A MUSICAL ODYSSEY
www.hillmanweb.com/albums/album05.html
BILL & SUE-ON HILLMAN
RECORD ALBUM #5
14 ORIGINAL SONGS
Maple Grove Records
MGS-1005


Click for full-page collage


SEE THE RECORDING SESSION 
PHOTO ALBUM 
HERE
RUNAWAY SLAVES ~ PRAIRIE DANCE HALLS ~ CHINA DOLLS ~ CAJUN FIDDLES ~ WAYWARD WOMEN  & RESTLESS RIVERS ~ BAR ROOM LOSERS ~ MONTANA TOURS ~ WANDERLUST ~ ORIENTAL LAMENTS ~ WISTFUL LOVE BALLADS ~ ALLIGATOR POACHERS & MOONSHINERS ~ GOSPEL SONGS ~ MANITOBA BOYHOOD MEMORIES . . .
THESE RAMBLINGS 
FROM THE MIND OF BILL HILLMAN 
HAVE INSPIRED THE SONGS WITHIN:
THE SONGS
Click on the titles to hear the songs
SIDE ONE
1. CATFISH BONES ~ Duet
2. CHATTANOOGA PRISON TRAIN ~ Sue-On
3. WORKIN' FOR THE MAN ~ Bill
4. TWO LOVING ARMS ~ Sue-On
5. BLUES 'ROUND MY DOOR ~ Duet
6. ALLIGATOR MAMA ~ Duet
7. IN SADNESS ~ Sue-On
SIDE TWO
1. CAJUN CHILD ~ Bill
2. CHINA SONG ~ Sue-On
3. BLUE SHALLOW RIVER ~ Duet
4. A FOOL ON A STOOL ~ Bill
5. A SAD COUNTRY  LOVE SONG ~ Bill
6. THE MISSISSIPPI TRIPPER ~ Sue-On
7. GLORYLAND ~ Duet
THE STORIES
Click on the titles to hear the songs
CATFISH BONES (Bin Long Time Gone)
Jailer Jimmy John you better get your britches on
Catfish Bones bin here and gone
Jump, run, shout ~ you better get the hitches out
Sheriff and Judge 'bout ta run you out

Catfish Bones bin long time free
Hide, crawl, sneak through my turnip greens
Sheriff and Boss they want him for who bought him 
And they shot him and they caught him in the bottom land

Chorus
But Catfish Bones
Now he's gone
Catfish Bones
Watch him run

Betrayed him and they trade him to a man that hate
Ole Bones can't live alone without his mate
Ole Bones done gone like a turkey through the corn
Watch him walk on muddy water like there he born



CHATTANOOGA PRISON TRAIN
The prison train leaves Chattanooga come the mornin'
He'll say goodbye to Tennessee - Sweet Memories
They're taking all I have to live for come the mornin'
O Lord how I wish he were free

Trees will whisper to the wind -- "Willie I love you"
Drifting clouds will take my message to his ears
He'll hear every sound of nature say -- "I love you"
Summer breezes will dry away my tears

Chorus
But I'll find a way
I'll find a way
I'll find a way
To get back to his arms

He shot a man who had no right to come between us
Should have run before they locked him in a cell
If I could walk through prison walls, I'd be there with him
O Lord help me bear this living Hell



WORKIN' FOR THE MAN
I'm workin' for the man
I'm workin' for the dollar
Got to get to Louisian'

Bend down, turn 'round
Runnin' just to cover ground
I'm coming sweet Suzie Ann

Pick a sack - drag a sack - another row
Another day - a workin' day - goes so slow
Workin' for the man
Gotta get to Louisian'

If I could ride that southern line
I'd leave this Georgia clay behind
On my way down to that Mississippie delta land
Home at last I know I'd find
That dark-haired girl I left behind
Bye Bye Georgia
Hello Louisian'



TWO LOVING ARMS
I'll surround you with love so warm
That you've never find your way out to the cold
For as long as you want me, and these two loving arms
Then I'll promise, that our sweet love, will never grow old

The soft breeze caressing
The moments so rare
The chill of the night wind
Together we'll share

