Various Artists

The Complete D Singles Collection, Vol. 2

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Pappy Dailey's homegrown, Houston, Texas label that rose from the ashes of his Starday tie-in was D, a label that issued everything from rockabilly, to Mexican dance music, to the stray doo-wop side. What it generally excelled at was top-notch local hillbilly and country bands and singers, sometimes leasing home grown masters from places as far away as Canada. These are records full of raw, visceral power, unvarnished beauty and often glimpses of talent that could-have-been alongside the local heroes and run-of-the-mill Joes hoping for a break. As such, it's a marvelous document of primarily Texas country and western music in the marketplace in the late '50s. This four-disc Bear Family set is the second entry into a multi-volume complete run of all the singles that were issued on Dailey's D label, with the added bonus on this volume of some unissued material that's as good or better than the singles that were issued. Kicking off Disc One are three perfect examples of that emanating from the Utah Carl session that produced his single from Volume One. Here, he and his regular working band deliver heartfelt and straightforward and welcome additions to the man's scant discography. Almost a third of the 29 tracks are previously unissued items from Merl Lindsay, Ted Doyle, Doug Bragg and Detroit hillbilly, Billy Martin. Of course, just when you think you have the label pegged as strictly one thing or another, up pops successive single runs by Eddie Burke (Black boogie woogie piano man), Rufus Thibodeaux (Cajun fiddler), Ward Allen (Canadian old-time fiddler), Dee Mullin (country pop-rock), Homer Lee Sewell (old time cowboy singing) and Gaston Ponce Castellanos (Mexican dance band)! Disc Two yields treasures from Jack Rivers, doo woppers the Velvetones, Billy Walker moonlighting as the Traveling Texans, Country Johnny Mathis, William Tell Taylor, and Little Joe Carson. High in the oddity department are Tommy Durden's baseball novelty "The Bee," and pop sludge from Jean and Glenn Smith's "Calendar in Blue." Disc Three kicks off with Willie Nelson's first commercial recording, then delivers fine entries from, among others, Cecil Bowman, Billy Jack Hale, Jimmy & Johnny and Danny Ross (the original version of "The Last Town I Painted"). The final disc in the set features a real mixed bag with a distinct regional feel. Everything from Dave Edge's rocker "Wham Bam," to pleasing pop from Glenn, bouncy country pop from Shirley Rucker, Johnny Cash-style country from Durwood Daily, polkas from Ernie Kucera, hardcore honky tonk from Tony Douglas and Merl Lindsay, teen balladry from William Tell Taylor, to Leon Payne's sobering "Brothers of a Bottle" makes this disc just as strong as the preceding three. D was a label that stayed individual and independent right to the end and this second volume is a welcome addition to any country and American music collection.

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