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Dave Stuckey

Willie Barry

willie barry

Willie Barry & the California Hot Shots – The Wallyphonic Sessions

Self Released [2020]

Hillbilly Fever – What Am I Worth – Mean Mama Boogie – Who Shot Sam – One Wheel Draggin – A Night For Love – Kiss Me Sweet – You Better Treat Your Man Right – Three’s a Crowd – Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own – One Minute To One – Island of Love – Last Town I Painted – Milkshake Mademoiselle – Don’t Go Baby – Sweet Sweet Girl

Willie Barry is the singer of the Rock-A-Sonics, an excellent band from the Washington, DC area. Last year he crossed the country and went to Wally Hersom’s Wallyphonic Studios in Pasadena, California. There, he recorded his debut solo album with the cream of the crop of the Californian rockabilly scene, namely Ashley Kingman and Deke Dickerson on guitars, Dave Berzanski on steel guitar, Carl Sonny Leyland on piano, Wally Hersom on bass, and Dave Stuckey on drums. How can you go wrong with such a team behind you? Well, Barry indeed didn’t, and these 16 tracks are one of the very best slices of rockabilly/boppin’ hillbilly I’ve heard in ages.
The young singer is gifted with an excellent, subtle, and confident voice. He can easily switch from Ricky Nelson’s softness to Jerry Lee Lewis’s wildness, with some early Geoge Jones and Johnny Horton in between. Not surprisingly, the band does a terrific job. Special mention to Carl Leyland, who seems on fire, playing his best Rockabilly/Rock’n’Roll piano.
The songs, all covers, cover the whole gamut of the genre. Hillbilly Bop, Rockabilly, Rock’n’Roll, whatever the style, the young boy seems perfectly at ease. Icing on the cake, there’s a superb duet with Dani Haberman (Crown City Bombers) on Nobody’s Business But My Own, initially done by Kay Starr and Tennessee Ernie Ford and another one with Leyland on Milkshake Mademoiselle.
As usual, Hersom does a terrific job capturing the live sound and the emergency of the performance.
I couldn’t recommend this album enough.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Lucky Stars

The Lucky Stars - Go to Town
The Lucky Stars – Go to Town

The Lucky Stars – Go to Town

Fate Records 5004
Go to Town – $100 and no sense – Whose hat Is That – Rye Whiskey Baby – Feelin’ It – The Way You Walk – Glycerin Tears – Right By Me – Watch Your Step – Lie, Lie Again – If I Were Me – I’ll Go the Extra Mile – The Last Call Blues

To my great shame I recently realised that I still hadn’t reviewed the Lucky Stars’ third album “Go to Town” and felt a bit guilty about that. But the feeling almost vanished when I remembered that these guys made us wait nearly eight years between this one and “Stay out Late” their previous output. It’s a bit too long don’t you think? Especially if you, like me, consider that the Lucky Stars are, with Dave Stuckey’s Rhythm Gang, the best western swing band since the golden age of the genre (and if you thought “What about Asleep at the Wheel?”, please leave the room quietly.)
The Lucky Stars are a hot combination of influences and talents. Leading the band is Sage Guyton, the crooner with the moustache, the man with the smooth voice, strong melodies and clever lyrics. All songs here are originals from his pen and if sometimes you hear a bit of Wills here (one time Billy Jack, the other Bob), a little Tex Williams there and the spirit of Merle Travis, they all have that unmistakable Lucky Stars signature. It’s in the songs, but it’s also due to the band. With a hot rhythm section like Wally Hersom (bass) and Dave Stuckey (drums and lead vocals on The Way You Walk) and Jeremy Wakefield, Rusty Blake and Dan Wenstein trading solos respectively on steel, guitar, fiddle and cornet you can’t go wrong. Add a couple of guest on piano and accordion, and you’re there Pierre,

A Lucky Stars album is like a party. It opens with “Go to Town” a joyful and exuberant invitation to the fest and ends with “Last Call Blues” when the bar closes its doors . In between, there was room for dance, laugh, tears, swing and, yes, a lot of alcohol.
See ya next decade for the next album guys!

