Steelin It: The Steel Guitar Story

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
Steelin' It is Proper's four-CD anthology devoted to the rise of the steel guitar in popular music. More than 40 different steel guitarists are heard on 100 historic recordings dating from the years 1925-1957. Rather than attempting a full multi-genre retrospective which would have to include the instrument's evolution as a prominent voice in African-American blues music, the producers confined the focus to Hawaiian steel guitarists and the Caucasian country & western swing players who in many cases drew inspiration directly from the Polynesians. This compilation was designed for casual listening, with heaps of data provided for the curious or historically inclined. ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
Steelin' It is Proper's four-CD anthology devoted to the rise of the steel guitar in popular music. More than 40 different steel guitarists are heard on 100 historic recordings dating from the years 1925-1957. Rather than attempting a full multi-genre retrospective which would have to include the instrument's evolution as a prominent voice in African-American blues music, the producers confined the focus to Hawaiian steel guitarists and the Caucasian country & western swing players who in many cases drew inspiration directly from the Polynesians. This compilation was designed for casual listening, with heaps of data provided for the curious or historically inclined. Although Adam Komorowski's liner notes are copious and informative, those who wish to examine the documentary evidence may find it somewhat challenging to coordinate the chronologically calibrated discography with the selections which are laid out on a time line that jumps all over the place. Proper has assembled an enjoyable procession of recording artists that ranges from Sol Hoopii playing lap steel guitar with an old-fashioned Hawaiian trio to Billy Williamson manhandling pedal steel with Bill Haley & His Comets. Between those two extremes are packed enough toe-tapping tunes to fix up anybody's morning, afternoon, or evening. The first disc is dedicated to the early Hawaiian masters of steel guitar and to those who adopted their style and technique. A Hawaiian named Joseph Kekuku is said to have been the first to vary the pitch of a guitar in this manner, back in 1889. For a slide he at first used a discarded steel bolt, then the blade of a knife. Kekuku brought his technique to California in 1904 and spent years teaching others how to handle guitars Hawaiian style, touring extensively on both sides of the Atlantic. This type of music became popular during the '20s through the efforts of Sol Hoopii, Andy Sannella, Frank Ferera, and King Bennie Nawahi. The attractive sounds of steel guitar mingled nicely with the broadening currents of jazz, as demonstrated with choice cuts by Sam Ku West and multi-instrumentalist Roy Smeck, as well as Bluebird duets by Robert Pauole and James Holstein, who were billed as the Genial Hawaiians. This collection also contains evidence of Kekuku's influence in Europe, for Segis Luvaun's records were