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Steelin It: The Steel Guitar Story


  • 0. DISC 1:
    1. Slidin' on the Frets - Andy Sannella
    2. Iniki Malie - Sol Hoopii & His Novelty Quartet
    3. Wai O Minnehaha - Kalama's Quartet
    4. Black Boy Blues - Four Hawaiian Guitars
    5. Farewell Blues - Sam Ku West
    6. Memphis Blues, The - Sam Ku West
    7. St Louis Blues - Sam Ku West
    8. Honolulu Stomp - H.M. Barnes' Blue Ridge Ramblers
    9. Hawaiian Capers - King Nawahi Hawaiians
    10. My Best Girl - Waikiki Hawaiian Trio
    11. Wela-Ka-Hao - Segis Luvaun
    12. Ua Like No a Iike - Kanui & Lula
    13. Blues of the Guitar - Andy Sannella
    14. Honolulu March - Palakiko & Paaluhi
    15. Hawaiian Melody - Hawaiian Beach Combers
    16. Kalima Waltz - Roy Smeck
    17. Saint Louis Blues - Jim and Bob/The Genial Hawaiians
    18. By the Waters of Minnetonka - Jim and Bob/The Genial Hawaiians
    19. Orange Grove in California, An - Sol Hoopii & His Novelty Quartet
    20. Oh Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii & His Novelty Quartet
    21. Guitarese - Roy Smeck & His Hawaiian Serenaders
    22. Slippery Fingers - Roy Smeck & His Hawaiian Serenaders
    23. Limehouse Blues - Roy Smeck & His Hawaiian Serenaders
    24. Hula Blues - Tau Moe & His Original Hawaiians
    25. Rhythm of the Island - Tau Moe & His Original Hawaiians
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Takin' Off - Milton Brown & His Brownies
    2. I Found a New Baby - Bill Mounce
    3. Takin' Off - Modern Mountaineers
    4. Stompin' at the Honky Tonk - Bob Dunn's Vagabonds
    5. Kelly Swing - Cliff Bruner
    6. Jitterbug Jive - Bill Boyd's Cowboy Ramblers
    7. Don't Ever Go Wrong - Sons of Dixie
    8. Dust off That Old Piano - Roy Newman
    9. Stay a Little Longer - Bob Wills
    10. Texas Playboy Rag - Bob Wills
    11. Bogg's Boogie - Spade Cooley
    12. Daughter of Jole Blon', The - Johnny Bond
    13. Spadella - Spade Cooley
    14. Steel Guitar Stomp - Hank Penny
    15. Steel Guitar Stomp - Bob Wills
    16. Steel Guitar Rag - Bob Wills
    17. Steel Guitar Rag - Leon McAuliffe
    18. Twin Guitar Boogie - Leon McAuliffe
    19. Take It Away, Leon! - Leon McAuliffe
    20. Train Whistle Blues - Shelly Lee Alley
    21. I've Got the Blues #2 - Shelly Lee Alley
    22. Down at the Roadside Inn - Al Dexter
    23. Blue Steel Blues - Ted Daffan
    24. Weary Steel Blues - Ted Daffan
    25. Car Hop's Blues - Ted Daffan
    0. DISC 3:
    1. Mean Mama Blues - Charles Mitchell
    2. Panhandle Shuffle - The Sons of the West
    3. Sally's Got a Wooden Leg - The Sons of the West
    4. Juke Box Jump - The Hi-Flyers
    5. Steeling the Blues - Leodie Jackson
    6. Double Crossin' Mama - Leodie Jackson
    7. Steel Guitar Rag - Spade Cooley
    8. Texas Steel Guitar - Spade Cooley
    9. John's Other Wife - Johnny Bond
    10. I Won't Stand in Your Way - Johnny Bond
    11. So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed - Ernest Tubb
    12. Don't Look Now (But Your Broken Heart Is Showing) - Ernest Tubb
    13. Masters Dessau Waltz - Jimmy Heap & The Melody Masters
    14. Down in New Orleans - Xit Boys/Billy Briggs
    15. Pretty Baby Boogie - Xit Boys/Billy Briggs
    16. Steel Guitar Bounce - Lone Star Cowboys
    17. Steel Guitar Hop - Cecil Campbell
    18. Campbell's Steel Guitar Special - Cecil Campbell