The Lucky Stars - Stay out late with
The Lucky Stars – Stay out late with

The Lucky Stars – Stay out late with

Fate LP5002
Rarin’ To Go – Real Good Lookin’ – Teacher’s Pet – Am I In Love (Or Am I Just Hungover)? – Out Of Your Mind – The Tattooed Lady – (Mama’s Got) The Rundown Daddy Blues – Used To Be – My Poor Old Haunted Heart – Don’t Count Your Chickens – One Man’s Blues – One Of These Days – Stay Out Late
This new album was highly anticipated. Imagine Sage Guyton’s hability to sing and write songs combined with Jeremy Wakefield on steel and the support of Dave Stuckey on drums, Wally Hersom on bass and Russ Blake on guitar. Well, if you’re into western swing this is the combination that would make your heart flip?!
And it does. The album opens with «Rarin’ to Go», the kind of song that takes no prisoner and you know you’re not just listenin’ to another album but a recording that could stand proudly near Hank Penny, Tex Williams or Bob Wills in your collection. This band swings, I mean REALLY swings, they don’t play country songs with steel on a rock beat, you see what I mean? Next song «Real Good Lookin’» gives us the occasion to salute the work done by guest musician Mike Bolger on trumpet, accordion and piano on this album. While we’re talking about the musicians I must praise the quality of guitar player Russ Blake and his jazzy licks. A few month ago this guy was totally unknown to me (shame on me) and in the same time I got 3 fantastic records where his talent shines : this one, Jeremy Wakefield’s Steel Guitar Caviar and the latest Janet Klein. All this album is a proof that Sage Guyton is not only a fantastic singer but a genius in term of writing songs. Of course you can expect clever lyrics (Teacher’s pet, Mama’s got the rundown dady blues to name but two) but Sage is more than a guy who writes funny tunes. Just listen to «Out of your mind» and «My poor old haunted heart» (and if you don’t cry on these one, you’re not realy human). JW sings the two covers of this album «the Tattooed lady» and Cindy Walker’s «Don’t count your chicken» and the records ends on the instrumental «Stay out late» that could have been recorded by the Western Caravan. But enough said, this record is an absolute must! I just hope we won’t have to wait 5 years to hear the next one.

The Lucky Stars – The Lucky Stars

Bucket-Lid BL 502 [1996]
Look Wath The Cat Dragged In – No More Nothin’ – Do Me A Favor (Tell Me A Lie) – Anything But You

Dave Stuckey produced and released on his label this EP, and Deke Dickerson, Wally Hersom, and Tim Maag recorded it.
When the band recorded it, the line-up was Sage Guyton on vocals, Brent Harding on double-bass, Jeremy Wakefield on steel guitar, Chris “Whitey” Anderson on accordion and piano, Tim Maag on drums, and James Gilliam on lead guitar.
The opener is a hot western swing tune with an infectious groove embellished with Spike Jones effect. Zeb Turner’s No More Nothin’ is more swingin’ than the original, with Guyton singing it with his unmistakable laid back style. Do Me A Favor is more on the hillbilly side, featuring some great crooning and steel guitar. Anything But You with its accordion is a rompin’ Western Swing tune reminiscent of Pee Wee King.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Dave and Deke Combo


Dave and Deke Combo - There’s nothing like an old hillbilly
Dave and Deke Combo – There’s nothing like an old hillbilly

The Dave and Deke Combo – There’s nothing like an old hillbilly

Bucket Lid Records BL503
No More Cryin’ the Blues – Hey Mae Laurie Ann – Red Headed Woman – Moonshine – This Is It – Let’s Rock Tonight – Hey Baby – Alamo – Love Me – Let’s Take a Little Ride Sweet Rockin’ Mama – Lookin’ for Money – I’m Gonna Tell – Laughin’ and Jokin’ – Carryin’ On – Real Cool Rocket – The Stranger Walks – Chew Tobacco Rag – Twin Guitar Twist – Muskrat – In the Meadow
Although the split of the Dave & Deke Combo gave us two great solo artists (and as a bonus it also gave us a fantastic drummer), sometimes we were missing the Combo, its harmonies and its humor. So when reunion gigs were announced everyone knew it would be a major event of 2005. The first gigs in Vegas and Oneida were a huge success. And to celebrate this reunion the band decided to release a rarities cd.