cut in Berlin, David S. Kanui's in Paris, and Tau Moe's in Copenhagen. For a more extensive and thoroughly Hawaiian selection of music from this period, go directly to Proper's amazing box set With My Little Ukulele in My Hand. Steel guitarists of the late '30s who should have been represented on Steelin' It but aren't include Ceele Burke, who recorded with Fats Waller in December 1937, and Casey Bill Weldon, an African-American whose legacy appears to be permanently trapped between genres as his tendency to sound like a western swing player has caused him to be marginalized as a bluesman. Disc two focuses upon four steel guitarists who helped to establish the instrument as a staple in country music and western swing. Bob Dunn, who named jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden as a primary influence, is designated as the first steel guitarist to have introduced jazz licks into this genre of music. He was also one of the first to electrically amplify his instrument; the idea took hold of him after he encountered an African-American guitarist who employed a rudimentary amplifier while performing at Coney Island. Noel Boggs, the first person to record with a Fender steel guitar, used ideas and techniques borrowed from his friend, jazz guitar virtuoso Charlie Christian. Leon McAuliffe, one of several western swing steel guitarists who studied Hawaiian guitar as a boy, is best known for his work with Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. McAuliffe is credited as the composer of "Steel Guitar Rag" even though Kentuckian Sylvester Weaver recorded the root melody as "Guitar Rag" in 1923 and again in 1927. (Weaver, incidentally, was the first African-American musician to make a blues record.) McAuliffe probably snatched the tune from a 1930 cover recording by a Caucasian duo billed as Harvey & Johnson; garnished with a bit of "On the Beach at Waikiki," it became "Steel Guitar Rag," a lucrative staple of the western swing repertoire. Oddly (and infuriatingly), Komorowski ignores all forensic evidence and quotes a flimsy statement by McAuliffe's manager to substantiate the claim that McAuliffe invented the tune out of thin air in 1936, thirteen years after Weaver made his first recording of it. Disc two closes with a cluster of titles by Theron Eugene "Ted" Daffan, a Louisiana-born Texas bandleader and steel guitarist with a knack for the blues. The rest of this encyclopedic anthology is crammed with entertaining performances featuring quite a posse of steel guitarists in a variety of settings. Billy Briggs, heard on "Panhandle Shuffle" and the hit record "Sally's Got a Wooden Leg," maintained good working relationships with African-American musicians. Like Big Joe Williams, Briggs used a nine-string guitar. Don Helms accompanies Hank Williams during "Settin' the Woods on Fire"; Speedy West does the "Stratosphere Boogie," and Shot Jackson backs Webb Pierce on "I Need You like I Need a Hole in the Head." Coincidentally, it was Bud Isaacs who introduced the pedal steel guitar to country music on a Webb Pierce recording session in 1953. Isaacs is heard on this set backing Little Jimmy Dickens, and resurfaces alongside Chet Atkins on Terry Fell's "Wham! Bam! Hot Ziggity Zam."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/22/2008
