Steelin It: The Steel Guitar Story

Steelin It: The Steel Guitar Story



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."

Product Details

Release Date: 04/22/2008
Label: Proper Box Uk
UPC: 0805520021425
catalogNumber: 142


Disc 1

  1. Slidin' on the Frets
  2. Iniki Malie
  3. Wai O Minnehaha
  4. Black Boy Blues
  5. Farewell Blues
  6. The Memphis Blues
  7. St Louis Blues
  8. Honolulu Stomp
  9. Hawaiian Capers
  10. My Best Girl
  11. Wela-Ka-Hao
  12. Ua Like No a Like
  13. Blues of the Guitar
  14. Honolulu March
  15. Hawaiian Melody
  16. Kalima Waltz
  17. Saint Louis Blues
  18. By the Waters of Minnetonka
  19. An Orange Grove in California
  20. Oh Lady Be Good
  21. Guitarese
  22. Slippery Fingers
  23. Limehouse Blues
  24. Hula Blues
  25. Rhythm of the Island

Disc 2

  1. Takin' Off
  2. I Found a New Baby
  3. Takin' Off
  4. Stompin' at the Honky Tonk
  5. Kelly Swing
  6. Jitterbug Jive
  7. Don't Ever Go Wrong
  8. Dust off That Old Piano
  9. Stay a Little Longer
  10. Texas Playboy Rag
  11. Bogg's Boogie
  12. The Daughter of Jole Blon'
  13. Spadella
  14. Steel Guitar Stomp
  15. Steel Guitar Stomp
  16. Steel Guitar Rag
  17. Steel Guitar Rag
  18. Twin Guitar Boogie
  19. Take It Away, Leon!
  20. Train Whistle Blues
  21. I've Got the Blues #2
  22. Down at the Roadside Inn
  23. Blue Steel Blues
  24. Weary Steel Blues
  25. Car Hop's Blues

Disc 3

  1. Mean Mama Blues
  2. Panhandle Shuffle
  3. Sally's Got a Wooden Leg
  4. Juke Box Jump
  5. Steeling the Blues
  6. Double Crossin' Mama
  7. Steel Guitar Rag
  8. Texas Steel Guitar
  9. John's Other Wife
  10. I Won't Stand in Your Way
  11. So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed
  12. Don't Look Now (But Your Broken Heart Is Showing)
  13. Masters Dessau Waltz
  14. Down in New Orleans
  15. Pretty Baby Boogie
  16. Steel Guitar Bounce
  17. Steel Guitar Hop
  18. Campbell's Steel Guitar Special
  19. This Is Southland
  20. And I Shook
  21. Steel Guitar Boogie
  22. Safety Pin Rag
  23. Slidin' Steel
  24. Hot Steel
  25. I've Just Got to See You Once More

Disc 4

  1. Herbie's Steel Guitar Polka
  2. Remington Ride
  3. I Need You Like a Hole in the Head
  4. Steeling the Mood
  5. I Don't Care Anymore
  6. Be Sure You Know
  7. Mexican Joe
  8. Speedin' West
  9. Stratosphere Boogie
  10. Settin' the Woods on Fire
  11. Fire on the Strings
  12. Peepin' Eyes
  13. I've Been Deceived
  14. Where Do We Go from Here?
  15. Uncertain Love
  16. Gonna Rom and Stomp
  17. A Booger Gonna Getcha
  18. A Beggar for Your Love
  19. Shame on You
  20. I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die
  21. Looky There, Over There
  22. That's the Way the Big Ball Bounces
  23. Wham! Bam! Hot, Ziggity, Zam
  24. I Ain't Gettin' Nowhere with You
  25. Is It True What They Say About Dixie?

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
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
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
Rex   Bass
Dusty Rhodes   Fiddle,Vocals
Smokey Rogers   Rhythm Guitar
Frank Scott   Tenor Saxophone
Ralph Smith   Piano
Everett Stover   Trumpet
Billy Stranger   Guitar
Stricklin   Piano
Brad Suggs   Guitar
Marcus Van Story   Bass
Billy Joe Walker   Guitar,Vocals
John Weiss   Guitar
Hank Williams   Guitar,Vocals
Williams   Bass
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   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
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
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
Teddy Adams   Bass
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 and His Texas Playboys   Composer
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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