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By Roy Hobock
With additions by Bo Berglind and Dave Travis. Excerpts from "Ex-musician proves you can go home again" article by Woody Laughnan for The Fresno Bee, April 26, 1981.

Curtis Edgar Hobock, Jr. was born on May 7, 1926 in Hatchie, Tennessee, a small community outside Mercer, in Haywood county about 35 miles south of Humboldt. Hatchie was a tiny village of five or so busines, a few houses and less than 100 people, more than half of them Hobocks or Hobock kinfolks. His parents, Curtis Edgar Hobock, Sr. and Anna Lee-More Acree Hobock, were of German and Dutch descent and were farmers. Curtis had five brothers and six sisters with Curtis being the sixth child. He grew up in a farming environment working alongside his dad and brothers who also ran a bootleg liquor operation making moonshine and corn liquor. The family had no musical background with the exception of his younger sister Faye, who sang in the church choir, and his older brother Freddie, who played the guitar but never professionally. Curtis' favorite singer while growing up was Roy Rogers the singing cowboy.


In late 1942 or early 1943 Curtis decided to enlist in the US Navy and had to get his dad's permission, as he was underage at the time. While growing up and still very young Curtis was only able to attend one year of school and it wasn't until he was in the Navy that he learned how to read and write. It was also in the Navy he learned to love music and learned how to play the guitar and the steel-guitar. While in the Navy he made two records, which are still around today but are beyond recovery. He served as a steward, being a cook and a barber, and later transferred to the See Bee's where he saw action in the South Pacific.

At the end of the war, while waiting to be discharged at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, he met Geneva Sue Johnson of Hayward, California and married her on November 25, 1945. After being discharged Curtis moved back to Alamo, Tennessee with his new bride and took odd jobs, mostly farming, while attending body and fender repair school on the G.I bill, though he never worked in the body and fender repair profession.

On June 24, 1947 his first son Roy Charles was born. While attending school in Jackson, Tennessee he began working at Lancaster Service, a Lion service station, as a gas attendant. In May 1948 he moved his family to Malesus, Tennessee to be closer to his job. On February 4, 1950 his second son Edgar (Ed) Gayland was born. He then moved closer to town in June 1952 to an area called Bonwood outside of Bemis, Tennessee. Over the next four years Curtis worked several jobs, switching several times between Cliff Miller Lumber/Madison Mill Works, driving a route truck for Dolly Madison Bakery, and working with his brother-in-law David Jackson driving long haul truck routes.

In April 1956 he bought his first house at 210 Chester Levee Road, Bemis, Tennessee a community outside of Jackson. At this time he was primarily driving long haul trucks with his brother in law David Jackson. While driving a truck one winter Curtis got caught in a big snowstorm and had to stay two weeks in a motel in Chicago. When he returned home he vowed to never drive a truck again as it took too much time away from home and family. Curtis then went to work for the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) for a short period of time and then to Central Woodworks as a millwright. He stayed with this company until his retirement from music in the mid 60's.

About 1956-57 Curtis started playing music with a group of guys a few times a week just for the fun of it. One of the guys told him a local band, "The Stardusters", was looking for a singer and suggested that Curtis tried out. He auditioned one night by singing with the band in a local nightclub in Jackson, thus beginning his ten-year musical career. Very soon after he joined the band Curtis acquired the band and became the owner/manager as well as their lead singer. A few years later Curtis had legal battles with the previous owner over the rights to the "Starduster" name. This battle was resolved before going to court with Curtis retaining the original name of the band. When Curtis took over the band its line-up was Joe Ritchie on drums, Mrs. Eula Mae Stevens on piano, Coy Lomax on bass and Tommy Jones on guitar. At this time Tommy Jones was barely sixteen and had to be snuck into the nightclubs in order to play.

The band played at numerous places during Curtis' career including the "Cotton Bowl" in Henderson, Tennessee, which was owned by Hubert Miller. The "Delmar Inn" on Humboldt Highway between Jackson and Humboldt and owned by Reba Davis. The "Pine Ridge Club" in Selmer, Tennessee, the "Supper Club" in Jackson, Tennessee, the "Block House" between Selmer and Henderson, Tennessee, owned by Jimmy Martin, the "Y Inn" in Henderson, Tennessee, "Clyde Garners" place outside of Jackson, Tennessee, and many other places now forgotten.

