King of the Hillbilly Piano Players

As a 14 year old in 1968 I bought the lp By Request: More of the Greatest Live Show On Earth by Jerry Lee Lewis. Recorded in Panther Hall, Fort Worth, Texas on Sept 7, 1966. On side two Jerry Lee performed 2 country songs by artists "who inspired me as a kid in Ferriday", one was Hank (whom I'd heard of) and the other Moon Mullican. As Jerry Lee ripped through I'll Sail My Ship Alone it quickly dawned that I needed to hear more from this Moon fellow. Before long I picked up a London 45 of Jerry's Sun cut of the tune. Whilst it was easy to find stuff by Hank it proved impossible to get any by Moon.

Nuggets of information were gleaned from 70s fanzines like Kommotion, SMG, Rollin' Rock, Dan Coffey's lists and old copies of Boppin News. Eventually finances allowed me to subscribe to Lewis Scene and Fireball Mail (which is still going strong today). These Lewis fanzines helped enormously. However it was writings by Bill C Malone and Richard Kienzle that filled in the gaps. Today, thanks to their efforts, we know a lot more about Mr Mullican.

Strange to think as I write this in 1999 that Aubrey "Moon" Mullican would have celebrated his 90th birthday, and would "have made the bottles bounce on the tables"(as he once famously described his style) as he played in some Texan honky tonk. Aubrey was born to a farming family in the small rural community of Corrigan, Polk County, in east Texas on March 29th 1909. Bordering on Louisiana, Aubrey would have heard musical influences from both states in his formative years. The cajun influence would reap dividends later in his life.

The surrounding area was forested and logging was a major industry. The mainly black labourers would seek solace from their daily grind by rousing it up at the hard drinking juke joints that sprang up around the camps. Particularly popular were the raucous barrel house boogie woogie piano players as well as the gutbucket country blues guitar pickers. Joe Jones was a sharecropper working on the Mullicans farm and he taught 8 year old Aubrey some rudimentary blues licks on his guitar. The Mullicans were a very religious family and Mr Mullican senior paid $20 for a pump organ for his daughters to learn to play in church. However the blues smitten kid brother soon commandeered the instument, rapidly developing his driving keyboard style. No wonder the Killer felt great empathy for this cat.

Local legend says that the 14 year old Aubrey played piano in a cafe in Lufkin Texas (north of Corrigan) and walked out with $40 in tips bulging his pockets. After a row with his God fearing folks, Aubrey left home when he was 16 and thought playing piano in honky tonks preferable to breaking his back in a field under the hot Texan sun. Moon later recalled "the only place a piano playing kid like me could get work wasn't exactly high class. The ladies of the evening, who worked there , would come and set on the piano bench and fan me as I played." Names of long lost players like Buster Pickens and Cowboy Washington are said to have influenced the raw youngster setting out on the long road to fame.

No one is sure how he picked up the nickname Moon but it was whilst playing in Houston that he acquired it.

Here are some theories:
1) it came from Moonshine
2) it was because of the late hours he worked in clubs
3) he showed his bottom to Pat Boone's granny! (Ok I made that one up but what a great mental image!)

East Texas musicians heard cajun tunes, New Orleans and Chicago jazz, gospel, blues, hillbilly and pop. By the time Moon was in his 20s, Western Swing was the style sweeping through Texas. Musicians in seminal band the Light Crust Doughboys soon soon set up their own bands. For instance the hot bands of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys and Milton Brown. They packed out dances, gigs, clubs, poured out of the airwaves and on 78s played on jukeboxes or the family radiogram.

Bob Wills is the more famous but Milt Brown showed great foresight in promoting the piano to lead instrument instead of plonking away in the ensemble. Milt's Musical Brownies was a showcase for the keyboard talents of Fred Calhoun. Milt died tragically young in 1936, after catching pneumonia whilst being treated for a punctured lung after a car wreck, leaving behind great versions of Garbage Man Blues, Sittin' On Top Of The World(Mississippi Sheiks song) and Somebody's Been Using That Thing(Tampa Red song). White versions of black songs of course started way before the later Memphis explosion.

Fiddle player Cliff Bruner soon set up his own band, and as Fred Calhoun did not sing, he auditioned for a pianist/vocalist. It came down to a choice between Moon and a better musician but Moon's charming personality won him the gig. Moon had played in fiddler Leon Selph's Blue Ridge Playboys. Two original members went on to help develop the off shoot of western swing known as honky tonk. They were singer/guitarist Floyd Tillman and steelie Ted Daffan (writers of classics Slippin Around and Born To Lose respectively).

Writers Douglas B Greene and Bob Pinson evocatively describe the new style as "honky tonk, being birthed from western swing the mother, and the rise of the jukebox and the tavern as the father". Play me some of them Working Man Blues as Mr Haggard hollered decades later. Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers were the link between swing and honky tonk. Moon and the boys recorded in 1939 country's first truck driving anthem, Truck Driver's Blues(written by Ted Daffan). Other band members were Bob Dunn on steel, Dickie Mcbride guitar, Hezzie Brock bass and Will Raley on mandolin.

A fine mid price place to hear some of these bands is on the President cd Roots of RnR vol 7 Stompin At The Honky Tonk (PLCD 563) featuring many of artists mentioned earlier. The Wanderers are featured with and without Moon (and with and without Cliff, confusing isn't it?). Moon sings Rackin It Back here in fine style. A previous volume features him doing his classic Pipeliners Blues, both tunes recorded in Houston April 4 1940. From the same year the cd has Moon singing New Falling Rain Blues.

Cliff Bruner told Nick Tosches "When I left Milt Brown I hired Moon as my piano man. He developed his style, he'd call it "three finger style"(n.b. most other references call it "Two finger style!"). He didn't play very good when I hired him but he developed into a fine piano man, terrific showman. Later on, he and I had a band together for a few years, called it Cliff Bruner, Moon Mullican and the Show Boys." The war time ban on records lead to a falling back on live shows for income.

Moon was always in demand as a session player, he worked with the Sunshine Boys, Buddy Jones, Floyd Tilman, the Shelton Brothers, Jimmie Davis and the Modern Mountaineers. His peers knew a distinctive talent when they heard one. When the ambitious Jimmie (You Are My Sunshine) Davis entered politics in the 40s he got Moon to organise a band to play at his political rallies. Western Swing fiddle legend Johnny Gimble recalled that Moon's personality got him more votes than anything else. Moon and Cliff continued to work together through the war years. In 1944 Moon invested his savings in 10 jukeboxes but the IRS confiscated them when he refused to pay the tax due. Shades of the Killer again. The young Jim Reeves worked briefly as a sideman for Moon in Beaumont.

Grandpa Jones interviewed by Doug Greene recalled how he became a King recording artist. "In late 1943 Syd Nathan had a record shop close by radio station WLW, he called there one day and said he was starting a new label and asked if any of us were interested in recording for it. Some of us were, especially those who had not recorded before. One day Syd took Merle Travis and I up to Dayton to a studio he could use, he didn't own one yet and there weren't any in Cincinatti. I remember we recorded upstairs over a Wurlitzer Piano store. Later Syd asked us to think of a name for the label, we decided on King Records and Syd said yeah, King of 'em all!" Grandpa and Merle's efforts became the first King single as the Sheppard Brothers.

