam War era, while the rest fo the songs are more oblique and veiled, fuzzy ruminations about life and spirituality that are pretty typical of the era. There's not really that much "country" stuff on here, though it is there. But '70s rock fans who are into Joe Cocker or Delaney & Bonnie might dig these guys, too.
Timbercreek "Hellbound Highway" (Renegade Records, 1975)
Genuine hippiebilly rock from the Santa Cruz Mountains, near San Francisco... These guys sounds a lot -- and I mean a lot -- like the early-'70s Grateful Dead. Pretty sure it was on purpose, too. If you're a fan of classic, country-flavored Dead albums like Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, but always wished they'd recorded more stuff that sounded like that... Well, here's your wish come true. It's not really Jerry and the gang, but if you close your eyes and smoke enough of whatever, you'd hardly know the difference. Real-deal California super-hippie stuff, and pretty good, too.
Timberline "The Great Timber Rush" (Epic, 1977) (LP)
(Produced by Bones Howe)
Yeesh. This country-rock band from Kearney, Nebraska hit the big time (kind of) with a major-label contract that featured the perky beat and airy melodies of contemporary country-rock, almost to a fault. Brothers Chuck and Jim Salestrom fomed the band as teens, back in 1971, building up a regional reputation that led to their getting signed by CBS Records, and a recording session with a bunch of LA heavyweights. Plenty of other artists come to mind when listening to this record: America, John Denver, The Eagles -- et cetera. -- but the ultimate impression is one of generic, derivative, overly-slick, overly-pumped up AOR twang. I mean, yeah, for the genre this is probably pretty good -- fans of 'Seventies soft rock will probably dig it, but for whatever reason it got on my nerves and brought out the twang-snob in me... it just seems too contrived and formulaic, although the band really put their heart and soul into the sessions. Apparently, while riding on the success of this album Timberline toured with Dolly Parton for a while, but the band fell apart in '78, with Jim Salestrom breaking orbit and establishing himself as an in-demand session player, songwriter, and solo musician. He toured with Dolly in the 1980s, and has worked steadily throughout the years. This album? Didn't work for me, but really, it's pretty strong for the genre.
The Timberline Band "Too Much Fun" (Golden Horseshoe) (LP)
(Produced by Claudette Kerr Alldredge)
This longhaired Vegas lounge band (who were different than the Timberline listed above) recorded several original songs by lead singer Kim Blakey, as well as a cover of Commander Cody's "Too Much Fun," a Flying Burrito Brothers tune and a Sons Of The Pioneers medley... Apparently they worked in the Maxim Hotel in the '70s... Haven't heard this one, but I am curious!
The Time Machine "Live At The Back Alley Lounge" (Manchester Records, 197--?) (LP)
Boasting of their musical diversity, this short-lived trio from the Washington, DC area included guitarist Mike Faour (who was into soul music), drummer John Burgoyne (who is credited as the country influence) and keyboard playe John Jackson, who was into oldies. Not strictly a twangband, by any means, they definitely had a country streak, covering a Hank Williams tune, Joe South's "Rose Garden," Leroy Dan Dyke's oldie-but-goodie "Walk On By" and Kris Kristofferson's "For The Good Times," as well as Albert Hammond's "It Never Rains In Southern California," a soft pop hit from 1972 that I always felt had just a little bit of twang to it. There's also one original song, "Can't You See," which is credited to Mike Faour, who apparently ran a DC-area guitar shop along with superpicker Danny Gatton, who was a rising star on the DC roots music scene. As far as I know, this was the only album this group put out, and I'm not sure if any of the members pursued other musical projects afterwards...
Timothy P. & Rural Route 3 "Utah Moon" (Mail Box, 1976) (LP)
Timothy P. & Rural Route 3 "Hot On The Trail" (Mail Box, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Timothy P. Irvin & John Macy)
Although the repertoire is solid indie-outlaw cow-twang, the performances have a slightly more rock feel to them than I prefer. This is a good record to know about, but somehow there's a slightly manic edge to the music -- and to Irwin's vocals -- that sets me a little on edge. I dunno. Anyway, it's definitely worth checking out, with covers of classics by Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, a couple by Michael McGinnis and a version of Mike Burton's "Night Rider's Lament." There are also several originals -- Irvin provides "Chat With Your Dog" while bassist Bruce Horn adds "Right Smack In The Middle Of The Blues" and there are a couple of songs by a guy named Jerry Armstrong, though he apparently was not a member of the band.
The Tinhorn Express "Jumping The Tracks" (Lemco, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Cecil Jones)
A progressive bluegrass/acousitc swing band whose repertoire was a mix of bluegrass, country and western swing, with some material written by lead singer Steve Goins, including the title song, "Jumping The Tracks." This also includes yet another cover of "Friend Of The Devil," in case anyone is keeping a list.
Tiny & The Bondsmen "Tiny And The Bondsmen" (Camaro Records, 1977) (LP)
(Produced by Gary Adair)
Only a little bit of twang on this one: lead singer Tiny Bond, backed by Gary Adair, Buck Hutcheson and Dave Parnell, cut this set of rock oldies, '70s disco and country covers while living in Memphis, Tennessee. Marilyn McCoo's "You Don't Have To Be A Star" coexists with Orlean's "Still The One," Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day" and Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around And Fell In Love." Groovy, baby!
