zondag 29 december 2013

Prisoner's Song (1924) / Thrills That I Can't Forget (1925) / Blue Eyes (1927) / Great Speckle Bird (1936) / Wild Side of Life (1951) / Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels (1952) / It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels (1952)

"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels"  is a 1952 #1 country hit song written by J. D. "Jay" Miller, recorded by Kitty Wells. Originally recorded by Al Montgomery as "Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels?"
It was an answer song to the Hank Thompson hit "The Wild Side of Life", which was originally recorded by Jimmie Heap.

"The Wild Side of Life" and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" are set to an apparently traditional tune, that was already used in Rev. Guy Smith's "The Great Speckled Bird"—popularized in 1936 by Roy Acuff, and more familiarly in the Carter Family's "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" recorded in February, 1929 (originally recorded by the North Carolinba Ramblers and Roy Harvey as "Blue Eyes").
The tune is also used in an even older song "Thrills That I Can't Forget" recorded by Welby Toomey and Edgar Boaz in 1925.
But then there is the striking resemblance with "The Prisoner's Song" recorded in 1924 by Vernon Dalhart.

"The Prisoner's Song", is a song copyrighted by Vernon Dalhart in 1924 in the name of Dalhart's cousin Guy Massey, who had sung it while staying at Dalhart's home and had in turn heard it from his brother Robert Massey, who may have heard it while serving time in prison.
The Prisoner's Song rates as a 1920s all-time best-seller with a staggering seven million-plus copies sold worldwide in the version by Vernon Dalhart. The Vernon Dalhart recording charted for 32 weeks, twelve at No. 1, during 1925 and 1926. The Vernon Dalhart version was recorded on Victor Records in October 1924 and marketed in the hillbilly music genre. It became one of the best-selling records of the early twentieth century, with at least two million copies sold (sales figures are uncertain; some place the sales at 7 million or more), as well as over a million copies of the sheet music to the tune.
Long-lasting controversy over the authorship of the song quickly arose. Dalhart copyrighted the song in Guy Massey's name, taking 95% of the author royalties for himself and giving Massey 5%. Shilkret protested, claiming that the song as Dalhart had brought it to him (Shilkret) was unusable, and that he rewrote the music. The Shilkret family fought unsuccessfully through the 1950s for author credit.
Guy Massey had heard the song from his brother Rob Massey, who had actually spent some time in prison and probably first heard the song there. Palmer cites a letter dated October 20, 1924 from Guy Massey to his brother Rob Massey and two of his sisters telling them that he agreed to a 5% stake in royalties because he thought there would not be any royalties. Guy also said that, even though the royalty contract did not mention Rob explicitly, he (Guy ) would split the 5% evenly with Rob. Although Dalhart changed his story frequently when he told it in public, he sometimes also claimed to have rewritten the original that he got from Guy. At times there were claims made that Guy had written it and there were claims that Rob had written it. Another story claims the lyrics were carved into the wall of a cell in the old Early County Jail in Blakely, Georgia by Robert F. Taylor, who was at one time held there.

And in addition there is a poem by Joseph Augustine Wade, which can be found as broadside NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(83b) "Meet Me by Moonlight Alone," Poet's Box (Dundee), n.d.


The original song, by J. Augustine Wade, London, undated in Levy, was arranged for duet in an 1812 copy printed in Philadelphia and composed by Mrs. Seguin and Mr. Shrival.


Here are the recordings, beginning with "The Prisoner's Song"

(o) Vernon Dalhart (1924)  (as "Prisoner's Song")
Vernon Dalhart, v;
Acc. Lou Raderman, viola; Carson Robison, g;
Matrix 30633-2
Recorded in New York on August 13, 1924.

78 RPM - Vernon Dalhart - Wreck Of The Old 97 / The Prisoner's Song - Victor - USA - 19427

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(c) Vernon Dalhart (1924) ("Prisoner's Song")
Recorded October 1924
Released on Perfect 12164

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(c) Vernon Dalhart (1925) ("Prisoner's Song")
Recorded March 1925
Released on Cameo 703

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(c) Welby Toomey and Edgar Boaz 1925 (as "Thrills That I Can't Forget")
Welby Toomey, v; acc. Edgar Boaz, g.
Recorded in Richmond, IN Friday, November 13, 1925
Matrix 12414-A
Released on Gennett 3228

Welby Toomey - Wild Bill Jones / Thrills That I Can't Forget (Shellac) at Discogs


and Challenge 159 (with alias-name John Ferguson)