In 1946 Syd met Moon and signed him to a ten year recording contract. Syd was a proto Colonel Parker when it came to wheeling and dealing to his own advantage. The cigar chomping Nathan's label failed to promote Moon's first solo recording, King 565. So Lonesome Hearted Blues' failure was blamed on distributor problems (the curse of the independent labels). Moon recorded 16 songs featuring a mix of maudlin country ballads like When a Soldier Calls and Finds Nobody Home and more lively offerings like the great Shoot the Moon. The boyhood taste for cajun paid off big time, Moon recorded an altered version of Harry Choates classic Jole Blon as the New Jole Blon' with mock gibberish lyrics. This unlikely amalgam became a huge hit and firmly established King and Moon as contenders in the growing country boogie market. Moon now earned a gold disc, whether Syd gave him one is another matter! It must have taken a genius to come up with the follow up title Jole Blon's Sister, the new Moon (sorry!) fans lapped it up and it was a hit.

Bill C Malone in his ground breaking book Country Music USA describes Moon's King era thus "Moon revealed a vocal versatility that had scarcely been suspected in the bluesy and swing material in which he had earlier specialised. His piano playing remained his most distinguishing trait, ranging from a rather sedate style appropriate for romantic ballads to the aggresive, barrelhouse style perfected in the honky tonks and sporting houses of Houston and the Gulf Coast. Moon could still "make the bottles bounce on the tables" with an array of blues and boogie tunes which anticipated rock n roll, but he could sing honky tonk and sentimental tunes as convincingly as any singer of the period."

Following sessions were the usual mix, maudlin and movers. Moon's live shows focused on the good time uptempo boogies, whilst Syd ever with his eye on the dollar, wanted country weepers. Though to be fair he did encourage his country and r&b artists to record each others material (which of course kept the publishing in house). Back in 1939 Moon even ventured out to Hollywood for a rumoured film shot (can't find any info in my film books on Village Barn Dance, anyone out there know more?). He certainly recorded out there several times including a King session with legendary musicians Speedy West, Jimmy Bryant and Billy Strange.

The best cd currently available of this era is Ace's Moonshine Jamboree CDCHD 458, 23 prime Moon King Cuts.

Hey Mr Cotton Picker/ Leaving You With A Worried Mind/ What's the Matter With the Mill/ Pipeliner Blues/ Triflin Woman Blues/ Nine Tenths of the Tennessee River/ Cherokee Boogie/ All I Need Is You/ I'll Sail My Ship Alone/ Good Deal Lucille/ Moonshine Blues/ Rocket To The Moon/ Downstream/ I Done It/ Goodnight Irene/ Rheumatism Boogie/ Well Oh Well/ Don't Ever take My Picture Down/ Lonesome Hearted Blues/ Its a Sin To Love You Like I Do/ I'm Gonna Move Home Bye and Bye/ I Left My Heart In Texas/ I'll Take your Hat Right Off The Rack.

Good pics, excellent sound and detailed notes by Phillip J Tricker of Hillbilly Researcher. An essential purchase to any one interested in country roots music. Highly recommended, highlights? put it on random play and let Moon's seemingly effortless stylings sweep you away. If Jerry Lee ever stops playing his vast collection of 78s he'd slip this new fangled shiny into his boy's cd player and let his mind drift back to Elmo's old radio or Haney's Big House in Ferriday. My personal favs would be Moon's cover of Memphis Minnie's What's the Matter With the Mill, I'll Sail My Ship Alone, Rocket to the Moon and Cherokee Boogie (BR54who?). Moon's vocals and ringing piano licks are well worth the price of admission.There's a couple of classics missing but we'll get to that later.

Increased sales on King meant that Moon could venture out of Texas and on a tour of Florida in 1949 he met and became instant friends with Hank Williams. Hank encouraged the Opry to feature his new buddy. There was initial resistance when some jobsworth sniffily declared that the Opry only featured stringed instruments, no percussion like drums or piano! Wonder if Moon smiled as he lifted the lid and showed him the strings inside. He made it onto the Opry and broke through with the classic I'll Sail My Ship Alone.

The king of the hillbilly piano players took Nashville and all points south by storm. There's some great footage of Opry stars like Moon, Minnie Pearl, Faron Young, Jimmy Dickens, Chet Atkins etc doing the rounds on video. Let's just say that genial ole Moon stands out in such exalted company. Million selling I'll Sail My Ship Alone, hits like Sweeter Than The Flowers, Mona Lisa, Goodnight Irene and Cherokee Boogie meant that Moon was playing with the big boys now.

Gradually Moon's bluesy leanings came to the fore in recording sessions. In 1950 he cut fellow King star Tiny Bradshaw's (of Train Kept A Rollin' fame) Well Oh Well. Bullmoose Jackson returned the compliment by covering Cherokee Boogie. In 1950 Moon featured horns on his version of Roy Brown's Grandpa Stole My Baby, (any info on Rufus Gore who played sax?). During 51 and 52 he hooked up with Buddy Hank again, and the boozy pals wrote the classic Jambalaya together on a paper bag. Perhaps that's why modern country is so bland, they write on plastic bags. The old cajun connection worked wonders for Moon again.

Colin Escott's brilliant Hank biography recalls that Hank mentioned Moon as one of his personal favs in an interview with Country Song Roundup magazine. Can there be a higher recommendation than that of country music's true king? Whilst only Hank's name is listed as Jambalaya's writer, Moon got 50% secretly as he was still under contract to King and its music publishing wing (and we know how notoriously stingy Syd was). Acuff-Rose vs Syd Nathan, now that's a contest to savour. In fact Moon had tired of King and tried to get out of his contract, but no golden goose escaped Syd's clutches until the contract said so! Moon even went so far as to get the Opry's Jim Denny to intercede on his behalf, but he got no joy from stonewall Syd.

So he continued to record and perform in many diverse styles, elements of R&B, country, boogie, ballad, honky tonk, dixie and cajun evident. No wonder the Killer was an avid fan like most other southern citizens. Moon put the piano upfront like all those grinnin' guitar pickers. Meanwhile in 1954 country music's staid establishment was shaken by the genie escaping from the bottle in the hands of Haley, Presley, Feathers, Perkins etc. It took country music some time to get over the shock caused by this crazed rockabilly cousin escaping from the attic. Moon and many other pioneers showed that whilst the South was still socially and racially segregated, music knew of no such boundaries.

Moon grew tired of the Opry and its conservatism as well as having to sacrifice lucrative Saturday night gigs to race back to Nashville for 15 minutes or so air time. So he quit the Opry (it wasn't the same without Hank) and concentrated on live shows especially round his base in Texas. He tackled rock head on by going into King's studio in January 1956 with Boyd Bennet's band. Together they cut the rightfully classic Seven Nights To Rock and I'm Mad With You (suprisingly missing from the Ace cd). What a brilliant gesture by a plump middle aged balding piano player, let's show this durn kids that they didn't invent the big beat. I was partly prompted to write this piece after sadly reading an interview with BR549 where they said they'd covered the song because they were familiar with Nick Lowe (ex son in law of Mr Cash, married Carlene Carter) 1980s cut, not with Moon's original! That says a lot about the modern country stations in the US. There's plenty of King material waiting to be issued on cd e.g. Seven Nights To Rock and Milk Cow Blues Boogie etc. Check out Tapio's sessionography later.

Moon, along with Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton and a few others were amongst the handful of country stars who got to grips with the big beat. However much we love Seven Nights To Rock it is necessary to remind ourselves that it didn't sell. He was the wrong age and had the wrong image, hot,young, sexy stars with a quiff were the teens desires. The older audiences loved him but it was the teens dollars that opened the golden gates. The week he recorded it the Tupelo flash gobsmacked America on national tv. Perry, Pat and Patti no longer ruled the airwaves and jukeboxes.