Elmer Tippe "I Found A Song" (Cynda Records, 1971) (LP)
A Canadian radio host and country singer from Alberta, Elmer Tippe started his career in the late 1940s, playing fiddle in a band with his brothers, and was later a featured member of ex-rocker Rudy Hayden's late-'60s band, playing on Hayden's 1967 album, The 401. He broke out as a solo artist on this self-released album, establishing a strong regional following in British Columbia, both as a broadcaster and as a recording artist. He charted a few modest singles in the '70s and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002. His son, Rick Tippe, also became a country artist, recording several albums in the 1990s and '00s.
Elmer Tippe "...And His Supercountry Band" (Roadside Records, 1980-?) (LP)
Elmer Tippe "Dreams Of A Dreamer " (Roadside Records, 1982) (LP)
Elmer Tippe & Supercountry "Do It In The Sand" (Roadside Records, 1983) (LP)
(Produced by Harold F. Wainwright)
Iris Tipton/Various Artists "Let's Go Country" (Iris Records) (LP)
Songwriter Iris Tipton is a beloved figure among devotees of the "song-poem" genre, that shady subset of the music business where aspiring songwriters would send their lyrics (or music) away in the mail and the label owners would hire unknown musicians to perform them in the indicated style. Based in Los Angeles, Iris Records was a private "label" affiliated with the Lee Hudson song-poem company, and was reserved exclusively for the work of Ms. Tipton, who produced a few dozen oddball offerings. For this album, she "went country," penning a dozen songs of questionably twangy pedigree. There were three singers involved, each of whom no doubt hoped that the record might make them famous someday. Side One features six tracks by a guy calling himself Johnny Gatlin who, as far as I can tell, was no relation to the Gatlin Brothers. Indeed, his real name was probably John Stephenson: he and Tipton share the songwriting credits on all six songs, including the topical number, "From Over Here In Viet Nam," a tune that helps place this album somewhere in the mid-to-late 1960s. Side Two includes two tracks sung by Gary Williamson and four more by a gal named Cara Stewart, who is one of the most nototious and prolific song-poem singers. Methinks that the Johnny Gatlin tracks are the most country, with tunes like "Mama Caught Me In A Bar Room" and "Give Me A Bar Girl And A Bottle Of Wine..." [NOTE: For more info about the whole song-poem phenomenon, check out Bob Hudson's blog or www.songpoemmusic.com]
Tim Tisdale "...And The Texas Reunion Band" (197--?) (LP)
Okay, I tried, but I really couldn't track down any info about this guy outside of what's seen on the albums themselves... I'm guessing Tim Tisdale could be the same guy who was an early-'60s football star Arlington High School, though maybe not... But he was a prolific songwriter, though, penning all the tunes on this independently-released album. Not sure perzackly when this came out, either -- guesstimates vary widely in the Interwebs, so any guidance would be appreciated.
Tim Tisdale "Best Of The Texas Reunion Band" (Earth & Sky Studios, 197--?) (LP)
Tim Tisdale "Edge Of Town" (RMT, 1985)
T. J.'s Review "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" (Natural Act, 1983-?) (LP)
(Produced by Mike Graham)
A bluegrass/acoustic swing band from Greenfield, Indiana featuring Richard Burkett (mandolin,) David Percifield (banjo), Larry Heck (guitar), Jan Snider (banjo, lead vocals), Lew Snider (bass) and Tim Gibson (guitar).
T & M Express "T & M Express" (Tunesmith Music Company, 1977) (LP)
"T & M" stood for Tim York and Michael Hawthorne, a folk-rock duo from Columbus, Ohio who wrote a bunch of original material, and also recorded a "Desperado Medley" which combined "Depserado" by the Eagles with Guy Clark's "Desperados Waitin' For A Train." As far as I know, this was their only album.
Dave Toland & The Armadillo Desert Band "You Can't Take Back The Kiss" (Desert Records, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by Michael Larscheid, John Tanner, Frank Lindsay & Dave Toland)
The debut album by honkytonk songwriter Dave Toland, who was a rambling man if ever there was one... Born in Texas, he played bars in Arizona before moving up North to Wisconsin, of all places. This album was recorded in Milwaukee, where Toland was hanging his hat at the time, leading an all-local band that toured the Great Lakes area... In the 1990s he relocated to Denver, Colorado and eventually made his way to Hawaii's Big Island, picking and singing at every stop... This is a fine set of original material -- other than a cover of Terry Stafford's "Amarillo By Morning," the songs are all written by Dave Toland.
Dave Toland "Didn't I Let You Drive My Truck" (Star Revue, 2005)
As far as I know, this is the only other album Toland released -- a perky set of country novelty songs, led by the clever title track. Vocally, he sounds a lot like the young Rodney Crowell!
Tom & Curt "It's About Time" (T&C Records) (LP)
(Produced by Dave Filchak)
A Canadian duo -- guitar picker Tom Price and bass player Curt Stuckert -- who recorded mostly country stuff on this album, including songs like "Grandma's Feather Bed," "Rocky Top" and "Luckenbach, Texas," along with some seemingly out of place pop vocals material (such as a Charles Azavanour song...) No info on these guys, other than that this was recorded at a studio in Alberta. John B. Lacey, who co-produced the album listed below, plays trumpet on their version of Tom T. Hall's "Ravishing Ruby."