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(c) North Carolina Ramblers & Roy Harvey 1927  (as "Blue Eyes")
Posey Rorer, f; Bob Hoke, bj-md/v; Roy Harvey, g/v.
Recorded in Chicago, IL October 1927
Matrix 20089-2
Released on Paramount 3072 and Broadway 8158
Broadway 8158 as by Wilson Ramblers;

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(c) Carter Family 1929  (as "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes")
Carter Family (Sara Carter [vcl/autoharp], A.P. Carter [vcl], Maybelle Carter [vcl/gt])
Recorded February 14, 1929 Victor Studio, Trinity Baptist Church, 114N. 5th St., Camden, NJ
Matrix 49859-3
Released on Victor V-40089, Bluebird B-5122  and Montgomery Ward M-4230


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(c) Roy Acuff and his Crazy Tennesseeans (1936)  (as "Great Speckle Bird")
20 October 1936 Furniture Mart Building, 666 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL - Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans (Jess Easterday [gt], Clell Sumne [dobro], Red Jones [bass], Sam Hatcher [harmonica]. Producer: William Callaway)
Released in January 1937 on Melotone (#7-01-59) and Conqueror (#8740)

Re-released on Vocalion Okeh 04252 in August 1938

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Re-released on Columbia 37005 in 1946

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Roy Acuff first recorded "Great Speckle Bird" in 1936 and continued to perform it regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. It quickly became one of the most famous songs in country music. It was based on a verse from the King James Bible (Jeremiah 12:9 Ð "Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her;"). Interpreted as a description of the persecution experienced by the church, the verse, set to a traditional tune, soon gave rise to a Pentecostal anthem.
Acuff first heard the song sung in 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee sung by a gospel group called the Black Shirts. After paying fifty cents to the leader of the Black Shirts, Charlie Swain, for a copy of the song, he immediately began to perform his own version of it and his radio performance landed him his first record contract.

Others say "Great Speckle Bird" was written about 1934 by a radio entertainer of Springfield, MO., known as "Uncle George", whose real name was Guy Smith.
One text was printed anonymously in the Aurora (Mo.) Advertiser, March 16, 1936.
Another version was copyrighted in 1937 by the M.M. Cole Publ. Co. of Chicago, with the words credited to Rev Guy Smith and the music to Roy Acuff.

(c) Jimmie Heap & The Melody Masters (1951)  (as "Wild Side Of Life")
Jimmie Heap [ld gt], Perk Williams [vcl-1/fiddle],Horace Barnett [rh gt], Butterball Haris[steel], Bill Glendening [bass], Arlie Carter [piano]
Recorded ca February 1951 Peterson's Studio, Austin, TX -
Matrix IF-258
Released on Imperial 8105

78 RPM - Jimmie Heap And The Melody Masters - Wild Side Of Life / When They Operated On Papa They Opened Mam's Male - Imperial - USA - 8105


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Jimmy Heap and His Melody Masters first recorded "Wild Side" in 1951, but never had a hit with the song.
Hank Thompson did, and his version spent three and one-half months atop the Billboard country chart in the spring and early summer of 1952.

(c) Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys (1952)  (as "The Wild Side Of Life")
Hank Thompson (Hank Thompson [vcl/gt], Billy Gray [gt/leader], Curly Chalker [steel], Billy Briggs Stewart [bass], William Wayne Foster [drums], Joe Herman „Big Red“ Hayes [fiddle], Kenneth Allen „Little Red“Hayes [fiddle], Gilbert „Gil“ Baca [piano]. Producer: Dee Kilpatrick)
Recorded December 11, 1951, Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, CA
Released January 1952 on Capitol #1942

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(c) Al Montgomery (1952)  (as "Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels")
Released on Feature Records 1036

Alice Al Montgomery - Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels (1952) | Canciones Del Ayer

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(c) Kitty Wells (1952)  (as "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels")
 (Kitty Wells [vcl], Joseph Zinkan [harm vcl], Eddie Hill [gt/harm vcl], Shot Jackson [steel], Johnny Wright [bass], Dorris Warren [fiddle]. Producer: Paul Cohen)
Recorded May 3, 1952 Castle Studio, The Tulane Hotel, 206 8th Ave. North, Nashville, TN –
Matrix 82830
Released June 1952 on Decca 28232

78 RPM - Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels / I Don't Want Your Money, I Want Your Time - Decca - USA - 28232

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Burl Ives had a top 10 hit with "Wild Side Of Life" concurrent with Hank Thompson's No 1 hit.

Tommy Quickly & The Remo Four (1964) (as Wild Side Of Life) (No. 33 UK Chart),

Freddy Fender reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in early 1976.

A version by the British rock band Status Quo reached the UK top 10 in 1976.

In the same year Rod Stewart recorded a version for his album "A Night On The Town".