When Seven Nights To Rock/Honolulu RnR came out in early March 1956 it was competing for coin with the likes of James Brown (Please Please Please), Johnny Horton (Honky Tonk Man), Little Richard (Long Tall Sally), Howlin Wolf (Smokestack Lightnin'), Otis Williams (Ivory Tower), Fats Domino (I'm In Love Again) and Nappy Brown (Open Up That Door). Blue Suede Shoes was sweeping all before it and Rock Around the Clock was causing chaos in the film theatres. What a time to be a teenager, a little gem by a portly "old guy" just slipped by. Other records that didn't make it then include classics like Bobby Sisco's Honky Tonkin' Rhythm, Bobby Mitchell's Try Rock n Roll, Jodimars Dance To The Bop, Jerry Reed's I'm A Lover Not A Fighter and Eddie Bond's Rockin Daddy. Moon was in good company, but that's little consolation.

Billboard described it thus "The guy spreads himself thin as he rocks with 7 diff chicks in 7 nights. A swinging bit of commercial wax that could connect at the juke level."

Moon's recording life was in limbo whilst crazed upstarts like Jerry Lee demolished piano stools on Steve Allen's tv show. I bet ole Moon raised a glass to the tv set as he watched with a grin, "Son of a gun!". Wonder what he thought of the Killer's later take on I'll Sail My Ship Alone? He knew these cats were following the path he had trodden through the forest back in the days of the early Texan beer joints. Trouble is though that he never earned the credit for all that pioneering during his lifetime.

In 1958 old Nashville pal and fan Owen Bradley stepped in, he'd recently become Decca's head country honcho. Moon eagerly signed a deal with Coral records. Owen was veering country towards a poppier sound to compete with all these wild new guys (and gals! sorry Janis n Wanda). The Coral recordings and some great quotes from Owen can be found in the notes of Bear Family's excellent cd Moon's Rock BCD 1 5607 AH. Richard Kienzle once again provides superb notes and there's a sessionography for all you anoraks.

Moon's rock/ Jenny Lee / Pipeliner's Blues/ Sweet Rockin Music/ That's Me/ Cush Cush Ky-yay/ Writin On the Wall/ Wedding of The Bugs/ Nobody Knows But My Pillow/ My Love/ I'm Waiting For Ships That Never Come In/ You Don't have To be a baby To Cry/ I'll Sail My Ship Alone/I Was Sorta Wonderin/Every Which a Way/ I Dont Know Why (I Just Do)/ Sweeter Than The Flowers/ The Leaves Musn't Fall/ nything That's Part Of You/ Early Morning Blues/ My Baby's Gone/ Colinda/ Make Friends/Cajun Coffee Song/ Quarter Mile Rows/ Just To Be With You/ I'll Pour The Wine/ Fools Like Me/ Big Big City/ Mr Tears/ She Once Lived here/ This Glass I Hold

32 songs, the full Decca/ Coral 58/59 and Hallway (Kapp) 62/64 recordings.

Most of the Coral sessions were done April 29 - May 5 1958, with later sessions in May 59. Mr Bradley pulled out all the stops, calling in the Nashville A team, brother Harold, Hank Garland, Grady Martin, Bob Moore as well as drummer Farris Coursey from Owen's stage band. Unfortunately he also asked the dreaded Anita Kerr Singers along to sweeten the sound. One song in particular indicated the potential there, Nobody Knows But My Pillow is a cracking blues, lashings of piano and a great vocal, even the backing singers don't ruin it. On most cuts they butt in too often and lessen the impact, it's a pity Moon didn't take them back to a sweaty beer joint in Beaumont, they'd have run a mile.

The sessions were the usual mix, King re-recordings, a bit of blues, pop and the sentimental ballads. The stand outs were the rockers, Pipeliner Blues again, Moon's Rock , Sweet Rockin' Music and from left field a cover of Jan and Arnie's West Coast paen to a stripper Jenny Lee (Moon does surf!). Coral put out an album Moon Over Mullican which is worth a small fortune but Moon's era was past (I resisted the temptation to say waning). If you are vinylly challenged and can't afford the original or the cd look out for an 1984 16 track lp on Charly called Sweet Rockin Music.

These sessions are worth listening to but the cream really is the earlier recordings.Makes you wonder what he could have done at a more rocking label. Mind you the unissued Oct 59 songs ( 1 on Charly lp , 2 on Bear family cd) showed what might have been, Nobody Knows But My Pillow is a good country mid tempo song with a neat piano break and NO backing vocals. Even better is My Baby's Gone, a good blues tune that would have suited the Ferriday Fireball. However, it was the end of Mr Bradley's experiment to give Moon a Nashville pop sound.

Bob Naylor in Now Dig This no 65 says that Tommy Allsup played with Moon in Odessa Texas in 1958 and that Buddy Holly arrived there incognito and jammed on stage with Moon and Tommy, totally unrecognized by the audience. Tommy later played with Buddy in the studio and on the fateful Winter Dance Party tour in 1959. Buddy and Moon, both on Coral, now there's a gig to savour.

Charly also issued a Moon Coral/King era 12 track lp/cd on their Sing label Kcd555 called His All Time Greatest Hits, tracks not on the Ace cd are Mona Lisa, New Jole Blon',Sugar Beet, Honolulu RnR and Foggy River. Some of the other Sing cds left a lot to desired in sound quality and packaging. Much better value is the US 83 lp on Western 2001 Seven Nights To Rock, all King songs, well chosen and annotated superbly by Richard Kienzle. outstanding lp long deleted, buy it if you see it.

Moon's 50s UK releases are very rare, Cherokee Boogie came out in 51 on a Vogue 78 and Parlophone issued 78 and 45 versions of Seven Nights To Rock and Honolulu RnR (45 valued at 300+). Parlophone issued an ep called Country Round Up GEP 8794 Jambalaya/ Well Oh Well/ Southern Hospitality/ Keep a Light In the Window For me. Parlophone only ever did a patchy job with the King artists in general, many major US artists had a handful of releases this side of the pond. There was an export only ep called Piano Breakdown on Parlophone CGEP15, issued in a company sleeve (anyone have a track listing?).

In the early 60s Moon based himself in Texas and carried on gigging and recording for Starday, remakes of King material but he got a welcome bonus when his Ragged But Right 45 made the charts. Always popular in his home state he toured less, especially after a Kansas City show in 62 when he had a coronary on stage. He was always a big man but he reputedly weighed 275 pounds at this time. When once asked why he played piano he replied "Beer kept sliding off my fiddle!!" Moon was also a munchies man, take a listen to the lyrics of Jambalaya if you don't believe me.

After recuperating he returned to Kansas City the following year and stormed through a great version of Pipeliner Blues. He recorded for smaller labels like Spar (including I Ain't No Beatle, But I Wanna Hold Your Hand!!) and Beaumont's Hall-Way( on Bear Family cd), stand outs being Foster & Rice's Big Big City (moves nicely despite the twangy guitar) , I'll Pour The Wine (classic piano honky tonk, tailor made for Mickey Gilley) and returning the compliment, Jerry Lee's Fools Like Me. Colinda and The Cajun Coffee Song showed his love of Louisiana was still there. Kapp released these on a 69 lp Moon Mullican Showcase.

After recording again in Nashville in late 66, the curtain finally came down just after midnight New Year's Day 1967. Moon suffered a major heart attack and died within hours. His widow lamented that while she got him to quit drinking she couldn't get him to quit eating. The great saloon in the sky had called the big man home. His funeral took place on Jan 3rd with old pal Jimmie Davis attending and no doubt remembering those crazy days huckstering for votes in the rural backwoods. Top honky tonker Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys sent a wreath shaped like a musical note. Class act by a class entertainer.