Tom & Curt "Sure Thing" (T&C Records, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Tom Price & John B. Lacey)
As on their other album, a mix of country stuff -- such as Bobby Bare's "Tequila Sheila" -- along with pop/rock oldies like "Wipeout" and "Pretty Woman."
Tom & Dink's Red Dog "Tom & Dink's Red Dog" (Lost Dog, 1975) (LP)
(Produced by Tom & Dink Mantle, with Craig Overton & Dakota Sid Clifford)
A sweet, idiosnycratic, unpretentious folk/country-rock album from Grass Valley, California. Brothers Dink and Tom Mantle were the core of the band, writing songs that are simultaneously earnest and goofy, sort of like a mashup between the Holy Modal Rounders and New Riders Of The Purple Sage. Pedal steel player John Ramey matches them in his direct, effective approach -- nothing too flashy or ambitious, just what it takes to get the job done. This is a very appealing album, particularly with the album art by cartoonist Dan O'Neill (one of my favorite "underground comix" artists) and the musician's credit for backup vocals by "The Greater Nevada City Almost Straight Chorus." This one definitely has a place in the hippie twang canon!
Tommy & Johnny "Just A Little Bit Lonely/One Out, One In" (Prolif Records) (LP)
(Produced by Fred Mergy & Lonnie Hewitt)
Wow. This is a stunningly bad, really weird record. And all you folks out there who are into stunningly bad, really weird records... pay heed. Tommy Graham and Johnny Steffan were convicts in the California state correctional system when this record was made... Well, actually Graham was recently on parole, hence the record's subtitle, "one out, one in." I'm not sure how or why this record came together, but it's a real hallmark of iffy musicmaking. Is it country? Well, kind of, on about four of the songs: "If These Walls" -- which is about San Quentin penitentiary -- starts out with an old-fashioned recitation, expounding on the lures of a life of crime before the twangy arrangements (and the moral) kick in... "Ode To Spade" is an homage to western swing legend Spade Cooley, who Graham and Steffan apparently met in prison, and who encouraged them to pursue their musical aspirations. (This wasn't Cooley's only crime: he brutally beat his wife to death and died while still serving a life sentence... The song is based on Cooley's real-life demise, when he suffered a heart attack while doing a benefit show in Oakland, and it's certainly the best track on the record.) Musically, most of this record is over-the-top, bombastic pop-soul crooning with a Fat Elvis feel, and several songs are so bad they are simply astonishing. A centerpiece of the record is "That's What I'll Never Be," a cautionary tale that starts off with a long, Cheech & Chong-ish spoken-word bit where some junkies shoot up and keep getting high even after one of them OD's and dies in front of them... then the band kicks in and plays a funky (but bad) soul number. How this record came about is a mystery -- I guess Graham had some money stashed away and paid for it, but there also seems to be some of the hippie-era revolutionary mystique that convicts were cool, and KFRC, San Francisco radio deejay Dave Diamond contributed glowing liner notes likening them to Elvis. The backing band included some serious session players such as pianist Mike Finnigan and guitarist Jerry Hahn, but nobody could do much to elevate this record beyond novelty status. Still...
Gary Tonkin "Presenting The Modern Country Sounds Of Gary Tonkin" (Music City Records, 1976) (LP)
Tony & Johnny "Today, Tomorrow And Forever" (Trail Records) (LP)
(Produced by Rick Salyer)
Tony Gosnell and Johnny Wilder were cast members of Bonnie Lou & Buster's country show at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee... They formed a duo in 1974, recording this album at the Tri-State Recording Company in Kingsport. includes four songs written by either Tony or Johnny, including the title track, which was written by Gosnell. There are also several cover songs, including a version of "Before The Next Teardrop Falls." Southern gospel pianist and country producer Otis Forrest plays on this album...
The Top Hands "Visit Anderson Island" (Shiloh Records) (LP)
(Produced by Gene Breeden & Dave Dixon)
The house band at the Casino Club in Everett, Washington, the Top Hands played regionally in Washington and Oregon and had been together for three years at the time they made this album. Recorded at the fabled Ripcord studios, this disc is noteworthy for its wealth of original material: all the songs were co-written by bassist Paul Stoffel and an old-timer named Johnny Grange who was pals with (but didn't perform in) the band. The lead vocals were split between Stoffel, drummer Jack Martin and lead guitar Frank Hurley. (I'm not 100% sure yet, but I believe this is the same Frank Hurley who later recorded his own album, I Like Honky Tonks, in 1980...) Anyway, none of them were great singers, and the band was also kind of bar-band average, but they were dedicated and totally into it, so that counts for something. Also, even though all the guys came from other places -- Colorado, Florida, Montana and Tenessee -- there are several Pacific Northwest regional-pride songs, including "I'm In Seattle, Baby" (which constantly references Fresno, California) and "Anderson Island," which literally sings the praises of the southernmost large island in the SeaTac waterways. Not a great record, but charmingly local, for sure.