If you'll take my loving
All I have to give
Then there'll always be some reason for me to live
And I'll live just for you
With each breath I hold
And together, we'll find memories, much richer than gold



BLUES 'ROUND MY DOOR
Baby sittin' on the West Coast
I got the blues sittin' on the East Coast
And there's five thousand lonely walkin' miles sittin' in between
If I could leave today I know
I'd reach my baby, I miss her so
And the blues hangin' 'round my door
Would drive the clouds to a distant shore

Baby sittin' on the West Coast
Blues sittin' on the East Coast
Baby's runnin' free
Blues are killing me

There's sunny skies over my baby
Rain and cloud in New York City
And there's five thousand wakin' tears running in between
If I could see her one more time
I'd give my baby a piece of my mind
And the blues hanging 'round my door
Would drive the clouds to a distant shore



ALLIGATOR MAMA
All the girls in Vegas town
They ain't got nothin' on -- you
They can't cuddle, they can't huddle
Or put things in a muddle -- like you

You love me all to bits
Scare me out of my wits -- oo oooo
You got style, you got class
And I wanna make it last -- with you

You're a little bit o' Frankenstein
A whole lotta Einstein -- but mine
You're a little bit behind times
A little like a fine wine -- but mine

You got my head a-reelin'
You got me always feelin' -- fine
You're acting funny with my money
But you'll always be a honey -- of mine

You're an anti-Mister Nader
You're a chronic music hater -- but you're mine
Never early, always later
A mean old alligator -- but you're mine

You haunt rundown theatres
You always burn the taters -- in time
So we go out to dinner 
You're not getting any thinner -- but you're mine



IN SADNESS
Trade winds blow across the sea of my memory
To a time when cares were few and life had meaning
Visions of a smiling face framed by willows
Reflections that played on waters gleaming

Chorus
This heart of mine
It cries while I am waiting here in sadness
This heart of mine
It longs and yearns each night for his caress

Hand in hand we'd walk alone under starlight
Gentle breezes kissed a love that seemed forever
Now I sit alone and dream of a lost love
This pain in my heart a burning ember

CAJUN CHILD
Chorus
Run Run Run with me my child
We're runnin' free and we're running wild
Run Run Run with me my child
The revenuers hounds make the gators look mild

My papa raised me up on a river boat
Poaching alligators and every thing afloat
Papa did all rightand he kept us fed
But when he saw the law here's what he said...

Papa kept a still in the bayou land
Made the best whiskey that a belly could stand
The money made a living for my Papa and me
But when the law came my Papa would say...

When my Mama up and died my Papa cried hard
She left him just me and the Louisiana mud
We had to make a living by the sweat of our brow
Papa found a way right then and now...



CHINA SONG
Tears dim my eyes
Leaves drift to the ground
Cold winter rain
Chills to the bone

Time lingers on
But love has passed me by
All I have are dreams
Of you and home




BLUE SHALLOW RIVER
Blue Shallow River
Why must you race
Blue Shallow River
Why not slow your pace
Take it slow in your wanderin'
Must you keep drifting free
Why be always searching
For a distant land or a never ending sea

Blue Shallow River
Stand your own ground
Blue Shallow River
Get yourself unwound
You know love's never going to find you
In your dance to a distant hill
You can let your dreams unravel
Only  if you take it in your mind to lie still



A FOOL ON A STOOL
Ole misery giving, lowly living, honky tonk bar
Now you done gone, yeh you gone too far
All the weeping ditties on your jukebox have come true
You gave me honky tonk blues 
But now there ain't nothing, nothing more to lose
You got me in a corner sittin' pickin' out a losers tune

Your honky tonk women took me away from her arms
Honky tonk whiskey closed my eyes to her charms
Looking 'round for my honky tonkin' fair weather friends
But now I'm outa money - Funny how it ends
A fool on a stool with a bottle full of memories



A SAD COUNTRY LOVESONG
Play me a sad country lovesong
Sing it so sweet and low
Play me an old fashioned love song
I've been away for so long

We met in a small prairie dancehall
We danced till the dawn's early light
I held her close as we whispered
The words to each song that night

Now I sit at this bar in the city
Fame and fortune I've found
But my thoughts all drift to the homeplace
A girl -- and a prairie town.



