If "Pappy" Daily and Don Pearce had just given us George Jones, their place in history would be secure. George Jones has been one of the most significant country artist of the post-Hank Williams era and his career was nurtured on Starday. Daily and Pearce's finger-prints were all over the country and rockabilly map of the 1950s - whether it was Pearce working with the slick Bill McCall at 4 Star or running his Hollywood label, or Daily's keen eye for talent, launching Starday and the important D label. The duo split in 1958 with Daily producing Chantilly Lace by the ill-fated Big Bopper on D, while Pearce carried on with Starday, hitting the Top 10 with Frankie Miller, Cowboy Copas, Johnny Bond and Red Sovine.
Their working relationship was an ideal one-.-Daily made all the musical decisions, while Pearce excelled at the business - working with managers, agents, bookers and DJs. This gave him easy access to many new artists for the label's custom pressing series, he would accept master tapes of local talent for a fee on a separate Starday or Dixie series.
Entrepreneurial youngsters saw this as a way of getting local radio play to promote their group or possibly expose their manager as the next Colonel Tom Parker. The risks were few, the cost negligible and the rewards promising. The records could be left on consignment in local stores or sold from the bandstand. Today, the rarity of these rockabilly gems from Gene Terry, Orangie Ray Hubbard or Mack Banks reveal there were precious few re-pressings. Pearce also saw this as a way to flesh out their publishing companies and encouraged self-written material.
The late Groovey Joe Poovey and Lucky Wray (aka Ray Vernon) featuring Link Wray are here with their early custom pressings.
This is the first look at Starday-Dixie Rockabilly on Ace Records, and such is the richness of the repertoire that compiler Ray Topping has planned a second volume.
By Wayne Russell