Early Jimmie B. INFO.....

Posted by TJ on April 04, 1999 at 08:36:06:

In Reply to: Some News on James Burton (must read for Burton fans) posted by Telecaster Bill on April 03, 1999 at 22:16:02:

Bill and others,

A lot of folks out there think that Dale Hawkins' 'Suzie Q' is the first record James. ever recorded. However, the first record I have ever heard featuring James is a country record by one Carol Williams called 'Just For A While' / 'You Never Mention My Name' on Ram records out of Shreveport. Burton is all over it, it's insane. He would never play that much again. Other than James' efforts it's a throwaway record. Norton Records out of NYC issued an earlier acetate of 'Suzie Q' a litle while back, with way different solos as on the original release. Although the sound quality is extremely rough, Burton SMOKES!!!

Before James joined Ricky Nelson, he played on dozens of great rockabilly records. My favourite is the never officially released 'Worried 'bout You Baby' by brother in law Maylon Humphries. Although some of this stuff is pretty hard to find, most of it has been reissued, legally and on bootlegs, and is still out there. A great CD featuring some pristine early Burton is the excellent and readily available Bob Luman compilation Bear Family put out including 'Red Hot', James' not to mention Luman's wildest moment ever).

It's a well known and well documented fact that James played and recorded a lot of great stuff with Bob Luman after he left Hawkins right around '57, but I think he recorded prior to that with Luman. When I asked him, he didn't remember for sure. There are a couple of acetates from Luman probably recorded in 55 at Jim Shell's studio in Dallas, that I think feature James.

Of course as usual, there are many unsolved mysteries and contoversies surrounding these acetates. The exact recording date remains unclear and the band that gets credit for being the back-up band (fellow TX Rockabilly Mac Curtis' ban ) is IMHO definitely not on there. My suspicion was kinda confirmed when a little while ago 2 "new" tracks from these sessions turned up, one of them being the instrumental (a 3rd version) of 'The Creep', that James played with Luman's back-up band the Shadows in the low budget 1957 RnR flick 'Carnival Rock'. A must see, the song 'This Is The Night', is my all time favourite Luman/Burton moment. James looks and plays too cool and he's only 17!!! For all you fanatics out there, it shouldn't be to hard to find.

Of other interest of all you Burton freaks (if any), might be the 2 'Rockin' at Town Hall' (RFD CD 06) and 'Town Hall Party' (RFD CD 15) live CD's that the Country Routes label put out several years back. Altogether there are only 3 tracks featuring Burton, but they are HOTTER THAN UHM..... Well it is Sunday and Easter, so I won't say hell!!! One track is James doing Travis' 'Cannonball Rag', and this has to be heard to be believed. The other 2 tracks are with Luman and are equally brilliant. Another duo of cool live CD's featuring some Luman with Burton are the 'Honky Tonk Rockabillies' on the Cotton label, including a rompin' version of 'Maybellene'.