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DON DEAL is a happy man ; living on a farm near Branson, Missouri, he has more followers today than he had in the '50s. From his web site, you can order several CD singles containing some of his coveted Era stuff.

Like Bob Denton or Ray Stanley, Don's name is forever linked to Eddie Cochran's. They met while touring with the Cochran Brothers in 1955. Prior to that, Don had been playing with Smokey Rogers & His Western Caravan down in San Diego. Jerry Capehart, who had just taken the Cochran Bros under his wing, persuaded John Dolphin (head of Cash Records in L.A.) to issue Don's first record, 'Broken-Hearted Fellow' b/w
'Cryin' In One Eye' (Cash 1028),
a honky tonk double-sider from early 1956. Contrary to belief, though, it is NOT Eddie Cochran who plays lead guitar on these sides but Joe Maphis, probably with Ralph Mooney on steel. However, it IS Hank Cochran who supplies the harmony vocal to 'Cryin' In One Eye', a number Don is not particularly fond of. The excellent sound quality of the session tapes leads us to believe that they were cut at a professional studio - possibly at the Capitol Tower. Both songs were legally reissued for the first time in 1989 by UK's RockStar Records on Cochran's 'Thinkin' About You' LP (RSR 1019).

Click & hear 20 seconds of 'My Blind Date' !Eddie entered the picture the following year, when Don signed a contract with Era Records. His first single for the label (#1039) coupled the attractive 'Unfaithful Diane' with 'Devil Of Deceit', both written by Don with his mother, Helen Deal. It has been suggested that Eddie played on those cuts and it does sound a lot like him - especially 'Unfaithful Diane' with its melodic guitar solo very similar to those Eddie played on Bob Denton's records of the same time. Bob Grimes, who helped put together Don's web site, says that it's a Fender Telecaster guitar which was used on that session rather than a Gretsch ; now, we all know that Eddie could handle just any kind of guitar !
There is no doubt as to Eddie's presence on one side of Don Deal's second Era '45, though ; the loping 'My Blind Date', co-written by Don, his mother and, interestingly enough, Hank Cochran, features a good solo from Eddie who's also probably singing harmony vocal as well. All these songs were most likely recorded at Stan Ross's Gold Star studio.

Don's final Era single (#1077, issued in 1958) was credited to Don Deal & The Moontars.
The RockStar CD.Heavy on acoustic guitars, it featured two Ricky Nelson-sounding ballads again co-written by Don and Hank Cochran, who was indeed part of Don's band. Eddie doesn't play here although one of the cuts ('Just Thought I'd Call') apparently came from the same session as 'My Blind Date'. But Eddie played lead guitar on another track, the rockin' 'Don't Push', which laid unreleased until its appearance on the revered 'Hollywood Rock'n'Roll' LP in 1975 (CH 1), the first ever outing from the UK's premier specialist label, Ace Records.

Happily, all of Don's early recordings (1956-1958) have been compiled onto a fabulous CD by RockStar Records (RSRCD 028) in 2006. The disc contains
21 previously unreleased songs, including alternate versions of 'Don't Push', 'Goofin' Around', 'Sweet Love' and 'A Chance Is All I Ask'. Several vintage photos adorn the CD booklet - the marvelous front cover pic, showing Don backed up by The Cochran Brothers at the El Monte Stadium on March 10th, 1956, being reproduced at right.

The Johnny Grayson '45 on Challenge.Don did quite a bit of live appearances during the fifties, sharing the stage with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Wynn Stewart and many others.
In 1963, he was signed by Capitol Records and had two releases that year, before moving on to MGM. By 1965, he was part of 4-Star Music Co., the successful music publishing company whose brilliant roster included Baker Knight, Jerry Fuller, Dave Burgess, Keith Colley, Glen Campbell and Carl Belew. I recently came across a nice record by one Johnny Grayson on Challenge (# 59306), one side of which - 'Me & The Devil' - was written by Don & Chuck Deal. Who was the latter ?

Don will be delighted to hear from you, so feel free to visit his web site at this address : www.dondeal.org.

© PAUL VIDAL * Privas, France * November 2002 / July 2007


CAPITOL
4901
Ain't Gonna Try Anymore / How Do You Lie To A Heart
5028
A-11 / You'll Get Used To Being Lonely
CASH
1028
Broken-Hearted Fellow / Cryin' In One Eye
ERA
1039
HN 99 Unfaithful Diane / HN 100 Devil Of Deceit
1051
HN 135 My Blind Date / HN 133 Even Then
1060
She Was Here But She's Gone / You'd Look Good With A Tear In Your Eye
1070
Sweet Love / The First Teenager
1077
HN 167 A Chance Is All I Ask / HN 134 Just Thought I'd Call

 

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