BILL NETTLES

Born William F. Nettles, 13 March 1903 (1907, according to Joel Whitburn), Natchitoches, Louisiana
Died 5 April 1967, Monroe, Louisiana

Bill Nettles was a noted songwriter and country singer over a span of three decades. A disabled navy veteran of World War I, Nettles and his brother Norman were the core of various ensembles in Shreveport - the Dixie Blue Boys, and the Nettles Brothers for example - popular on KWKH radio, and oft recorded by Vocalion and Bluebird/RCA (1937-45). In addition, Nettles is reported to have written the huge 1934 hit "Nobody's Darling But Mine" for Jimmie Davis. Nettles's own early recordings often bear Davis's name as co-writer, and in later years Nettles wrote a song about the Davis hit called "The Story Of Nobody's Darling". Nettles's beautiful "Have I Waited Too Long?" was introduced at KWKH in 1943 by Radio Dot and Smoky, and later became Faron Young's theme song. Along with Harmie Smith, Bob Shelton, Dick Hart, young Webb Pierce, and host Hal Burns, Nettles & His Dixie Blue Boys helped to launch a twice-weekly Louisiana Hayride program on KWKH in the summer of 1945 that predated the more famous auditorium show by almost three years. Nettles moved to Monroe, LA., in 1946, and except for short performance stays in Jackson, Mississippi, and Orange, Texas, he remained there for the rest of his life. He continued to record, on the Bullet and Imperial labels, and then found his greatest success with Mercury Records. A tune he wrote and recorded for that label, "Hadacol Boogie", in a Monroe radio station in 1949, was a celebration of Dudley LeBlanc's restorative elixir. It went to # 9 on the country charts. (BTW, "Hadacol Boogie" is alleged to be the first song that Jerry Lee Lewis performed in public, in 1949. Occasionally Jerry will perform the song on stage, though he never recorded it.) Nettles loved to write "answer" songs, such as "Answer To Blue Eyes", "It's Your Turn To Walk The Floor For Me", "I Hauled Off and Loved Her", and even answered his own songs: "(I Want To Be) Somebody's Darling" and "Hadacol Bounce". Not having heard the Nettles version, I'm not sure if the latter is the same song that Professor Longhair recorded, also for Mercury in 1950. Does anyone know? Nettles recorded five sides for Starday in 1954, including the rare proto- rockabilly single "Wine-O Boogie"/"Gumbo Mumbo" (Starday 174), and retired from radio and TV work in 1958. He started his own label in Monroe, Nett Records, for which he made his last recordings during 1965-67.

(With thanks to Dave Penny and The Encyclopedia of Country Music, Oxford University Press, 1998).

"Hadacol Boogie" is on the Jasmine CD "Tennessee Saturday Night : The Rural Route To Rock 'n' Roll", compiled by Dave Penny. "Wine-O Boogie" and "Gumbo Mumbo" were on the Ace LP "Stars of Texas Honky Tonk (LTD 603) ; the former is also on "Texas Gold : The Starday Story, Vol. 3" (Texas Gold CD 1993).

 
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