MISSISSIPPI TRIPPER
Well the Mississippi Tripper runs from New Orleans
Steaming through Memphis with her Cajun Queens
Riverboat rascals and midnight ramblers
Fancy talking hustlers and all night gamblers

The Mississippi Tripper is a southern dream
Carrying all the finest from New Orleans
Yankee carpetbaggers and midnight flyers
Busty Creole mammas and old black drivers

The Mississippi Tripper runs on muddy water
Carrying me away from my blue-eyed guy
I'll miss the Mississippi and its muddy water
But nothing like I'll miss the good old southern life



GLORYLAND

It's just beyond the river in the Gloryland

Sing out Glory ~ Shout Hallelujah
We're walking in His sunshine, let His light shine on

Well I've got religion and I know it's right for me
Just beyond the river in the Gloryland

Old Satan tries to tempt me but he jsut can't find the way
Just beyond the river in the Gloryland

I'm going to see my Jesus in the promised land someday
It's just beyond the river in the Gloryland


CREDITS

All lead and back-up vocals by Bill & Sue-On
All lead and rhythm guitars by Bill Hillman
Drums and Percussion by Sue-On Hillman
Bass & Fiddle by Barry Forman

With a little help form our friends:
Kevin Pahl- Piano on songs 2, 3, 9, 11, & 12
Larry Clark - Piano, Organ & Vibes on 4, 5, 7 & 10
Ted Paley - Drums on songs 4, 5, 7 & 10

Engineering by Collin Bennett and Harry Hildebrand at 
Century 21 Studios, Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada

The entire album was 
written, arranged and produced by 
Bill Hillman

Photography and album graphic design by 
Bill Hillman

For information concerning personal appearances
and other recordings contact:

Bill & Sue-On Hillman
Maple Grove Music
41 Kensington Crescent
Brandon, Manitoba
R7A 6M4
Canada

 



Cross Roads: As in music direction: torn between Memphis and NashvilleSue-On at Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway, Nashville, TennesseeBill in the Ernest Tubb Record shop before live broadcastBill on stage at the Ryman Grand Ole Opry HouseDoug Kershaw on the Opry
RECORDING ANECDOTES
We had written four songs for Album No. 3 which we released on a jacketed EP. The reviews from trade papers and radio stations were encouraging enough that I kept at it. We did four more originals for another EP which got good play on CBC radio. In fact, my Grandmother Jane Hillman, who lived in Elrose, Saskatchewan, was quite surprised, and I guess a little proud, to hear us on CBK Regina. By now we had eight originals to which we soon added six more to release as an all-original album. This album differed considerably from our previous efforts in that we used no sidemen -- Sue-On, Barry and myself did all the instruments, with a little help on keyboards from Kevin Pahl who was about to replace Barry in the group. I lived and breathed this album for many months and was involved in all stages of its development: words and music to all songs, arrangements, production, all guitars, half the lead vocals, back-up and harmony vocals, photography, album design, pressing and mastering decisions,  promotion, etc. Whew!... got that outa my system. From this album on, Sue-On and I were fully involved in all our albums -- mainly because in those early days of Independent record production there really wasn't anyone to turn to who could offer much in the way of professional advice, so we had to learn as we went along.

This album marked the session debut of Sue-On on drums and as a songwriter. She adapted a Mandarin Chinese poem to an oriental-sounding melody I had written. Sue-On came to Canada when she was 10, and although she speaks fluent Cantonese, she left her Hong Kong schooling before she had mastered the intricacies of Chinese writing. We asked her dad, Soo Choy, to write out the Chinese characters in the brush strokes that appear on the back cover of the album.