  • Label: Proper Box Uk
  • UPC: 805520021425
  • Catalog Number: 142

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Slidin' on the Frets (3:28)
  2. 2 Iniki Malie (3:04)
  3. 3 Wai O Minnehaha (2:52)
  4. 4 Black Boy Blues (2:58)
  5. 5 Farewell Blues (3:01)
  6. 6 The Memphis Blues (2:54)
  7. 7 St Louis Blues (2:30)
  8. 8 Honolulu Stomp (3:06)
  9. 9 Hawaiian Capers - King Nawahi Hawaiians (2:57)
  10. 10 My Best Girl - Waikiki Hawaiian Trio (2:46)
  11. 11 Wela-Ka-Hao (2:53)
  12. 12 Ua Like No a Like (2:37)
  13. 13 Blues of the Guitar (2:59)
  14. 14 Honolulu March (2:47)
  15. 15 Hawaiian Melody - Hawaiian Beach Combers (2:39)
  16. 16 Kalima Waltz - Roy Smeck (2:50)
  17. 17 Saint Louis Blues - The Genial Hawaiians (2:54)
  18. 18 By the Waters of Minnetonka - The Genial Hawaiians (2:41)
  19. 19 An Orange Grove in California (3:04)
  20. 20 Oh Lady Be Good (3:10)
  21. 21 Guitarese - Roy Smeck & His Hawaiian Serenaders (2:33)
  22. 22 Slippery Fingers - Roy Smeck & His Hawaiian Serenaders (3:20)
  23. 23 Limehouse Blues - Roy Smeck & His Hawaiian Serenaders (2:43)
  24. 24 Hula Blues - Tau Moe & His Original Hawaiians (2:53)
  25. 25 Rhythm of the Island - Tau Moe & His Original Hawaiians (2:30)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Takin' Off - Milton Brown & His Brownies (2:53)
  2. 2 I Found a New Baby (2:53)
  3. 3 Takin' Off (2:33)
  4. 4 Stompin' at the Honky Tonk (2:38)
  5. 5 Kelly Swing - Cliff Bruner (3:10)
  6. 6 Jitterbug Jive - Bill Boyd's Cowboy Ramblers (2:54)
  7. 7 Don't Ever Go Wrong - Sons of Dixie (3:04)
  8. 8 Dust off That Old Piano - Roy Newman (2:35)
  9. 9 Stay a Little Longer - Bob Wills (2:48)
  10. 10 Texas Playboy Rag - Bob Wills (2:39)
  11. 11 Bogg's Boogie - Spade Cooley (2:46)
  12. 12 The Daughter of Jole Blon' - Johnny Bond (2:39)
  13. 13 Spadella - Spade Cooley (2:38)
  14. 14 Steel Guitar Stomp - Hank Penny (2:52)
  15. 15 Steel Guitar Stomp - Bob Wills (2:38)
  16. 16 Steel Guitar Rag - Bob Wills (2:35)
  17. 17 Steel Guitar Rag - Leon McAuliffe (2:44)
  18. 18 Twin Guitar Boogie - Leon McAuliffe (3:04)
  19. 19 Take It Away, Leon! - Leon McAuliffe (3:11)
  20. 20 Train Whistle Blues - Shelly Lee Alley (2:32)
  21. 21 I've Got the Blues #2 - Shelly Lee Alley (2:22)
  22. 22 Down at the Roadside Inn - Al Dexter (2:54)
  23. 23 Blue Steel Blues - Ted Daffan (2:40)
  24. 24 Weary Steel Blues - Ted Daffan (2:48)
  25. 25 Car Hop's Blues - Ted Daffan (2:24)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Mean Mama Blues - Charles Mitchell (2:53)
  2. 2 Panhandle Shuffle (2:26)
  3. 3 Sally's Got a Wooden Leg (2:47)
  4. 4 Juke Box Jump - The Hi-Flyers (2:38)
  5. 5 Steeling the Blues - Leodie Jackson (2:49)
  6. 6 Double Crossin' Mama - Leodie Jackson (2:44)
  7. 7 Steel Guitar Rag - Spade Cooley (2:46)
  8. 8 Texas Steel Guitar - Spade Cooley (2:37)
  9. 9 John's Other Wife - Johnny Bond (2:32)
  10. 10 I Won't Stand in Your Way - Johnny Bond (2:43)