Moon Mullican is often a foot note in Jerry Lee features but as the Killer would say "Check his track record, it definitely stands for itself!!" He reiterated the influence Moon had on him as a kid in a recent tv interview with Chas "Dr Rock" White. Merrill Moore, Floyd Cramer, Carl Mann, Charlie Rich, Mickey Gilley, Gary Stewart, Preacher Jack and Jason D Williams follow in Moon's footsteps (or should that read hand-sweeps?) Moon was a major innovator with his piano stylings and is one of the main links between Western Swing, Honky Tonk and Country Boogie. This, allied with his seminal King recordings, should guarantee him a place in the Country Music Hall Of Fame, but hell it took them 44 years to recognize Elvis (and the Killer and Carl ain't even there!). Moon should be there as a true pioneer of a major C20th American art form, a link in the chain stretching from those old piney lumber camps to the classic honky tonkers like the Killer and the Ole Possum. The more far sighted Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame inducted Moon back in 1976.

A major retrospective of his work is surely due. Westside are issuing King material how about a Moon 2cd set? (Or better still a box!!). Bear Family of course are doing sterling work with vintage material, a Moon related early Texan days compilation would go down a treat.

Final words to Moon, "EH OH ALENA", which says it all really.

Thanks to Bill C Malone, Bob Pinson, Richard Kienzle, Phillip J Tricker, Colin Escott, Nick Tosches, Douglas B Greene and Now Dig This magazine (Bob Naylor in particular) for their inspiration.

Phil Davies Feb 1999. Any mistakes are my own. Further information welcome:
Special Thanks to Shaun, Shane and Tapio for all their help.

Moon Mullican Rocks

Moon Mullican was acknowledged as an influential figure for many country artists and also a few young fellers hell bent on making their name with that new fangled rock 'n' roll stuff. For fun and something to do on a wet day in Pontrhydfendigaid, I decided to look at six tracks by Moon (not necessarily the original) and then another version(s) just for comparison.


Jerry Lee Lewis - Sun 312
With Jerry Lee's career in turmoil following events in England, he entered the Sun Studio on November 5th, 1958 trying a wide variety of styles hoping to luck onto something that might click. The second song tackled was I'll Sail My Ship Alone and from Jerry Lee's playful, confident vocals it's obvious that he believes in the song. An early outtake shows the already opting for a rockin' interpretation, with Roland Janes and Billy Lee Rileys' guitars forming the major backing behind the Killer's piano. The released version is prime Jerry Lee, a powerful rocker with a blinding piano solo. Martin Willis' sax is now to the fore and works in perfect harmony with Jerry Lee's playing.

Moon Mullican - King 830
The original from Moon is an altogether more sober affair than the Killers, but is a true country classic of the time. Cut in Hollywood on 15th March 1949 there's lashings of steel and fiddle and the chorus has a real western swing feeling. Unlike Jerry Lee's version there's little piano to be heard until the solo. The fiddle player beautifully echoes the vocals throughout - I like.

Jerry Lee Lewis - By Request - More Of The Greatest Live Show On Earth
Recorded live at Panther Hall, Fort Worth, Texas in 1966 Jerry Lee introduced the song as; "For all you country and western folks out there that really like country and western music, I love it myself. Alright. We'd like to do one for ya now, ladies and gentlemen - this is a fine song that sold many, many records for a great artist, and you know, I'm the type of guy that likes to give the great artists what they've got coming to them, you know - I started playing piano and s igning when I was about nine years old back in Ferriday, Louisiana, bin a long, long time ago but, I have been inspired by many artists and I have to say that this would be one of my favourite artists, ladies and gentleman, hope you enjoy this record that he wrote and recorded, hope you like my version of it, one entitled, I'll Sail My Ship Alone written by Moon Mullican." The Killer then launches into a bouncing honky tonk version, driven along by that awesome left hand. There's the obligatory sparkling piano solo complete with glissandos and the whole thing finishes with a happy Killer chuckling away. If god made anything better than Jerry Lee, he kept it for himself!!


Moon Mullican - King 1135
Self written, Pipeliner was cut at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on 9th July 1952 aided and abetted by Speedy West on steel guitar and Jimmy Bryant and Billy Strange on guitars. A mid tempo honky tonk item, the number features two great extended solos from Moon and a lovely take-off guitar solo from Bryant. Speedy West is relatively subdued by it was another class single which inexplicably failed to chart.

Johnny Olenn - Just Rollin' (LP)
For a start, how did he have the cheek to claim authorship! As with the original it was cut in Hollywood (November 56) but that's where the similarities stop. Done in Olenn's big band rock n' roll style, it starts off with some nice sax work. The backing vocals are terrible and are used throughout, otherwise this may have been a reasonable song. There's a honking sax break but the piano and drums are a bit too Vegas show-style for me.

Moon Mullican - Coral
Cut at the Bradley Studio in Nashville with the cities top pickers including Sugarfoot Garland and Grady Martin on guitars this version seems a bit more restrained than the King version. Again, Moon's piano breaks are great as is the crisp, clean guitar solo from one of the above mentioned. Jack Gregory's sax break competes with Moon laughing in the background, a sure sign that he was enjoying it. Personally, I prefer the King cut.


Moon Mullican - King 965
This semi-rocker was recorded at the King Studios in Cincinnati on 8th December 1950. There's great interplay between the guitar of Mutt Collins and Moon's piano on the opening and closing bars and the stuff in between ain't bad either! Moon takes two solo's with the first one being a real firecracker, perhaps his rockinest solo ever. Collins also takes a strong country solo and the song deservedly hit the country top ten.

Johnny Horton - Columbia
Cut at the Bradley Studio in Nashville on May 12th 1959, Buddy Harman's drumming is hypnotic and Grady Martin, Harold Jenkins and Tommy Tomlinson drive the song along on guitars. The song is more commercial than Moon's with backing vocals and hand claps and being of a later vintage there's a heavier beat. A cracking track.

BR5-49 - Arista 13039
Even heavier, with in your face guitar and drums is the 1997 version of Phil's favourite group BR5-49 (not). Based on the Horton version, the vocals are good and the steel and guitar breaks pay homage to by-gone days. People have mixed feelings about the group, personally I really like what they're doing but I was disappointed with the majority of the second album.


Jimmie Logsdon - Decca 29075
Al Terry's Good Deal Lucille was the first song tackled at Logsdon's 24th February 1954 session at the Castle Studio in Nashville. A fine slab of hillbilly that would never see the turntable on today's country radio stations, Logsdon gives us his best Hank Williams vocals. Appropriately backed by former Drifting Cowboys Don Helms on steel and Jerry Rivers on fiddle, this is real 50's country.

Jack Scott - Top Rank
Jack Scott entered the Bellsound Studios in New York City on 25th November 1959 and left a few hours later having cut eight masters for a forthcoming album for Top Rank. His take on Lucille was the rockinest effort that day, featuring a stop-start rhythm, a rasping sax break and Jack's best mean, moody and menacing vocals which was slightly marred by the Chantones' backing vocals.

Moon Mullican - King 1337
A short, nonsense chant leads into this up-tempo take from Nashville on 21st February 1954. There's plenty of piano, steel and guitar (Grady Martin) with Moon's second solo being particularly special. Moon sounds surprisingly young and sprightly and with the cajun influence of the song coming through, is lapping it up.

Werley Fairburn
This is a fabulous bouncy version augmented by Luther Perkins style picking and a Jerry Rivers style fiddle solo. The vocals are a joy and this is my favourite version of them all. Does anyone know anything about the track, when was it cut, where, what musicians etc.


Jan & Arney - Arwin 108
This is one truly frantic song. "Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba" - yes indeed. If the rhythm don't get ya (it will, don't worry) then the two sax solos will blow you away. The back-ground vocals help the track (how often don't you here that!) and this is such a brilliant song it should have gone number one for two years. It did get to number 8 in the summer of '58, no mean feat for such a small label. By the way, I like it.

