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Post new topic Bob Wills and Noel Boggs and Herb Remington question
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Author Topic:  Bob Wills and Noel Boggs and Herb Remington question
Nils Fliegner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 13 Apr 2009 11:11 pm     Reply with quote


Just bought the Tiffany Transcriptions CD box.
Does anyone know what steel guitar models Noel Boggs and "Little Herbie" (to quote Bob Wills) play?
...not the multineck Fenders that I always associated them with Shocked

(The number of strings and tunings would also be of interest). Greetings, Nils.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 13 Apr 2009 11:36 pm     Reply with quote

I don't know what guitars are shown in your pictures.

Wish I knew myself about Herby. The tone he got on the original Wills Columbia recording of "Deep Water" slays me every time I hear it. I can't even find any old pics of him right now.

I have seen pictures or film of Noel playing a Rickenbacker DC-16, like this 1947 model. He also had a Bigsby, but that would be a few years after those Tiffany recordings were made.




Here is a pic of Noel from 1946. Is this a Rickenbacker?

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Rick Alexander


From:
Florida, USA, R.I.P.
Post Posted 14 Apr 2009 3:19 am     Reply with quote

When Herb first worked for Bob Wills he had a double neck Rickenbacker.
Then he played a series of multi-neck prototypes supplied by Leo Fender, who was a big Bob Wills fan.
The first prototypes had all 3 necks on the same level.
Herb acted as a testing consultant for the Fender multi-necks, and his input played a significant role in the development of the Custom and Dual 8 Professional.
Herb used A6 tuning and a unique F#13th tuning on double necks.
When he played a triple neck, his third tuning was E13th.
He was with Bob Wills from 1946 through 1950.
Herb's relationship with Leo Fender continued after that and he contributed in the development of the Stringmaster as well.
_________________

BIG STEEL
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Eric Stumpf


From:
Newbury, NH 03255
Post Posted 14 Apr 2009 3:42 am     Reply with quote

Ah, the old Noel Boggs and the Rickenbacher misconception again rears its ugly head. Noel played an Epiphone Rocco double neck (7 and 8 string necks)lap steel. Various writers have credited Noel with using a D-8 Rick and I'll admit that in grainy old photos his guitar does appear to be a Rick but it wasn't.
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Jon Nygren


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post Posted 14 Apr 2009 4:38 am     Reply with quote

Mitch Drumm wrote:


Here is a pic of Noel from 1946. Is this a Rickenbacker?



Looks to be an early Fender dual pro...boxcar PUs with roman numeral fretboard.
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Ron Whitfield


From:
Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post Posted 14 Apr 2009 10:28 am     Right on, Eric! Reply with quote

That's were I was going, and you're one of the few that would have nailed it. I wonder where that guitar is today, and if it was the same one used years ago by Big Jim Murphy on The Conan O'Brian Show w/Hank III doing a hot Cocaine Blues.
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 14 Apr 2009 2:27 pm     Reply with quote

In the mid 40's I beleive Noel was using a double neck National before he started getting free guitars from Leo Fender. I used to go over to his house in Lynwood, Ca. when he was playing with Spade Cooley and he still had the National.

The first time I saw Herb Remington around 1946 or 1947 he was playing a two neck Fender using the A6th and the inverted tuning which has been previously discussed on the Forum. (see: Speedy West - I'll never be free} A little bit of History: When Tommy Duncan left Bob Wills around 1947 he pretty much took the whole band with him including Noel Boggs. Bob had to pretty much get a new band including Roy Hunnicut on steel who was soon replaced by Herb Remington.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 14 Apr 2009 5:07 pm     Reply with quote

Here is a Noel Boggs performance that literally brings me to tears every time I hear it.

This is from 1947 and I am wondering if it is a Fender? Just classic tone and that unmistakable style right in your face. Pity the steel guitar “advanced” after the 1940s.