  11. 11 So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed - Ernest Tubb (2:54)
  12. 12 Don't Look Now (But Your Broken Heart Is Showing) - Ernest Tubb (3:08)
  13. 13 Masters Dessau Waltz (3:01)
  14. 14 Down in New Orleans - Xit Boys (2:48)
  15. 15 Pretty Baby Boogie - Xit Boys (2:32)
  16. 16 Steel Guitar Bounce - Lone Star Cowboys (2:31)
  17. 17 Steel Guitar Hop - Cecil Campbell (2:25)
  18. 18 Campbell's Steel Guitar Special - Cecil Campbell (2:41)
  19. 19 This Is Southland - Les Anderson (3:05)
  20. 20 And I Shook - Les Anderson (2:41)
  21. 21 Steel Guitar Boogie (3:02)
  22. 22 Safety Pin Rag - Merl Lindsay & His Oklahoma Nite Riders (2:44)
  23. 23 Slidin' Steel - Merl Lindsay & His Oklahoma Nite Riders (3:03)
  24. 24 Hot Steel - Tiny Murphy & His Bar 69 Boys (2:57)
  25. 25 I've Just Got to See You Once More (3:17)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Herbie's Steel Guitar Polka (2:47)
  2. 2 Remington Ride - Hank Penny (2:41)
  3. 3 I Need You Like a Hole in the Head - Shot Jackson (2:01)
  4. 4 Steeling the Mood - Shot Jackson (2:40)
  5. 5 I Don't Care Anymore (2:56)
  6. 6 Be Sure You Know - George Morgan (3:01)
  7. 7 Mexican Joe - Billy Walker (2:41)
  8. 8 Speedin' West - Speedy West (2:03)
  9. 9 Stratosphere Boogie - Speedy West (2:12)
  10. 10 Settin' the Woods on Fire - Hank Williams & the Drifting Cowboys (2:36)
  11. 11 Fire on the Strings - Joe Maphis (2:38)
  12. 12 Peepin' Eyes (2:14)
  13. 13 I've Been Deceived (2:43)
  14. 14 Where Do We Go from Here? (2:16)
  15. 15 Uncertain Love (2:13)
  16. 16 Gonna Rom and Stomp (2:21)
  17. 17 A Booger Gonna Getcha (2:29)
  18. 18 A Beggar for Your Love (2:34)
  19. 19 Shame on You (2:09)
  20. 20 I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die (2:08)
  21. 21 Looky There, Over There (2:13)
  22. 22 That's the Way the Big Ball Bounces - Terry Fell (2:10)
  23. 23 Wham! Bam! Hot, Ziggity, Zam - Terry Fell (2:04)
  24. 24 I Ain't Gettin' Nowhere with You (2:19)
  25. 25 Is It True What They Say About Dixie? (2:21)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Buddy Emmons Steel Guitar
Chet Atkins Electric Guitar
Bill Boyd Guitar
Floyd Cramer Piano
Little Jimmy Dickens Guitar, Vocals
Hank Garland Electric Guitar
Jimmy Heap Guitar
Joe Maphis Guitar, Mandolin
George Morgan Vocals
Moon Mullican Piano, Vocals
Les Taylor Piano
Merle Travis Guitar
Johnnie Lee Wills Banjo
Faron Young Vocals
Sol Hoopii Steel Guitar
Charlie Feathers Guitar, Vocals
Bill Haley Rhythm Guitar
Jimmy Wyble Electric Guitar
Knocky Parker Piano
Mitch Miller Piano
Onie Wheeler Guitar, Vocals
Leon McAuliffe Steel Guitar
Noel Boggs Steel Guitar
Cecil Campbell Steel Guitar
Jimmy Day Steel Guitar
Bobby Grove Trumpet
Don Helms Steel Guitar
Cousin Herb Henson Guitar
Rose Lee Maphis Guitar
Grady Martin Guitar
Leon Payne Guitar
Hank Penny Guitar, Vocals
Marvin Rainwater Vocals
Cliffie Stone Bass
Billy Strange Guitar
Ernest Tubb Guitar, Vocals
Speedy West Guitar, Steel Guitar
Charles Wright Bass
Johnny Bond Guitar, Vocals
King Bennie Nawahi Steel Guitar
Roy Smeck Steel Guitar
Shot Jackson Steel Guitar
Spade Cooley Fiddle
Gordon Terry Fiddle
