BluEsoterica *** Jim O'Neal

GABriel, The Flock-Rocker, Crown Prince of the Blues!

“Ladies and gentlemen, here's the man! I mean, the man! The sensational…the incomparable…the king of the blues . . .the dynamic… Gabriel, playing the blues and the oldies for you and yours.”


St. Louis radio audiences in the know stayed up on Sunday nights for 29 years for that midnight welcome from their local legend, the indeed incomparable Gabriel, on KDHX, and before that on other stations. That majestic introduction was spliced together from Bobby Bland’s 1962 Duke album Here’s the Man!, B.B. King’s Live at the Regal, and Gabriel himself. Gabriel played it, or one its variations, set to the music from the Bland album, Also Sprach Zarathustra from the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack, trumpet fanfare, drum beats or other grandiose themes, to facetiously crown himself king, and earlier he made records under the name “The Flock-Rocker –The Crown Prince of the Blues.” But more often his wry, zany humor was self-deprecating, as when he would threaten listeners that he would show up at their door and sing. That humor and the wildly eclectic programming of his Tin Pan Alley show will be missed. Gabriel—who was loathe to reveal his real name, Mitchell Hearns—died in St. Louis after a short illness on October 19, 2018.


While his radio career dated back to 1952, collectors around the world knew him better from the records he made from 1957 to 1968, singing, reciting, or blowing his signature trumpet riffs. Some of the records were as comical as his radio patter, but he came up with some top-notch blues, backed by the best musicians in town including Bennie Smith, Ace Wallace, and the Ike Turner band. He played with Turner and also led his own band, and had a hand as owner, partner, or claimant to the rights in several record labels, including Planet, Tune Town, Joyce, Yvette’s, Royal American, Dawn, Ultrasonic, and The Blues. He engineered sessions, ran a bar, record shops and a mail order business, promoted or emceed shows by leading blues and soul acts at his Majestic Theater and other venues, and worked nightclubs spinning records. He did little performing on the road other than a few early trips with Turner and Earl Hooker, and so his renown was mostly confined to St. Louis and East St. Louis.


East St. Louis was home to Gabriel for most of his life. He was raised by his grandmother there after he was brought from Lake Providence, Louisiana, where he was born on August 11, 1930. He played in the Lincoln High School band (as did trumpet star Miles Davis). His encyclopedic knowledge of the blues sprouted from listening to records by Memphis Minnie and others on a wind-up Victrola. He also saw East St. Louis blues legend Peetie Wheatstraw: “I must have been eight years old. I got a glimpse of Peetie Wheatstraw. Peetie Wheatstraw played right over on Piggott Avenue. I don’t even know the name of the club, but he’d be sitting in the window, long-head little guy, playing the piano.”


“I was trying to see all the blues guys I could,” he recalled in a 1981 interview at his home studio. “I was only about 19 or 20.  I met Tampa Red, I met Big Maceo. I went to see Walter Davis.  He was a night desk man at the Calumet Hotel. I got several things from him and visited him often. I went to Tampa Red’s house [in Chicago], went upstairs, cluttered just like it is in here, and we sat there and talked for a while and he gave me Maceo’s address. I went to Maceo’s house. He had just had that stroke and he was dragging his left hand. He was flattered that I came all the way from East St. Louis and wanted to look him up because the trend in the music was slowly changing. The Moonglows, the Flamingos, they were red hot--the bird groups, and he was just about on his way out.


“I had just got out of the Air Forces. I had my uniform on. Hey, get a load of this: I was in the Air Forces 88 days and I got discharged for my eyes, but I came back a ‘second lieutenant.’ I went to the store and I bought a trench coat and some bars and the eagle, and I sent the press release to the local papers. I could’ve been shot at sunrise. I came all the way from Sampson Air Force Base, which is between Rochester and Syracuse, stopped in Chicago and the MPs were snapping to, saluting me. 


“In ’52 I went to WOKZ in Alton, Illinois, one of those deals where they’ll break me into the business, show me what’s happening and I think they gave me $20 a week, or $25. Then I went to WTMV. WTMV was a East St. Louis station. They would be glad to have me come in because I had the knack of public speaking. I never had no radio training or anything like that. I always had the knack of not speaking gombo. It’s a old African term, speaking gombo. When I was a kid, unless you were a schoolteacher or a doctor, all blacks spoke with that ‘Well, I think I’m goin’ on down the road heah,’ And I didn’t speak that way, and I didn’t like the way even my grandmother, she would speak, so I learned good English. And therefore a lot of the guys would hire me to speak at their clubs and what not, so I got into radio.”


