On This Day #11 – Jimmy Martin’s first session for Decca

On This Day ………

On May 9, 1956 Jimmy Martin had his first recording session for Decca Records.

At an afternoon session at Bradley Studio, 804 16th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee, Jimmy Martin recorded four songs Before the Sun Goes Down, Skip Hop and Wobble, You’ll Be a Lost Ball, and Hit Parade of Love.

Supporting Martin [lead vocal/guitar] at the session were Porky Hutchins [baritone vocal/banjo], Earl Taylor (tenor vocal/mandolin), Howard Watts (Cedric Rainwater), playing bass, and Tommy Vaden [fiddle].

The producer was Paul Cohen.

According to the notes by Chris Skinker for the 4-CD Bear Family box-set (BCD 15705), Hit Parade of Love “proved to be a good follow-up to the success Martin enjoyed with Save It! Save It! and 20/20 Vision,” recorded with the Osborne brothers in November 1954. Skinker went on to say,

“The song did well for Martin on the regional charts. You’ll Be a Lost Ball was written by Detroit-area factory worker Johnny ‘Pete’ Gobel <sic Goble>. Many bluegrass enthusiasts are familiar with his songwriting, as he has provided a number of songs for singer-guitarist Larry Sparks among others. Although Martin’s name appears as co-writer, Gobel wrote the bulk of the number. It was a common and accepted practice in the music business during this time for a recording artist to cut in on a number for simply recording the piece. However dishonest the practice might appear today, it was considered by some to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. A struggling songwriter was able to gain much needed exposure and the artist had high-quality recordable material. An added benefit to the recording artist who shared in the writer’s credit was additional income. According to Martin, who placed many songs with Decca-owned Champion Music, a $100.00 bonus was awarded for each song published with the company – an incentive for any musician at that time.”

She added …

Hit Parade of Love was released November 12, 1956, and received some favorable reviews in the trade magazines.”

Martin’s name is included in the credits for Skip Hop and Wobble and You’ll Be a Lost Ball, while Before the Sun Goes Down was credited to Vernon Claude and Jerry Organ.

Discographical Note

  • 89994/NA 9375 Before the Sun Goes Down DL 4016 BCD 15705
  • 89995/NA 9376 Skip Hop and Wobble 9-30493/DL 4285 BCD 15705
  • 89996/NA 9377 You’ll Be a Lost Ball 9-30118/DL 4996 BCD 15705
  • 89997/NA 9378 Hit Parade of Love 9-30118/DL 4285 BCD 15705

As can be seen, Before the Sun Goes Down was not released on a single.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.