Glenn BARBER   (1935-2008)

Glenn Barber a joué pour Blue Monday lors du Good Rockin' Tonight #5 le samedi 17 mars 2007 à Saint-Denis-les-Bourg.

Notre ami Glenn nous a quitté le 28 Mars 2008 , tout simplement en train de répéter , guitare autour du cou , les morceaux qu'il devait interpréter au festival Viva Las Vegas quelques semaines après ....Sa femme Betty nous a immédiatement appelé et nous avons partagé son immense chagrin.

Glenn et Betty avaient réellement apprécié leur premiére venue en France et l'accueil fantastique que le public leur avait réservé....

Glenn , nous ne t'oublierons pas et nous sommes toujours très fier de penser que Blue Monday ait pu te programmer pour ton unique date française.

A bientôt au  " Rockabilly Heaven ".

Glenn Barber, né le 2 février 1935 à Hollis dans l'Oklahoma, était un artiste complet, à la fois chanteur et joueur de guitare, de banjo, de contrebasse, de mandoline et de steel guitare (US country / country bop / rock'n'roll).

En 1952, sa famille s'installe à Pasadena, Texas, où il commence à enregistrer pour Stampede, avec les Music Masters. Son prénom est victime d’une coquille (Glen au lieu de Glenn) qui perdurera. Il accompagne en studio Bill Nettles, puis enregistre pour Hallmark, ce qui le fait remarquer par Harold Pappy Daily qui l’engage chez Starday. Il y enregistre d’entrée un excellent hillbilly bop / proto-rockabilly (“Ice water”). Suivent d’autres titres de choix avec “Poor man's baby”, “Livin' high & wide” et les rockabillies “Shadow my baby” avec plein d’écho et le saxo de Link Davis et “Atom bomb” resté longtemps inédit.

Après Starday, Glenn reste avec Pappy Daily, sur D, où il débute avec “Hello sadness” sur lequel le double vocal fait penser à une réponse au "Bye bye love" des Everlys. “Go home letter”, un rock médium, bénéficie de la guitare d’Hal Harris. Il passe ensuite sur différentes marques, se fondant plus ou moins dans le moule Nashville de l’époque.

Glenn Barber played for Blue Monday during the Good Rockin' Tonight #5 on Saturday the 17th of March 2007 in Saint-Denis-les-Bourg (France).

Glenn Barber is one of my favorite C'n'W singers. He has a strong, ample voice which adapts itself to any kind of Country material. He's also an incredibly prolific songwriter and his recording career spans four decades.

It all began on February 2, 1935, when Martin Glenn Barber was born in Hollis, Oklahoma. In his liner notes to the 'Stars Of Texas Honky Tonk' LP (Ace LTD 603 ; 1991), Philip J. Tricker recounts that, when he was 6, Glenn came home crying after being scolded for touching someone's guitar. His father then decided to work hard to present Glenn with that $3.50 guitar which, needless to say, became Glenn's best friend. Glenn gradually learnt how to play other stringed instruments - banjo, bass fiddle, mandolin, steel guitar - and, after moving to Pasadena, Texas, got involved in the local music scene. Apparently, he cut his first record - 'You Took The Twinkle Out Of My Stars' - for the Stampede label in 1952 ; that small record company, owned by Curt Peeples and Willie Jones, was based in Kemah, Texas, and had already issued three '78s by singer/bandleader, Smokey Stover, probably better known to Hillbilly collectors via a clutch of singles on his own Ol' Podner imprint. On his first outing, Glenn was backed by a band named 'The Music Masters' ; also - and this would continue for a few more releases - he was billed as GLEN Barber. Glenn's next two ventures into a recording studio would take place at the famous ACA Studio (Houston, Tx). On June 24, 1953, he took part in a session for Bill Nettles which resulted in two unissued songs for the Trumpet label (namely, 'When My Kitten Starts Cattin' Around' and 'Be Fair With Your Heart'). Then, in 1954, he cut his second solo single ; this time, it was for the Hallmark label and the main song was 'Styles & Ways Of The World'. That disc may have made some noise since a contract with Starday Records ensued.

