Arkansas native Roy Clifton Hogsed gained some early musical experience in his home
state and neighboring Mississippi. He made a bigger mark in post-World War II
California with his recordings on Coast and Capitol, working out of San Diego.
Sadly, nearly a decade after retiring from music, he took his own life.
Born in Flippin, AR to a family with musical interest, Roy learned the fundamentals
at an early age. After completing the seventh grade with the country in economic
depression, the family went on the road as part of a tent show. The family had
formed a hillbilly string band. In addition to Roy, Mom and Dad, it included
his brother and four sisters. But when that show folded, he went back to school. Later, Roy worked
in a group known as the Dixieland Troupers, spending three months on radio at
WJDX in Jackson, Mississippi. During World War II, like millions of other young adults,
he entered military service, in his case the U. S. Navy.
Cowboy Song readers learned he married Wilie Marie Gillliam (B: September 9, 1918 (Yellville, AR) — D: October 4, 1979 (Denton, TX)). That marriage took
place on May 21, 1940. His wife was from Yellville, AR. He took on a series
of jobs and it took him from Arkansas to Oklahoma to Texas and then California where
he began to drive a bus.
Perhaps for that reason, Hogsed re-located to San Diego. After working briefly
as a bus driver, he landed a job playing guitar in a joint called the Stork Club.
Soon the young Arkansan formed his own outfit known alternately as
the Rainbow Riders or the Hogsed Trio. Cowboy Songs reported that the group came
together in late 1946. It consisted of Roy on guitar; Jean Dewez
(B: January 22, 1917 (Venlo, Holland) - D: May 26, 1993) on accordion
and Casey Simmons on bass. But in June of 1947, Simmons left and his position
was filled by Richard (Rusty) Nitz (B: August 15, 1922 - D: April 10, 1990).
In 1953, a promotional ad for the Rainbow Riders indicated the group included
Phil Ransom, Jimmy Boucher, Bob Montague and Roy Hogsed.
Late in 1946, they inaugurated a recording
career with Coast Records. When that label discontinued activity early in 1948,
they soon signed with the emerging giant, Capitol.
Early researchers disregarded the theory that Roy's early Capitol releases came
from Coast masters, but since he had Capitol releases in 1948 during the AFM strike,
it now seems obvious that the material did come from Coast.
Billboard reported in its May 15, 1948 issue that many labels were using "master buying
techniques to cover key tunes and duck the Petrillo ban. It reported that "...Capitol Records
had picked up some 20 masters cut by the Rog Hogsed Trio, an instrumental and singing gorup
on the Coast (Label)". A week later the magazine reported that Roy's group included
Jean Dewez on accordion; Richard (Rusty) Nitz on bass and Roy on guitar.
His first Capitol session
took place on July 20, 1949. He continued with the label through October 1954.
His best-known song was the drug-related "Cocaine Blues," which cracked the
Billboard Charts in August 1948. Other memorable songs included "Snake Dance Boogie"
and "Slow Train Through Arkansas."
Roy Hogsed — Record Reviews: Billboard (BB) & Cash Box (CB)
Come On In And Set A Spell — Relaxed Western
ballad both vocally and musically. Swings along at easy pace. (Rating: 65)
The Birthday Polka — Good birthday standard item for Western disk
jocks. Catchy melody. (Rating: 65)
Cocaine Blues — Snowbird saga, Western
style. Well piped, lyric makes good listening, but drug reference will prevent air plays. (Rating: 73)
Fishtail Boogie — Rural boogie woogie with vocal. Nothing special here. (Rating: 61)
Easy Payment Blues — Roy Hogsed
is going to please all his present fans and make himself a bunch of new ones with this timely
platter. His lyrics, in medium fast tempo, on the top side, "Easy Payment Blues," amakes
for grand listenin' with many a head sure to nod in agreement. A really swell money-makin' tune
that's got just about everything to make it one of the better juke box nickel cathers.
Short Cut Cutie Polks — On the other side with "Short Cut Cutie Polka,"
Roy presents one of the best instrumental polkas. Here's a disk laded with coin catching dynamite.
