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Roy Hogsed
Born:  December 24, 1919
Died:  March 6, 1978
KBAB El Cajon, CA
WJDX Jackson, MS
WSID Baltimore, MD

About The Artist

Arkansas native Roy Clifton Hogsed gained some early musical experience in his home state and neighboring Mississippi. He made a bigger mark in post-World War II California with his recordings on Coast and Capitol, working out of San Diego. Sadly, nearly a decade after retiring from music, he took his own life.

Born in Flippin, AR to a family with musical interest, Roy learned the fundamentals at an early age. After completing the seventh grade with the country in economic depression, the family went on the road as part of a tent show. The family had formed a hillbilly string band. In addition to Roy, Mom and Dad, it included his brother and four sisters. But when that show folded, he went back to school. Later, Roy worked in a group known as the Dixieland Troupers, spending three months on radio at WJDX in Jackson, Mississippi. During World War II, like millions of other young adults, he entered military service, in his case the U. S. Navy.

Cowboy Song readers learned he married Wilie Marie Gillliam (B: September 9, 1918 (Yellville, AR) — D: October 4, 1979 (Denton, TX)). That marriage took place on May 21, 1940. His wife was from Yellville, AR. He took on a series of jobs and it took him from Arkansas to Oklahoma to Texas and then California where he began to drive a bus.

Perhaps for that reason, Hogsed re-located to San Diego. After working briefly as a bus driver, he landed a job playing guitar in a joint called the Stork Club. Soon the young Arkansan formed his own outfit known alternately as the Rainbow Riders or the Hogsed Trio. Cowboy Songs reported that the group came together in late 1946. It consisted of Roy on guitar; Jean Dewez (B: January 22, 1917 (Venlo, Holland) - D: May 26, 1993) on accordion and Casey Simmons on bass. But in June of 1947, Simmons left and his position was filled by Richard (Rusty) Nitz (B: August 15, 1922 - D: April 10, 1990). In 1953, a promotional ad for the Rainbow Riders indicated the group included Phil Ransom, Jimmy Boucher, Bob Montague and Roy Hogsed. Late in 1946, they inaugurated a recording career with Coast Records. When that label discontinued activity early in 1948, they soon signed with the emerging giant, Capitol.

Promo Ad - Downtown Ballroom - San Bernardino, CA - Encinitas Ranch Hands - Roy Hogsed - Bill Havins - Ray Reed - August 1946
Promo Ad - Coast Records - Roy Hogsed - The Billboard - June 7, 1947

Promo Ad - Ox Bow Inn - Spring Valley, CA - Roy Hogsed - September 1968
Promo Ad - College Inn - San Diego, CA - Rainbow Riders - Roy Hogsed - September 1948

Promo Ad - Bostonia - San Diego, CA - Smokey Rogers - Roy Hogsed - LeRoy Harris -
Promo Ad - Mission Beach Amusement Center - San Diego, CA - Roy Hogsed - Rainbow Riders - Arkie - November 1950

Promo Ad - Wooden Nickel (Grand Opening) Lemon Grove, CA - Roy Hogsed and his Wooden Nickels - May 1964
Promo Ad - Hacienda - San Diego, CA - Roy Hogsed and his Rainbow Riders - February 1953

Promo Ad - Blue Note - San Diego, CA - Roy Hogsed - May 1962
Promo Ad - Bostonia Ballroom - San Diego, CA - Tex Williams - Monte Hale - Roy Hogsed - January 1953
Promo Ad - The Hacienda - San Diego, CA - Roy Hogsed Benefit Dance - January 1960
Promo Ad - Hacienda - San Diego, CA - Phil Ransom - Jimmy Boucher - Bob Montague - Roy Hogsed - The Rainbow Riders - April 1953

Early researchers disregarded the theory that Roy's early Capitol releases came from Coast masters, but since he had Capitol releases in 1948 during the AFM strike, it now seems obvious that the material did come from Coast.

Billboard reported in its May 15, 1948 issue that many labels were using "master buying techniques to cover key tunes and duck the Petrillo ban. It reported that "...Capitol Records had picked up some 20 masters cut by the Rog Hogsed Trio, an instrumental and singing gorup on the Coast (Label)". A week later the magazine reported that Roy's group included Jean Dewez on accordion; Richard (Rusty) Nitz on bass and Roy on guitar.

His first Capitol session took place on July 20, 1949. He continued with the label through October 1954. His best-known song was the drug-related "Cocaine Blues," which cracked the Billboard Charts in August 1948. Other memorable songs included "Snake Dance Boogie" and "Slow Train Through Arkansas."