A Touch Of Grass "A Touch Of Grass" (Matador Records, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Bob Lindner & Fred Catero)
This Bay Area bluegrass band deserves mention in the "hippiebilly" annals, if for no other reason than the record features liner notes by KFAT deejay Cuzin Al Knoth, who taught me a thing or two about bluegrass, back when I was a kid. Also, they have an interesting song selection which includes some country covers (like Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me"), Peter Rowan's pothead anthem, "Panama Red," and a particularly nice version of the contemporary Hawaiian pop song, "Waimanalo Blues" by Country Comfort, which I believe spotlights some sweet dobro playing by guest picker Mike Audridge and his pal, the band's lead singer, Bob Lawrence, who co-authored a book on dobro technique with Auldridge. To be honest, these guys were not all top-flight pickers, but the album has a nice, earnest feel, and is local as all get-out: Northern California gets a special shout-out in one of their original songs, "Mendicino," and the label was in then-sleepy Sunnyvale. (I'm gonna go out on a limb and bet that bassist Mike Sanders -- whose bio blurb (from 1981) -- says that he "sells and repairs home computers," did alright for himself...)
Touch Of Texas "Live" (Touch Of Texas Records, 1984) (LP)
(Produced by Bob Kingdom & Touch Of Texas)
This one's just a plain old, flat out good-timin' live record, with a twangified Lone Star-identified hippiebilly jam band working their way through various favorites and oldies... The set list includes "Roly Poly," "London Homesick Blues," "Hey Good Lookin'," and other songs sure to make the audience -- and the band -- have a ton of fun as the night grows long. The musicianship is simple, confident and loose, nothing flashy or phony, just some folks who know how to party, and aren't making a big deal out of it. The band includes lead singer Scott Sweeten, drummer Steve Burton, Wendy MacBain on keyboards and John Weston playing pedal steel. Although they name-check Texas, the band was apparently really from the West Coast, recording this live set at the Horseshoe Club, in Santa Clara, California, near San Jose. Anyone know more about these folks?
The Town Talkers "What Do You Think?" (Infinity Records, 197--?) (LP)
(Produced by Andy Deganahl)
Another mystery band. This one was recorded in La Crosse, Wisconsin in either the late 1970s or early '80s, from the looks of it.
The Townesmen "I Believe" (Coulee, 197--?)
Another mystery band. This one was recorded in La Crosse, Wisconsin in either the late 1970s or early '80s, from the looks of it.
Bill Trader "Sings His Songs" (Jim Dandy Records, 1963-?) (LP)
South Carolina songwriter Bill Trader (1922-2003) struck gold with his classic weeper, "(Now And Then) There's A Fool Such As I" which Hank Snow took to the Top Five in 1953, and which was later recorded as a pop hit by Elvis Presley. Mr. Trader never really matched that success, nor did he do much as a performer in his own right. A decade later, encouraged by Charlotte, North Carolina television personality Doug Mayes, Trader put together a dozen songs for this album, where he's backed by a pickup band called the Castaways: Jim Waters, Carroll Dills, Tom Cook, Bill Roberts, and Bob Durham. As far as I can tell, Doug Mayes organized the recording session, though the exact details are probably long lost to the mists of time. The Jim Dandy label was a custom service based in Newberry, South Carolina, run as a sideline by local businessman Jim Davis, who issued about a dozen singles by various local artists, in addition to this one LP by Mr. Trader. (Thanks to the Hillbilly Country blog for info about the label...)
The Transplant Band "Gift Of Life" (CRT, 1983)
This was apparently a group of doctors and/or surgeons from the Nashville area that formed a band and released this album to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Trashy White Band "All Nite" (Sherry B Productions, 1983) (LP)
(Produced by Sherry Broadhead & Bert Cowell)
Following in the footsteps of David Allan Coe, this Florida band indulged in a bit of racist "humor" with the lead track, "She Ran Off With A N-----," which semi-tastefully only reveals its full title on the inner label. (On the single, however, it's plain as day...) Despite that rather offensive beginning, most of the rest of this album is just straight-up country covers, drawn from a variety of sources, with the next-most overtly risque songs being Milton Brown's western swing oldie, "Fat Gut Phoebe." There's also a cover of Steve Goodman's "She Never Even Called Me By My Name" and a couple of originals by singer Bert Cowell, "Eatin' My Heart Out" and "Tin Roof," as well as a version of Randy Howard's "All American Redneck." Of course. Oh, Florida... don't ever change.
Artie Traum -- see artist profile
Happy Traum -- see artist profile
Jon Travers & The Now Country "The Forge Presents..." (Wishbone, 197--) (LP)
Not a lot of info about this guy... He had kind of a soft, folk-pop sound, though there was some country in the mix as well. The set list includes covers of Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley, and quite a few original songs written by Jon Travers and one by his co-star, Cheryl Starr. Drummer Greg Starr also gets a vocal number... They cover some pop stuff, too, such as "Will It Go Round In Circles," so I'm not sure how "country" I'd call them. Very earnest, though!
Jon Travers & The Now Country "Play Me" (Crown Records, 197--) (LP)
I'm going pretty far afield on this one. Apparently this is the same band, though the sound is definitely more folkie "sunshine pop" than country. There may be a teeny, tiny bit of countrypolitan twang, but this is mostly wannabe soft-pop/rock stuff. Anyone know what the story was on these folks?