Will There Be Sagebrush In Heaven
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Erik van Beek


From:
The Netherlands
Post Posted 15 Apr 2009 10:07 am     Reply with quote

I just love Noel Boggs' sound. Are these the Sons Of The Pioneers?
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 15 Apr 2009 2:12 pm     Reply with quote

Yes, those were the Sons of the Pioneers. Noel was the only steel player they ever used.
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Eric Stumpf


From:
Newbury, NH 03255
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 4:32 am     Reply with quote


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Erik van Beek


From:
The Netherlands
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 9:48 am     Reply with quote

He Billy, I thought Speedy West played also with Sons Of The Pioneers on their version of Dieselsmoke, but I may be wrong!
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 10:25 am     Reply with quote

The tone on the Sagebrush cut matches some of Boggs sounds on the Tiffinys almost a Magnatone-type sound.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 10:41 am     Reply with quote

I'm not sure about "Diesel Smoke" myself.

Or "Baby Doll".

Baby Doll

I'm pretty sure Baby Doll is a certain Mr. Murphey (going by ear). It's from 1947.

Diesel Smoke is peculiar. It doesn't sound in the least like Noel Boggs. The glissandos are reminiscent of Speedy, but the first few seconds of the steel ride sound more like Murphey to me. There are two takes of it, both from 1951/52.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 12:13 pm     Reply with quote

Billy and Andy:

Can you guys comment on that Will There Be Sagebrush In Heaven solo and explain it to a tin-eared non-musician like me??

It encompasses every Boggs trademark lick that I love so much, but I have no idea what he is doing with his hands. I am referring to his technique rather than his tone. Explain it to a layman if you can.

Specifically, for a second or two at 1'34 and again at 1'42, he sounds like he is jumping back and forth between a couple of strings in a pattern he often used (listen to his ride on the 1945 Wills Columbia recording of "Smoke On The Water" for more of this. I think of it as staccato.

And that little tag he puts right at the end of the ride in "Sagebrush"--I hear that over and over again in his recordings.

Is this stuff technically difficult? It's odd, because I can think of only two recorded instances of a steel player that I thought was Noel Boggs when in fact it was not.

The first was on a late 50s/early 60s Tommy Duncan version of "Remember Me, When The Candlelights Are Gleaming". Spitting image of Noel, but it turns out it was recorded in the Pacific Northwest by a lesser known guy whose name escapes me.

The second instance is Billy's work on "Sunflower" behind Sinatra, most of which could have been Boggs to my ear.

Boggs' style sounds so effortless, languid, and beautiful (to me, at least) that I constantly wonder "how come no one else sounds like that"?

I can understand why no one sounds like Joaquin--sheer virtuosity I assume--very few if anyone else could have done that regardless of practice or effort.

For 3 or 4 years beginning about 1952, hundreds of up-tempo country records were riddled with Speedy West style effects--indicating that dozens of recording pros of the time were not above blatantly emulating another player. That boo-wah and bar crash stuff went on until the rise of Wynn Stewart/Ray Price shuffles and Ralph Mooney.

You don't hear Boggs emulated. Why?

Technically very difficult?

Hip in 1947, but square in 1952? I don't think so--he doesn't appear to have been emulated even in 1947.

Was he outright disdained, even in Southern California? I wouldn't have expected him to be flown to Nashville to replace Bud Isaacs on the next Webb Pierce session, but I wonder if he was distinctly in the shadow of Speedy after 1951/52 in LA? Joaquin did so few recording sessions that it's hard to imagine that he interfered with anyone.

Too "uptown" and not suitable for "hillbilly" records?

Did he have trouble getting recording sessions after 1950? I am wondering when he began to play down his studio career and concentrate on the type of gig shown below for most of his income? Offhand, he seems to have done far fewer sessions after the early 50s--just like Joaquin. I can't imagine either of them on a Wynn Stewart record.




Inquiring minds want to know.

Lastly: Billy, how is that your ride on "Sunflower" quotes "Hello Dolly" many years before the latter song was written? Jerry Herman was obviously listening to you and Frank in his teens and I think you oughta sue somebody!
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 1:10 pm     Reply with quote

Mitch: I heard that the "Hello Dolly" phrase by the "Sunflower" composer was settled in lieu of a Lawsuit. I do not know the details.