I had known Kevin Pahl since he was a kid. His dad, Howard, was the Strathclair Pool Elevator grain buyer, who also flew and sold aircraft as a sideline, while his mom Oretta operated an insurance office in Strathclair. Howard had even been my summertime employer back in my high school and college days. He contracted painting jobs around the area and hired me to use his paint spraying unit to paint barns, elevators, houses, etc. Son Kevin, inherited his dad's love of flying and eventually became a flying instructor and crop duster. Howard is still flying and is one of the chief pilots flying Harvards and other vintage WWII aircraft out of Brandon's Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. Kevin showed a remarkable singing and piano talent at a very early age. By the time he reached my grade 9 class at Strathclair Collegiate, we started to work him into the band as a stand-in for times when Barry couldn't make gigs. The first date he played with us was at the Air Force Base at CFB Portage La Prairie. We did a panic all-day rehearsal at Maple Grove and then drove 130 miles to set up at the Junior Ranks Club. Kevin always looked young for his age and I remember that the audience were quite impressed with this "kid's" performance on Sue-On's Hohner Pianet. It was natural then, that as he became more familiar with stage work and our material, that we would call on him to join in the rehearsal some of our soon-to-be recorded originals. 

An uncredited musician on this session was another young Strathclair musician -- and future band member -- drummer Kerry Morris who dropped by the studio. He helped Sue-On out by adding the crash cymbal to Cajun Child. Not to be outdone, I did the percussion work on Glory Land -- the main backbeat came from my slapping a Fender Malibu guitar case. It's been held together by duct tape ever since.

Most of the photos on the album cover were taken in the new music and games room in our Maple Grove basement. We sat on a full-size snooker table -- a big antique oak effort with thick heavy slates that Sue-On and I had disassembed and dragged down the stairs in pieces. The background is one of our shake-covered walls while the splash of white in front of us is actually the furry back of our Great Pyrenees dog, Mya I. We had brought Mya back with us from our Montana tour the summer before.

The finished albums arrived from Toronto the same day we left for Nashville on one of our summer holiday driving marathons. We had been on Nashville's music row before but we had never had a product to flog. This time we got into all the studio and publishing offices on the row: Chet Atkin's office at RCA, Columbia, Tree, Billy Crash Craddock, Pete Drake, etc. Most were very polite and listened to cuts from the album and many of them showed off their own latest, soon-to-be released records. There were nibbles, words of advice, apologies, address exchanges, etc. Most companies showed some interest -- Chet liked our duet harmonies -- but the concept of a Chinese girl singer and her redhaired husband from Canada obviously didn't fit into the formula of Nashville and America's Southland. 

One company, which boasted a fairly eclectic roster of artists, including Rosemary Clooney, showed quite a bit of excitement -- we even carried on telephone conversations after we returned to Canada -- but nothing seemed promising enough to lure us away from the security of our teaching careers in Canada. The whole experience of knocking on the doors of these houses-converted-to-music-biz offices, exploring the Nashville streets, seeing the stars of the Grand Ole Opry in the old Ryman Auditorium, having drinks at Tootsie's Bar, squeezing into the Ernest Tubb Record Shop for the after-Opry broadcast, going through the Country Music Hall of Fame, and seeing the many other Music City sites was a bit of a dream come true. Sue-On was a bit of novelty in the South... many people assumed that I was a Viet Nam vet and she was a bride I had brought back from Nam, and they proceeded to tell their own stories about their sons' involvement in the Asian war.

Many of the music execs suggested that the album wasn't country enough for the Nashville market. We never guessed that in a year we would be taking the same album around to studios, publishers and promoters in London, England where we would be told that the album was a little too country for their market.