    19. This Is Southland - Les Anderson
    20. And I Shook - Les Anderson
    21. Steel Guitar Boogie - Tommy Sargent
    22. Safety Pin Rag - Merl Lindsay & His Oklahoma Nite Riders
    23. Slidin' Steel - Merl Lindsay & His Oklahoma Nite Riders
    24. Hot Steel - Tiny Murphy & His Bar 69 Boys
    25. I've Just Got to See You Once More - Little Jimmy Dickens
    0. DISC 4:
    1. Herbie's Steel Guitar Polka - Buster Martin's Bronco Busters
    2. Remington Ride - Hank Penny
    3. I Need You Like a Hole in the Head - Shot Jackson
    4. Steeling the Mood - Shot Jackson
    5. I Don't Care Anymore - Floyd Tillman
    6. Be Sure You Know - George Morgan
    7. Mexican Joe - Billy Walker
    8. Speedin' West - Speedy West
    9. Stratosphere Boogie - Speedy West
    10. Settin' the Woods on Fire - Hank Williams & the Drifting Cowboys
    11. Fire on the Strings - Joe Maphis
    12. Peepin' Eyes - Charlie Feathers
    13. I've Been Deceived - Charlie Feathers
    14. Where Do We Go from Here? - Marvin Rainwater
    15. Uncertain Love - Slim Rhodes
    16. Gonna Rom and Stomp - Slim Rhodes
    17. Booger Gonna Getcha, A - Onie Wheeler
    18. Beggar for Your Love, A - Onie Wheeler
    19. Shame on You - Faron Young
    20. I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die - Faron Young
    21. Looky There, Over There - Rose Maddox
    22. That's the Way the Big Ball Bounces - Terry Fell
    23. Wham! Bam! Hot, Ziggity, Zam - Terry Fell
    24. I Ain't Gettin' Nowhere with You - Melvin Endsley
    25. Is It True What They Say About Dixie? - Bill Haley & His Comets
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  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1678

  • Credits
    Producer
    Engineer

    Personnel: Billy Joe Walker, Jr., Sock Underwood, Ernest Tubb, Arthur Duhon, Bob Nawahine, Hank Penny, Hank Williams, Dave Kaleipua Munson, Johnny Bond, Little Jimmy Dickens, Onie Wheeler, Rose Maddox, Terry Fell, Charlie Feathers (vocals, guitar); Mike Hanapi, Les Anderson, Tau Moe, Billy Briggs (vocals, steel guitar); Al Dexter (vocals, mandolin); William Kalama (vocals, ukulele); Jimmy Hall & the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Collective, Dusty Rhodes , Clarence Bailey, Horace Barnett, Shelly Lee Alley (vocals, fiddle); Moon Mullican (vocals, piano); Kenneth VanFleet, Faron Young, George Morgan, Dottie Rhodes Moore, Marvin Rainwater, Melvin Endsley, Tommy Duncan, Webb Pierce (vocals); Speedy West (guitar, steel guitar); Joe Maphis (guitar, mandolin); Stan Ellison (guitar, accordion); Leon Payne, Herman Arnspiger, Sleepy Johnson, George Weldon Allard, Doye O'Dell, Jess Williams, Cousin Herb Henson, James Kohono, John K. Paaluhi, Benny Garcia , Hamlet Booker, Earl Singers Brown, Lucky Carlisle, Luther Roundtree, Jack Rivers, Floyd Robinson, Dickie McBride, Buddy Buller, Gus Plant, Cal Maddox, Chuck Keeshan, Spider Wilson, Jim Boyd , Grady Martin, John Weiss, James Holstein, Ernest Manase, Red Greenhaw, Tommy Bishop, Tex Swaim, J.B. Brinkley, Billy Stranger, Joseph Edwards, Frances "Franny" Beecher, Lani McIntire, Jerry Irby, Jimmy Heap, Quinton Claunch, Ray Edenton, Rose Lee Maphis, Slim Rhodes, Wesley Tuttle, Bill Boyd, Merle Travis, Billy Strange, Stan Walker , Buster Ferguson, Brad Suggs, Buddy Attaway (guitar); Chet Atkins, Tom Pickens, Jimmie Short, Benny Jr. Garcia, Hank Garland, Kenny Smith & The Loveliters, Sheldon