Saturday, January 20, 2018
Country singer June Stearns was born on April 5, 1939 in Albany, Kentucky. Her family relocated to Franklin, Indiana when she was a small child. The Stearns' were a musical family and June learned to play guitar and was singing locally in her early teens. During the late 60’s and early 70’s, June Stearns could be considered to be one of the ladies-in-waiting for the Country Queen crown.
In 1957, on completing her high school education, June became a member of the WLW Midwestern Hayride in Cincinnati, where she remained for two years. Her big break came in 1960, she became a member of Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Gang. She had written to Acuff, enclosing a photograph with her sister, under which she wrote, "I’m the one with the guitar." No doubt Roy had heard about her work on the Midwestern Hayride. She remained a member of "Smoky Mountain Gang," appearing on the Grand Ole Opry and on live dates. During this time, she also took time out to appear solo on the Louisiana Hayride. In 1965, she broke her ankle in an automobile crash in Roy Acuff’s vehicle and never returned to the group. She can be considered the last regular "Smoky Mountain Girl."
June Stearns first recorded for Starday in 1963, who teamed her with Gene Martin. She signed with Columbia Records in 1967. In December of that year, she and Lefty Frizzell recorded ‘Have You Ever Been Untrue’ and ‘If You’ve Got The Money (I’ve Got the Time),’ which Columbia released as a single under the pseudonyms of Agnes And Orville."
In 1968, June Stearns was voted third "Most Promising Female Artist" by Cash Box. That year, she enjoyed three Billboard country chart hits ‘Empty House,’ ‘Where He Stops Nobody Knows’ and the biggest, which peaked at #21, ‘Jackson Ain’t A Very Big Town,’ a duet with Johnny Duncan. They recorded an album together and had further chart success in 1969, with ‘Back To Back (We’re Strangers).’ She also had three solo hits that year, including ‘Walking The Midnight Road.' She moved to Decca Records in 1970, where she gained three Top 60 solo hits: "Tyin' Strings," "Your Kind Of Lovin" and "In Case Of A Storm / Man (Sensuous Man)."
(June Stearns' Discography)
June 1963 Starday Sound Studio, 3557 Dickerson Road, Nashville, TN – June Stearns and Gene Martin
001 6402 Three Sides to the Story - Starday 639/SLP-261 SLP 274
002 6403 Family Man - 660/SLP 276
003 6404 Just Another Song - 639/SLP-276
w. Roy Acuff - Starday SLP 274 The Country Music Festival (1964); Starday SLP 276 Country Music Cannonball (1964)
July 1963 Starday Sound Studio, 3557 Dickerson Road, Nashville, TN – June Stearns, and Red Sovine  Gene Martin  (Producer: Tommy Hill)
004 6493 A Dear John Letter -1 7014//SLP-261 SLP-341 SLP 9-385 S-SLP 9-449 NLP-2044
005 6494 Slippin' Around -2 7012/SLP-261
006 6496 Accidentally on Purpose-2 SLP-261
007 6497 We‘ve Got Things In Common -2 660/SLP-261 SLP-276
6495 is by Bobby Sykes and Helen Carter
May 15, 1967 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
010 NCO 120217 Habit Not Desire 4-44206/CS-9783
011 NCO 120218 Where Did The Good Times Go 4-44321
012 NCO 120219 I'm The Queen (Of My Lonely Little World) 4-44483
013 NCO 120220 Tear For Fear 4-44206
September 8, 1967 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
014 NCO 120277 River of Regret 4-44321/CS-9783
015 NCO 120278 Empty House 4-44483/CS-9783
December 5, 1967 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Lefty Frizzell and June Stearns aka Agnes and Orville (Lefty Frizzell [vcl], June Stearns [vcl], Grady Martin [gt], Ray Edenton [gt], Harold Bradley [gt], Joseph Zinkan [bass], Buddy Harman [drums], Floyd Cramer [piano]. Producer: Frank Jones)
016 NCO 120911 Have You Ever Been Untrue 4-44490/ BCD 15550
017 NCO 120912 If You’ve Got The Money (I’ve Got The Time 4-44490/C 30896 BCD 15550
March 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
018 NCO 98496 I Cry Myself Awake 4-44575
019 NCO 98497 Where He Stops Nobody Knows 4-44575/CS-9783
August 9, 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
020 NCO 98595 Some Of These Days 4-44795 4-44946
September 4, 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns and Johnny Duncan, and June Stearns (*solo) (Producer: Frank Jones)
021 NCO 98604 The True And Lasting Kind* 4-44656/CS-9910
022 NCO 98605 Jackson Ain't A Very Big Town 4-44656/CS-9910 CCM331-2
023 NCO 98606 Walking Midnight Road 4-44695/CS-9783
024 NCO 98607 No Good Man 4-44795