Curtis sang the songs of many artists, his favorite being "Gentleman Jim Reeves". He played with many artist and bands of the era, some obscure and some famous including Carl Mann, Don Durant, Sam the Sham, Ace Cannon, The Chandlers, The Van Dels, The Dukes, and many others too numerous to list. He was on the "Talent Party" on WHBQ Memphis, Tennessee with Durell Durham, George Klein, and Wink Martindale. During this time Curtis traveled to many radio stations hand delivering his songs and giving away his records hoping for that big break that never came.

Curtis's first record releases were for the local Lu label of Jackson, Tennessee, owned by Lamar Davis and Lonny Blackwell. Lu Records was named after Lamar's wife, Marilu and in November 1957 located at 600 North Davis Street. In March the following year the office was moved to 600 North Royal Street, Jackson, Tennessee, and was a large rambling two-story building with the studio on the second floor. Lonny was the soundman, and the studio was primitive by today's standards using egg crate separators on the walls to reduce stray sounds. The artists that recorded for the label were local musicians from the Jackson area including Kenny Parchman, Franklin Stewart & The Stewart Brothers and others.

Curtis recorded on his first session for Lu two tracks entitled "Driftwood" and "Tennessee Mail", the latter is a story about the legendary engine-driver Casey Jones. These two songs were never released. Curtis went back into the studio and recorded more songs. Finally they agreed on "The Whole Towns Talking" and "Do You Think" for his first release on Lu 506 in June 1959. The following month - July - saw the release of "Tom Dooley Rock & Roll" and "China Rock" on Lu 508.

On these first sessions for Lu, Curtis still kept his original band with Tommy Jones, Eula Mae Stevens, Joe Ritchie, and Coy Lomax. After those recordings the band member's names changed often. There were numerous drummers after Joe Ritchie; like Joe Howe, Bobby Green, Bobby Tapley, The great W.S. "Fluke" Holland, Ronny Parchman, and finally Bobby Howell. After Coy Lomax the Bass players were Howard Bates and a couple of others whose names have been forgotten. Howard was later marketed by Curtis as the "Hot Guitar Player" and was the only professional string musician that Curtis had. After Mrs. Eula Mae Stevens the piano players were Billie Joe Butler, Richard Luther, and at times Curtis himself. Curtis had taught himself over the years how to play the piano. The lead guitarist was always Tommy Jones and was with Curtis from the beginning until his retirement and the only one that can be said played on every record Curtis made.

In 1959, after the Lu recordings were issued, Curtis made his first recordings with Sun Records and Sam Phillips. After numerous recording sessions and trips to Memphis, Sam and Curtis could not come to an agreement, Curtis having his loyalty to his band and Sam wanting to use the studio band. With the exception of Tommy Jones the band members that recorded with Curtis on these sessions are part of history and will never be known. Relations with Sun and Sam where broken off sometime in 1960.

The Lu releases took Curtis and his band all the way to Las Vegas and some of the big-name casino lounges.

Hobock met Murray Nash around 1963-64 through a record scout and Curtis had four records released. The first two was on Cee And Cee, released in 1964: "Hey Everybody" b/w "What A Dream" (501), "Have Mercy" b/w "If You Only Love Me" (502). The others were on MusiCenter and released in 1965: "I Found A Way" b/w "Lonely Weekends" (3103) and "One Heart'll Love You" b/w "Definition Of Love" (3105). The musicians are unknown and may probably be a mixture of his own and Nash's studio musicians. Curtis wrote and sang many songs including "Blues After Midnight", "Ski Daddy" (his love for water skiing), "Rocket Ship", "Trust Me", "Web of Love" and many others.

Amid all this, Curtis continued to work full time as a millwright by day and played as many as six nights a week at clubs around west Tennessee, southern Kentucky, northern Mississippi and as far away as Louisiana. Even with the music and work he always found time for his family. On weekends during the summer, as soon as the weather permitted, he would load up the family and head to the Tennessee River with friends for leisure time, camping, boating and water skiing. At night he would leave the family at the river and head back to town for a show, returning before dawn the next day.

Curtis retired from music in August of 1966 and moved to Fresno, California. The reasons for his retirement from music were many, but the main reason was, as his wife said:
-It's time we lived in my home state for awhile. Curtis only played music once more in his life, which was at a Christmas party for the employer of his brother in-law Hugh Johnson. Curtis used a local band from Fresno for this last job. He took many short-lived jobs and part time jobs away from the music industry until 1967 when he went to work as the Maintenance Supervisor for "Duncan Ceramics". He worked there until his retirement in 1977. After his retirement he built a miniature of Hatchie, Tennessee where he grew up.