Al Dexter Mandolin, Vocals
Melvin Endsley Vocals
Tau Moe Steel Guitar, Vocals
Cliff Bruner Fiddle
Ted Adams Bass
Shelly Lee Alley Fiddle, Vocals
Herman Arnspiger Guitar
Jesse Ashlock Fiddle
Franny Beecher Guitar
Alex Brashear Trumpet
Clyde Brewer Fiddle
Billy Briggs Steel Guitar, Vocals
Bill Cantrell Fiddle
Arlie Carter Piano
Floyd Chance Bass
Quinton Claunch Guitar
Ray DeGeer Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
William Diehl Bass
Jack Drake Bass
Tommy Duncan Vocals
Ray Edenton Guitar
Joseph Edwards Guitar
Stan Ellison Guitar, Accordion
Terry Fell Guitar, Vocals
Frank Ferera Steel Guitar
Hymie Gunkler Clarinet
Mike Hanapi Steel Guitar, Vocals
Buddy Harman Drums
Roy Harte Drums
Buck Henson Bass
Cameron Hill Electric Guitar
John Hughey Steel Guitar
Tim Hunt Fiddle
Tommy Jackson Fiddle
Sleepy Johnson Guitar
William Kalama Ukulele, Vocals
Millard Kelso Piano
Stan Kesler Steel Guitar
Buddy Killen Bass
Don Law Washboard
Cal Maddox Guitar
Rose Maddox Guitar, Vocals
Lani McIntire Guitar
Jim Milan Trumpet
Charlie Morgan Rhythm Guitar
Monte Mountjoy Drums
Dave Kaleipua Munson Guitar, Vocals
Bob Nawahine Guitar, Vocals
Webb Pierce Vocals
Herb Remington Steel Guitar
Al Rex Bass
Dusty Rhodes Fiddle, Vocals
Smokey Rogers Rhythm Guitar
Frank Scott Tenor Saxophone
Ralph Smith Piano
Everett Stover Trumpet
Billy Stranger Guitar
Al Stricklin Piano
Brad Suggs Guitar
Marcus Van Story Bass
Billy Joe Walker Jr. Guitar, Vocals
John Weiss Guitar
Hank Williams Guitar, Vocals
Al Williams Bass
Bob Wills Fiddle
Billy Wright Fiddle
J.B. Brinkley Guitar
Cecil Brower Fiddle
Joe Holley Fiddle
Ocie Stockard Banjo
Wayne Benson Bass
Muddy Berry Drums
Hezzie Bryant Bass
Buddy Buller Guitar
Jerry Byrd Steel Guitar
Fred "Papa" Calhoun Piano
Woody Carter Fiddle
Wanna Coffman Bass
Farris Coursey Drums
Ted Daffan Steel Guitar
Pedro DePaul Accordion
Johnny Grande Piano
Holly Horton Clarinet
Marvin Hughes Piano
Ish Irwin Bass
Chuck Keeshan Guitar
Walter Kirkes Tenor Banjo
Dickie McBride Guitar
Marvin Montgomery Tenor Banjo
Jack Moran Bass
Bill Mounce Bass
Kenneth Pitts Fiddle
Gus Plant Guitar
Dale Potter Fiddle
Leo Raley Mandolin
Dick Reinhart Mandolin
Sonny Rogers Drums
Andrew Schroeder Steel Guitar
Leon Selph Fiddle
Andrew Soldi Fiddle
Billy Williamson Steel Guitar
Roy Newman Piano
Jack Shook Rhythm Guitar
Morris Billington Piano
Gene Crownover Steel Guitar
Billy Liebert Piano
Rudy Martin Tenor Saxophone
Zeb McNally Saxophone
Andy Secrest Trumpet
Willie Wells Bass
Les Anderson Steel Guitar, Vocals
Sheldon Bennett Electric Guitar
Buck Buchanan Fiddle
Bob Dunn Steel Guitar
Buster Ferguson Guitar
Tillman Franks Bass
Jerry Irby Guitar
Bud Isaacs Steel Guitar
Darrell Kirkpatrick Fiddle, Mandolin
Jimmie Meek Bass
Loren Mitchell Piano
Doye O'Dell Guitar
Floyd Robinson Guitar
Elmer Scarborough Guitar (Tenor)
Paul Sells Accordion
Deuce Spriggins Bass
Pat Trotter Fiddle
Wesley Tuttle Guitar
Bob Moore & His Orchestra Bass
Joaquin Murphy Steel Guitar
Jerry Adler Harmonica
Stan Puls Bass
Jimmy Self Rhythm Guitar
Ralph "Lefty" Nason Steel Guitar
Jimmy Pruett Piano
Jack Rivers Guitar
Marion Z. "Pee Wee" Adams Drums
Jabbo Arrington Electric Guitar
