Billy Dee & The Super-Chargers: Curb-Service (Westford Records, 1963)
Billy Dee & The Super-Chargers: Sweetheart - Jubilee (Westford Records, 1963)
Billy Dee & The Debonaires: Moon Maid (Le Cam Records, 1964)
Billy Dee & The Debonaires: 101 (Le Cam Records, 1964)
Ronnie Martin: Baby You're Mine (Fran 4 Records, 1965)
Ronnie Martin: Soiree (Caldwell Records, 1962) (same artist as on Billie Fran label?)
Ronnie Martin: Lonely Soul (I Need A Friend) (Caldwell Records, 1962) (same artist as on Billie Fran label?)
Ron Martin: The Past (Ronn Records, c. 1966) (same artist as on Billie Fran label?)
Ron Martin: Television (Ronn Records, c. 1966) (same artist as on Billie Fran label?)
WDD Blog: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2012
IN SEARCH OF "BILLY DEE"... AND RONNIE MARTIN
Eight years ago to-this-date, on November 2, 2004, I requested the members of "Rockinrecords" Yahoo mailing list (intended for the discussion of rock'n'roll and r&b records) if anyone there was aware of Texan artists named Billy Dee, Billy Duesler and/or Ronnie Martin - especially in hope of getting some light on a history of a garage-stylish mid 1960's rock'n'roll song titled "Baby You're Mine" - then available on two British reissue LP compilations only: "Major Bill's Texas Rock And Roll" (Sonet SNTF 807, 1980) and "Greasy Rock'n'Roll, Vol.1" (Greasy GR001, 1995). In both cases the particular track was mistakenly credited as by someone "Billy Dee", and I just couldn't help from wondering... Billy f...ing who!?
Sad to say, the enquiry spawned only two replies back then, one from a friend and a record collector colleage of mine, Tapio Väisänen (who had already asked the same question on "The Hillbilly Music" Yahoo mailing list a year before), and another from Shane Hughes, an established rockabilly and fiftes music specialist from Western Australia. We managed to put together a sort of discography which hasn't really extended since those days.
Either way, during the last 8 years, I have eventually got several contacts, and furthermore, have had a plenty of very educative and entertaining discussions with relatives, friends and working associates both of Billy Duesler and Ronnie Martin - which has helped me, step by step, to get my teeth deeper and deeper into their musical (and individual) backgrounds, and becoming day after day even more confirmed that these two wonderful musicians really had no kind of connection between them, except the separate family origins deep down in the heart of Texas. Let's start with Billy Dee:
The latest message concerning Billy Dee/Duesler dropped into my e-mailbox five days ago when Richard Porter, from Odessa, Texas (the founding member of The Poor Boys; see http://buddyholly.pagesperso-orange.fr/boclarke.htm) approached yours truly explicating me about the different personalities of Odessa born Billy Duesler and another Billy Dee (a.k.a. Billy Dees; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Dees) from the Borger, TX who grew up in Arkansas and was a songwriting partner of Roy Orbison ("Pretty Woman" and others), and who sadly died on October 24, 2012. These two people seems to be very often confused with each other. Many thanks, Richard, for your correspondence!
Billy "Dee" Duesler was born in Clovis, New Mexico, on November 1, 1941, then moved to Odessa, Texas, where he lived most of his life until the decease on November 2, 1999 - once again by chance, exactly 5 years before my short writing on "Rockinrecords" list.
Duesler (or Deusler, as sometimes written) was active in music business, in studio and touring/club scene from the late 1950's until the mid 1960's. All of his existing 1963-64 recordings prove his indisputable talents both as a singer and a guitarist - no wonder he's been said to have collaborated occasionally with many major stars from Buddy Holly to Chuck Berry, with the last mentioned for two years in total!
Later on, Billy Duesler become a Deputy of Andrews County Sheriff's Office in Andrews, TX, and he apparently had no serious interest going back to his rock'n'roll-filled adolescence anymore. And that is pretty much all we know about him. Billy Dee's recording catalogue include, with certainty, the following 45rpm singles:
BILLY DEE & THE SUPER-CHARGERS: Curb-Service / Sweetheart-Jubilee
(Westford 101, 1963)
BILLY DEE: Soul Heaven / King Bee
(Le Cam LC-124, 1964)
BILLY DEE & THE DEBONAIRES: Moon Maid / 101
(Le Cam LC-127, 1964)
BILLY DEE & THE DEBONAIRES: Moon Maid / 101
(REO 8777, 1964, Canadian pressing)
BILLY DEE & THE DEBONAIRES: Little Ceasar / Please Forgive Me
(Le Cam 134, 1964)
The contemporaries in West Texas area reminisces Billy Dee as "a cordial musician", and Don Stice and D. Johan have been mentioned as onetime members of his regular band, The Debonaires/The Debonairs. Otherwise the details of his career is still very poorly documented.
