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Post new topic Question on Curly Chalker's Big Hits on Big Steel Record
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Author Topic:  Question on Curly Chalker's Big Hits on Big Steel Record
Michael Harrington


From:
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Post Posted 29 Jan 2018 10:34 pm     Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

Does anyone have any background info regarding this session? I have been listening to this recording for the past two years religiously and am finally coming to terms with my obsession!!

One thing that trips me up is the amount of somewhat audible whispering and chatter in the background on certain songs. (i.e. the last twenty seconds of Mansion On A Hill. Hearing all of those voices in the background is chilling..) I've read on the web that Pete Drake had produced this record. For how much extra noise occurs in the background of some songs (ie. count offs, whispering voices, pedals of the guitar squeaking) it seems like it would have been a conscious effort on his part to have left that all in. Maybe it adds even more to the mysteriousness of Chalker himself.. Either way, I love its organic quality and the outstanding playing by the entire band.

Does anyone have any stories on this one, or an existing photo? It'd be great to keep this obsession even more unhealthy.

Thanks for reading-

Michael Harrington
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 29 Jan 2018 10:54 pm     Re: Question on Curly Chalker's Big Hits on Big Steel Record Reply with quote

Michael Harrington wrote:
Does anyone have any background info regarding this session.....Does anyone have any stories on this one, or an existing photo?


Photo of what?

April 1966 Starday Sound Studio, 3557 Dickerson Road, Nashville, TN – Curly Chalker [steel], Jerry Shook [gt], Bobby Dyson/Billy Linneman [bass], Willie Ackerman/Jimmy Stewart [drums], Bill Pursell [piano]. Producer: Pete Drake
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Bill C. Buntin


Post Posted 30 Jan 2018 3:13 am     Reply with quote

Michael, that is a Curly Chalker attribute almost, I guess. The album that Tom Bradshaw produced "Nevada Breaks" was the same way. I think those studio ambiance noises are just the players having a good time while they recorded. For instance on Nevada Breaks you can even hear people hollering, woohoo! Like exclamations.

Personally, I've always thought because Curly was such an "explosive" and sometimes unpredictable player that much of this was just reactionary. I seem to recall reading where a lot of that is even Curly himself. Apparently he would become quite vocal at times. Even his rides and backups, fills and things on commercial recordings, there tends to be an excitement at the point when Curly gets a hold of the band. Listen to his work with Hank Thompson.

I too share this Chalker obsession. I've listened over and over for years to everything I can find that has Curly. For me, it didn't take long to be able to recognize Curly's playing. He had a definite unique thing of his own. An incredibly fantastic musician.

~Bill~
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 30 Jan 2018 6:16 am     Re: Question on Curly Chalker's Big Hits on Big Steel Record Reply with quote

Michael Harrington wrote:
...For how much extra noise occurs in the background of some songs (ie. count offs, whispering voices, pedals of the guitar squeaking) it seems like it would have been a conscious effort on his part to have left that all in. Maybe it adds even more to the mysteriousness of Chalker himself...


I dunno. For me, that sort of stuff never mattered. I was always too dumbfounded by his playing to care about anything else.
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Michael Harrington


From:
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Post Posted 30 Jan 2018 10:35 am     Reply with quote

Mitch, I was curious if there were any photos of the session?

Bill, I'm unfamiliar with that recording. Now I have to start digging! I too imagined that the talking was due to Curly's personality, and maybe that's why Pete Drake left it in. Needless to say, all of it adds to the richness of the recording itself, making it that more special for listeners such as ourselves. It would be interesting to hear stories from the musicians who were hired for that session.

Michael Harrington
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robert kramer


From:
Nashville TN
Post Posted 30 Jan 2018 1:19 pm     Reply with quote

I share this obsession.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post Posted 30 Jan 2018 4:35 pm     Reply with quote

funny, I was just researching pianist Bill Pursell after marveling at his playing on the Emmons black album. didn't realize that's him on the Chalker album also.

never really noticed the extraneous noise on Big Hits, it's surprising how much stuff like that was able to slip by. there's several examples of chatter or coughing on some pretty big records.
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Roger Shackelton


From:
MINNESOTA
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 1:13 am     Reply with quote

The thing that makes this recording unique is that Curly was using A FENDER 2000 PSG. ON THIS SESSION.

ROGER
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Bill C. Buntin


Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 2:29 pm     Reply with quote

Roger I always thought Curly was using that Sho Bud Fingertip that is in the picture on the album cover? I didn't know it was a 2000.