Tracks 1 to 6 give us the occasion to hear the combo with Bobby Trimble on drums. These tunes com from their first 8 tracks demo. One can find the other 2 songs on the cd version of Hollywood Barn Dance. You’ll also find live cuts, unreleased songs from the Moonshine Melodies and Toerag studios sessions as well as rare to find vinyl only release. I won’t go more into details as the liner notes explain it all. It’s interesting to see that a lot of these songs are still in the Deke Dickerson’s repertoire today like «Red Headed Woman», «Love Me» (not The Phantom’s one) or «Lookin for Money». And icing on the cake you’ve got a brand new recording by the band. Elvis’ In the Ghetto is given the Homer & Jethro treatment and renamed “In the meadow”. It’s probably one of the best song the combo ever produced.
Fred «Virgil» Turgis

The Dave And Deke Combo – Hollywood Barn Dance
The Dave And Deke Combo – Hollywood Barn Dance

The Dave And Deke Combo – Hollywood Barn Dance

Heyday Records [1996]
Let’s Flat Get On It  – Snatchin’ And Grabbin’ – Right Behind Me – Let Go Of Louie – El Cumbanchero – Cut Out That Boogie – Did Anybody Mention My Name? – No Good Woman – Hitch In My Get-A-Long – Two Timin’ Mama  – Slippin’ And Slidin’ (And Scootin’ Around) – Henpecked Peckerwood – Goin’ Steady With The Blues  – Deke’s Hot Guitar – Half Shot Boogie – Baby’s Hot Rod – Wild Woman – Chrome Dome




The Dave & Deke Combo – Moonshine Melodies
The Dave & Deke Combo – Moonshine Melodies

The Dave & Deke Combo – Moonshine Melodies

No Hit Records – HITCD09 [1993]
Tally Ho  – I’m Just Too Lazy – Maybe Baby  – You Ain’t As Dumb As You Look  – Flipped!   – Didn’t It Rock   – Salty Boogie  – Two Guitars, No Waitin’  – Go Ahead On – Strange Woman’s Love  – Warm Lips (Big Trouble)  – Show-Me Boogie

Dave Stuckey (aka Dave “Pappy” Stuckey)

Dave StuckeyThis is an old one. Maybe the first one I did when I thought about doing a fanzine again, back in 2000 or something like this. “Get A Load of This” was on heavy rotation on my player and I was thinking “How nice it would be to ask a few question to this gentleman”. I eventually got in touch with Dave thanks to Jim Stephenson (thanks a million man!) and what started with an interview developped into what i’m proud to call a transatlantic friendship. How could I imagine when I sent my email to “Pappy” that more than ten years later I would draw the cover of his jazz album?

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Dave Stuckey – I was born and raised in Kansas City, an easy place to get interested in music history… as you know, KC has a terrific music past, from the great jazz clubs at 12th & Vine streets, Joe Turner, Count Basie and Charlie Parker to the country/rockabilly label Westport Records… they even had a «Barn Dance»-type show in the 30’s and 40’s called «The Brush Creek Follies»! It was a wide-open, New York type of town back then — during the Prohibition Act in America, Kansas City had more than 300 bars (called «Speakeasy’s») ! As a kid one of the first things I did when I got my drivers license was head downtown to Union Station, where you could still see the bullet holes from a shootout Pretty Boy Floyd had with Federal Agents when he was trying to spring an accused bootlegger in custody. Anyway, I got a little off track there… but that gives you a sense of the great ghosts that are floating around in Kansas City.

What is your earliest musical memory?
Dave Stuckey – I have a lot of memories of mid-60’s country music, heard mostly at The Skyline, a diner in North Kansas City my grandparents frequented… but the real formative medium for me was listening to Top 40 radio on WHB, one of the first 3 top 40 stations in the U.S. I was pretty well obsessed with the station and would often listen to my little portable under the covers late into the night…

Do you remember the first record you bought by yourself?
Dave Stuckey – This is funny — the first record I remember GETTING is «Sugar Sugar» by the Archies — it was a cardboard record cut out of the back of a box of cereal ! The first 45 record I bought myself… was «Monster Shindig» on Hanna Barbera Records, a kid’s label. The first LP… well, there were actually 3. There was a department store in KC that sold LP’s, I had some money from cutting grass or something… and bought «Golden Bisquits» from Three Dog Night, «Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy» by the Who and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s «Green River». Man, this could be EMBARRASSING!

What is the first instrument you played? Drums or guitar?