Due to some good politicing, Speedy pretty much got all the recording work on the West Coast. Rememnber, he was part of Cliffie Stones entourage.
Cliffie was very powerfull in the recording industry.

At some point in the late fourties Noel Boggs had a small pop group playing intermissions at the Hollywood Palladium Ballroom. This was when the big pop bands were playing there. In the fourties Noel made a lot of contacts and sold himself with his charisma and personality, but it finally just petered out.

If you listen closely to various recordings of Noel Boggs over the years, he had certain phrasings that he used over and over. His work was better in the pop and western swing field than pure country.

Technically, Noel Boggs was pretty easy to imitate, especially when he was recording with Bob Wills.

I don't think anyone ever completely mastered Joaquin's technic. He had his own thought process which he could transfer to steel guitar. If you tried to copy his single string you would soon run out of options where to play the whole passage.

On "Baby Doll" that could have been Speedy. The sound was more subdued that what Noel usually played.
At one point Speedy and also myself were pretty much trying to play like Noel. Neither of us could master Joaquin.


Last edited by Billy Tonnesen on 16 Apr 2009 2:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 1:31 pm     Reply with quote

Billy:

I was half kidding about Hello Dolly. I had no idea anyone else had noticed it until I saw your reply and took a look at Wikipedia under "Hello Dolly" and found this:

"As successful as the stage show and title song itself turned out to be, however, the tune "Hello, Dolly!" unfortunately became caught up in a lawsuit which could have endangered timely plans for bringing the musical to the silver screen.

Composer Mack David (1912-1993) sued for infringement of copyright, because the first four bars of Herman's show number were the same as those in the refrain of David's song "Sunflower" from 1948. As he recounts in his memoirs, Herman had never heard "Sunflower" before this and wanted a chance to defend himself in court, but, for the sake of those involved in the show and the potential film, he reluctantly agreed to pay a settlement before the case would have gone to trial."

I had no idea Mack David wrote "Sunflower".

This is from his obituary:

David's most remunerative song was 'Sunflower' (1948), for which he wrote both words and music. it was recorded by the Russ Morgan band, Frank Sinatra and others, and was selected as the state song of Kansas. In 1964 he sued his fellow composer Jerry Herman, claiming that the main four-bar theme of Herman's song 'Hello, Dolly' was the same as that of 'Sunflower'. David received a reputed out-of-court settlement of $250,000.
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 1:41 pm     Reply with quote

Mitch:.
I added some more comments to my post after you posted.

Do you have an E-mail address. If you want to call me and give me your phone no., I can call you back as I have unlimited minutes.

Call me at 714 / 522-3721 after 1:00 PM
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Ron Whitfield


From:
Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 4:56 pm     Reply with quote

Billy Tonnesen wrote:
On "Baby Doll" that could have been Speedy. The sound was more subdued that what Noel usually played.
I'd guess it was Speedy too. The volume swells are dead ringers for his 'mellow' style accompaniment, but the rest of the phrasing would be of the utmost basic and subtle kind for Speedy.
It deffinitely ain't Joaquin to my ears.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 6:20 pm     Reply with quote

Billy: you can send me a private email through this forum. Just poke "PM" at the bottom of any of my posts.

A little more research:

Andy Volk uploaded a Speedy interview to this forum in 2003. The beginning portion is pasted here:


A LOST INTERVIEW WITH SPEEDY WEST
Excerpts from a March 1996 phone conversation with Canadian fan & record collector, Ray Stifler. Tape provided by forumite, Billy Jones (transfribed & edited by me).

RS
When did you start playin’ the steel?

SW
Well, I actually started when I was 9 years old … little old $12 Maybell guitar. I had to put a nut underneath the strings to raise ‘em up off the neck. And I played it around the house. Professionally, I started when I was like … 20 years old; when I really got into it.