Michael, the Nevada Breaks was a project by tom bradshaw. I don't remember what year. Mid 80's when Curly and his wife lived in Vegas (I think). I think i remember some of the players on that session. Bobby Gill?, JR Landau? I would have to look up the rest. Curly's wife, Karma had one track on the Album. She covered The Gatlins' "Houston", and I thought it was a great recording.

I talked to Tom Bradshaw a few years back and asked if he would re-issue Nevada Breaks on Digital. I think it was released only on cassette tape. It was like a steel guitar music share club deal. There were other artists and albums in that series.

Before Scotty passed away, we spoke about a new release on "More ways to Play" Scotty had the masters for that album (I think).

I need to dig some more myself. There is a lot of stuff that Curly was on. It just take s a lot of time for me to search it out.

I would like to see ALL of Curly's work in digital.

I've made my own digital recordings from LPs and Cassette for my own use. But would really like to have remastered digital. I think it would be great. Its probably not practical. I don't really know. I'm not a producer obviously, I just love Curly's playing!!
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 6:42 pm     Reply with quote

O.K., well, you sold me. Due to my somewhat oblique path into the steel guitar, or at least obliqiuer than some - what should I buy? I mean like I didn't grow up worshipping Rusty Young, Buddy Emmons etc. I was just mad that my stupid slide guitar wouldn't DO some really cool things I had in mind. SO "Curley Chalker" is just a name to me at this point, what's the primo stuff? I do recall that Chalker had a reputation as the life of the party, so I guess maybe I possibly need some warnings about stinkers, too? Thnax!
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 6:55 pm     Reply with quote

David Mason wrote:
what's the primo stuff?


Most swoon over his instrumental recordings. "Big chords" and all that.

I just checked. I have kept only 2 of his instrumentals not shown in the pic below---Tenderly and Long Black Limousine.

But I kept a lot of his backups to vocalists. Just my personal taste--I've rejected more than I've kept.


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Bill Cunningham


From:
Atlanta, Ga. USA
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 7:08 pm     Reply with quote

I think the Merle Travis album "Travis" is some of his best playing. https://www.discogs.com/Merle-Travis-Travis/release/3075238
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Bill Cunningham
Atlanta, GA
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 5 Feb 2018 2:07 pm     Reply with quote

David Mason wrote:
O.K., well, you sold me...what's the primo stuff?


Get the Chalker DVD that Mike Perlowin produced! And keep in mind that this stuff was made after he had a stroke, and when his health was starting to degrade. Don't get me wrong, it's great stuff...but sadly, it isn't him at his very best.

IMHO, he was an explosive and original player, truly one of the giants of the instrument.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 5 Feb 2018 2:50 pm     Reply with quote

For an FYI, because Mitch Drumm in his encyclopedic knowledge of pickers and their music, and I have noted in recent days of two of Hank Thompson's great musicians, Gil and Kermit Baca.

Gil and Kermit were Czech Texans, from the area around Fayetteville TX, basically half-way between Austin and Houston. Being Czech, their name was/is pronounced "BAH-cha." The Spanish surname Baca (spelled the same) is pronounced "BAH-kah." There is a Baca Road outside Columbus TX, and it's pronounced Czech-style.

I never met Kermit, but Gil still had a band up until the mid-2000s, playing Czech, German, and "old-time" music; waltzes, polkas, stuff like that, and some country. I did a gig with him backing Hank when HT would hire Gil's band as a single, plus me on steel since Hank knew me. I always intended to interview Gil extensively about his time with Hank, but we only had a few reminiscences. Gil passed away in 2008.
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Mark Moseley


From:
Brady,Texas, USA
Post Posted 9 Feb 2018 7:09 pm     Reply with quote

I thought Bee Gee Cruser was the piano player on Big Hits on Big Steel. gosh, I miss that guy!
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Russ Wever


From:
Kansas City
Post Posted 11 Feb 2018 8:58 pm     Reply with quote

Mark Moseley wrote:
I thought Bee Gee Cruser was
the piano player on Big Hits on
Big Steel. gosh, I miss that guy!


Bill Purcell played on 'BHoBS' . . .
Beegie Cruser is not hardly a
guy, she is now ~> Beegie Adair
Beegie played piano on
'More Ways To Play'.
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Mark Wayne


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post Posted 11 Feb 2018 9:09 pm     Reply with quote

Michael,

How refreshing is it to hear this 'noise' while we listen to the recordings of Curly. As a full-time producer, most people don't even want a breath or even a guitar squeak in their songs that I produce for them. In my opinion they are missing out, but it's their album...
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