Roy Hogsed — Record Reviews: Billboard (BB) & Cash Box (CB)
Date Label Rec No. Review
2/21/1948 (BB) Coast 271 Come On In And Set A Spell — Relaxed Western ballad both vocally and musically. Swings along at easy pace. (Rating: 65)

The Birthday Polka — Good birthday standard item for Western disk jocks. Catchy melody. (Rating: 65)
6/19/1948(BB) Capitol Americana 40120 Cocaine Blues — Snowbird saga, Western style. Well piped, lyric makes good listening, but drug reference will prevent air plays. (Rating: 73)

Fishtail Boogie — Rural boogie woogie with vocal. Nothing special here. (Rating: 61)
8/7/1948 (CB) Capitol 40133 Easy Payment Blues — Roy Hogsed is going to please all his present fans and make himself a bunch of new ones with this timely platter. His lyrics, in medium fast tempo, on the top side, "Easy Payment Blues," amakes for grand listenin' with many a head sure to nod in agreement. A really swell money-makin' tune that's got just about everything to make it one of the better juke box nickel cathers.

Short Cut Cutie Polks — On the other side with "Short Cut Cutie Polka," Roy presents one of the best instrumental polkas. Here's a disk laded with coin catching dynamite.
8/14/1948 (BB) Capitol 40133 Easy Payment Blues — Not a blues, but a lively novelty ditty with genuine folk humor in the lyric. (Rating: 77)

Short Cut Cutie Polks — Instrumental trio produce a big sound on their cleanly played, spirited polka job. (Rating: 71)
1/22/1949 (CB) Capitol 40141 Take That Slow Train Thru Arkansas — Some wax for music operators with folk spots to take a look-see at is this offering by Roy Hogsed. It's effective material that should meet with fair approval on the part of ops and folk fans. Wax tagged "Take That Slow Train Thru Arkansas" - "Twenty-Five Chickens - Thirty-Five Cows makes for delightful listening pleasure throughout. It's fair stuff - the kind that you take to easily. Top deck a rhythm novelty ditty, is an oldie that keeps coming back.

Twenty-Five Chickens - Thirty-Five Cows — The flip, more unique novelty wax is cute as all get out and should win wide praise. Wax is there for the asking.
1/29/1949 (BB) Capitol 40141 Take That Slow Train Thru Arkansas — Good regional feeling in this Southwestern ditty, honestly delivered. (Rating: 72)

Twenty-Five Chickens - Thirty-Five Cows — Clever comic ditty sung and orked with fine swing and back country humor. (Rating: 74)
1/28/1950 (BB) Capitol 40274 Cocaine Blues — Hogsed offers a lesson to whiskey and cocaine users, altho his woman drove him to it. Entertaining jail tune. Subject may ban air play. (Rating: 72)

Fishtail Boogie — Talented warbler and his rhythmic crew turn in an easy, danceable rural boogie. (Rating: 72)
2/18/1950 (BB) Capitol 40286 Rainbow Polka — Country polka with strong accordion flavor is a lively dance bit. (Rating: 71)

Rag Mop — Spanking beat is the only special feature of this coverage try. (Rating: 68)
10/28/1950 (CB) Capitol 1201 The Red We Want — Music ops in the market for a pair of flag-wavers might lend an ear in this direction. Upper lid has a trio vocal, and should be fairly well known to music ops, since it has been a fair pop winner.

Don't Bite The Hand That's Feeding You — Flip is in the same style and features a solo vocal. Ops who have the spots should lend an ear.
8/4/1951 (BB) Capitol 1721 Free Samples — Hogsed chants, in a mediocre country style, a choppy novelty borrowed from the r & b idiom. (Rating: 63)

I Wish I Was — Warbler does a country-jump treatment of a pop-folker. Tune has promise, but this rendition doesn't to it justice. (Rating: 65)
8/4/1951 (CB) Capitol 1721 I Wish I Was — The upper deck is a real cute pop tune that is given a good sendoff by Roy Hogsed. With a catchy, jumpy beat and a lively vocal to match, this half might take off.