Moon Mullican - Coral 61994
From 5th May 1958 at Bradley's Barn, Nashville. The rhythm from Bob Moore, Sugarfoot, Grady etc. is equally hypnotic, and the fiddle of Tommy Jackson is fantastic. It's also the problem, teenagers would be more inclined to buy a sax version than a fiddle one. Be that as it may, this is a belter.

Shaun Mather


YEAR - - POS - - WKS - - SONG - - TITLE - - RECORD
1947 - 2 - 15 - New Pretty Blonde (Jole Blon) - King - 578
1947 - 4 - 1 - Jole Blon's Sister - King 632
1948 - 3 - 26 - Sweeter Than the Flowers - King 673 (Best Seller#3/Juke Box#3)
1950 - 1 - 36 - I'll Sail My Ship Alone - King 830 (Juke Box#1/Best Seller#1/Jockey#2)
1950 - 4 11 - Mona Lisa - King 830 (Juke Box#4/Best Seller#8/Jockey#)
1950 - 5 - 7 Goodnight Irene - King 886 (JukeBox#5/Best Seller#10/Jockey#10)
1951 - 7 - 2 - Cherokee Boogie (Eh-Oh-Aleena) - King 965 (Juke Box#10/Best Seller#7)
1961 - 15 - 4 - Ragged But Right - Starday 545
(Chart info thanks to Shaun Mather)


(Thanks to SHANE HUGHES)

Moon Mullican led an extremely prolific career in and out of the recording studio. His pre-King career has proved very difficult to document, I don't think there were many western swing bands that he wasn't a part of. Anyway, I've made an attempt at documenting Mullican's early career as a sideman amidst the burgeoning western swing scene in Texas during the thirties and early forties.

This data is by no means complete, but is a start atleast. Firstly, one of the first groups.

93750 - "I'm Knocking At Your Door Again" - Decca 5989
93751 - "What More Can I Say" - Decca 6025
93752 - "I Told You So" - Decca 5966
93753 - "I Hung My Head And Cried" - Decca 5978
93754 - "I'll Be True To The One I Love" - Decca 5955
93755 - "Just Because Of You Little Girl" - Decca 5978

Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. 3 March 1942. Slim Harbert and his Okeh Boys.
David 'Stinkyfoot' Frazier - gtr, Bruce Pierce - bjo, Jimmy Thomason - fdle, Slim Harbert - bs/vcl, Aubrey 'Moon' Mullican - pno.

"Fruit Wagon Gal" Unissued
"I've Got Enough Of Your Foolin'" Unissued
"Lula Lou" Unissued
"Rosey Lee" Unissued
"I'm Gonna Cook Your Goose" Unissued
"Honey This Time I'm Gone" Unissued
"Around The Corner At Smokey Joe's" Unissued

Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. 4 March 1942. Slim Harbert and his Okeh Boys.
David 'Stinkyfoot' Frazier - gtr, Bruce Pierce - bjo, Jimmy Thomason - fdle, Slim Harbert - bs/vcl, Aubrey 'Moon' Mullican - pno.

"You're All The Worl To Me" Unissued
"Don't Check Out On Me" Unissued
"Who Comes In At My Back Door" Unissued
"You Brought Sorrow To My Heart" Unissued
"Can't We Start All Over" Unissued
"Look Who's Squawkin'" Unissued

**NOTE** Data for the above two Slim Harbert OKeh sessions came from Cary. One other side, "Brown Bottle Blues", was recorded at one of the above sessions and issued on OKeh. I have a complete OKeh/Vocalion numerical that included all releases up to '42, but I can't for the life of me find the release number for this record. Cary or Mitch Drumm may be able to fill in the blank. Anyone have the master numbers for these sessions.

New York City. - 27 July 1942. Jimmie Davis.
Jimmie Davis - vcl, unknown - gtr, Charles Mitchell - st gtr, unknown - bs, Aubrey 'Moon' Mullican - pno, unknown - tpt.

71215 - "What's The Matter With You Darling" - Unissued
71216 - "A Sinner's Prayer" - Decca 6070
71217 - "Where Is My Boy Tonight?" - Decca 6065
71218 - "Columbus Stockade Blues" - Decca 6083
71219 - "Plant Some Flowers By My Grave" - Decca 6065
71220 - "Walkin' My Blues Away" - Decca 6083

Los Angeles, California. 23 March 1944. Jimmie Davis.
Jimmie Davis - vcl, Perry Botkin - gtr, Joe Shelton (nee Attlesey) - gtr/vcl, Charles Mitchell - st gtr, Artie Shapiro - bs, Aubrey 'Moon' Mullican - pno/acc/vcl, Don Anderson - tpt.

L-3362 - "There's A Chill On The Hill Tonight" - Decca 6100
L-3363 - "Is It Too Late Now" - Decca 6100
L-3364 - "There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder" - Decca 6105
L-3365 - "Grievin' My Heart Out For You" - Unissued
L-3370 - "I'm Happy I Can Ride The Open Range" - Unissued
L-3371 - "Time Alone Will Tell" - Unissued

Los Angeles, California. 24 March 1944. Jimmie Davis.
Jimmie Davis - vcl, Perry Botkin - gtr, Joe Shelton (nee Attlesey) - gtr/vcl, Charles Mitchell - st gtr, Artie Shapiro - bs, Aubrey 'Moon' Mullican - pno/vcl, Don Anderson - tpt.

L-3366 - "Love Please Don't Let Me Down" - Decca 6105

**NOTE*** Mullican also recorded atleast one session on Bluebird with steel guitarist Charles Mitchell during October '41. Cliff Bruner was also on that session, and I have both sides of Bluebird B-33-0508 from that session ("Mean Mama Blues"/"If It's Wrong To Love You"), but I'm unsure if there were any other sides from that date. Help?

Just prior to war-time recording bans, Mullican managed to cut numerous sides as pianist with the Sunshine Boys in '41. This group was based around the nucleus of Bob and Joe Shelton (Attlesey) and also included bass player Slim Harbert, hence the previous Decca/OKeh connections between these musicians. Once again, I have no definitive session info pertaining to the Sunshine Boys (who are unrelated to the jazz band of the same name, fronted by Joe and Dan Mooney, that recorded for Columbia between '29 and '31). I know of one session that this group recorded in Dallas, during February '41 that resulted in atleast their first four released sides, but someone will need to help out with complete session details. I do have a list of their OKeh releases, Moon is probably on all of them (he's the featured vocalist on "Pipe Liner's Blues")

OKeh 05612 - "Tell Me With Your Blue Eyes" / "It's Hard To Please"
05669 - "Coo-Se-Coo" / "Pipe Liner Blues"
05810 - "What's The Matter With Deep Elm?" / "Forgive And Forget"
05880 "It's A Weary World Without My Blue Eyes" / "Lay Me Down Beside My Darling"
06150 "Don't Come Crying In My Beer" / "Two And Two Still make Four"
06195 "Monkey Business" / "I'm Checking Out"
06240 "Who's Gonna Chop My Baby's Kindlin'?" / "Sittin' On The Doorstep"
06338 "Who's Been Tendin' To My Business?" / "No Good For Nothin' Blues"
06444 "Woman Are My Weekness" / "Drinkin' Made A Fool Outa (sic) Me"
06540 "Gonna Get Tight" / "She's A Rounder"
06603 "I'll Dump Your Apple" / "That's Bad"
NOTE : OKeh 06540 was also released as Columbia 37426.

Moon seems to have been inactive in the studio between '42 and '44, but this was probably due to the recording ban in force at the time. Between '45 and '46, the year he cut his first session with King, I have no info. He may not have recorded during that twelve month period, but due to the ambiguity of his career his movements during this period is anyones guess.