Besides Major Bill Smith, The Debonaires (a.k.a. The Super-Chargers) worked regularly with Sonley Roush who ran several indie record labels in Texas. The one issued on Roush's Kelley label (Midland, TX) should consist of 2 trumpet instrumentals but I haven't been able to track it down yet.
It's not known if The Debonairs on Soul Click Records ("Untrue Woman", written by Carl McDaniel b/w "Please Come Back Baby", written by Joe Richards, Soul Click #8097) or Don McKnight and The Debonaires on Night Records ("Strange", written by Mel Tillis & Fred Burch b/w "Judy" written by Teddy Redell, Night NG-300), both of Dallas, TX and issued c. late 1960's/early 1970's, had anything to do with Billy Dee. In addition, there were dozens of groups named Debonaires/Debonairs operating around the country. Again, there were of course various Billy Dee's as well. One of them was leading Gilley's houseband in Dallas, TX for several years before releasing a few solo albums as a singer-songwriter, including CD "Heart Don’t Fail Me Now" in 2002. Those others include:
BILLY DEE (= Jim Reeves' label and touring mate on Fabor Robinson's Fabor label in California, whose song "Drinking Tequila" was also covered by Reeves himself)
Drinking Tequila / Falling Star
(Fabor 104, 1954)
BILLY DEE (as above)
Puppy Love / I Can't Get Enough Of You
(Fabor 111, 1954)
BILLY DEE & THE COLORING BOOK (= Billy F. Dee from San Bernardino, CA area; see www.billyfdee.com)
Everybody Says / What Good Is It
(TCB 18-81, 197?)
BILLY DEE AND THE SOUTHSIDE ALLSTARS:
The Night Doc Holliday Stayed Sober / Georgia Bulldogs
(Dig UR-2210, 197?)
BILLY DEE & JEANIE KAY
Give Your Soul To Our Maker / Don't Linger On The Dance Floor
(Johnny Dollar 114, 19??)
Tonight Will Be Just Fine / Heathenistic, Hell Raisin', Fist Fightin'...
(NSD 128, 1982)
BILLY DEE (Cox)
Stumble Bummin' Around / I've Got To Have You Tonight
(Southern Tracks (of Memphis) 1015, 1983)
BILLY DEE (Cox)
Graduation Day / Only Man In Your Life
(Southern Tracks (of Memphis) 1041, 198?)
"101" by Billy Dee & The Debonaires has been reissued on CD "Rare Instrumentals, Vol. 13" (Canadian CAN-4513), "Curb Service" on CD "Rare Instrumentals, Vol. 19" (Canadian CM-4519), and "Sweetheart-Jubilee" on CD "Rock & Roll With Piano, Vol. 13" (Collector CLCD 4515).
But how about Ronnie Martin then? Basically all we know about him are two 45's recorded for Major Bill Smith's Soft and Billie Fran labels in Ft. Worth, Texas between 1964-65:
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye / Storm Of Love
(Soft 778, 1964?)
Baby You're Mine / Storm Of Love
(Billie Fran 4, 1965)
It's presumed that Ronnie Martin continued his career mainly as a songwriter after the mid 1960's, and there is in fact one Ronnie Martin even today on a member list of Fort Worth Songwriters Association...
And once again, there were various other Ronnie or Ron Martins in the music business during the 1950's-1970's, very likely all of them are whole different people:
RONNIE MARTIN WITH THE TIMBERS (= apparently a black vocal group recording for Boston/New York label)
I'm Thankful / Hey, Doc
(Pilgrim 721, 1956)
RONNIE MARTIN (white pop artist, poss. from Philadelphia, PA area)
Lonely Soul (I Need A Friend) / Soiree
(Caldwell 409, 1962)
RON MARTIN (white c&w artist, poss. from Shreveport, LA area, but the BMI database (see repertoire.bmi.com), noteworthy, lists these song titles as written by the same person as e.g. "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" and "Storm Of Love", Jimmie Ronnie Martin [BMI CAE/IPI #63645767]!)
Television / The Past
(Ronn 2, c. 1966)
RONNIE MARTIN (white c&w artist, poss. from Nashville, TN area)
Beauty Is The Eye / Mr Memory
(Music Town 006, 197?)
RONNIE MARTIN (as above)
All Said And Done And Satisfied / Just Be There
(Music Town 014, 197?)
In addition, "Baby You're Mine" a.k.a. "Honey You're Mine" has been covered at least three times, first by Whistle Bait (CD's "Some Kinda Fun", Bluelight WB 20, 2004 Finland & "Bluelight Rockabillies, Vol. 2", Bluelight BLR 33155 2, 2011 Finland), then by Rockin' Ryan (CD "The Coverup", Glamorama 161543, 2007 USA) and The Lo-Lites (CD "Train Done Gone", B-Top BTOP003, 2012 Finland).
Anyone who's aware of Billy Duesler's or Ronnie Martin's not yet published details regarding their careers, recordings etc., or have photographies of any of the people mentioned here please, feel free to contact me via e-mail.