Thursday, July 26, 2007

Who Are The Mystery Guests?

Warning: this post requires audience participation

Below are two tracks released on the Tops record label. Tops was a budget label that recorded sound-a-likes of hit songs. They sold their merchandise in drugstores and Woolworths to undiscerning record buyers. Here we have an artist known as Hank Smith singing Elvis' then current hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," and another artist known as "Scat" Benny doing the one thousand and oneth version of "Rock Island Line." These are not the real names of these singers and both are well known on their own. Tops attached the name Hank Smith to various releases of country and rockabilly records, all featuring different singers. (The version of "Blue Suede Shoes" on this record is by a different Hank Smith than on "Heartbreak Hotel" and not as interesting, so I'm not including an mp3 of it.

Can you guess who are the mystery guests?

Use the comments to submit your answer.
Humor me... please.

Googlers need not apply.

Download: "Rock Island Line" mp3 by "Scat" Benny

Download: "Heartbreak Hotel" mp3 by Hank Smith


david j said...

Rock Island Line sounds like Scatman Cruthers (SP?)

Anonymous said...

I love contests, cool idea.

I agree with David, Rock Island Line sounds like the Scatman and Heartbreak Hotel most likely is George Jones. Here's a question back - what famous singer-songwriter's mother was the co-writer of Heartbreak Hotel?

david j said...

Hoyt Axton's mom.

countrygrrl said...

what a fab idea for a competition. i don't have a scoobie but when i was a young nipper i used to by these looky soundalike records in our local woolworths. ithink it might have been on the hallmark or such like label. we were so know the rest...we could't afford the originals so we rocked out throughout the 70's to all the hits for a really cheap deal. love the blog and have learnt such a lot about music by just visiting. hi from a wet but so far not waterlogged or baking scotland!!

Anonymous said...

Yep - Mae Boren Axton.

Ted Barron said...

Okay, well I guess the contest is over. Not much of a contest really, considering there are no prizes, but David and Dean are both correct!

Scat Benny = Scatman Crothers

Hank Smith = George Jones

Thanks for weighing in, and thanks to Countrygrrl too. Also, nice tibit about Hoyt Axton's mom. I appreciate the comments, it gets lonely out here in the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

Since you like comments - I believe Crothers at one time joined with some big favorites of mine, Slim Galliard and Slam Stewart (Slim & Slam). That would make for a great boogie woogie flu post.

Ted Barron said...


i'll try to get this, but i don't know when. i don't know if you've seen it , but i did a slim gaillard post back in april. I don't think scatman was on any of those sides. i love slim and slam, and the bowed bass sound on those records.

Anonymous said...

Damn Ted, you've got a fine site!

Anonymous said...

Got a Scatman Crothers LP from 56 titled
"Rock and Roll with Scatman Crothers"
the only thing remotely RnR on it is "Ghostriders
in the Sky" and that's even a stretch.

Anonymous said...

When my grandfather died I got all the old records that were in his house and there were some of these Tops records. I don't have them with me right now, but I remember there being one with Scatman Crothers on it (under his own name not a pseudonym)

Anonymous said...

Found it!
Slim Gaillard with Bam Brown and Scatman Crothers at Billy Berg's in Hollywood 1946

YouTube: Slim Gaillard Trio 1946

Ted Barron said...

thanks dean, that's quite amazing.