When we last checked in with Nashville All-Star and pedal steel guitarist extraordinaire, Lloyd Green, he had signed with Aubrey Mayhew & Johnny Paycheck’s label, Little Darlin’. However, Green would be ready to switch labels just two years later to go with another indie, Chart.
1968’s Mr. Nashville Sound would be his first of three albums for Chart Records and one that would climb all the way to the #37 position on the Country chart.
The flurry of notes in crisp staccato fashion that open the track “Promises Promises” are characteristic of the late 1960s country steel sound, particularly of the truck-driving variety (“Wave Bye Bye to the Man” – is that you, Lloyd Green?). I still hold out hope that today’s steel players will rediscover this commanding approach and supremely rocking sound:
“Promises Promises” Lloyd Green 1968
Steel Guitar: Lloyd Green
Electric Guitar: Wayne Moss
Bass: Jr. Huskey
Drums: Buddy Harman
Piano: Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins
Vocals: Anita Kerr, Hurshel Wigenton, The Nashville Edition
Arranged by Lloyd Green
Produced by Joe Gibson & Slim Williamson
Mastered by John Eberle
As it turns out, “Promises Promises” would be a near instrumental cover of the top 10 country hit by labelmate, Lynn Anderson — I can only presume Green played on that version, as well. According to Walter Stettner, proprietor of the Lloyd Green Tribute website, it is. Says Stettner, “Lloyd was the session leader on almost all of the Chart recordings. I only know very few recordings where Pete Drake got to play; otherwise if you hear something on Chart or Little Darlin, it is most likely Lloyd.”
As this chart alphabetically illustrates, Lloyd Green played steel on an astounding 116 number-one hit recordings. Of course, you may not be surprised to know that Green would release a baker’s dozen or so singles under his own name, including a cover of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Sally G” (on which he originally played). But you might be flabbergasted to learn, as I was, that this tireless, upright master of the steel would join the rogue’s gallery of artists who made the dubious decision to release a backwards b-side! That’s right, just before he signed to Chart, Green would release a one-off 45 on Big A: “Panic (A Trip)” as the A-side with “Cinap (Pirt A)” as the flip(ped out) side:
Oh, Lloyd – why’d you do it?
Chart Records: Property of Gusto
As Jon Hartley Fox points out in King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records, “Moe Lytle bought the King and Starday companies in 1975 and has now owned King Records for longer than [Syd] Nathan did.” In 1978 Lytle would launch Gusto Records, a budget label that issued albums, tapes, and (later) compact discs, and go on to acquire a number of other labels for the purpose of reissuing their back catalogs. As Gusto’s website indicates in its banner, Lytle’s enterprise – GML – owns the catalogs of all the King-related labels (except for James Brown’s recordings), Scepter and subsidiary, Wand (except for Dionne Warwicke’s recordings), Starday, Musicor – and Chart Records, not to mention Little Darlin’.