His first Starday (#166) was a brilliant slab of Hillbilly Bop ; on a personal note, it's the one that turned me on to Barber. The stop-and-go 'Ice Water', with its stompin' bass sound, has all the ingredients of proto-rockabilly - except for a guitar break since the soli are taken by the steel guitarist and the piano player. Truly a memorable side. Its flip, 'Ring Around The Moon', is slower but totally charming ; it's a re-cut of a tune which featured on his Stampede record.

Next came 'Poor Man's Baby (And A Rich Man's Dream)' (#196), most probably derived from the same session as #166 and quite good too ; it was released during the Summer of 1955. A new session produced both sides of his third Starday disc (#214), again both self-penned ; 'Ain't It Funny' is a very fine ballad while the sprightly 'Livin' High & Wide' features more excellent steel and piano soli plus one on fiddle ('I won't stop and I won't steal, as long as I can pay the bill, livin' high & wide' !).

His last one on Starday (#249) came out in Summer 1956, which was quite different from the previous summer. Rock'n'Roll was all over the place and Country artists were having a tough time trying to adjust. However, history shows that most of them were more than capable to handle the new shakin' music ; Glenn of course was no exception to that rule, as a crazy guitar/piano bopper from 1955, 'Atom Bomb', attests (it was first issued by Ace Records in 1986). Likewise, the typically echoey 'Shadow My Baby' is classic, powerhouse Rockabilly with Glenn's assured vocal and Link Davis's tenor sax well to the fore. I have yet to hear the flip, 'Feeling No Pain', but I guess it rocks too !

After Starday, Glenn remained with Pappy Daily, joining the D stable. Several excellent singles appeared, beginning with 'Hello Sadness' in 1958 (#1017) ; the double-tracked vocal made it sound very much like an answer to The Everly Bros' 'Bye Bye Love' - with fiddle, steel and piano added. The other side, the self-penned 'Same Old Fool Tomorrow', was almost a copy of The Cochran Brothers' 'Your Tomorrows Never Come' (Ekko). His best D production probably was 'Go Home Letter' (#1098), a mild but tuneful 1959 rocker punctuated by some amazing picking from guitarist Hal Harris. He would later redo the song while at Hickory.

As the sixties arrived, Glenn went on to record for Sims, Pic and ultimately the Nashville-based Hickory label, after having had a second stint with Starday at some point. He made the charts several times between 1964 and 1971, notably with 'Kissed By The Rain, Warmed By The Sun' (Hickory #1545), a pleasant Gene Thomas composition which kicked off his first Hickory LP, 'A New Star', in 1970. Ain't it funny that Glenn should be billed as 'a new star' some 18 years after his recording debut ?! Well, I know, Dorsey Burnette and countless others suffered the same fate at one time or another. That said, Glenn's Hickory album is very enjoyable even if Country Music had become far more... predictable, shall we say, at that time. But for two cuts, it's all self-composed and produced by Don Gant, who himself had cut several nice things ('High Hoss Baby' for example) on Hickory earlier in the decade. The ballads abound and are real nice but of course, I tend to fancy the uptempo songs ('Don't Worry Bout The Mule', 'My World Is Square' or the Merle Haggard-inspired 'Gonna Make My Mama Proud') a bit more. Glenn also delivers a good version of 'Abilene' (the acoustic guitar intro is terrific as are the dobro parts). It's not as distinctive as the early Starday stuff to be sure but the backings, supplied by Nashville's A-Team (or are these the B- or C-Teams ?!), are flawless.

Longtime fan, Jerry Morris, had this to write about the Hickory years : 'You Only Live Once (In Awhile)' is one of the best songs ever recorded by anyone. I used to go see Glen when he would come to Tampa, Florida to sing at the Imperial Ball Room. They booked him for a week at a time, I was there every night. I loved the special Hank Williams tribute he did on stage, taking the persona of Hank, explaining even down to the way Hank stood stoop-shouldered bending over the mike and the way he placed his feet. Glen would sang song after song of Hank's, explaining a little about when and how Hank wrote them. The only thing wrong with it was, it took an entire set and you didn't get to hear Glen do any of his songs. The song with a line about waking up with the sun shining through pretty purple curtains. Not to mention his great rendition of Mickey Newberry's 'Poison Red Berries' that I still sing for myself. I miss hearing Glen and the other great singers of Country Music. Not what they are calling Country today.'

