Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Houston Wells + Tabby Thomas + Jay Traynor

News has come through of the first music death of 2014 - that of 60s singer Houston Wells, who famously recorded for Joe Meek and was once photographed being ordered at the point of a shotgun to sign a contract. Whether jokingly or not I'm not sure.
I picked up a copy of this LP in June and wrote at the time:
'Houston Wells recorded a number of rather unconvincing country numbers including Shutters and Boards and, his biggest success, Only The Heartaches. This LP included a variety of country songs recorded originally by Johnny Horton, Hank Lochlin and Jimmy Dean, among others. Houston had a pretty good voice and the Joe Meek inspired backings added a degree of interest to these otherwise ordinary numbers.'
Thanks to Alan Lloyd for alerting me to another death on New Year's Day - that of Louisiana swamp
blues man Tabby Thomas. Tabby ran the Tabby's Blues Box club in Baton Rouge for many years where he often performed, as did other swamp blues artists such as Silas Hogan, Raful Neal and Henry Gray. His recordings for Excello made at J D Miller's studio in Crowley included Hoodoo Party and Popeye Train. Aged 84, he was the father of blues singer Chris Thomas King. Here's Tabby's obituary:

*** Now it's Jay Traynor who has died. He was the original lead singer of Jay and the Americans on their hit She Cried (later covered as He Cried by the Shangri-Las), before Jay Black took over as 'Jay'. Previously with the Mystics, he went on to record as a solo artist recording I Rise, I Fall and the Northern soul hit Up And Over.


At 10:21 am , Anonymous John S said...

Sad news about Houston Wells; I really liked his versions of 'Only The Heartaches' and 'North Wind'. it says on his bio that he was born in 1938 - I reckon he was a good 7-10 years older than he let on.

At 1:38 pm , Blogger Dave C said...

Sad news about Tabby Thomas. With others I visited the Blues Box in 1982. Apart from Silas Hogan, I don’t recall who else performed on the night. There was a review in the magazine Pickin’ The Blues, I believe. A number of years later I saw Tabby Thomas perform at the 100 Club, bought an LP and went backstage after the gig to get it signed. He was a very nice man.

At 6:57 pm , Blogger john marriott said...

Sad news indeed. Always a fan of Jay and the Americans and had written to Jay in the past. Met him at one of the Long Island doowop shows when he was singing with the Tokens. They let him do She cried which was fantastic. Spoke to him afterwards and he remembered our correspondence. Didn't have any copies of his Northern biggie left tho'. Again a very nice guy.


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