Easy Payment Blues — Not a blues, but a lively
novelty ditty with genuine folk humor in the lyric. (Rating: 77)
Short Cut Cutie Polks — Instrumental trio produce a big sound
on their cleanly played, spirited polka job. (Rating: 71)
Take That Slow Train Thru Arkansas — Some wax for music operators
with folk spots to take a look-see at is this offering by Roy Hogsed. It's effective material that should
meet with fair approval on the part of ops and folk fans. Wax tagged "Take That Slow Train Thru Arkansas" - "Twenty-Five Chickens - Thirty-Five
Cows makes for delightful listening pleasure throughout. It's fair stuff - the kind that you take to easily. Top
deck a rhythm novelty ditty, is an oldie that keeps coming back.
Twenty-Five Chickens - Thirty-Five Cows — The flip, more unique novelty
wax is cute as all get out and should win wide praise. Wax is there for the asking.
Take That Slow Train Thru Arkansas — Good regional feeling in this Southwestern ditty, honestly
delivered. (Rating: 72)
Twenty-Five Chickens - Thirty-Five Cows — Clever comic ditty sung and orked
with fine swing and back country humor. (Rating: 74)
Cocaine Blues — Hogsed offers a lesson to whiskey and
cocaine users, altho his woman drove him to it. Entertaining jail tune. Subject may ban air play.
Fishtail Boogie — Talented warbler and his rhythmic crew turn in an
easy, danceable rural boogie. (Rating: 72)
Rainbow Polka — Country polka with
strong accordion flavor is a lively dance bit.
Rag Mop — Spanking beat is the only special feature
of this coverage try. (Rating: 68)
The Red We Want — Music ops in the market
for a pair of flag-wavers might lend an ear in this direction. Upper lid has a trio vocal, and should
be fairly well known to music ops, since it has been a fair pop winner.
Don't Bite The Hand That's Feeding You — Flip is in the same style and features
a solo vocal. Ops who have the spots should lend an ear.
Free Samples — Hogsed chants, in a mediocre
country style, a choppy novelty borrowed from the r & b idiom. (Rating: 63)
I Wish I Was — Warbler does a country-jump treatment of a pop-folker.
Tune has promise, but this rendition doesn't to it justice. (Rating: 65)
I Wish I Was — The upper deck is a real cute pop tune that is given
a good sendoff by Roy Hogsed. With a catchy, jumpy beat and a lively vocal to match, this half might
Free Samples — The bottom end is another
jump number that comes out as a listenable half. Our nod goes to the top end.
Roll'em Dice — Roy Hogsed presents a
quick beat with a chuckle in each line. A spirits lifting ditty. (Rating: C+)
Ain't A Bump In The Road — The artist dishes up another
hustling item in zestful manner. String work backs the warbler in fine style. (Rating: B)
Babies and Bacon — Rog Hogsed sings of
the charms of married life; chiefly babies and bacon. It's a fast, lively novelty, and likely
to get considerable jockey play. (Rating: 72)
Who Wrote That Letter To John — A switch in the Dear John
series. This one's in the novelty groove, and does not follow the melodic or lyric
pattern of the original. It's lively. (Rating: 69)
Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians — To a tom-tom beat the chanter reads
a cute ditty that many will get kicks out of. Fine for deejays and jukes, and the sales picture
looks good, too. (Rating: 78)
You're Just My Style — Bouncy little trifle is handed a pleasant rendition by
Roy Hogsed. (Rating: 73)
Around the time Billboard reported its review of Capitol 40141, it noted that Roy's trio had
been working regularly for two years at the College Inn in San Diego, California.
In 1954, TV logs show that Roy had his own show on Channel 10 in San Diego.
In 1962, suffered serious injuries when his car hit a light pole on the Cabrillo Freeway.
He was being chased by a police patrol car. The patrolman stated he Roy had run four
red lights and was driving up to 80mph during the pursuit. At the time, he was playing
an engagement at a downtown night club. He suffered cuts and bruises and may have
broken a wrist. He was treated at the Helix Hospital. The accident occurred around 2am.
After his record contract ended, Hogsed remained active in the San Diego
region for another fifteen years. According to the best information available
he retired from music about 1969. Thereafter, he worked as a welder for San Diego
Gas and Electric until his
suicide. One LP and two CDs of his work have been re-issued in Germany.
His obituary simply mentions he died at his home in Vista, CA. He was a member
of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 569.
He was survived by his wife, two daughters (Janis and Rickie), three sons (Gary, William and Roy).
His wife died in 1979 in Denton, TX. They are both buried in the El Cajon Cemetery.