About The Artist
Bill Blough was born in Rockford, Illinois in 1933. Growing up in the backyard of Chicago, Bill became a fan of the WLS National Barn Dance. The artists he heard singing on that show such as Red Foley, Bob Atcher, Karl and Harty and Rex Allen influenced him. An uncited newsletter article notes that he discovered the WSM Grand Ole Opry by accident, but it just led him to become a bit more "addicted" to hillbilly music. It would also explain Bill citing Ernest Tubb and Eddy Arnold as influences as well for they were main headliners on the Opry back then.
Bill was a determined youngster. He set out to be a star of the Opry. When he was just fifteen years old, he had his own radio show in Beloit, Wisconsin. When he was sixteen, he formed a band that was known as the Happy Valley Boys.
In that article, Bill notes he took a lot of teasing from his fellow high school students for his love of hillbilly music. But the proof is in the results. Bill and a buddy of his entered a school talent show and would up taking second place.
Later on in his career, Bill worked as a disc jockey. In 1976, he was a Top Five finalist in the Country Music Association's awards.
Thanks to his son, Bill relates a bit of history behind some of his recordings.
The 1966 recording of "The Door To My Heart" and "Goin' To Tennessee" was the first record they ever made. The man who ran the session was Brien Fisher, who later went on to Nashville and was the A&R man for the Kendalls first big hit, "Heaven's Just a Sin Away". They recorded it in April 1966 in a converted garage in Elmhurst, Illinois. It had no control room or separation, just all of them in one room doing it all at once. Bill got to introduce the recording on the WGN Barn Dance in Chicago, then later "lip-synced" it on the Possom Holler Opry in Quincy, Illinois. It made the Top 10 at a station in Texas and he also heard it was on a Top 10 at a station in Brazil. This never was a hit in a national sense, but it has remained popular for nearly 40 years. Bill said he still gets requests for it today. It was originally on the Scarlo record label.
"Someday You'll Call My Name", "Down on the Cryin' line", "Diggy Liggy Li" and "Nashville Sounds" were all recorded in a real studio in 1968. "Someday" was the planned as a follow-up to "Nashville Sounds". They figured it was done the same night, same studio & same musicians, so it SHOULD have worked.
But it didn't; the big Chicago station (probably WJJD) told Bill it "just didn't have the sound". He notes however, that they still get some requests for this one. It was on the Fiasco record label. Brien Fisher was also involved with those sessions too.
The 1968 record of "Diggy Liggi Li" was taken from an album project that featured all Chicagoland musicians/singers.
The 1976 record of "The Door To My Heart" was done for a new, small record label, STARR, which was owned by Mary Starr. It was recorded in Aurora, Illinois at the Big Rock Studios (no longer in existence). Bill always thought this one would be a possible hit record, so much so that they recorded it again, hoping the record label might be able to do something with it. Bill notes they were lined up to do some radio and TV shows in Nashville that year during the annual DJ convention, but the record pressing plant didn't get the records done in time. On the other side was a tune called "Daddy, You Know What?" where they was used a sound track for the background music. The "voices" were really all one girl, and the little kid was the daughter of one of the studio owners. They did that at separate times using various sound tracks. Bill's oldest son, Bill is playing drums on this one.
"Nashville Sounds Come to Town" was the one "almost" hit they had. It was Written and produced by Brien Fisher. It was getting regular play on WJJD in Chicago and Bill was working a lot of "lounges" in the Chicago area. He was doing three twenty minute sets a night with the house band, getting paid $100-120 a night and selling records during the night. He thought this was the "one". But, of course, it wasn't. One of the reasons, he found out later, was that the distributor for the record also had the latest Byrds record, which back then was a HOT pop/rock group and he probably spent a lot more time plugging that than an unknown hillbilly music record.
Credits & Sources
|Printer Friendly Version|
Yes, Hillbilly Music. You may perhaps wonder why. You may even snicker. But trust us, soon your feet will start tappin' and before you know it, you'll be comin' back for more...Hillbilly Music.
It's about the people, the music, the history.
Copyright © 2000—2020 Hillbilly-Music.com