Bennett, Jabbo Arrington, Cameron Hill, Jimmy Wyble (electric guitar); Bud Isaacs, Don Helms, Segis Luvaun, Marianne Hall, Sam Ku West, Tommy Sargent, Frank Ferera, Andrew Schroeder, Cecil "Butterball" Harris, Gerald "Buster" Magness, Gene Crownover, Robert Pauole, Herb Remington, Frank Beaty Wilson, Leodie Jackson, Ralph "Lefty" Nason, Joaquin Murphy, Jerry Byrd, Jimmy Day, King Bennie Nawahi, King Nawahi Hawaiians, Leon McAuliffe, Noel Boggs, Andy Sannella, Roy Smeck, Shot Jackson, Sol Hoopii, Stan Kesler, Billy Williamson, Ted Daffan, John Hughey, Bob Dunn, Buddy Emmons, Cecil Campbell (steel guitar); Elmer Scarborough (tenor guitar); Johnnie Lee Wills, Ocie Stockard (banjo); Johnny Thames, Walter Kirkes, Vince Incardona, Jesse "Slick" Robertson, Marvin Montgomery (tenor banjo); Spike Featherstone (harp); Darrell Kirkpatrick (mandolin, fiddle); Dick Reinhart, Morris Booker, Leo Raley (mandolin); Leslie Greenwood, Glenwood Leslie (ukulele); Billy Hill (fiddle, viola); Cliff Bruner, Dale Potter, Tony Sepolio, Dickie Jones, Red Heron, Jimmy Hally, Henry Hunt, Bill Edwards , Henry Hill , Red Taylor, Pat Trotter, Clyde Brewer, Leon Selph, Gordon Terry, Andrew Soldi, Kenneth Pitts, Buck Buchanan, Joe Holley, Woody Carter, Bill Cantrell, Jesse Ashlock, Spade Cooley, Tim Hunt , Tommy Jackson, Billy Wright, Bob Wills, Cecil Brower (fiddle); Jerry Adler (harmonica); Paul Sells, George Bambi, Pedro DePaul, Harry Sorenson, Frank Buckley (accordion); Ray DeGeer, Bob Herrick (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Anthony "Tony" Scanlin (clarinet, piano); George Ogg, Holly Horton, Hymie Gunkler (clarinet); Robert D. Reidel, Wallace Aaron Ruth, Harold Hugh Ehrmann, Zeb McNally (saxophone); Rudy Martin, Frank Scott (tenor saxophone); Andy Secrest, Jim Hewlett, Jim Milan, Everett Stover, Bobby Grove, Alex Brashear (trumpet); Eddie Bennett, Bill Wardle, Landon Beaver, Jimmy Pruett, Floyd Cramer, Johnny Grande, Fred "Papa" Calhoun, Loren Mitchell, Arvin Shanks, Millard Kelso, John F. Freddie Haynes, Mike Hugo, Bob Armstrong , Lonnie Austin, Jo Ella Wright, Morris Billington, Knocky Parker, Al Stricklin, Les Taylor, Marvin Hughes, Mitch Miller, Roy Newman, Arlie Carter, Ralph Smith, Billy Liebert (piano); John M. Mountjoy, Marion Z. "Pee Wee" Adams, Sonny Rogers, Monte Mountjoy, Ralph Jones Band, Muddy Berry, Farris Coursey, Roy Harte, Buddy Harman (drums); Don Law (washboard).
    Liner Note Author: Adam Komorowski.
    Recording information: 706 Union, Memphis, TN; ACA Studio, Houston, TX; Berlin, Germany; Bradley Film & Recording Studio, Nashville, TN; Brunswick Warehouse, Dallas, TX; Capital Studio, Hollywood, CA; Castle Studio, Nashville, TN; Chicago, IL; Columbia Studio, Hollywood, CA; Courtney Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Cpenhagen, Denmark; Dallas, TX; Fort Worth, TX; Jefferson Hotel, Dallas, TX; KWKH, Shreveport, LA; Los Angeles, CA; Music City Recording, Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Paris, France; Playmor Ballroom, Tulsa, OK; Pythian Temple, New York, NY; Radio KXLA, Hollywood, CA; Radio Recorders Annex Studio, Hollywood, CA; Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA; RCA Studio, Nashville, TN; RCA Victor Studio, Nashville, TN; Rice Hotel, Houston, TX; Saginaw, TX; San Antonio, TX; Universal Studio, Chicago, IL; University Of Tulsa Radio Station, Tulsa, OK; Warner Bros Studio, Chicago, IL.