(c) Marianne Faithfull (1978)  (as "Honky Tonk Angels")


(c) David Allan Coe (1977)  (incorporated in "If That Ain't Country")

David Allan Coe mentions all the titles at the end of his If That Ain't Country.
An' I'm thinkin' tonight of my blue eyes,
And flyin' with the great speckled bird.
I didn't know God made honky-tonk angels
And went back to the wild side of life.

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In 1981, "Wild Side" and "It Wasn't God ..." were combined into a duet by Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter on their album Leather and Lace; that version reached No. 10.

Kris Kristofferson also uses fragments of "Wild Side Of Life" in his "Blessing In Disguise" and "The Devil To Pay" (both '81)

More versions here:



The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - BLUE EYES

1 opmerking:

  1. Here a few recordings in 1924/1926; Vernon Dalhart recorded the song for many labels with many names:

    13-08-24 - Vernon Dalhart (Victor 19427);
    15-10-24 - Vernon Dalhart (Edison cylinder Blue Amberol 4954 / Edison Diamond Disc 51459-R);
    00-10-24 - Vernon Dalhart (Perfect 12164 / Pathe 32085);
    25-10-24 - Charles Harrison (Gennett 5588);
    28-10-24 - Vernon Dalhart (Champion 15073 / Buddy 8013 / Gennett 3030 / Silvertone 3030 / Challenge 163 - 319 / Herwin 75505);
    13-11-24 - Vernon Dalhart (Columbia - unreleased);
    15-11-24 - Vernon Dalhart (Columbia 257 D);
    00-12-24 - Vernon Dalhart (Regal 9795 / Challenge 784 / Emerson 10850 / Banner 1496 / Bell 340);
    00-12-24 - Bob White ( = Vernon Dalhart) (Domino 3466);
    00-12-24 - Dick Morse ( = Vernon Dalhart) (Oriole 355) ;
    00-12-24 - Joe Cummings ( = Vernon Dalhart) (Madison 1601);
    00-00-24 - Casino Dance Orchestra (Starck 383);
    00-01-25 - Vernon Dalhart (Grey Gull 4070 / Radiex 4070);
    24-02-25 - George Reneau (Vocalion 14991) aka George Hobson (Silvertone 3045);
    07-03-25 - Vernon Dalhart (Cameo 703 & 1385 / Romeo 241 / Lincoln 2335);
    00-03-25 - Tobe Little (baritone) aka Vernon Delhart (Okeh 40328);
    00-06-25 - Vernon Dalhart (Brunswick 2900 / Supertone 2000);
    26-06-25 - Nat Shilkret International Novelty Orchestra with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Victor 19714);
    22-10-25 - Eddie Peabody's Dance Orchestra with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Banner 1638 / Domino 3609 / Regal 9943);
    22-10-25 - Continental Dance Orchestra with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Oriole 516);
    16-12-25 - Vernon Dalhart & Kaplan Melodists (Edison cylinder Blue Amberol / Edison Diamond Disc 51666-R);
    00-00-25 - Moonlight Merry makers (Bell 392);
    04-01-26 - Ross Gorman's Earl Carroll Orchestra with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Columbia 563D);
    20-01-26 - Harold Leonard (violin version (Gennett 3240);
    22-01-26 - The Harmonians with vocal Irving Kaufman (Harmony 105 H);
    25-01-26 - The Yellow Jackets with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Okeh 40549);
    00-01-26 - Better Music dance orchestra with vocal Charles Harrison (Pathe 36383 / Perfect 14564);
    00-02-26 - Imperial Dance Orchestra with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Banner 1690 / Domino 3663);
    a.k.a.Hollywood Dance Orchestra with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Regal 8000);
    07-02-26 - Harry Snodgrass (piano version) (Brunswick 318)
    25-02-26 - Regent Club Orchestra (Brunswick 3093);
    25-02-26 - Jesse Crawford (organ version) (Victor 19980);
    00-02-26 - Puritan Dance Orchestra with vocal Vernon Dalhart (Puritan 11440); (diff. matrix opposite the other feb. 1926 recording)
    05-03-26 - Eugene Ormandy (violin version) (Cameo 889);
    16-03-26 - Vernon Dalhart (Victor 24281 = re-recording)
    00-03-26 - Fred Stone (Emerson 3002) aka Andy Sanella's Orchestra (Grey Gull 1339).
    00-04-26 - Vernon Dalhart (Emerson 3013);
    14-04-26 - Jose Moriche (Victor –); the recording is lost or destroyed.
    30-04-26 - Ben Black & his Orchestra with vocal Drury Lenington (Victor 20049).

    With many names and labels like Vernon Dalhart you'll get a million seller.

    colonel snow