Free Samples — The bottom end is another jump number that comes out as a listenable half. Our nod goes to the top end.
2/14/1953 (CB) Capitol 2350 Roll'em Dice — Roy Hogsed presents a quick beat with a chuckle in each line. A spirits lifting ditty. (Rating: C+)

Ain't A Bump In The Road — The artist dishes up another hustling item in zestful manner. String work backs the warbler in fine style. (Rating: B)
2/6/1954 (BB) Capitol 2720 Babies and Bacon — Rog Hogsed sings of the charms of married life; chiefly babies and bacon. It's a fast, lively novelty, and likely to get considerable jockey play. (Rating: 72)

Who Wrote That Letter To John — A switch in the Dear John series. This one's in the novelty groove, and does not follow the melodic or lyric pattern of the original. It's lively. (Rating: 69)
5/22/1954 (BB) Capitol 2807 Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians — To a tom-tom beat the chanter reads a cute ditty that many will get kicks out of. Fine for deejays and jukes, and the sales picture looks good, too. (Rating: 78)

You're Just My Style — Bouncy little trifle is handed a pleasant rendition by Roy Hogsed. (Rating: 73)

Around the time Billboard reported its review of Capitol 40141, it noted that Roy's trio had been working regularly for two years at the College Inn in San Diego, California.

In 1954, TV logs show that Roy had his own show on Channel 10 in San Diego.

In 1962, suffered serious injuries when his car hit a light pole on the Cabrillo Freeway. He was being chased by a police patrol car. The patrolman stated he Roy had run four red lights and was driving up to 80mph during the pursuit. At the time, he was playing an engagement at a downtown night club. He suffered cuts and bruises and may have broken a wrist. He was treated at the Helix Hospital. The accident occurred around 2am.

After his record contract ended, Hogsed remained active in the San Diego region for another fifteen years. According to the best information available he retired from music about 1969. Thereafter, he worked as a welder for San Diego Gas and Electric until his suicide. One LP and two CDs of his work have been re-issued in Germany.

His obituary simply mentions he died at his home in Vista, CA. He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 569. He was survived by his wife, two daughters (Janis and Rickie), three sons (Gary, William and Roy). His wife died in 1979 in Denton, TX. They are both buried in the El Cajon Cemetery.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providing us with information about this artist.
  • Diskers Utilize Master Buying To Duck Ban; May 15, 1948; The Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Folk and Talent Tunes; May 22, 1948; The Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Folk and Talent Tunes; February 5, 1949; The Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Roy Hogsed Trio; November 1951; Cowboy Songs; American Folk Publications; Derby, CT
  • Crash Hurts Entertainer; September 18, 1962; San Diego Union; San Diego, CA
  • Obituary: Roy C. Hogsed; March 10, 1978; San Diego Union; San Diego, CA

Sound Sample—(YouTube Video Format)

Loafers Song (Livin' A Life of Sin)

Printer Friendly Version

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1201 A The Red We Want Is The Red We Got
  1201 B Don't Bite The Hand That's Feeding You
  1529 A Poco Loco
  1529 B Shuffleboard Shuffle
  1635 A Fishtail Boogie
  1635 B Cocaine Blues
  1721 A I Wish I Wuz
  1721 B Free Samples
  1854 A Snake Dance Boogie
  1854 B I'm Gonna Get Along Without You
  1987 A Mean, Mean Woman
  1987 B Let Your Pendulum Swing
  2083 A Stretchin' A Point
  2083 B Put Some Sugar In Your Blues
  2350 A A Bump In The Road
  2350 B Roll 'Em Dice
  2468 A It's More Fun That Way
  2468 B Red Wing
  2720 A Who Wrote That Letter To John?
  2720 B Babies And Bacon
  2807 A Too Many Chiefs
  2807 B You're Just My Style
  40120 A Fishtail Boogie
  40120 B Cocaine Blues
  40133 A Short Cut Cutie Polka
  40133 B Easy Payment Blues
  40141 A Slow Train Through Arkansas
  40141 B Twenty-Five Chickens Thirty-Five Cows
  40220 A Dill Pickles
  40220 B Let's Go Dancin'
  40274 A Cocaine Blues
  40274 B Fishtail Boogie
  40286 A Rag Mop
  40286 B Rainbow Polka
Coast Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  261 A Daisy Mae
  261 B Red Silk Stocking and Green Perfume
  262 A Loafers Song (Livin' A Life of Sin)
  262 B Cocaine Blues
  265 A Don?t Telephone, Don?t Telegraph, Just Tell a Woman
  265 B I Can?t Get My Foot off the Rail
  266 A Baby Won?t You Settle Down
  266 B The Short Cut Cutie Polka
  271 A Come on and Set a Spell
  271 B The Birthday Polka

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