September 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
025 Flower OF Love CS-9783
026 I Started Loving You Again CS-9783
027 NCO 98628 Plastic Saddle 4-44695/CS-9783
028 To My Sorrow CS-9783
029 The Future Ex-Mrs. Jones CS-9783
030 Time Wounds All Heels CS.9783
December 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Johnny Duncan and June Stearns (Producer: Frank Jones)
031 NCO 100582 If That's The Only Way 4-44752
032 NCO 100583 Back to Back (We're Strangers) 4-44752/CS-9910
March 28, 1969 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
033 NCO 100769 What Makes You So Different 4-44852
034 NCO 100770 unknown title unissued
035 NCO 100771 A Piece at a Time 4-44946
036 NCO 100772 Trouble in Mind 4-44852
May 23, 1969 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Johnny Duncan and June Stearns (Producer: Frank Jones)
037 NCO 100835 We'll Get Married or Nothing 4-44992/CS-9910
038 NCO 100837 Now I Lay Me Down To Dream 4-44992/CS-9910
May 1969 [some tracks possibly recorded earlier] Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Johnny Duncan and June Stearns (Producer: Frank Jones)
039 We Had All The Good Things Going CS-9910
040 What Locks The Door CS-9910
041 Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain CS-9910
042 The Wild Side of Life CS-9910
043 Sweet Thang CS-9910
044 Can You Match That Kind of Love CS-9910
September 22, 1969 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
045 NCO 100983 He Was A Carpenter 4-45042
046 NCO 100984 Drifting Too Far (From Your Arms) 4-45042
July 7, 1970 Bradley's Barn, 722 Bender’s Ferry Road, Mount Juliet, TN – June Stearns (Producer: Owen Bradley)
047 122994/NA 16137 Pack Your Lunch unissued
048 122995/NA 16138 Tyin' Strings 32726
049 122996/NA 16139 Don't Trouble Trouble 32726
March 19, 1971 Bradley's Barn, 722 Bender’s Ferry Road, Mount Juliet, TN – June Stearns (Producer: Owen Bradley)
050 123463/NA 16381 Another 32876
051 123464/NA 16382 Sweet Baby On My Mind 32828
052 123465/NA 16383 How's My Ex Treating You? 32828
053 123466/NA 16384 Your Kind of Lovin' 32876
June 12, 1972 Bradley's Barn, 722 Bender’s Ferry Road, Mount Juliet, TN – June Stearns (Producer: Owen Bradley)
054 123984/NA 16806 Man (Sensuous Man) 32986
055 123985/NA 16807 In Case of a Storm 32986
056 123986/NA 16808 Am I Still A Part of You
ca 2009 Whiteway Recording Studio – June Stearns with Petie Stearns (Danny Shatswell [gt], Carl Lambert [steel], Dan Furmanik [bass/gt], Earl White [fiddle/gt], Terry Duncan [piano], Shelton Bissell [sax]. Producer: Earl White)
057 Fiddle Diddle Boogie*
058 Bouquet of Roses
059 If My Heart Had Windows
060 He Called Me Baby-Baby
061 The Heart of a Clown
062 All of Me
063 End of the World
064 Only You
065 Try Again
066 Kansas City
067 Some Day
068 Make The World Go Away
069 Too Many Rivers
070 You Belong To Me
071 No One Will Ever Know
072 Trouble In Mind
Starday SLP-261 Slippin' Around: [Gene Martin and June Stearns:] Slipping Around; 3 Sides To Every Story; We've Got Things In Common; Accidentally On Purpose; [Cowboy Copas and Dottie West:] Loose Talk; [Carter and Willis Brothers:]; Wild Side; [Young:] Window Up Above; [Wilson and Warren:] Back Street Affair; [George Jones and Jeanette Hicks:] Yearning; [Benny Martin:]; Sinful Cinderella; [Blue Sky Boys:] Don't Trade; [Bobby Sykes:] Release Me; [Frankie Miller and Dottie Sills:] Out of Bounds; [Red Sovine and June Stearns:] Dear John Letter - 64
Columbia CS-9783 River Of Regret: River Of Regret; Flower Of Love; I Started Loving You Again; Plastic Saddle; Empty House; To My Sorrow; Where He Stops Nobody Knows; Habit Not Desire; The Future Ex-Mrs. Jones; Time Wounds All Heels; Walking Midnight Road – 03-69
Columbia CS-9910 Back To Back: Jackson Ain't A Very Big Town; We Had All The Good Things Going; What Locks The Door; We'll Get Married Or Nothing; Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain; The Wild Side Of Life; Back To Back; Sweet Thang; Now I Lay Me Down To Dream; Can You Match That Kind Of Love; The True And Lasting Kind – 09-69 w. Johnny Duncan
"Release Me -The Best Of Dolly Parton Dottie West Jan Howard And June Stearns," was released in 1977 on the Birchmount label (BM 834).The album features June Stearns singing Three Sides To The Story and Just Another Song, Dolly Parton singing Release Me and Two Little Orphans, Dottie West singing Angel On Paper and I Should Start Running, and Jan Howard singing Weeping Willow and The One You Slip Around With.