Lonnie Austin Piano
Jimmie Short Electric Guitar
Leon Short Rhythm Guitar
Red Taylor Fiddle
Cotton Collins Bass
Andy Sannella Steel Guitar
Luther Roundtree Guitar
Billy Hill Fiddle, Viola
Slim Rhodes Guitar
Eddie Bennett Piano
Charlie Adams Bass
Horace Barnett Fiddle, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Johnny Thames Tenor Banjo
Vince Incardona Tenor Banjo
Dickie Jones Fiddle
Cecil "Butterball" Harris Steel Guitar
John F. Freddie Haynes Piano
Jess Williams Bass, Guitar
Jo Ella Wright Piano
Landon Beaver Piano
Spike Featherstone Harp
Tex Swaim Guitar
Frank Beaty Wilson Steel Guitar
Joe Ferguson Bass
Earl Singers Brown Guitar
Tommy Bishop Guitar
Benny Garcia Guitar
Clarence Bailey Fiddle, Vocals
Homer Bean Bass
Ralph Jones Band Drums
Mike Hugo Piano
Arthur Duhon Guitar, Vocals
Mildred Springer Bass
George Weldon Allard Guitar
Buddy Attaway Guitar
Harold Hugh Ehrmann Saxophone
Henry Hill Fiddle
Leodie Jackson Steel Guitar
Red Greenhaw Guitar
Jim Hewlett Trumpet
Tommy Sargent Steel Guitar
Junior Huskey Bass
Tony Sepolio Fiddle
Anthony "Tony" Scanlin Clarinet, Piano
Chester "Chet" Miller Bass
Buddy Dooley Bass
Hamlet Booker Guitar
Morris Booker Mandolin
Lucky Carlisle Guitar
Jimmy Hally Fiddle
Lew Frisby Bass
Bill Glendenning Bass
George Bambi Accordion
Kenny Smith & The Loveliters Electric Guitar
Kenneth VanFleet Vocals
Frank Buckley Accordion
Joel Tyrus Price Bass
Bob Armstrong Piano
Harry Sorenson Accordion
Marianne Hall Steel Guitar
Sam Ku West Steel Guitar
Benny Jr. Garcia Electric Guitar
Jesse "Slick" Robertson Tenor Banjo
King Nawahi Hawaiians Steel Guitar
Segis Luvaun Steel Guitar
Bill Edwards Fiddle
Jim Boyd Guitar
Teddy Adams Bass
Jimmy Hall & the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Collective Fiddle, Vocals
Spider Wilson Guitar
Bill Wardle Piano
Sock Underwood Guitar, Vocals
Leslie Greenwood Ukulele
Red Heron Fiddle
Bob Herrick Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Arvin Shanks Piano
James Holstein Guitar
Henry Hunt Fiddle
James Kohono Guitar
Wallace Aaron Ruth Saxophone
Spec Rhodes Bass
Dottie Rhodes Moore Vocals
Robert D. Reidel Saxophone
Cotton Plant Bass
Tom Pickens Electric Guitar
Robert Pauole Steel Guitar
John Paaluhi Guitar
George Ogg Clarinet
John M. Mountjoy Drums
Glenwood Leslie Ukulele
Gerald "Buster" Magness Steel Guitar
Ernest Manase Guitar
Stan Walker Guitar
Technical Credits
Little Jimmy Dickens Composer
Merle Travis Composer
W.C. Handy Composer
Leon McAuliffe Composer
Cliffie Stone Composer
Speedy West Composer
Johnny Bond Composer
Spade Cooley Composer
Irving Caesar Composer
Quinton Claunch Composer
Tommy Duncan Composer
Rose Maddox Composer
Herb Remington Composer
Fred Rose Composer
Ralph Smith Composer
Bob Wills Composer
Les Anderson Composer
Mae Boren Axton Composer
Bob Dunn Composer
Mitchell Torok Composer
Adam Komorowski Liner Notes, Annotation
Gerald Marks Composer
Sammy Lerner Composer
Vic McAlpin Composer
Glenn Reeves Composer
Jack Toombs Composer
Eddie Cherkose Composer
Paul Westmoreland Composer
Andy Sannella Composer
Traditional Composer
Segis Luvaun Composer
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