The Travis Brothers "The Travis Brothers" (ToNam Records, 1975) (LP)
(Produced by John M. Virgin)
The so-called Travis Brothers were actually a Nashville concoction, pairing songwriters Billy Don Burns and Jimmy Travis Getzen, who wrote about half the songs on here, including tunes like "Be Alright In Arkansas," "Rockabilly Man," "Roll On Ruby" and -- just in time for the Bicentennial -- "The USA Is Where It's At." Before forming a partnership with Getzen, Burns had been working as a Hank Williams impersonator at the Opryland park, and apparently the duo were proteges of country star Mel Tillis, who contributes glowing liner notes, while the boys included a version of his song, "Ruby," so he got a little something on the back end. The two singers took wildly different paths in life -- Jimmy Getzen became a born-again gospel/children's music singer, while Billy Don Burns went full-on outlaw and went through some major substance abuse issues while trying for years to break through in Nashville. On this early outing, they got backing from an A-list Nashville crew, including Buddy Emmons, D. J. Fontana, Bunky Keel, Leon Rhodes, Bobby Thompson and others. (By the way, anyone know if Jimmy Getzen was the same guy who played football for Vanderbilt in 1970? Just wondering.)
Earl Travis & The Nashville Three "Earl Travis & The Nashville Three" (Mark Records, 197--?) (LP)
(Produced by Al Gibson)
A country lounge band who played at the Darien Lake Fun Country theme park in upstate New York, and at the nearby Green Acres restaurant. Surprisingly for a park band, they had a real wealth of original material: on this album they cover Larry Croce's "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" and a Billy Mize song, but otherwise, these songs were all written by Earl Travis.
Jimmy Travis "Live" (Getz Records , 197--?) (LP)
(Produced by Jimmy Travis)
Recorded at the Boots Randolph Club...
Johnny Travis "Songs I Wish I'd Written..." (Tip Record , 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Glenn Ray)
A tribute to Tom T. Hall, with ten of Hall's best known songs... Travis got a top-flight Nashville crew to back him, including Leo Jackson, Weldon Myrick, Willie Rainsford and Buddy Spicher. The album was recorded in Nashville, though Travis seems to have been from Texas, putting this out on an Austin label... And Tom T. even wrote the liner notes!
Frankia Treat "Mama Didn't Raise No Fool" (Champion Records) (LP)
Arkansas native Frankia Wynonna Treat (aka Franki Treat, 1943-2012) was a regional performer who recorded a few indie records and in 1975 she cut a single for Capitol Records, with Buck Owens as her patron. Owens also hired her as a writer for his publishing company, and although her own career as a performer didn't go that far, Treat had some success as a composer. One of her songs, "Last Night I Laid Your Memory to Rest," was included on John Anderson's 1992 comeback album, Seminole Wind. She released some singles on her own label, Treat Records, and this album seems to draw on those recordings, although it may have been released much later, possibly in the early '80s. It includes a wealth of original material -- seven songs written by Ms. Treat and two more by her husband Lonnie Treat, along with covers of "Son Of A Preacher Man" and "My Shoes Keep Walking Back Top You."
Treefrog "Better Late Than Never" (Great Orm, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Treefrog & Bill Millsap)
A country-rock band from Lawrence, Kansas, Treefrog was a harmony-driven, progressive band, much in the style of Poco or the Eagles. The band took its name from the (fictional) brand of beer consumed by the Checkered Demon, an infamously vile underground comix character drawn by S. Clay Wilson (who was himself a Lawrence local in the early '60s...) Treefrog was formed around 1970 and played across the Sunflower State up until the decade's end -- this album was released after the fact and includes demos and unreleased material recorded over the years. In 1973, they went to Nashville to record their music but had session players brought in to dub backing tracks under their vocals, and they were unhappy with the results. After Treefrog broke up, guitarist Eric Elder and bassist Jim Fey went back to Nashville and did session work there, apparently joining a late edition of the band Timberline, while steel player Lynn Piller stayed in Lawrence and opened a music store. As far as I know, this is their only record, and includes both home demos and some of their Nashville sessions... (Thanks to the Lawrence Daily Journal World for providing background info on these guys...)
Van Trevor "Come On Over To Our Side" (Band Box Records, 1967) (LP)
(Produced by Dick Heard)
East Coast rocker-gone-country Van Trevor (born Robert Frances Boulanger, 1940-2006) was a singer and songwriter from Maine who began performing at a very young age (seven years old, according to this album's liner notes...) and had been part of the "twist" fad in the early '60s. This was his first country LP, recorded when he was a cast member of the WWVA Jamboree show, though many of the songs still have the feel of early '60s, desperate-for-a-hit, Kennedy-era teenpop... The songs were all originals, written by producer Dick Heard and Hank Hunter, including the songs "Born To Be In Love With You" and "Our Side," which had previously been released as singles in late 1966. To modern ears, Trevor's scattershot approach might seem like an unlikely formula for success, but the Buck Owens-y title track was a breakout hit, cracking into the Top 30, and the various Marty Robbins-ish ballads and Porter Wagoner-esque recitation numbers may win you over after a while, as do the cornball orchestrations of "Christmas In The Country." Some odd arrangements, but that's part of the fun. This actually turned out to be the peak of his career, chartwise, and afterwards it was a steady downward slide, with Trevor dropping out of the spotlight by 1971, concentrating on songwriting rather than being a headliner. But this was a nice, spunky debut!