Whiteway - Many Sounds Of Country: Fiddle Diddle Boogie (with sister Petie); Bouquet of Roses; If My Heart Had Windows; He Called Me Baby-Baby); The Heart of a Clown; All of Me; End of the World; Only You; Try Again; Kansas City; Some Day; Make the World Go Away; Too Many Rivers; You Belong to Me; No One Will Ever Know; Trouble in Mind – ca 09
639 Three Sides To The Story (w. Gene Martin) / Just Another Song (w. Pete Drake) - 63
07-63 (rev. Aug. 3)
660 Family Man / We've Got Things In Common (w. Gene Martin) – ca. 12-63
7012 Slipping Around (w. Gene Martin) / (The Willis Brothers:) The Wild Side Of Life-64
7014 A Dear John Letter (and Red Sovine) / (Eddie Wilson and Dorothy Warren:) ? - 64 Columbia (1967-69)
4-44206 Habit Not Desire / Tear For Fear – ca. 27-06--67
4-44321 Where Did The Good Times Go / River Of Regret -10-67
4-44449 Have You Even Been Untrue? / If You've Got The Money (I've Got The Time) - 02-68 w. Lefty Frizzell as by Agnes and Orville
4-44483 Empty House / I'm The Queen (Of My Lonely Little World) – 19-03-68
4-44575 Where He Stops Nobody Knows / I Cry Myself Awake – 23-07-68
4-44656 Jackson Ain't A Very Big Town / The True And Lasting Kind – 17-09-68 w. Johnny Duncan
4-44695 Walking Midnight Road / Plastic Saddle – ca. 29-11-68
4-44752 Back To Back (We're Strangers) / If That's The Only Way Back – 21-01-69 w. Johnny Duncan
4-44795 No Good Man / Some Of These Days – 69
4-44852 What Makes You So Different / Trouble In Mind – ca. 04-69
4-44946 Some Of These Days / A Piece At A Time - 07-69
4-44992 Now I Lay Me Down To Dream / We'll Get Married Or Nothing - 08-69 w. Johnny Duncan
4-45042 Drifting Too Far (From Your Arms) / He Was A Carpenter – 11-11-69 Decca (1970-72)
32726 Don't Double Trouble / Tying Strings - 09-70
32828 Sweet Baby On My Mind / How's My Ex Treating You? - 05-71
32876 Your Kind Of Lovin' / Another - 09-71
32986 Man (Sensuous Man) / In Case Of A Storm - 07-72
Source: PragueFrank's Country Music Discography
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Several discs in my 78 r.p.m. collection turn 100 years old in 2018, including "The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane," recorded by the Metropolitan Quartet. It is listed as 80484-L on the Edison Records label.
"The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane" was a popular style song written by Will S. Hays in 1871, demonstrating that popular music was well known to southern musicians and performed by them in the early years. The lyric is typical minstrel fare, sung by a blackface character, and is nostalgic and sentimental.
The song tells the story of an elderly man, presumably a slave, or former slave, who is getting old and feeble, and can't work any more. Everyone is gone except his old dog. In earlier days, people would gather around his door and he'd play the banjo while they danced, but now his house is falling down and the footpath to it is overgrown.
And the roof is caving in
I ain't got long 'round here to remain
The angels watches over me
When I lay down to sleep
In the little old log cabin in the lane"
Performers modified the lyric over the years, eliminating some dialect, including the original reference to slavery. The song's melody has been widely used down through the years in songs set in the cowboy West, like "Little Joe, The Wrangler," railroad songs like "Little Red Caboose Behind The Train" and in one very popular hymn, "The Lily of the Valley."
It seems like everyone wanted to record this popular song and there are many variatons in different tempos that you might want to check out. Fiddlin' John Carson's version was one of the first commercial recordings by a rural white musician. Its popularity ensured that the industry would continue recording rural folk songs. There is a great version recorded by blind guitarist Riley Puckett in New York City that became one of the biggest country releases of 1924 and made him a star at Columbia Records.
"The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane" was so popular that it was still being recording a century later. There were more than 20 recordings of it from 1903 to 1940. The Metropolitan Quartet's harmonized sentimental minstrel version was recorded in 1918.
Here is their version from my collection, presented in this video on an Edison Blue Amberol cylinder:
The song's writer, William S. Hays, was born in Louisville, Ky on July 19, 1837. He published his first poetry in 1856 while attending school at Georgetown College. The S stands for his nickname, "Shakespeare," so dubbed because of his writings. He eventually made it an official part of his name.
Hays finished school and returned to Louisville in 1857. He found employment at D. P. Fauld's music store, where he continued to write music and poetry. Over his career, Hays is credited with over 350 songs, and he may have sold as many as 20 million copies of his works, making him more prolific than most of his 19th century peers. In his later years, Hays claimed to have written "Dixie" but no evidence could be produced to back up his pretensions. Hays died on July 23, 1907.
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