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Who was/is Ray Campi ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more



RAY CAMPI 

EAGER BEAVER BOY

BCD 15501 AH

Ray Campi is unique in that he's old enough to remember what rockabilly was all about in its heyday, but young enough to make great new music that rocks in the old way. Everything here has Ray's inimitable sense of humour and Fifties style. Here's his personal tribute to the music he loves. Titles include Waffle Stompin' Mama, Let 'er Roll, Pinball Millionaire, Born To Be Wild, Dobro Daddio From Del Rio, Penal Farm, and Major Label Blues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Campi

Jesse James and All The Boys

I've always considered myself lucky to have grown up in Austin, Texas, during the late 1940s when a musical explosion centered on western swing and traditional Texas dance music was taking place.

I still recall that first week when my family arrived from Yonkers, New York, to the capital city of the Lone Star State. Upon arrival, in order to assimilate to Texas culture, my parents hit the first record shop they could find and bought a package of 78s by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys who were the rage at that time. Soon San Antonio Rose, Take Me Back To Tulsa, Miss Molly, and Roly Poly became my favorite songs at age ten, and their strains filled our upstairs apartment on West 6th Street often.

My folks quickly adjusted to Texas recreation when, after a hot day's work in Alex Fisher's grocery store (a property my father bought in 1943), they headed out several days a week to nightspots like the Pioneer Club, the Knights of Columbus Hall, Schultz's Garden, and sometimes the famous Dessau Hall to sip beer and 'cool off' on the outdoor patios and dance to the traditional waltzes, foxtrots, and polkas of Texas.

At that time a very popular presenter of these western dance styles in Austin was William 'Jesse' James and All The Boys. His popularity developed by broadcasting during the week around noontime on radio station KTBC, and when I had time off from school classes, usually during the summer, aspiring musicians like Bert Rivera, a Jimmy Grabowske fan, and I would visit the broadcasts in the large studio in the Brown Building.

"I really would like to play steel like Jimmy some day," Bert revealed to me, and he'd watch the player's every move on his solos. (My 1951 recording of Toe Tappin' Rhythm on Dionysus Records and Enviken Records of Sweden reflects Jimmy Grabowske's influence on Bert's steel guitar solo.)

"You boys are welcome to come and watch us play on the radio when you like," Jesse would say. He was a smiling, friendly person who wrote songs, sang, and played a beautiful Gibson, F-hole guitar. He, like Bob Wills, was a good organizer and chose the best players he could find. The ones I met often were Dean Curry and Harold Horner on piano, drummer Dowell Smith, the twin fiddle team of 'Roddy' Bristol and 'Junior' Burrow, and of course steel player Jimmy Grabowske, whom I got to know best.

One day during a visit to the station Jesse and the program director Richard 'Cactus' Pryor, son of 'Skinny' Pryor who opened the first motion picture theater in Austin, decided to record some songs following the broadcast to be released on 4 Star Records of Pasadena, California.

It was a great thrill to witness my first recording session in 1950 and to meet 'Cactus' Pryor who was to become a family friend to this day. I had already heard one of his records on the radio called Jackass Caravan which was a funny parody of Frankie Laine's Mule Train, also a hit by Tennessee Ernie, a record my dad bought at Woolworth's. "That sure was a funny record Cactus has out,"

I remarked to my friends. "I hope someday I can make a record."

With the help of my cousin Harold Layman I assembled on West 6th Street a neighbor band and started to record some songs I had written, thanks to the invention of disc recorders and technical assistance from Jack McGraw and Roy T. Poole who later went on to bigger things in the recording studio business. One of my first completed audio discs was a song I wrote called Disc Jockey Cactus. I took this demo record to Mrs. Macy Henry of Macy’s Records in Houston along with a few other original tunes, hoping for my first record release. The lady patiently listened to my painful playing and high-pitched singing and wisely rejected me as Macy’s Records' new singing sensation. "Come back in about ten years after your voice has developed and I'll give you another listen. You might have something there in that disc jockey song," she said encouragingly.

The influence of meeting Jesse and Cactus was rubbing off and any success I've had in performing and recording music sprang from these roots. These were people I watched and from whom I received my first music lessons.

On that interesting afternoon in the KTBC studio, records were being recorded for 4 Star; hopefully I've re-created them accurately for this Bear Family CD. I heard the band rehearse and get 'takes' of Flying Saucer Mama, and Rag Mop. Jesse's rendition of the latter tune was a 'cover' version of Johnny Lee Wills' hit on Bullet Records. I recall that all the musicians went into another room to listen to the original hit and came out practicing the lyric "do-di-lee-da-da-loo-di" over and over. The music and singing were all cut together with the band singing off-mike where they were standing. I seem to recall that Jesse did Flying Saucer Mama that day and last up was Cactus with his tune which was Hog Calling Champ Of Arkansas. He requested a double bass on this one and a call was made to Hub Sutter who had finished his radio show at nearby KVET. His bass player, Joe Ramon, who had been a member of Jesse's band previously, entered the studio cradling his instrument. This tune was somewhat complicated as it contained a key change in the middle when Turkey In The Straw had to be played during the hog calling sequence. A staff announcer named Jim Nummy and Hub Sutter had an interchange with Cactus.