After Hickory, Glenn had releases on Groovy, Tudor, Century 21, GRT, Sunbird and Brylen - none of which I've heard. But I reckon they can't be bad because an Artist of that magnitude rarely disappoints. And his Starday stuff is sufficient to make me jump or else... 'wash my face in ice cold water' !!

© PAUL VIDAL * Privas, France * July 2002-July 2006

La discographie de Glenn Barber Glenn Barber's discography

You Took The Twinkle Out Of My Stars
Ring Around The Moon
Styles & Ways Of The World
Stolen Dreams
ST 2999 Ice Water
ST 2998 Ring Around The Moon
ST 2213 Poor Man's Baby (And A Rich Man's Dream)
ST 2214 Married Man
ST 2261 Ain't It Funny
ST 2263 Livin' High & Wide
ST 2452 Shadow My Baby
ST 2453 Feeling No Pain
Stronger Than Dirt
If Anyone Can Show Cause
Dancing Shoes
Knock Knock
Loneliest Man In Town
She's Out Of Our World
Happy Birthday Broken Heart
Let's Take The Fear (Out Of Being Close)
1034 Hello Sadness
1035 Same Old Fool Tomorrow
1146 Most Beautiful
1147 Your Heart Don't Love
Go Home Letter (I Wish I Was You)
New Girl In School
The Window
Another You
United Artists
Most Beautiful (Is it the same version as on D 1069 ?)
Night Without End
How Can I Forget You
Rain Check
1 137
Go Home Letter
1 140
Most Beautiful
1 143
I Created A Monster
Go Home Letter
Who Made You That Way ?
Don't Worry 'Bout The mule (Just Load The Wagon)
Reflex Reaction
I Don't Want No More Of The Cheese
Motor Mouth Harry
You Can't Get Here From There
Gonna Make My Mama Proud Of Me
Kissed By The Rain, Warmed By The Sun
My World Is Square
She Cheats On Me
Who's Taking The Picture
Poison Red Berries
Yes Dear, There Is A Virginia
I'm Only Company
Six Years And A Day
I Committed The Crime
Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain
The World You Live In
Betty Ann
Fat ALbert
I'm The Man In Susie's Mind
Satan's Painted Woman
Unexpected Goodbye
Blue Bayou
Yes Man (I Found Her In A Honky Tonk)
Who In The World
It's A Beautiful Thing
That's How A Coward Tells An Angel Goodbye
Country Girl (I Love You Still)
Watching You Go
Daddy Number Two
We Let That Lovely Flame Die
You Only Live Once (In Awhile)
Sweet On My Mind
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
You're Gettin' Heavy On My Mind
Sweet On My Mind (Same cut as on #316 ?)
She's No Ordinary Woman
We've Got It All Together This Time
'A NEW STAR' Kissed By The Rain, Warmed By The Sun/ Gonna Make My Mama Proud Of Me/Satan's Painted Woman/Where There's Smoke (There's Fire)/I'm Only Company/Don't Worry 'Bout The Mule (Just Load The Wagon)/She Cheats On Me/My World Is Square/Who's Taking The Picture/Motor Mouth Harry/I Don't Want No More Of The Cheese (I Just Want Out Of The Trap)/Abilene
LP 113304
LP 113904
LP 4405
LTD 603
('Ain't It Funny')
LP CH 191
('Atom Bomb', 'Shadow My Baby')
LP CHA 218
('Go Home Letter')
10 CH 18
('Shadow My Baby')
LP DROP 1004
('Livin' High & Wide')
LP DROP 1011
('Go Home Letter')
LP DROP 1009
('Shadow My Baby')

Certains enregistrements de Glenn Barber chez Starday et D recordings se trouvent sur certains CDs de ACE Records en Angleterre et de Bear Family en Allemagne.

A number of Glenn Barber Starday & D recordings appear on various CDs put out by ACE Records in England and by BEAR FAMILY Records in Germany.

Nous remercions Bernard Boyat, Paul Vidal, Kees Van Der Hoeven et Jeff Porterfield pour la réalisation de cette biographie et discographie.

We wish to thank Bernard Boyat, Paul Vidal, Kees Van Der Hoeven and Jeff Porterfield for their precious help to create this biography and discography.

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