Dave Stuckey – Guitar has always been my primary instrument — I got my first one (a Harmony Patrician) at age 10 or 11… later on – in high school, our band practiced at my house… I started messing around on drums when our drummer wasn’t there… I’ve never really felt like a «real» drummer since I’ve never taken a lesson. I also played 5 string (bluegrass) banjo for a couple of years when I was 17-18, so I can still pick that a little bit …

How did you discover rockabilly and all that kind of music?
Dave Stuckey – Like many folks, I got into rockabilly through the «back door» of punk rock. I was in high school when punk first came around and was completely hooked by it. Kansas City was fairly tapped into it, believe it or not — there was a record store there (Caper’s Corner) owned by the brother of actor Ed Asner and it was pretty hip. They carried the first punk LP («The Damned»), the Sex Pistols first 45 on EMI and got the NME paper every week… when the Ramones first came to town in ‘77, Capers had an in-store appearance the day of the gig…
But my first year of college (in Denver, Colorado) I discovered an even better store called Wax Trax. It was a treasure trove of new and used records, 45’s and LP’s (can you believe it? CD’s hadn’t caught on yet!). At any rate, in 1978 I was buying some punk 45’s or something one day and the guy at the counter said ‘you think this stuff is wild — you should try *this*’. He reached behind the counter and pulled out the ‘Chess Rockabillies’ LP that had just come out… I took it back to the dorm and it really blew my mind… I mean *really*. Rusty York’s «Sugaree», G.L. Crockett’s «Look Out Mabel» — I was on the ceiling!

Do you remember the first band you played with?
Dave Stuckey – Oh sure… it was in junior high school… we didn’t have a bass player… but still, if we set up in the driveway and played Deep Purple cover songs, the girls still hung around 😉

Can you tell us a bit about «The Regular guys»?
Dave Stuckey – The Regular Guys was a power pop band I joined in college in the late 70’s (by this time I was going to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, the home of William Burroughs). It was pretty fun for 2 reasons: 1) it was the first band I ever played bars with (the first show I ever played with them was in a strip club, where we had to share the dressing room with the strippers!) and 2) they let me play Eddie Cochran covers! We got to open shows for a lot of bands who were coming through Kansas City and Lawrence at the time, like Secret Affair…
and U2&127! Ha! I also played drums with a band in town called Thumbs, who actually had a record reviewed in Rolling Stone… and a rockabilly/RnR band called Dalton Howard & the Go-Cats… Lawrence was an incredibly fun time…

Then, after leaving The Regular Guys you moved to LA and worked with Mark Gilman on a Bela Lugosi TV documentary called The Forgotten King…
Dave Stuckey – Yes. That ties into my college degree, Radio/TV/Film. When I graduated, I came out to Los Angele to make documentaries with Gilman, who was a friend back in Kansas (I took his place in the Regular Guys when he left for California). We first did a 3 Stooges documentary called «The Funniest Guys in the World», sold that, and then did the Lugosi docu. And some other things. They’re pretty hard for me to look at now – I’ve learned a lot more about the production process since then — but we did get to meet and work with old Hollywood legends like John Carradine and Ralph Bellamy. Our company more or less dissolved after that and I went on to get more work as a film/TV editor, which I still do today. Music videos, movie trailers, infomercials, you name it…I’m crazy about old movies and TV, so this job is a decent way to work in the same.. uh.. «arena».

That leads us to other Bela Lugosi fans: Lux and Ivy. What is your connection to The Cramps?
Dave Stuckey – I consider Lux and Ivy to be great friends I’m not so much in touch with any more.I met them at a club when I was in L.A. in 1981 and we fast discovered we had the same interests in music, comics, movies and all that. We became good friends, even when I moved back to Kansas City that same year… in ‘84, I was planning to move back to L.A. – they had an open spot and asked if I wanted to join… I came out and rehearsed for shows, but ultimately decided not to take up their offer… We remained good friends (I’ve had some of the best times of my life record hunting with Lux — he turned me onto many many great records) and I did wind up recording with them on their «Crybaby» demos (which came out as the b-side of some 12-inch). I really can’t say enough nice things about those guys…

So you are the same Dave Stuckey as the one whose «Cornfeed Dame» is dedicated to on «A Date With Elvis»

Dave Stuckey – The «Cornfed Dames» thing was a gag — they got the title of the song from a little comic strip I sent them when I still lived in Kansas City, so the note on «A Date with Elvis» was a little thank-you

Lux and Ivy are known to be great records collectors. Are you one yourself?
Dave Stuckey – Oh yeahm it’s a sick habit! Actually, Lux and I used to go record hunting together at a monthly Swap Meet in Pasadena, CA. I have to say that since he’s heard about everything, Lux turned me on to more fantastic 45’s I never would have thought about otherwise…So, yes… I’ve got a lot of LP’s, 45’s and 78’s… also a ridiculous amount (over 1000 hours) of old TV shows and movies on videotape… comics, pulps, books… sigh.