Jesse James was known for having great players in his fiddle section, one being Roddy Bristol. He always soloed on The Hot Canary which was his 'show off' number. One day I asked Jesse what I needed to attain a copyright on one of my songs, Shatterproof Heart. "You need a musical lead sheet," Jesse advised, "Roddy can make one for you, here's his phone number." I called the fiddler and an appointment was made. I arrived at his apartment with my guitar. I picked out the melody of the song and Roddy quickly jotted down the notes. I left and a day or so later he presented me a beautifully crafted sheet. I acquired a copyright form, sent in the music sheet with the fee needed and a few weeks later I received my first copyright. It was a great feeling of accomplishment. This was in 1950.

"The Jole Blon Boy," Jesse would introduce the man walking up to the microphone with his fiddle in hand. Harry Choates, whose record of the Cajun song became a hit, was a frequent guest with Jesse and the Boys during the last year of his life. I watched Harry perform on the radio program several times including his last appearance a few days before he died in the Travis County Jail. (A great double CD of his recordings is 'Harry Choates – Devil In The Bayou', BCD 16355 BH.)

The Jesse James band remained on the radio and performed around central Texas until sometime in 1956 or '57. I ran into the man after the band had broken up and he told me he was now an investment salesman. He had left Austin and settled in Cheyenne, Wyoming and I lost track of him as I moved to Los Angeles, California in 1959. Kevin Coffey has provided an accurate discography of his recordings which include Bert Rivera Sr. as a drummer on some early tracks. I checked with my old friend Bert Jr. and he recalls that his dad was an early drummer with Jesse as he was a few times with my young Ramblin' Ray and the Ramblers group in 1951.

Hub Sutter was also an important part of Jesse's early years. He was a clarinet player and his music blended well with the fiddle which you'll hear on Jesse's first record on Bluebonnet Records, When Jole Blon And Kilroy Got Married.

A few years later he sang on another Jesse James' record when he rendered beautifully the Floyd Tillman classic, I've Got The Craziest Feeling. I knew Hub in the 1950s as I sat in on his KVET radio show also. In 1988 I renewed my friendship with him and his wife Doris and invited him to play on my tribute record to Jimmy Heap and the Melody Masters (Ray Campi: Taylor, Texas-1988, BCD 15486).

As I write these reminiscences I can picture in my mind's eye the gold 1947 Desoto limousine, its rack on the top brimming with instrument cases, with Junior driving, heading south on Congress Avenue around 5.00 p.m., delivering Jesse and the Boys to music-craving outposts like Bandera, La Grange, Bastrop, Dimebox, San Marcos, and Houston, Texas, to name a few, for another night of picking, dancing, and fun for all. I witnessed this scene several times in the past and cherish it today. It's a thrill to be able to produce this compact disc for Richard Weize and Bear Family Records and to re-live the songs I heard so beautifully played by good fellows who befriended this star-struck kid long ago.

Ray Campi



More information about Ray Campi on de.Wikipedia.org
 
 
   
 
Ray Campi: The Eager Beaver Boy...plus
Art-Nr.: BCD15501
 

Item in stock

1-CD with 12-page booklet, 28 tracks. Playing time approx. 71 mns. Ray Campi is unique in that he's old enough to remember what rockabilly was all about in its heyday, but young enough to make great new music that rocks in the old way. Everything here has Ray's...

Instead of:$17.64 * $14.11 *

Ray Campi: The Memory Lingers On-Remembering Jesse James
Art-Nr.: BCD16746
 

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1 CD with 24-page booklet, 17 individual tracks, playing time 45:54 minutes. For all lovers of Texas music, this is a rare treat! It’s an affectionate tribute from one great underappreciated artist to another. In the 1940s, Ray Campi moved from New York to...

Instead of:$18.82 * $17.64 *

Ray Campi: The Original Rockabilly Album
Art-Nr.: LPMF063
 

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(1987/Magnum) 13 tracks, all recorded 1957! Linernotes are by Trevor Cajiao, the editor of the 'Well Now Dig This' magazine!

$17.11 *

Ray Campi: The Man I Met b-w Ballad Of Donna And Peggy Sue 7inch, 45rpm
Art-Nr.: 45REAL1047
 

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(2012/REAL) superb re-works of his legendary tribute recordings (originally released on 'D' in 1959) Produced by Rip Masters.

$8.85 *

Ray Campi: Give That Love To Ray Campi
Art-Nr.: DLP1001
 

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(Domino) 14 tracks, recorded for TNT, Dot, 'D', Domino and Rollin' Rock incl. the recordings he did with the Slades!