    Steelin' It is Proper's four-CD anthology devoted to the rise of the steel guitar in popular music. More than 40 different steel guitarists are heard on 100 historic recordings dating from the years 1925-1957. Rather than attempting a full multi-genre retrospective which would have to include the instrument's evolution as a prominent voice in African-American blues music, the producers confined the focus to Hawaiian steel guitarists and the Caucasian country & western swing players who in many cases drew inspiration directly from the Polynesians. This compilation was designed for casual listening, with heaps of data provided for the curious or historically inclined. Although Adam Komorowski's liner notes are copious and informative, those who wish to examine the documentary evidence may find it somewhat challenging to coordinate the chronologically calibrated discography with the selections which are laid out on a time line that jumps all over the place. Proper has assembled an enjoyable procession of recording artists that ranges from Sol Hoopii playing lap steel guitar with an old-fashioned Hawaiian trio to Billy Williamson manhandling pedal steel with Bill Haley & His Comets. Between those two extremes are packed enough toe-tapping tunes to fix up anybody's morning, afternoon, or evening.
    The first disc is dedicated to the early Hawaiian masters of steel guitar and to those who adopted their style and technique. A Hawaiian named Joseph Kekuku is said to have been the first to vary the pitch of a guitar in this manner, back in 1889. For a slide he at first used a discarded steel bolt, then the blade of a knife. Kekuku brought his technique to California in 1904 and spent years teaching others how to handle guitars Hawaiian style, touring extensively on both sides of the Atlantic. This type of music became popular during the '20s through the efforts of Sol Hoopii, Andy Sannella, Frank Ferera, and King Bennie Nawahi. The attractive sounds of steel guitar mingled nicely with the broadening currents of jazz, as demonstrated with choice cuts by Sam Ku West and multi-instrumentalist Roy Smeck, as well as Bluebird duets by Robert Pauole and James Holstein, who were billed as the Genial Hawaiians. This collection also contains evidence of Kekuku's influence in Europe, for Segis Luvaun's records were cut in Berlin, David S. Kanui's in Paris, and Tau Moe's in Copenhagen. For a more extensive and thoroughly Hawaiian selection of music from this period, go directly to Proper's amazing box set With My Little Ukulele in My Hand. Steel guitarists of the late `30s who should have been represented on Steelin' It but aren't include Ceele Burke, who recorded with Fats Waller in December 1937, and Casey Bill Weldon, an African-American whose legacy appears to be permanently trapped between genres as his tendency to sound like a western swing player has caused him to be marginalized as a bluesman.
    Disc two focuses upon four steel guitarists who helped to establish the instrument as a staple in country music and western swing. Bob Dunn, who named jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden as a primary influence, is designated as the first steel guitarist to have introduced jazz licks into this genre of music. He was also one of the first to electrically amplify his instrument; the idea took hold of him after he encountered an African-American guitarist who employed a rudimentary amplifier while performing at Coney Island. Noel Boggs, the first person to record with a Fender steel guitar, used ideas and techniques borrowed from his friend, jazz guitar virtuoso Charlie Christian. Leon McAuliffe, one of several western swing steel guitarists who studied Hawaiian guitar as a boy, is best known for his work with Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. McAuliffe is credited as the composer of "Steel Guitar Rag" even though Kentuckian Sylvester Weaver recorded the root melody as "Guitar Rag" in 1923 and again in 1927. (Weaver, incidentally, was the first African-American musician to make a blues record.) McAuliffe probably snatched the tune from a 1930 cover recording by a Caucasian duo billed as Harvey & Johnson; garnished with a bit of "On the Beach at Waikiki," it became "Steel Guitar Rag," a lucrative staple of the western swing repertoire. Oddly (and infuriatingly), Komorowski ignores all forensic evidence and quotes a flimsy statement by McAuliffe's manager to substantiate the claim that McAuliffe invented the tune out of thin air in 1936, thirteen years after Weaver made his first recording of it.
    Disc two closes with a cluster of titles by Theron Eugene "Ted" Daffan, a Louisiana-born Texas bandleader and steel guitarist with a knack for the blues. The rest of this encyclopedic anthology is crammed with entertaining performances featuring quite a posse of steel guitarists in a variety of settings. Billy Briggs, heard on "Panhandle Shuffle" and the hit record "Sally's Got a Wooden Leg," maintained good working relationships with African-American musicians. Like Big Joe Williams, Briggs used a nine-string guitar. Don Helms accompanies Hank Williams during "Settin' the Woods on Fire"; Speedy West does the "Stratosphere Boogie," and Shot Jackson backs Webb Pierce on "I Need You like I Need a Hole in the Head." Coincidentally, it was Bud Isaacs who introduced the pedal steel guitar to country music on a Webb Pierce recording session in 1953. Isaacs is heard on this set backing Little Jimmy Dickens, and resurfaces alongside Chet Atkins on Terry Fell's "Wham! Bam! Hot Ziggity Zam." ~ arwulf arwulf

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