Let’s talk about the Dave and Deke Combo. How did you met Deke?

Dave Stuckey – I met Deke when I lived in L.A. and he still lived in Columbia, Missouri. I had called Billy Miller (from Kicks magazine) in New York… Billy wasn’t home but Deke was there, on a tour with his band The Untamed Youth.I already had their first LP, so we hit it off… the Youth came out to L.A. a couple of times on tour before he moved to L.A., also…

The Untamed Youth, circa 1992, with Mace, Deke Dickerson, Trent Ruane (the Mummies) and Dave Stuckey.
The Untamed Youth, circa 1992, with Mace, Deke Dickerson, Trent Ruane (the Mummies) and Dave Stuckey.

What was your first band together, Dave & Deke or Untamed Youth?
Dave Stuckey – Well, you have to remember that Deke started the Youth in Columbia when he was only 16! When he decided to move out to California, he had hoped that the whole band would move out too, but as it turned out, Mace was the only one who made the trip. Meanwhile, Deke had suggested over the phone that we start a Hillbilly harmony-type rockabilly band, which sounded great to me… Once he got here, the Dave & Deke thing took off faster (since Deke had to rebuild the Untamed Youth). He asked, as a favor, if I could fill in on drums until he found someone permanent… and I wound up drumming for 3 years with them! It was great fun, actually.Since we tried hard to keep Dave & Deke «traditional» (not too loud, not too rock), it was nice to be able to «blow off some steam» with the Youth

You started around 1991, we can’t say that the american rockabilly/hillbilly (and so on) scene was in good health at that time. Wasn’t that too hard?
Dave Stuckey – Well, California was a little bit different, I think. We had a little scene that grew quickly because we had a bar to hang out at, The Blue Saloon, which was run by our bass player, Lloyd Martin. The few bands that were around had a tight knit group that played the same gigs, went to the same backyard BBQ jam sessions and had the same crowds… Since Dave &Deke and Big Sandy shared Bobby Trimble as a drummer for about a year (before Lance), we would often all pile into Wally Hersom’s van and head down to San Diego or up to San Francisco for shows… What a riot that was! So there became a point when you could go to the Blue Saloon on any night of the week and see rockabilly and/or surf music! Sunday night was Dee Lannon & Her Rhythm Rustlers, Monday was Russell Scott & the Red Hots, Tuesday was Deke’s Untamed Youth spin-off band (called The Beatnik Bandits), Wednesday was Dave & Deke, Thursday was Big Sandy and Friday & Saturday were usually touring bands like Sleepy LaBeef, Rudy Grayzell, Rose Maddox and Ronnie Dawson ! With lineups like that, you can see how the scene was very big in Southern California (for a while anyway — it didn’t last).

Bobby Horton said «This music wasn’t played that well until three bands came along–Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Trio, the Dave and Deke Combo and High Noon. I believe those bands have really spearheaded this current scene and deserve a lot of the credit. They were writing original music and had great musicians in their bands.» Do you think, that you helped a new scene to emerge?

Dave Stuckey – That’s really nice of Ol’ Bobby to put it that way… I don’t think it was a conscious thing… I think we were proud of our scene, no doubt about it. Also we were all just happy to have places to play and people who were excited to come see us. It only lasted for a few years and kind of drifted apart after Lloyd left the Saloon… it continued in a smaller form, at other clubs like Jack’s Sugar Shack and the late, lamented Palomino Club, but really petered out in the late 90’s. I think that’s just what happens with music scenes, by the way… even the good ones never last! I also know that one thing Big Sandy and I used to talk about a lot was how important it was to get the music «right». It’s not just robotic replication — but it was truly fun to write songs like the songwriters you love … and have people sometimes not know which was a cover and which was an original! That is always a great thrill for me, because I have such respect for the great old time writers…

The Dave and Deke Combo's third line-up: DLance Ray Soliday, Shorty Poole, Deke Dickerson and Dave Stuckey Drums
The Dave and Deke Combo’s third line-up: DLance Ray Soliday, Shorty Poole, Deke Dickerson and Dave Stuckey