Tapio's sessionography listed all of Moon's King and later solo sides, but he also worked as a sideman once again around '50 with drummer Richard Prine and Cliff Bruner on Ayo. Anyone with the Bear Family Bruner box can provide the details on those sessions. I'm not sure which Prine sessions he appeared on, though.

Finally, an interesting tidbit - both sides of the Sunshine Boys OKeh 06240 release were covered by Woody Carter (one time guitarist with Jerry Irby) on Macy Lela Henry's Macy's label around '50 and Jerry Jericho, another Texas C&W mainstay, recorded "Who's Gonna Chop My Baby's Kindlin'?" as "When I'm Gone" on Dan Menchura's Houston based All Star label in '59.

Well, that's all I could come up with. Cary, do you have session details on the Blue Ridge Playboys, Modern Mountaineers on Bluebird, Slim Harbert and the Sunshine Boys? Speaking of the Blue Ridge Playboys, when Pappy returned to OKeh during the early '40's he cut a bunch of sides, but I don't know if Mullican was with him - it's possible.

If you have further information e-mail Shane at



King - Fort Worth? - 10-46
Moon Mullican and the Showboys: Moon Mullican - v, p; Cotton Thompson - v, f?; Ralph Lamp - f; Asa Peveto - sg; Mutt Collins - lg; Reggie Ward - b; Richard Pryne - d.

1 - KZ150 The Lonesome Hearted Blues (Mullican-Wayne) 565
2 - K2151 It's A Sin to Love You Like I Do (Mullican-Wayne) 565
3 - K2152 Showboy Special (Lou Wayne) (i) 632
---- K2253 Let Me Rock You Baby, unissued
4 -K2154 Moonshine Polka (Lou Wayne) (i) 607
5 - K2155 Shoot the Moon (Lou Wayne) (i) (45-1043), Western 2001
---- K2156 I Didn't Think You'd Ever Leave Me, unissued
---- K2157 Everyone Knows that I'm Lonely, unissued
6 - K2158 Don't Ever Take My Picture Down (839), Wn 2001 (Burns-Wayne)
7 - K2159 You Had Your Way (Wayne-Burns) 796
8 - K2160 When A Soldier Knocks and Finds Nobody Home (Mullican-Wayne) 578
9 - K2162 What Have I Done that Made You Go Away (796), Wn 2001 (Wayne-Burns)
10 - K2162 Worries On My Mind (Wayne) 613
---- KZ16J I Can't Love You, unissued
B-l - K2164 New Milk Cow Blues (Thompson) Cotton Thompson - v 607
B-2 - K2165 New Pretty Blonde (New Jole Blon) 578 (Nathan-Mullican)
K2166 - There's A Little Bit of Heaven Everywhere - (LP 807)
K2167 - I've Got Nobody But You, unissued

King - 1947?
3 - K2293 There's A Chill on the Hill Tonight (Robertson-Davis) 783
4 - K2294 Columbus Stockade Blues (Davis Sargent) 684
5 - K2295 Jole Blon's Sister (Burns-Mann) 6J2
6 - K2296 I'm Gonna' Move to My Home Bye and Bye (Burns-Mann) 734

King - Moon Mullican and the Showboys
7 - K2412 Foggy River (Fred Rose) (613), LF" 555

King - Fort Worth? - 11-47
8 - K2482 -I Left My Heart in Texas (Burns-Mann) 673
9 - K2483 -Triflin' Woman Blues (Mann-Mullican-Bernard) (45-1060), Wn 2001
10 - K2484 -Why Don't You Love Me? (Burns-Mann) 745

(11-40 Session Continued)
A -1 K2485 Oh! She's Gone but Not Forgotten (Burns-Mann) 761
K2486/G-2489 Bill Carlisle Session
K2490 The Tie that Binds (Trad) 745
3 - K2491 Over the Waves (PD) (i) 684
4 - K2492 Sweeter than the Flowers (67J), Lt" 555 (Mann-Burns-Rouse)
K2493 Save A Little Dream for Me (1078)

King -- 1948
Moon Mullican - p, v; Cotton Thompson - v, f?; Mutt Collins - lg; others unknown
5- K2813 A Maiden's Prayer (Wills) Cotton Thompson 734
6 - K2814 Jole Blon is Gone, Amen (Burns-Mann) 761
7 - K2815 -Broken Dreams (Burns-Alley) 839
8 - K2816 I Don't Know What to Do (Burns-Alley) 45-5473
9 - K2817 What My Eyes See My Heart Believes (Burns-Mann) 722
---- K2818 I'm So Blue, unissued
10 K2814 Wait A Minute (M. Burns) 722
K2820 Trouble, Trouble (1078)

King - Hollywood - 3-15-49
B-l K2881 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (45-830), LP 555 (Mann-Burns-Thurston-Bernard)
2 K2882 Moon's Tune (Mann-Burns-Bledsoe-Bernard) 45-830
J K2883 Sweeter than the Flowers No. 2 (Burns-Rouse-Mann-Boyett) 783

King - King Studios, Cincinnati - 4-16-50
Moon Mullican - v, p; Asa Peveto? - sg; Mutt Collins lg; Ralph Lamp - f; Reggie Ward - b; Richard Pryne - cj.
4 - K3024 Heartless Lover (Moon Mullican) (45-984), LP 628
5 - KJ025 My Tears Will Pour Just Like Wine 45-1060 (Mullican-Mann-Glover)
6 - KJ026 I Was Sorta Wonderin' (Mullican-Ward-Kearns) (917), LP 555
7 - K3027 A Million Regrets (Mullican-Baker-Baker) 45-1043
8 - KJ028 You Don't Have to be A Baby to Cry (Shand-Merrill) (868), LP 555
9 - K3029 Love Is the Light that Leads Me Home 45-965 (Bernard-Mann-Nix)
10 - K30JO Southern Hospitality (M. Mullican-M. Bernard (868), Wn 2001 (M. Mullican-M. Bernard)
11 - K3031 Nine-Tenths of the Tennessee River (Irving Gordon) 894

King - Cincinnati - 4-17-50
A-1 K30J2 The Leaves Mustn't Fall (Kenney-Sebastian) (917), LP 555
2 - K3033 The Lamp of Life (Is Burning Low) (Moore-Moore) 45-947
3 - K3034 Think It Over (Hayes-Redmond) 905
4 - K3035 Short but Sweet (Mullican-Ward) (45-931), LP 628

King - King Studios, Cincinnati - 7-3-50
Moon Mullican - v, p; Bobby Koeffer? - sg; Mutt Collins lg; Ralph Lamp - f; Clarence Mack? b; Richard Pryne or Calvin Shields - d.
5 - KJ071 Goodnight Irene (Arr. Mullican-Mann) 886
6 - K3072 Mona Lisa (Livingston-Evans) (886), LP 555
7 - K307J Well Oh Well (894), Wn 2001 (Bradshaw-Henry Bernard (Henry Glover)-Lois Mann (Syd Nathan)
8 - K3074 I'll Take Your Hat Right Off My Rack 45-547J (T. Hands-N. Nath)

King - King Studios, Cincinnati - 12-8-50
Moon Mullican - v, p; Asa Peveto? sg; Mutt Collins lg, Ralph Lamp f; unknown - b; Richard Pryne - d.
9 - KJ132 Too Many Irons in the Fire (Mullican-Mann-King-Glover) 45-931
10 - K3133 Without A Port of Love (Long-Roberts-Mann) 45-947
B-t K3134 Cherokee Boogie (Eh-Oh-Aleena) (45-965), LP 555 (Mullican-Redbird)
2 - K3135 Another Night is Coming (Mullican-Carson) 45-984

