Webb Pierce

Unavailable Sides (1950-1951)

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Between his first recordings for the Four Star label and his long tenure with Decca Records, Webb Pierce formed the Pacemaker label and Ark-La-Tex Publishing in partnership with Horace Logan, the emcee of the Louisiana Hayride. The story of Pierce's recordings for Pacemaker are tangled and confused, and it seems that he was recording under a pseudonym for Pacemaker while still under contract to Four Star. The Unavailable Sides 1950-1951 attempts to make some sense of this early period of Pierce's career by presenting 21 Pacemaker sides and two rare Four Star recordings credited to his then-wife Betty Jane Lewis, but featuring Pierce on duet vocals. A few tracks are instrumentals or have other vocalists, but the players are interesting: Tillman Franks, Shot Jackson, and Buddy Attaway, to name a few. There are several early recordings of songs Pierce later remade for Decca, including "In the Jailhouse Now," "California Blues," and "Drifting Texas Sand." Pierce would later re-record "Hayride Boogie" with new lyrics as "Teenage Boogie," but most of the songs are exclusive to this collection. The liner notes are full of interesting facts and make a noble effort to solve various mysteries surrounding Pierce and these sessions. The recordings are more raw and primitive than his early Decca cuts, but Unavailable Sides 1950-1951 is an important document of rare, formative recordings by the most spectacular country hitmaker of the '50s.

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