Then, just after a superb second album «Hollywood Barn Dance», you went your separate ways, why?
Dave Stuckey – I think the main reason was that Deke wanted to do his own thing – and I understand that… I found that, the more I played, the more «traditional» I wanted to get… Deke has always had a deep love of rock n’ roll (I mean real, 50’s rock n’ roll, of course, not the weird definition that exists today), along with other kinds of music. He wanted to «mix it up» and I just wanted to get more and more hillbilly. I understand the conflict, for sure. It was too bad, since the band was just beginning to really get some interest after the 2nd CD… but some of us could tour a lot and some of us had day jobs… it was just one of those things.And while I didn’t want it to end at the time (since I felt that we had put a lot of work into it), if it *hadn’t* broken up, I would have never met Whit Smith, who is a huge influence on me, Elana, all the other folks in Austin I’ve gotten to play with and most of all — I’d have never gotten to play with Jeremy Wakefield, which I think is the most fun I’ve ever had.

After the Dave and Deke Combo, you fronted your own band and played western swing ? Was it something you wanted to do for a long time?
Dave Stuckey – Oh sure… And how it happened was an unexpected surprise… I had gone to see Austin’s ì8 1/2 Souvenirs in L.A. They were a fantastic band-and Kevin Smith was playing bass for them. High Noon was one of those bands who had come out to California in the Blue Saloon days and are very good friends.Anyway, during the break Kevin says ‘you know what you and JW should do? You should come out to Austin, we’ll get 2 fiddles, 2 guitars, piano, drums.and record a version of (Bob Wills) ‘Whoa Babe’» I said ‘sounds like a winner to me!’ Jeremy and I flew out there a few months later…We went to Billy Horton’s studio, Kevin and Billy got all the players together: Whit Smith and Dave Biller on guitars, Elana Fremerman and Eamon McLaughlin on fiddles, T. Jarod Bonta on piano, Lisa Pankratz on drums… Billy played a little bass as well. JW and I called it «The Austin Dream Band» ! We started messing around and suddenly we’d recorded 5 songs in an afternoon! It just clicked ! We left with the idea we should record more tracks and put it out… In the meantime Hightone Records called me and asked if I wanted to put something out on their HMG label

Wasn’t that too hard to reunite this (killer) line-up?
Dave Stuckey – It was incredibly hard! Once we decided we were going to do the HMG record (after the initial get-together), it took a YEAR to get everybody back in Austin at the same time to record again! By that time, Kevin was just too busy, so Jake Erwin stepped in and really nailed it.

Was everything done «live in studio»?

Dave Stuckey – That’s right – in Billy Horton’s living room – he’s long since built a real studio in Austin (which sounds amazing).

Is there unreleased stuff from that session?
Dave Stuckey – I think there are two songs we didn’t release and both are from the first session. The Wills cover «Whoa Babe» and a new western swing style version of the Dave & Deke Combo song «Did Anybody Mention My Name?» I haven’t thought about those songs in a long time! I must have them someplace… I think everything we recorded in the second «official» session was released. We only had a week to record, mix and finish so we were really rushing to finish.

Your first contact with the Lucky Stars was as producer and you even released an EP on your label…
Dave Stuckey – Yes – one of the very early Lucky Stars gigs was opening for the Dave & Deke Combo at the Doll Hut in Anaheim,CA.We loved them and were all friends, so after a while, we thought they should have something out. We had put the Carryin’ On/Chrome Dome 45 on Bucket Lid Records, so we thought it might be fun to put the Lucky Stars record on that label…

Will you release other things on these label?

Dave Stuckey – Oh, I doubt it… it was part of that time…

You also produced The Hot Club Of Cowtown…
Dave Stuckey – Man, was that fun ! I was flattered that they asked… We all went up to New York and recorded it. I was very happy with the way that one turned out.