Larry Trider "Country Soul Man" (Ranwood, 1974) (LP)
An old-school Texas rocker who settled into a country mode, Larry Trider worked for a while in Rick Tucker's late-'50s band before going solo and cutting a series of singles in the early '60s. Trider had a regular gig at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas when he recorded this album, backed by his own, local Lone Star band. I guess this was his shot at making it big, and although the record failed to chart, it's still a nice legacy for this little-known artist. Trider remained a regional artist for the rest of his musical career, spending a hefty chunk of the '70s leading the house band at the Red Raider nightclub in Lubbock, Texas before retiring to a non-musical career in Vegas. There are a lot of cover tunes on here, including some straight-up hippie stuff ("Teach Your Children," "Train Leaves Here") and an opening track that was no doubt a bit of an anthem for Mr. Trider back when he sang it, "Barroom Star."
LaVerne Tripp "Sings Country Soul" (QCA/Queen City Albums, 1970) (LP)
A mostly-secular set from Southern Gospel stalwart LaVerne Tripp, who on this album employs sentimental country oldies such as "Mom And Dad Waltz," "Green Green Grass Of Home" and Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home" and "Fightin' Side Of Me" to speak to the traditional, Christian values he wants to promote. There are also a couple of feelgood, think-positive sunshine pop tunes like Glen Campbell's "Try A Little Kindness" and "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" that also fit in this theme, as well as a trio of overt gospel songs to round things out. Tripp recorded a bunch of straight-up gospel records, both under his name and as the leader of the Tripp Family band, not to mention his 1968-75 stint in the Blue Ridge Quartet, but in some ways this less-obvious, country-oriented set has greater resonance. At any rate, it's kinda nice, with a funky pop-soul sound that matches his Charlie Rich-ish vocals. The album doesn't have a date on it, but based on the material, I'd say 1970, maybe '71, is a pretty good guess.
Troublesome Hollow "Troublesome Hollow" (1978) (LP)
This progressive/newgrass band from Hickory Tree, Tennessee recorded several albums in the '70s and '80s with this, I believe, being the first. Although they are basically a bluegrass group, they worked some country rock-ish stuff in there as well, including a Beatles cover ("I've Just Seen A Face") and a version of Pure Prairie League's "Amie," which always sounds like a good idea to me...
Trout Fishing In America "You Bore Me To Death!" (Trout Records, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Keith Grimwood, Ezra Idlet & Ram Rosenblum)
This is the debut album by this eclectic, long-lived band, which later became a popular children's music group, but here are more of a nutty folk-country-cana kinda thing. Named after a Richard Brautigan novel, the band started out as a trio, with Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet (who previously played together in the Texan folk-rock group Wheatfield) along with piano player Ram Rosenblum, who shared equal billing with them on this record. The repertoire includes a couple of originals, but is mostly notable for the variety of cover tunes -- stuff from the Beatles, the Byrds, Ray Charles, Little Feat, Randy Newman and Stephen Stills... even a version of Tom Lehrer's "Masochism Tango." On later albums, the band was mainly the duo of Grimwood and Idlet.
Truck Stop "Truck Stop" (Nature Records/Horzu Records, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Joe Menke, Volker Heintzen & Truck Stop)
A pleasantly twangy set of German-language honky-tonk country from this Hamburg-based band... The most obvious influence is Waylon Jennings, but they dip into a variety of styles. Nice, robust arrangements with pretty decent pickin'... I can't understand what most of the songs are about, but I dig that this isn't sung in English! They have a ton of albums, though I think this might have been their first.
Truck Stop "Die Cowboys" (Nature Records, 1981) (LP)
Barbara Trucks "Barbara's Country Feeling" (Stop Records, 1972) (LP)
(Produced by Tommy Hill & Scotty Moore)
An elusive figure on the peripheries of Nashville, Barbara Trucks was one of several artists recorded in the waning days of the independent Stop label, which started out as a second-tier indie with a few chart hits and then seems to have become a sort of pay-to-play vanity label for hopeful unknowns. This was one of the last albums recorded by Stop in the early '70s, and is notable for the five original compositions provided by Trucks. The album also includes its fair share of cover songs, including two Kris Kristofferson songs, two by Mickey Newberry, and a version of "Behind Closed Doors," as well as a version of "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" that was also released as a single, although none of her songs charted... Generally speaking, the cover songs are nothing to write home about, largely due to her uneven vocals -- one suspects she could have done better, but the producers let too many flubs slide during her sessions. On balance this is an okay album, it just never quite catches fire. The original material is better, particularly songs like "The Ways Of A Man," a fairly searing divorce ballad, and "In This Barroom," a slightly salacious, utterly judgemental song about a fallen lady who spends her nights boozing it up and trying to hook up at bars, or "walking the streets" all night long. Like her vocals, the songs are a bit rough-edged but hold up both as novelty items and honky-tonk nuggets. I think Barbara Trucks was from around Jacksonville, Florida, though as far as I know there's no relation to blues/rockers Butch Trucks and Derek Trucks, although it does seem possible... Anyone know for sure?