$15.93 *

Ray Campi: Guadalupe Boogie b-w I'm A Fool About 7inch, 45rpm
Art-Nr.: 45REAL96
 

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Top two sider of Rockabilly legend Mr. Ray Campi on his own label - yeah!

$8.85 *

Ray Campi: Rockabilly Rocket (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDMF046
 

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(1994/Magnum) 13 tracks (34:27) - his now rare 1977 album with Ray Campi at his slappin', boppin' best. Including his fantastic Jimmie Skinner tribute 'When Jimmie Skins The Blues', the slurpy ' Chew Tabacco Rag', 'Cravin' a.o. One of the best albums from his great...

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Ray Campi: The Rollin' Rock Singles Collection (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDRRCH005
 

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(1996/RR-CH) 30 tracks 1973-81 including 6 bonus tracks!

Instead of:$23.54 * $18.83 *

Ray Campi: Rockabilly Rocket
Art-Nr.: LPMF046
 

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(1987/MAGNUM FORCE) 13 tracks, original Rollin' Rock recordings!

$14.75 *

Ray Campi: Still Rippin' It Up
Art-Nr.: CDRATTLER600
 

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Ray Campi's newest album recorded together with Rip Masters. Rip Masters delivered all songs and also did the writing of all songs. So this album is a tribute by Ray Campi to the man and his works of Rip Masters! Campi still plays many shows in Europe and the U.S....

Instead of:$20.00 * $16.00 *

Ray Campi: Taylor, Texas 7inch, 45rpm, EP
Art-Nr.: REAL4596
 

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Remembering Jimmy Heap and The Melody Masters.  Last copies without the picture sleeve - rare now.

$10.03 *

Ray Campi: The Rollin' Rock Recordings, Vol.2 (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDPART613005
 

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(2016/Part) 32 tracks

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Ray Campi: The Original Rockabilly Album (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDMF063
 

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(1993/Magnum Force) 13 Tracks - 1957 recordings, rarities and demos!

Instead of:$35.34 * $28.27 *

Ray Campi: Gone, Gone, Gone (LP)
Art-Nr.: ROU3047
 

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​(Rounder) 12 tracks - originally sealed!

$23.54 *

Ray Campi & His Rockabilly Rebels: Hollywood Cats (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDPART613
 

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​(1994/Part Records) 15 Tracks - Original late 70s and early 80s Rollin' Rock recordings!

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Ray Campi: The Rollin' Rock Recordings, Vol.1
Art-Nr.: CDPART613004
 

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(Part) 25 tracks, the first volume of Ray Campi's Rollin' Rock recordings, recorded by Ronny Weiser! Ray still performs and is one of the most today's active 1950s Rockers and always worth to see him performing live! A great guy and a stunnish CD incl. extensive...

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Ray Campi: Rockabilly Blues
Art-Nr.: CDSTG7711
 

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(2006/ST.GEORGE) 14 tracks / superb session recorded at ACME studios Chicago in 2003. Feat. Nick'Lightnin'Loyd (string bass), Warren Storm (drums), John Studebaker (harp) a.o.

Instead of:$11.74 * $9.39 *

Ray Campi: Hollywood Cats (LP)
Art-Nr.: PART313001
 

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​(1994/Part) 15 tracks - Originally released 1983 only in Scandinavia! Re-issued 1994 on the German 'Part' records label!

$27.08 *

Ray Campi: Ray Campi With Friends In Texas (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDFF70518
 

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​(1990/Flying Fish) 11 tracks , feat. Del Shannon, Merle Travis, Jon Emery, Bonnie Raitt and many more!

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Ray Campi: Catarpillar - Play It Cool
Art-Nr.: REP03030
 

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Single (7 Inch) on REPRO RECORDS by Ray Campi - Catarpillar - Play It Cool

$12.69 *

Ray Campi: Ramblin' Ray's Favorite Country Stars
Art-Nr.: CDREAL1011
 

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CD on REAL RECORDS by Ray Campi - Ramblin' Ray's Favorite Country Stars

$17.70 *

Ray Campi: The Road To Rockabilly 1951-1958 (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDENV118
 

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(2003/ENVIKEN) 19 tracks! CD includes 4 previously unreleased recordings and a 16 page souvenir booklet! 

Instead of:$35.34 * $28.27 *

Ray Campi: The Ultimate Jimmie Skinner Songbook
Art-Nr.: CDREAL1009
 

Currently not available

(2009/REAL) 26 tracks (63:37), incredible tribute album to Ray's hero Jimmie Skinner. Superb, slappin' new recordings, produced by Ray & Rip Masters plus several 1970s Rollin' Rock recordings. Including a stunning duet with Rosie Flores on ' Let's Say Goodbye Like We...

Instead of:$17.70 * $14.16 *

Ray Campi: Cat'n Around b-w All The Time 7inch, 45rpm
Art-Nr.: REAL4594
 

Currently not available

Two classic Rockabilly boppers - superb sound a must for any collection! few copies left

$8.85 *

   
 
 
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