RPM MAGAZINE REVIEWS
December 13, 1975 and Fall 1976

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BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN: The Western Union ~ Maple Grove MGS-1004
Fifteen cuts of contemporary, country standards. "Union" leaders Bill and Sue-On go well doing things their way. Arranged and produced by Bill -- a healthy product of years of experience with folk, rock, country and MOR styles. Total prairie production at Winnipeg's Century 21 Studios.
BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN:     14 Original Songs ~ Maple Grove - MGS-1005
Written and arranged and produced by Bill, "14 Songs" is the best use of their original sound yet. Sincere duets covering almost all of the standard themes of contemporary country with cuts for any broadcast style.
BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN: The Hillman Express ~ Maple Grove MGS-1006
Clever lyrics by Bill Hillman puts him in a class by himself. Most of the production done at Winnipeg's Century 21 studio, however one standout is Down Down Down, which was produced at Gooseberry sound Studios in London, England, where they also cut Farther Away, Shelter, and Walkin' Wreck. Nice blend of vocals and instrument backup. Looing for a contemporary country song? Read some of the verses on the jacket.
Free Spirit ~ MGS 2001
Variety of country, rock and country-rock sounds of a new 6-member group of Bill and Sue-On Hillman. Pianist Al Jones produces with assistance from the experienced Bill Hillman for the strongest LP involving Hillmans to date. Voice of Terry Fleetwood capably leads most cuts, all of which are written by band members. Tracked at Winnipeg's Century 21.
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Jimmy King and Gene Telpner Columns
Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Tribune : 1975 ~ 1976 ~ 1977

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NIGHT BEAT by Jimmy King ~ Winnipeg Free Press - Saturday - August 23, 1975
You don't have to be in the city to associate with good music and musicians. Bill and Sue-On Hillman who are high school teachers in Strathclair, Man., have been known to Canadian audiences for years through their group Western Union. It wasn't until recently that I got the chance to listen to their latest album of 14 original songs. Bill's talent as a song writer is a strong one. There are many cuts on the album that are commendable in MOR (middle of the road) and country-rock styles.

Bill and Sue-On spend their summers working grandstand shows at state and county fairs in the United States as well as Canadian exhibitions. On these tours they have shared billings with country stars such as Jeannie C. Riley, Archie Campbell, The Blackwood Singers, Charlie Louvin, and Joe Maphis. Previous to this, they performed as a back-up band and feature act on the Russ Gurr Federal Grain Train Show.

GENE TELPNER - Entertainment Editor ~ The Winnipeg Tribune - Saturday - February 21, 1976
DISC DATA: Because so many timely records reach this desk it is virtually impossible to mention all of them. But I think it's time the record-buying public knew more about a Manitoba recording artistic team of Bill and Sue-On Hillman. They have several albums on the market on the Maple Grove label, some of the newest are On Stage, Bill and Sue-On Hillman, The Western Union, Free Spirit, and The Hillmans with 14 of their original songs. Bill and Sue-On have been playing around the province for quite awhile, they receive convention bookings, and in the U.S. they have won acclaim at the big audience attended fairs in various states. Their albums have been given good plugs in music publications, but too often they've been ignored right in their home province. Bill and Sue-On are man and wife, they are high school teachers and live in Strathclair, Manitoba. Sue-On was born in China, came to Manitoba at the age of 10 and has lived happily ever after. I hope more people will give a listen to their albums. It will be quite a revelation and most of the recording has been done at the very professional century 21 Studios in Winnipeg. You can reach this dynamic duo through Maple Grove Music, Box 280, Strathclair, Man.
GENE TELPNER - Entertainment Editor ~ The Winnipeg Tribune - Tuesday - March 1, 1977
ENTERTAINMENT BEAT: Bill and Sue-On Hillman of Strathclair, Man., have just recorded their sixth album under the title of The Hillman Express, Track 15. Said Bill, "Much of side one was recorded during our seven-week tour of Britain last summer. Also included on side one is Cajun Stomp, a song which was a winner for us in the American Song Festival in California. We were very pleased with this as there thousands of entries from all over the world. Our entry met pretty stiff competition as it was placed in the professional division." The new album is on the Maple Grove Records label. Both of the Hillmans are teachers during the winter months. 
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Album Montage from our FaceBook Gallery:
On the Road with Bill and Sue-On Hillman ~ A 50-Year Journey

See and Hear All the Hillman Albums

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BILL and SUE-ON HILLMAN: A 50-YEAR MUSICAL ODYSSEY

BOOK COVER
BOOK CONTENTS

1. Gig Notes: 1-10
2. Album Notes
3. Guitar Tales
4. Prairie Saga
5. Roots
6. Photos
7. Media
8. 100 Songs

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