Jack Tucker & The Oklahoma Playboys "One Corner Of Your Heart" (Young Country Records, 1973) (LP)
(Produced by Leo J. Eiffert, Zelma Borunda & Jim Mooney)
Though originally from Oklahoma, bandleader Jack Tucker moved out west after serving in WWII, becoming a fixture in the greater Los Angeles area, with steady gigs at venues such as the the Harmony Park Ballroom in Anaheim, the Jubilee Ballroom in Baldwin Park and the Pioneer Room in bearby Norwalk, as well as various radio and TV gigs. Unfortunately the liner notes don't tell us who was in his band when this early '70s album came out, but we can make a few educated guesses based on the songwriting credits, as the album is packed with original material. Joe Barber, Lee Ross and Lou Martin wrote or co-wrote several of the songs, with others such as "Sam From Vietnam" written by Vern Terry, as well as a song by Vern Stovall, who shared the same publishing company as several other songwriters contributing to this album. It's possible that engineer Jim Mooney played on here as well (he's probably the actual "producer" and doubtless led the sessions...) Anyway, a nice slice of Southern California country... Tucker also recorded a number of singles for a variety of indie labels, dating back to the 1950s. This may have been his only LP, and it apparently draws on some earlier singles, mostly '60s-vintage material.
Rick Tucker & The Good Time Band "After All These Years" (Sound Of Clovis) (LP)
Apparently Rick Tucker was once upon a time a guitar player for rock'n'roll forefather Buddy Holly, and here he covers "Everyday" at the end of an album that is otherwise dominated by his own material -- eight out of ten songs were Tucker originals. Norman Petty plays celeste on one song, and it seems likely he also produced the album... The big wow for me, though is the credit for Pete Anderson on lead guitar -- yup, that's right: the same Pete Anderson who helped craft Dwight Yoakam's sound! Also in the band was drummer Pete Gavin, who was in Albert Lee's old group, Head, Hands & Feet, so you know these guys were the real deal.
Zack Tucker "Ice Cold Love" (Willow Creek Records) (LP)
(Produced by Morgan Ayers & Pauline Ayers)
An interesting memento of a bygone era... Zack C. Tucker was a longtime member of the Southern Strollers, a 1940s-era country band led by Pop Winters, an old-school country artist who was at the patriarch of a true musical dynasty. Pop Winters was the father of renowned Nashville guitarist Don Winters, and also grandfather of Southern rocker Donnie Winters, who plays lead guitar on this album. Tucker -- who married into the family -- was Don Winters' brother-in-law as well as one of the guys who held the Strollers together after Pop Winters died in 1953, and he's backed here by some veterans of the old band, notably steel player Lew Elrod and fiddler Virgil Powell, as well as a couple of younger dudes from the Winter Brothers Band. The repertoire is mostly old stuff, tunes like "Any Old Time," "Curly Headed Baby" and "Little Red Wagon," and honkytonk oldies such as Tex Grimsley's "Walking The Dog." It's a heartfelt look back from a guy who was there... and they sure don't make 'em like this anymore!
Tukanon "Tukanon" (Cross Road Records, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Paul Speer)
A country-rock band from Seattle, Washington with kind of a slick, early-'80s look... Maybe a little more on the "rocker" side of things...
Tumbleweed "Where In The Hell Is Alamosa?" (Dogwood, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by S. Hendricks & Ronald Vallery)
Well, it's a fair question: itty-bitty, lil' old Alamosa is 'way down in the Southern end of Colorado, North of Santa Fe, New Mexico and sorta-kinda near to Pueblo. I'm not sure if this band actually lived there, but wherever they were from, they managed to record a fine set of outlaw country on an album packed with original material. I think there are only three cover songs on here - tunes by Gene Clark, David Allan Coe and Jim Dawson, to give you a sense of where these guys were coming from. Other than that, though, these are all originals by the boys in the band.
Tumbleweed "House Of Cards" (Howlin’ Dog, 1985) (LP)
(Produced by Baird Banner)
Tumbleweed "Welcome" (Tumbleweed, 1987) (LP)
(Produced by Baird Banner & Jeff Nelson)
Tumbleweed "Drifting With Tumbleweed" (Radiant Star Records, 19--?) (LP)
Wait a sec... Here's yet another group called Tumbleweed, this one from around Fort Collins, Colorado, though apparently completely different from the other Colorado band of the same name.. The group included Gary Greiman (1947-98) on lead vocals, James H. Schafer (lead guitar), Kirby Bullock (drums), Clarence Sitzman (bass, piano, accordion) and Dennis Shoemaker (bass, rhythm guitar) many of who worked in farming and animal husbandry... Dunno if these guys really did much as a band, other than make this album...
The Tumbleweed Band "Hear To Stay" (Hacienda Records, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by Al Garcia & Casey Cantu)
A mostly Spanish-language album from a long-lived country band out of Corpus Christi, Texas, and not the same group from New Mexico that's listed above. This band included Casey Cantu (bass), Blas Casteneda (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Pablo Cavazos (drums), James DeButtry (fiddle) and Reuben Rodriguez (lead guitar). Additional musicians included steel guitarist Tommy Elrod and piano player Mike Gregory...
D. J. Turco "Secretly Lovin' " (??) (LP)
Another complete mystery. This one's mostly cover songs -- early '70s material by folks like songs by Merle Haggard, Freddie Hart and Conway Twitty. The title track is the only song written by Turco, although a second song, "Lonesome Cowboy" by Art Rothafel, is from the same publishing company.
The Turner Eight "The Turner Eight" (Studio 5 Records, 1973-?) (LP)
A little Partridge Family-style action from this country-folk combo from Minnesota, featuring parents Gerry and Dan Turner and their six kids - four girls, and two boys. They cover early 'Seventies pop and country hits such as "Delta Dawn," "Paper Roses," "Top Of The World" and "Sweet Gypsy Rose."