King - 10-51 - Moon Mullican Piano Solos with Rhythm.
3 - K3270 Piano Breakdown (Moon Mullican) (i) 45-100
4 - K3271 Country Boogie (Moon Mullican) (i) 45-1007
5 - K3272 Memphis Blues (W. C. Handy) (i) 45-1006
6 - K327J Moonshine Blues (Moon Mullican) (i) 45-1007

King - Radio Recorders, Hollywood - 7-9-52 Moon Mullican - v, p; Speedy West - sg; Jimmy Bryant and Billy Strange - eg; unknown - f, b; Roy Harte? - d.
7 - KJ4J7 Jambalaya (Mullican-Williams) 45-1106
8 - K3438 A Mighty Pretty Waltz (Hoffman-Gimble) (45-1106), LP 628
9 - KJ439 Pipeliners Blues (M. Mullican) (45-1137), LP 555
10 - K3440 Ooglie, Ooglie, Ooglie (The Tokyo Boogie) (45-1164), WN 2001 (Mullican-Mann)

King - Nashville - 9-26-52
A -1 KJ487 Sugar Beet (Boudleaux Bryant) (45-1137), LP 555
2 - K3488 A Crushed Red Rose (And A Faded Blue Ribbon) 45-1152 (Art Strange)
3 - KJ489 So Long (Moon Mullican) 45-1164
4 - K3490 A Thousand and One Sleepless Nights (Jimmy Selph) 45-1152

King - King Studios, Cincinnati - 3-6-53
Moon Mullican - v, P; Rufus Gore sax; unknown - b, d.
5 K3576 Rocket to the Moon (Mann-Glover) (1198), Wn 2001
6 K3577 I Done It (Mann-Glover-Innis-Mullican) (45-1244), Wn 2001 7 K3578 Rheumatism Boogie (Mullican-Innis) (1148), Wn 2001
8 K3579 Grandpa Stole My Baby (Roy Brown) (45-1244), Wn 2001

King - Nashville -- 4-20-JJ
9 KJ601 Leaving You with A Worried Mind (Smith-Mullican) 45-1221
10 KJ602 Hey! Mister Cotton-Picker (Stanford-Mitchum) 45-1221

King - Nashville - 2-21-54
Moon Mullican - v, P; Bud Isaacs? - pedal sg; Grady Martin - lg; Ernie Newton - b; Ferris Coursey - d.
11 K3758 Wanted (Fulton-Steele) 45-1337
12 KJ759 Good Deal, Lucille (Terry-Miller-Theriot) (45-13J7), Wn 2001
B-1 K376U (Don't Let Temptation) Turn You 'Round (Thompson-Friend) 45-1343
2 K3761 All I Need is You (Newt Richardson) 45-1343

King - Cincinnati - 4-21-54
3 K3794 The End of the Rainbow (Glover-Mann) 45-1355
4 K3795 l'm Hanging Up All My Work Clothes (Ferkins-Ferkins) 45-1366
5 KJ796 Where Beautiful Flowers Grow (Velma Ford) 45-1355
6 K3797 No Stranger (Mann-Glover-Innis) 45-1366

King - Cincinnati - 10-28-54
7 KJ862 When Love Dies Where Does It Go (Redd Stewart) 45-1447
8 K3863 You Got the Best Of Me (Walker-Lewis) 45-1408 9 K3864 Downstream (Stewart-Dull) 45-1408
10 K3865 Someone More Lonesome than You (Moon Mullican) 45-1467
11 K3866 Crippled for Life (Innis-Mann-Glover) 45-1427
A-1 K3867 There Goes the Bride (Red Taylor) 45-1427
2 K3868 What's the Matter with the Mill (Moon Mullican) 45-1447
3 KJ869 Jose, The Mexican Boy (Ernie Newton) 45-1467

King - Cincinnati - 10-29-54
Moon Mullican - organ solos with rhythm.
4 K3874 Mexicali Rose (Jack B. Tenney) 45-1481
5 K3875 Pan Handle Rag (Leon McAuliffe) 45-1481
6 KJ876 Yearning (Just for You) (Davis-Burke) 45-1421
7 K3877 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (Mann-Burns-Thurston-Bernard) 1441
8 KJ878 San Antonio Rose (Bob Wills) 1461
9 K3879 Cedarwood Blues (Moon Mullican) 1461
10 K3880 The Honey Song (Honey I'm in Love with You) 1441 (Massey-Gibson-Kassel)
11 K3881 Put Your Arms Around Me Honey (Von Tilzer-McCree) 45-1421

King - King Studios, Cincinnati - 1-26-56
Moon Mullican - v, p; Boyd Bennett and his Rockets - backup.
12 K403J I'm Mad with You (Rudy Moore) (45-4915), Wn 2001
B-l K4034 Honolulu Rock-A Roll-A (Hoffman-Manning) (45-4894), LP 555
2 K40J5 Seven Nights to Rock (45-4894), Wn 2001 (R. Trail-L. Innis-H. Glover)
3 K4036 Rock and Roll Mr. Bullfrog (Moon Mullican) 45-4415 String band backup.
4 K4037 Maybe It's All for the Best (Bernice Snelson) 45-4937
5 K40J8 Hey Shah (Moon Mullican) 45-4937
6 K4039 If You Don't Want No More of My Loving (Johnny Standefer) 45-4979
7 K4040 Keep A Light in the Window for Me (Bubber Johnson) 45-4979

King - Remastering Session.
8 K4216 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (Remastered K2881) 45-5172

King - Moon Mullican and his Girl Friend.
9 K4270-1 Goodnight Irene (Ledbetter-Lomax) (Remastered KJ071) 5223
10 K4271-2 Mona Lisa (Livingston-Evans) (Remastered KJ072) 522J
King - Moon Mullican and the Martians.
Dubbed from previous King Masters
11 K45J2 New Jole Blon (Nathan-Mullican) (K216J) 45-5328
12 K4533 Jambalaya (Hank Williams) (K3437) (45-5328), LP 628

Coral - Bradley Studio, Nashville - 4-29-58
Moon Mullican - v, p; Waiter Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland - g; Thomas Grady Martin - g; Harold Ray Bradley - g; Bob L. Moore -b; Farris Coursey d; Owen Bradley - Idr; Anita Kerr Singers - v.
A-1 NA 10247-2 104,955 You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry CRL 57235 (Bob Merrill-Terry Shand)
2 NA 10248-7 104,956 I;11 Sail My Ship Alone CR 57235 (H. Bernard-H. Thurston-L. Mann-M. Burns)
3 NA 10249-3 104,957 Anything That's Part of You CRL 57235 (Mort Dixon-Allie Wrubel)
4 NA 10250-15 104,958 Early Morning Blues (Moon Mullican) CRL 57235

Coral - Bradley Studio, Nashville - 4-30-58
Personnel the same as for 4-29-58.
5 NA 10254 104,959 I Was Sorta Wonderin' CRL 57235 (M. Mullican-D. Ward-B. Kearns)
6 NA t0255 104,960 Every Which-A Way (Mullican) CRL 57235
7 NA 10256-8 104,961 Sweeter than the Flowers CRL 57235 (L. Mann-Ervin Rouse-M. Burns)
8 NA 10257-6 104,962 The Leaves Mustn't Fall CRL 57235 (Jack Kennedy-Dorothy Sebastian)

Coral - Bradley Studio, Nashville - 5-1-58
Personnel the same as for 4-29-58 but add: Jack Gregory - sax.
9 NA 10258-14 104,963 Moon's Rock (Mullican) (9-62042) CRL 57235
10 NA 10259-7 104,964 I'm Waiting for Ships that Never Come In (Jack Yellen-Abe Olman) CRL 57235
11 NA 10260-5 104,965 Pipeliner Blues (Moon Mullican) unissued, CR 30231
12 NA 10261-7 104,966 I Don't Know Why (I Just Do) CRL 57235 (Fred E. Ahlert-Roy Turk)