RS
What was your first record and with whom?

SW
The first record I ever recorded was “Candy Kisses” with Eddie Kirk in 1948. George Morgan had a big, big hit on that and Capitol covered it with Eddie Kirk.

That's the relevant portion.

Baby Doll by The Sons Of The Pioneers was on RCA 2086.

When was that?

Well, RCA 1850 by the Buchanan Brothers was from May 1946. RCA 3081 by an artist I can't trace was from July 1948. By inference, Baby Doll (RCA 2086) would have been from 1947, if not 1946--before Speedy ever had a session, per the above interview.

It certainly sounds like it could be Murphey to me right at the beginning of the steel ride: 1'33 to 1'38. It sounds much more generic later in the passage.

Who are the candidates: West is out and it certainly doesn't sound like Noel. Who else was in studios on steel in LA in 1947? Remington? I can't immediately trace Herb to anything but Wills until later. Curley Cochran? Leodie Jackson? Tommy Sargent? One of the Tavares brothers? Ralph Miele? Dick Roberts? Eddie Duncan? Pete Martinez? I'm not sure who from that list was on the scene in 1947.

I have heard Martinez from 1946 and he at times sounded a tad like Murphey, but I don't know that he did any RCA sessions.

I do know that Joaquin Murphey recorded numerous songs with Roy Rogers, a Sons Of The Pioneers alumnus, on RCA in December 1947--including the infamous "The Kid With The Rip In His Pants".

In fact, I think Jody Carver has stated that he was a guest in the studio during some of those December 1947 recordings.
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 16 Apr 2009 10:25 pm     Reply with quote

Mitch: Ref: Baby Doll.

Well, I would now guess either one of the Taveres Bros. or Ralph Meile. I'm not familiar with Eddy Duncan. Pete Martinez worked with Jimmy Wakely and was in some of his motion pictures.

I've got some great pictures to post but I am having trouble getting them to down load on the Forum. I am going to get a computer expert I know to see if he can see what I'm doing wrong. I have looked at Bob's suggestions but still can't get it to work.

I've got a picture of Speedy with his two necked lap steel that he brought with him when he arrived in Califonia. He brought it over to my house and I think it was a one of a kind homemade steel.
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Ron Whitfield


From:
Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2009 10:27 am     Reply with quote

Billy Tonnesen wrote:
I've got a picture of Speedy with his two necked lap steel that he brought with him when he arrived in Califonia. He brought it over to my house and I think it was a one of a kind homemade steel.
I posted the Ebay auction of that guitar a few years back. Very crude, but a museum/'Americana' piece for sure. Not sure it even sold at the asking price, so who know's where that iconic item is today...
The thread can probably still be found in a search, but most likely in the old SGForum.
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Lee Jeffriess


From:
Martinez California
Post Posted 18 Apr 2009 9:46 pm     Reply with quote

Sounds like Freddie Tavares or maybe Eddie Martin?.
Who ever it is has a Hawaiian touch.
Lee
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 19 Apr 2009 7:32 pm     Reply with quote

Now that Eddie Martin has been thrown in the Mix, he had slipped my mind, It is very likely that was Eddie Martin on "Baby Doll". Before Noel Boggs arrived in So. Calif., Eddie used to get a lot of recording gigs. It's his style and tone. I have an old VCR where he is playing with Merle Travis, Jimmy Wakely. On my night off I used to go down to "Cow Town" and listen to him playing in the Wade Ray band.
He also used to play with Red Murrell at the 97th Street Corral in the early 40's.
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Tracy Sheehan


From:
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Post Posted 19 Apr 2009 8:14 pm     Doy o'Dell Reply with quote

I seem to recall Doye O'Dell's recordding of Diesel Smoke,Dangerous Curves?I recall first hearing the song around 1951.The next year i played after noon live TV shows on KTLA in Holywood.If i recall correctly Doye O'Dell was the main mc.
Any one remember or have any info on this? I have slept since then.Tracy Mad
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