You co-wrote some songs with Whit Smith. How did you work together?
Dave Stuckey – In 1998 I met Whit and Elana (through a suggestion from Sean Mencher), who had just moved out to San Diego, CA from New York. We got together, hit it off and, with Shorty and Lance Ray, played the ‘97 Greaseball Weekend in San Francisco, where we also backed the Collins Kids. Great fun. However, Whit and Elana were interested in continuing full time with the Hot Club of Cowtown, so they moved on to Austin… when they asked me about producing «Tall Tales», that prompted some writing together we have to do it over the phone, which isn’t ideal, but not much of a problem…

If you could choose, who would like to produce?
Dave Stuckey – That’s a good question ! Frankly, I’d love working with them again, because I admire their musicianship — and influences — so much…I would’ve loved to work with friends like Ray Condo, but never got the chance, God bless ‘im ! There are also some traditional jazz bands around southern California that I really like and would love to produce, like the Rhythm Rascals (who are a jazz band with John Reynolds, one of the best 30’s style guitarists going and his brother Ralf on washboard!), but that’s a whole another scene I don’t really have many connections with.
(Funny to read that today, since Dave is now a part of that scene playing Katie Cavera, Corey Gemme, John Reynolds, Josh Collazo, Benny Brydern, Dan Barrett, Bryan Shaw, Nate Ketner, Carl Sonny Leyland, Chloe Feoranzo, Josh Petrojvic, Albert Alva, Chris Dawson…)

The Lucky Stars (Wally Hersom, Jeremy Wakefild, Sage Guyton, Dave Stuckey and Russ Blake)
The Lucky Stars (Wally Hersom, Jeremy Wakefild, Sage Guyton, Dave Stuckey and Russ Blake)

Then you joined The Lucky Stars on drums, how did it happen?
Dave Stuckey – Sage was hard up for a drummer! Actually they did have a vacancy and he asked a few years later and I’m still in it. It’s great playing with JW, Russ Blake, Wally Hersom and Sage in this thing I get to sing a little, play some drums and have a few laughs.

Was it the first time you re-play drums since the Untamed Youth days?

Dave Stuckey – It sure seemed like it! I hadn’t played for 3 years at the time (the last being a sit-in gig with the Ray Condo band in 1996) I felt very rusty for a while there, but got used to it.

Do you write and/or sing material for The Lucky Stars?

Dave Stuckey – Well, the Lucky Stars are chiefly Sage’s project ! JW and I both sing some and that’s fine.

You told me your 3 favorites drummer were Ray Bauduc, George Wettling and Dave Tough. What do you like in their style?
Dave Stuckey – Well, I haven’t thought about putting it in words until now, but what I like about these guys has as much to do with what they don’t play! The common thread is syncopation and sparse fills played with unique accents. I love it when the fill doesn’t come at the point you think it going to come ñ in other words, playing in between and around the rest of the rhythm section. You know, it’s hard to remember that traditional jazz drumming is about dynamics more than pure time-keeping.Bauduc, Wettling and to a somewhat lesser extent, Tough have this style, which I find thrilling and adventurous. You can find the same thing on the country side with Muddy Berry (who played with the Tex William’s Caravan) and Smoky Dacus, Bob Wills’ drummer in the 30’s. I can only aspire to this kind of style, but trying to get close has rejuvenated my interest in drums the last few years.

What is your drumkit, it seems pretty old ?

Dave Stuckey – It’s a 1928 Ludwig and Ludwig set the snare and bass drum anyway. I’ve tried to surround it with hardware and cymbals, nothing newer than 1947, it’s really fun to try to track this stuff down but hard!

The Bonebrake Syncopators: TK Smith, DJ Bonebrake, Wally Hersom, Dave, Jeremy Wakefield
The Bonebrake Syncopators: TK Smith, DJ Bonebrake, Wally Hersom, Dave, Jeremy Wakefield

Can you tell us more about the Bonebrake Syncopators?
Dave Stuckey – The Syncopators were a project put together by JW (Jeremy Wakefield), TK Smith (from the earliest incarnation of Big Sandy & The Fly Rite Boys), DJ Bonebrake (from the legendary L.A. punk band X) and Wally Hersom. They were a drum-less quartet for the first year or so, after which I horned my way in there, playing snare with brushes mostly.

Do you sing in that band too?
Dave Stuckey – Yes, JW and I split the singing duties that wind up about 50/50.

Do you write original songs for this band or this is only a cover project?
Dave Stuckey – So far we’ve been content with the great American standards (and some Django too!), though TK has written a great instrumental we do called «Diggin’ for A Donut» great title, huh?