Curtis lived his life to the fullest. He was a straight "shooter", told it like it was and was always true to his word. He never let his illness deter him and quality of life was more important to him than quantity. Up to the end Curtis always put his family first. Curtis died not knowing that any of his songs where ever re-released and it was not until the mid nineties and the advent of the "Internet" that his family found his songs had been released and re-released on no less than two dozen different LPs, 45s, and CDs from 1970 - till now, with at least one song on each. He continued to entertain himself and his family with his music until the end.


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CURTIS HOBOCK
RECORD DISCOGRAPHY



LU RECORDS
506 - The Whole Town's Talking/Do You Think - May 1959
508 - Tom Dooley Rock 'n' Roll/China Rock - July 1959

CEE AND CEE RECORDS


501 - What A Dream/Hey Everybody - Nov 1965
502 - Have Mercy/If You Only Loved Me - Nov 1965



MUSICENTER RECORDS
3103 - Lonely Weekends/I Found A Way - Dec 1965
3105 - Definition Of Love/One Heart That'll Love You - 1966

TENNESSEE RECORDS (EU Bootleg)
301 - Tom Dooley Rock 'n' Roll/China Rock - 1970s

BOP CAT RECORDS (NL)
700 - "ROCK AROUND THE TOWN" - Late 1970s
      For All I'm Worth/My Bonnie
      tracks by various artists.

REDITA RECORDS (NL)
125 - "ROCK'N ROLL FEVER" - Late 1970s
      Apron Strings
      + tracks by various artists.

SUN/CHARLY RECORDS (UK)
LP 1038 - "FEEL LIKE ROCKIN'" - 1986
      With My Best Friend/Apron Strings
      + tracks by various artists.

CD 8118 - "SUN ROCKABILLIES, Vol 2" - 1996
      Walkin' With My Best Friend
      + tracks by various artists.

CD 8137 - "UNISSUED SUN MASTERS" - 1996
      The King Is Back/With My Best Friend
      + tracks by various artists.

CD 8161 - "SUN ROCKABILLIES, Vol 3" - 1996
      For All I'm Worth
      + tracks by various artists.

CD 8236 - "SUN ROCKABILLIES, Vol 4" - 1996
      My Bonnie
      + tracks by various artists.

CD 8313 - "SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL, Vol 2" - 1997
      Trip Into Love + tracks by various artists.

CD 8353 - "SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL, Vol 3" - 1999
      Apron Strings
      + tracks by various artists.

ACE RECORDS (UK)
CHD 473 - "EL PRIMITIVO AMERICAN RnROLL & RAB" - 1993
      I Wanna Shake It
      + tracks by various artists.

BEAR FAMILY RECORDS (D)
16210 - "THAT'LL FLAT GET IT, Vol 14" - 1997

      Apron Strings
      + tracks by various artists.

STOMPER TIME RECORDS (UK)
CD 12 - "NASHVILLE ROCKABILLY" - 2001

      Hey Everybody/Have Mercy/I Found A Way
      + tracks by various artists.

CD 13 - "NASHVILLE ROCK 'N' ROLL" - 2001
      Lonely Weekends/I Wanna Shake It/What A Dream
      + tracks by various artists.

STAR-CLUB RECORDS (SE)
CD 506003 - "HEY EVERYBODY" - April 2003

      Talking About Rock 'n' Roll/The King Is Back/Tom Dooley
      Rock 'n' Roll/Apron Strings/Crazy Little Twister/Trip Into
      Love/China Rock/Wipe Out/Driftwood/Diveorce Me COD/
      From The Bottom Of My Heart/A Fallen Star/I Want To
      Know What Makes The World To Round/The Whole Town's
      Talking/Do You Think/Tennessee Mail/For All I'm Worth/With
      My Best Friend/I Wanna Shake It/Hey Everybody!/Lonely
      Weekends/Hobock's Guitar Boogie/Have Mercy/What A
      Dream/I Found A Way/Tribute To Jim Reeves.

UNISSUED DEMOS & LIVE TRACKS - Recorded 1958-65
      Aloha/Cute Little Lady/I Can't Get You Out Of My Mind-
      Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom Time/I'm In Love With
      You/I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just In Love With You/If You
      Want To Go Dancing/Moonlight And Memories/When
      The Moon Comes Over The Valley/You're Gonna Wear
      My Ring/You're The Reason.
      And alternate versions of two released tracks on Cee & Cee
      and Musicenter.
NOTE: These are NOT released



Page posted May, 2003





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