Skip to main content

Darrell Speck: Behind The Record (Rockabilly)


In the early 1940's, Syd Nathan was having success selling used records in his downtown Cincinnati dry goods store, so he decided to make his own records and in 1945, launched King Records. He hired both white and black artists and successfully cross-marketed their songs in the rhythm & blues and country markets. This cross-pollination of musical styles would be a major influence in the development of rockabilly and popular rock and roll.


In the early 1950's, a growing market for recording local artists was recognized. Nathan had already created a company known as Royal Plastics, located at 1540 Brewster Avenue in Cincinnati, to master, press and print his records and over the next 15 years, King produced thousands of releases for small independent labels.

How I Love You (AV-45-101)

One such label was AL VIC Records, owned by Allie and Lefty Combs. The studio operated out of the Harrod Theatre Building in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Besides being a theater owner, Lefty was also a country music singer. Naturally, he released his music on his own label. Others who recorded on AL VIC were Gary Link and The Rock-A-Fellas, The Rhythmettes, Clarence Walls, George and Pee Wee - The Tennessee Pals, Gordon Sizemore, Jay Hammond, Le Troy Reed, The Vandells, Lefty Combs, Tommy Howard, The Routeens, The Hocking Hillbillies, Don Youngblood, The Blue Grass Mt. Boys, Dale Anderson, Wanda K. Lefler, Mary Jane Hisey, Old Joe Clark and Darrell Speck and The Rebel Rousers.


Soon after Syd Nathan began King records in Cincinnati, in Albany, Kentucky, nine-year-old Darrell Speck told his mother, Dimple, that he wanted to learn how to play the guitar just like her. The year was 1947. And so, she began teaching him the chords and soon Darrell was singing and playing anywhere and everywhere he could. By the age of 16, Darrell had gotten a job performing on WAIN-AM in Columbia, Kentucky. He and his band, Darrell Speck and the Rebel Rousers, would drive to Columbia every Saturday morning to do a 15 minute radio show. In 1955, a new radio station signed on the air in Monticello, Kentucky. Darrell auditioned at WFLW and soon he and his group left Columbia for a weekly show at the Monticello station. Darrell did not attend high school past 1955. In 1956, he joined the Navy and married his high school sweetheart, Glenda. After a two-year stint in the Navy at Newport, Rhode Island, Darrell returned home to help his dad put WANY-AM on the air. In addition to becoming a broadcaster, a career that would last over 30 years, Darrell also regrouped his band and continued performing on the side. By June of 1959, Darrell had written two songs that he thought were good enough to be on a record. So, in a few weeks, Darrell and his group (Buddy Bell, Larry Wayne Guffey, Don Daffron andand Jake Smith) traveled to Harrodsburg, where they recorded three tracks at the AL VIC studio. The songs were How I love You, Take Me Back and Not A Word From You. The first two songs were put on a 45 r.p.m. single and 500 copies were pressed at the King Records pressing facility in Cincinnati.

Take Me Back (AV-45-100)

The Rebel Rousers eventually split up. Darrell did several music projects during his life. He remained a radio broadcaster for more than thirty years. He and Glenda raised five children. About a year before he died, in 2003, I was online doing research for my blog, when I stumbled upon a rockabilly website that mentioned dad's AL VIC record. It was then I discovered his record had somehow managed to travel overseas and since 1981 had been released on a total of six various artist rockabilly compilation albums and CD's. Later, I found more (twelve total) in Germany, England, Spain, the Netherlands and France.

They are as follows:
1981 - Bison Bop (Germany) The Bop That Never Stopped, Vol. 11

1981 - White Label (Netherlands) Primitive Sound

1985 - Buffalo Bop (Germany) The Bop That Never Stopped, Vol. 11

1996 - Esso SP (England) "Rockabilly Ramblers 6

1998 - Buffalo Bop (Germany) Teen Town

1998 - Buffalo Bop (Germany) Campus Cutie

year? Club (Spain) Grab This And Dance, Vol. 22

2007 - Rockin' Rarities (France) Vol. 5: 16 Red Hot Rockin' Hits

2012 - Presto Records (UK) Big Bad Rockabilly Boppers Vol. 11

2014 - Thundersqueak Records (England) Rockabilly Rock and Roll Nuggets, Vol. 13 The Rare, the Rarer and the Rarest Rockers

2014 - Thundersqueak Records (England) Rockabilly Rock and Roll Nuggets, Vol. 16 The Rare, the Rarer and the Rarest Rockers

2014 - Pocatello Records - Rockin' Through The Years, Vol. 121 "A Mega Collection of Boppin', Jumpin', Jivin', Shakin' Rockers"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…