Jim Turner "Earthtones" (Earthtone Records, 1983) (LP)
(Produced by Larry Cox)
Working with an all-star studio crew that included Larry Carlton, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, J. D. Maness, Bobby Thompson and banjo plunker Dale Whitcomb, songwriter Jim Turner squeezed a few originals into the mix, alongside covers of Top Forty hits and oldies such as "Elvira," "Smokey Mountain Rain" "Sixteen Tons" "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain." His songs included "You Are The One" and "Smokey Mountain Music," and "Follow The Path."
Mark Turnbull "When I Was Six I Got A Ukulele" (Beachtown Records, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Richard Stekol)
An odd and unusual album, with a definite "only in the Seventies!" feel... Southern California actor and songwriter Mark Turnbull was a child prodigy who did TV shows and talent shows before landing a gig playing guitar for pop-folk bandleader Glen Yarborough in the early '60s. While he was still in high school, Turnbull was nominated for a Grammy(!) for an album of children's music he recorded for Disney Records, and this led to his first album, which came out in 1968. Although he had some buzz around him, Turnbull drifted away from the music business mainstream and devoted himself more to theater and cabaret shows, indulging a wide variety of musical tastes, as heard on this wildly eclectic album. This fits roughly into the same sort of jazz-meets-twang territory as other '70s albums by folks such as Dan Hicks, Jesse Winchester or even the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, with flourishes of folk-scene twang, western swing and swank, Ellingtonian big band jazz. The songs are resolutely nutty and idiosyncratic, and some are quite catchy... I remember hearing the uptempo novelty tune, "Too Stoned To Gumbo" on KFAT, lo those many years ago, and "She's Nobody's Baby Now," is a softer vocals ballad that I swear I've heard recorded elsewhere... (But maybe it was a KFAT thing as well?) At any rate, the Doctor Demento-ish feel of much of this album might not suit everyone, but if you get into it, this can be a pretty fun record.
Turnquist Remedy "Iowa By The Sea" (Warner/Pentagram, 1970)
(Produced by Al Schmitt)
A very-hippie, but also very twangy rock band from LA, Turnquist Remedy owed a strong stylistic debt to the early Grateful Dead (the twangy Dead) but also boasted a wealth of original material, with all but one of the songs on their album being written by singer Michael Woods. Despite strong connections in the LA music scene, the band fizzled out, with several members moving into session work, and Michael Woods joining a late edition of the country-rock/AOR powerhouse America. This was Turnquist's only album, but if you like that kooky early '70s stuff, it's pretty good.
Two For The Show Trio "On Track" (Triaxe Records, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Dave Engelmann)
Despite the super-dorky cover art, this trio from Springfield, Illinois were actually pretty good... Steve Cox played some lightning-fast banjo with Steve Schimpf on keyboards and Rodney Smith filling in the guitar and bass parts. The album opens with a gloriously twangy version of "Amie" (with added pedal steel by Don Kates and John Peters playing lead guitar) and slides effortlessly into an Eagles medley, two tracks that put the city slickers in LA on notice that folks in the heartland can play some kickass country-rock, too. They move into more folk-trio territory, though, on several medleys of bluegrass and gospel oldies, as well as the album's closer, "Spiked Punch," which is a parade of tunes such as "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain," punctuated with comedic asides and manic sound effects...) There are also a couple of original songs on Side Two that are fairly dreadful, lethargic romantic pop ballads, one each written by Cox and Schimpf, and both featuring leaden, synthy arrangements. But the twangier tunes are okay -- their version of "Amie" is a winner.
Two Week Notice Band "Two Week Notice Band" (Self-Released, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Tom Mortenson)
Love the band name! This longhaired crew from Phoenix, Arizona seems to have been the baby of brothers Ken Skaggs and Russell Skaggs... Haven't heard it yet, but I look forward to the day I do.
The Tyler Twins "The Tyler Twins" (Checkmate, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Wayne Saunders)
A Canadian duo from Edmonton, the Tylers had an obvious Everly Brothers fixation, covering a few of their songs on here and modeling themselves on Don and Phil's legacy. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you!!) There are also some original songs, including "There Ain't No Country Girls Anymore" and "Livin' Next Door To Alice."
Denny Tymer "It's About Tymer" (Wilwin Records, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Denny Tymer, Chuck Seitz & Bill Vandervort)
Syrupy, sunshine-y countrypolitan crooning, along the lines of Jim Ed Brown and Nat Stuckey, with competent but uncommited backing by an all-star Nashville session crew -- Kenny Buttrey, Pete Drake, Hargus Robbins, Bobby Thompson, Charlie McCoy, et. al. Denny Tymer was born in Kanopolis, Kansas, but seems to have made his way out west, with the Wilwin label based in Carlsbad, California, just north of San Diego. Though this record doesn't quite gel, it's a solid effort, with all-original songs written by Tymer, and he's pretty committed as a vocalist, although the sunshine-country style is an acquired taste, and was about three or four years out of date by the time Tymer recorded this album. Still, countrypolitan crate-diggers might wanna track this one down -- if you're into it, this is good but off-the-radar obscuro stuff. One album highlight is "I Hope To Hit The Traffic Lights All Green," an uptempo novelty with a memorable melodic hook...
Hick Music Index