A Dave and Deke Combo reunion is in the air, who’s got the idea ? Will you record something ?
Dave Stuckey – I think we all knew at some point we’d do a reunion. Tom Ingram (Viva Las Vegas’ organizer along with our old friend Barney Koumis) had asked a few times over the years, as had Marc Mencher, the guy who books the Green Bay festival, but it just never seemed like the right time. Mencher got on my case last spring and was really determined to make it happen. When Tom got word, they both ganged up on me until I finally hollered «uncle»!
No, seriously it just seemed like it was the right time to do it and by agreeing to both shows, we get to use both bass players that have done time in the Combo, Shorty Poole in Vegas and our first bass plucker Lucky Martin in Green Bay. That way nobody gets left out.

You’re busy drumming, but what about Dave Stuckey the singer? Do you still gig? Will you record something soon?
Dave Stuckey – It’s funny, I haven’t played as a front man since I went to Japan and was backed by the fabulous Japanese Western Swing band Rollin’ Rocks (in 2001 was it?). A lot of it stems from the fact that it’s real hard to put together good musicians that play the kind of music we love and the ones that are there usually are just too busy to add another thing to their plate. If the inspiration strikes, I might do it again or maybe front a band from behind the drum kit! Until then, I can get my kicks playing with good friends like JW, TK and the rest.

A last word?

Dave Stuckey – I do want to give a little tip of the hat to the music fans over on your side of the ocean. I’ve told you before that one of the most memorable Dave & Deke gigs in Europe (and we made many trips over there) was our gig in Tours, I had sung myself hoarse in Belgium the night before and was almost completely without voice but the crowd there gave us one of the warmest receptions we ever had. I hope I find myself playing over there again one day.And besides, you guys have Robert Crumb now! How much better can it get than THAT
Thanks for having me

Listen to this song from Pappy’s latest recording and then order it on cdbaby.

Dave Stuckey & the Rhythm Gang


Dave Stuckey - Get A Load of This - HMG
Dave Stuckey – Get A Load of This – HMG

Dave Stuckey & the Rhythm Gang – Get a Load of This!

HMG 3010 [2000]
Brand New Love ~ You Better Wake Up Baby ~ They Did The Boogie ~ Nobody’s Sweetheart ~ I’ll Take My Old Guitar ~ Pick-A-Rib ~ Whose Honey Are You ~ Coyote Blues ~ You Shoulda Thought Of That ~ Lookin’ Around ~ Kansas City Kitty ~ Hitch My Wagon ~ Some Of These Days ~ Beauty Is As Beauty Does

This is as close as any western swing band from the golden era as you can get today. As a true lover and connoisseur, Dave Stuckey (formerly of the Dave and Deke Combo) gathered an impressive ten piece band featuring Jeremy Wakefield on steel, Whit Smith and Dave Biller on guitars, T. Bonta on piano, Elana Fremerman and Eamon McLoughlin on twin fiddles, Stanley Smith on clarinet, Bob Stafford on trombone, Lisa Pankratz on drums and on basses either Kevin Smith or Jake Erwin. Together or separately these fine congregation have played with Wayne Hancock, Dale Watson, the Lucky Stars, Kim Lenz, the Hot Club Of Cowtown, theAsylum Street Spankers, High Noon, Ronnie Dawson. Impressive isn’t it? No need to say that they swing like hell. This is the perfect vehicle for Dave Stuckey’s easy going vocals (a bit like Jack Teagarden).
The set list is very solid and includes covers like Adolph Hofner’s I’ll Keep My Old Guitar, Benny Goodman’s Pick-A-Rib, Johnnie Lee Wills’ Coyotte Blues and standards like Whose Honey Are You, Nobody’s Sweetheart and Some Of These Days made popular in western swing by Leon Selph, Bob Wills and Milton Brown. There’s also five Stuckey’s originals that are so good it’s hard to tell whether they’re from the 1946 or 2000!
Billy Horton’s flawless production adds to the confusion (no need to say that it’s been recorded live in the studio).
If you don’t dance to this record, you must be dead!


davestuckey_dinahDave Stuckey & the Rhythm Gang – Dinah ep

Goofin records GREP213
Woah Babe – Dinah – Twin Guitar Special – Did Anybody Mention My Name?

The songs of this ep were recorded during the same sessions that gave “Get A Load Of This”. Woah Babe! and Dinah are first rate western swing. Biller, Smith and Wakefield have plenty of room to express themselves on Bob Wills’ Twin Guitar Special. The last song is a swingin / rural bop version of Dave and Deke’s Did Anybody Mention My Name with superb twin fiddles reminiscent of Spade Cooley. Great.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read the interview with Dave Stuckey here.