Coral - Bradley Studio, Nashville - 5-5-58
Delete Gregory, add: Thomas Lee "Tommy" Jackson Jr. - f.
B-l NA 10262-J 104,973 Jenny Lee (Glasberg-Barry) (9-61994), CR 30231
2 NA 1026J 104,975 My Love (Mullican) CRL 57235
3 NA 10264-10 104,976 Sweet Rockin' Music (Stanley Kay) (9-62042), CR 302J1
4 NA 10265-8 104,974 That's Me (Mullican) (9-61994), CR 30231

Coral - Bradley Studio, Nashville - 5-21-59
Moon Mullican - v, p; Waiter Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland - g; Thomas Grady Martin'- g; Harald Ray Bradley - g; Bob L. Moore - b; Murray M. "Buddy" Harman - d; Owen Bradley - Idr; William Guilford Wright Jr., Louis Dean Nunley, Culley Holt, Doughlas G. Kirkham - vocal gp.
5 NA 10717-6 107,445 Cush Cush Ky-Yay (Mullican) (9-30962), CR 30231
6 NA 10718-8 107,446 The Writin' on the Wall (9-30962), CR 30231 (Marijohn Wilkin-John Loudermilk)
7 NA 10719-11 107.447 The Wedding of the Bugs (unkn.) unissued, CR 30231

Coral - Bradley Studio, Nashville - 10-59
Moon Mullican - P, v ; others unknown.
8 NA 10883 108,197 Nobody Knows but My Pillow unissued, BCD 15607
9 NA 10884 108,198 My Baby's Gone (Unknown) unissued, CR 30231

Starday - Starday Studio, Madison TN - 1960/1961
Moon Mullican - p, v; Pete Drake - sg; Buddy Harman - d; Junior Husky - b.
A-1 SD-4526 New Jole Blon (Mullican) (45-527), SLP 398
2 4527 Sweeter Than the Flowers (Mann-Rouse-Burns) (7017), SLP 1J5
J 4528 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (45-562), SLP 135 (Mann-Burns-Bernard-Thurston)
4 4529 Mona Lisa (Evans-Livingstone) (7017), SLP 135
5 4530 Bottom of the Glass (Dick Flood-Eddie Hill) (45-545), SLP 135 45J1 (unidentified)
6 SD-4532 Farewell (Mullican) (i) (45-527), SLP 135
7 4533 Ragged but Right (George Jones) (45-545), SLP 135
8 Louisian (Mullican-York) (i) SLP 1J5
9 Moonshine (Mullican) (i) SLF 135
10 Magnolia Rag (Mullican-York) (i) SLP 1J5 Cabaret (Mullican) (i) SLP 135
B-l The Wabash Cannonball (Mullican-York) SLP 135
2 Make Friends (Ed McGraw) SLP 267

Starday - 1962?
3 4959 The Way You're Treatin' Me (Mullican) (45-556), SLP 267
4 4960 Just Plain Lonesome (Moon Mullican) (45-556), SLP 267
5 4961 Good Times Gonna Roll Again (In Sunny Tennessee) (596), SLP 267 (Moon Mullican-Tommy Hill) 4962
6 4963 Ain't Nothin' Like Lovin' (Tommy Hill) (596), SLP 267
7 (Ca Laba Coma Sa Va) Down on the Bayou SLP 267 (Moon Mullican-E. J. Falcon)
8 Piano Man Rag (Wm. York) (i) SLP 267
9 Lips So Warm and Yet So Cold (Moon Mullican) SLP 267

Starday - Live, Kansas City - 1963
10 Down by the Riverside (York) with the Plainsmen SLP 295
11 Pipeliner Blues SLP 398

Kapp - Hall/Clement Studio, Beaumont - 1962/1964
Moon Mullican - V, P.; others unknown
A-1 K-11692 ZTSP 91664 Quarter Mile Rows (TCF-106), KS-J600 (Jerry Foster-Bill Rice)
2 K-1169J ZTSP 91665 Just To Be with You (TCF-106), KS-J600 (Harold Dorham-Wiley Gann)
J K-11694 ZTSB 100008 Mr. Tears (Hall-Way 45-1208), KS-3600 (Dorham-Gann)
4 K-11695 ZTSB 100008 Big, Big City (Foster-Rice) (Hall-Way 45-1208), KS-3600
5 K-11696 Colinda (Janice Williams) (Hall 1923), KS-3600
6 K-11697 Fools Like Me (Hall 1914), KS-3600 (Jack Clement-Murphy Maddux)
7 K-11698 I'll Pour the Wine (Bill Hayes) (Hall-Way 45-1907, KS-3600
8 K-11699 The Cajun Coffee Song (Mullican-Hayes) (Hall-Way 45-1907), KS-3600
9 K-11700 Make Friends (Ed McGraw) (Hall 1914), KS-3600
10 K-11701 This Glass I Hold (Harold Dorman-Wiley Gann) KS-3600
11 K-11702 She Once Lived Here (Autry Inman) KS-3600

B-1 ZTSB-120536-1B I'm Just One Tear Away (Mullican-Potter) 9007
2 ZTSB-12OSJ7-1B Mr. Honky Tonk Man (Mullican-Cook) 9007

Musicor - 1966?
J ZTSP 106J05-1A Love that Might Have Been MU 1126 (Ted Daffan-Mollie Ward)
4 ZTSP 106306-1A Custers Last Stand (Moon Mullican) MU 1126
5 ZTSP 106385 Just for Lauqhs (Matras-Daffan) MU 1168
6 ZTSP 106386 Jackson County (Riddle-Daffan) MU 1168

King, leased from Starday.
7 K13005 Trucker's Rag KLP 1050

coral 57235; moon over mullican
hilltop 6033; good times gonna roll again
kapp 3600; the moon mullican showcase; i think some of the hall stuff is on this lp.
king 555; moon mullican sings his all-time greatest hits
king 628; moon mullican sings and plays 16 of his favorite tunes
king 681; the many moods of moon mullican
king 937; moon mullican sings 24 of his favorite tunes
nashville 2080; i'll sail my ship alone; have not checked but as i recall this is a reissue of starday material
phonorama 5637; just to be with you; think this is reissue of kapp sides
spur 3005(canada); moon mullican sings and plays; not sure if there was a usa issue
starday 135; playin' and singin'
starday 267; mr. piano man
starday 398; the unforgettable moon mullican
sterling 601; i'll sail my ship alone
western 2001; seven nights to rock; 80's(?) reissue of king sides.

All I Need Is You/(Don't Let Temptation) Turn You 'Round/The Lonesome Hearted Blues/It's A Sin To Love You Like I Do/Jole Blon Is Gone, Amen/Broken Dreams/I Left My Heart In Texas/Mona Lisa/You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry/No Stranger/I'm Hanging Up All My Work Clothes/A Maiden's Prayer/Worries On My Mind/Without A Port Of Love/Wait A Minute/I'm Gonna Move Home Bye And Bye/When A Soldier Knocks And Finds Nobody Home/New Pretty Blonde (New Jole Blon)/The Lamp Of Life Is Burning Low/I'll Sail My Ship Alone.

If you have further information contact Tapio at Tapio Vaisanen
Vantaa, Finland
Fin-A-Billy: Peters & his String Dusters:

- Phil Davies

  • MOON MULLICAN - Patrick Wall's site on this legendary singer/pianist

  • Here's an interesting website about Moon that reflects the feelings of fans of real country music.

  • Rockabilly Hall of Fame