In East St. Louis, Gabriel, as Mitchell H. Hearns, entered a race for commissioner but the January 12, 1955, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that he was “disqualified because of an improperly drawn petition.” Politics remained one of his many interests, however, and he aired his views on his recordings of Political Prayer Blues and the unissued Negro’s Pledge of Allegiance, and even as a joke on The Buzzard Lope: “I’m runnin’ for president . . . I’m running on the Do-Nothing ticket. That’s exactly what I plan to do: nothin’. . . Vote for me. I can’t make it no worse!”


In 1955 he made a trip to Chicago and cut four sides for Chess with Willie Dixon handling the session, which Chess never released. Back in East St. Louis he started recording himself and others on his own, using rented equipment in clubs, houses and a church, eventually graduating to professional studios. The first release on his Planet label, credited to The Flock-Rocker, was Political Prayer Blues/Chicago Woman, in 1957, followed by singles by Rev W.B. Rouse and Roosevelt Marks.


By 1957 he had secured a position at St. Louis’ popular R&B station, KATZ, where he championed the blues and eventually took over the 1:00-6:00 a.m. overnight slot. He was able to play his Chicago Woman on an earlier show, Bluesville U.S.A., in 1957. but Political Prayer may have been too controversial for the station management. Versions of the prayer, a parody of the 23rd Psalm, had been in circulation as early as the presidencies of Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, and had been published in the Chicago Defender in 1954 as “Prayer For Ike,” but the Flock-Rocker’s rendition may have been the first recording of the theme. As he intoned: “To our great leader, who art in Washington, yes, we all know who’s to blame . . . Yes, he is my shepherd, and I am in want; He maketh me to,lie down upon the park benches, and the police anointeth my head with clubs; Yes, and surely hard times, poverty and bad luck will follow me all of the rest of the days of this present administration, and I will dwell in a housing project for the rest of my life. Amen!”


Other recordings by The Flock-Rocker (so named in honor of a Memphis Slim record) included Chinese Rock and Roll (a rocker featuring Bennie Smith on guitar and Gabriel spewing gibberish and banging a gong), several unissued acetates, and a tune he had tried to market in Chicago: “I went to Chicago and I was broke up there. I went to 75 Wacker [Drive] to Mercury and I saw Ralph Marterie and I was trying to push my East St. Louis Blues.  He bought East St. Louis Blues. He took about four boys and made Bop A Doo-Bop A Doo. He said, ‘Look, do you want to stay and just get royalties?’ I said, ‘Look, I’m broke. I haven’t had anything to eat. I want my fare back on the Greyhound.’ He said, ‘We’ll give you $75.” Sold! Bop A Doo-Bop A Doo, closely modeled on East St. Louis Blues, became the flip side of Shish-Kebab, a Top 10 pop single by Marterie on Mercury. It bore the writers’ credit Hearns-Marterie, but Gabriel had already opted out of royalties he might have earned.


Shelving the Flock-Rocker moniker in favor of the traditional trumpeters’ sobriquet, Gabriel, he made records in the ’60s for Norman Wienstroer’s Norman label, Tempora, and his own Royal American imprint. One of his Norman singles was rereleased nationally on Dot Records. Gabriel also recorded other artists in partnership with Eddie Acon on the Tune Town, Joyce, Yvette’s, and Ultrasonic labels, including Guitar Tommy Moore, Mary Coleman, the Rhythmettes, Chuck Bernard, and Chicago’s Scott Brothers (as Seaphus Scott and the Five Masqueraders). Most notably, Tune Town released the first record to feature Annie Mae Bullock, before she was billed as Tina Turner--Boxtop, credited to Ike Turner, Carlson Oliver & Little Ann: “Boxtop was cut in Ike Turner’s kitchen. I engineered it. Later on they got married. He’d send me to pick her up. He trusted me. She was living in the back of a converted garage in St. Louis behind Phillips Hospital. It was converted for her and her three or four kids.


“Ike had a bunch of things on Cobra. We took the whole band up and recorded. I wasn’t on the sessions. I just took care of the business and what not. Ike had his band polished so good that it wasn’t necessary to do many retakes. We cut everything in one day. In fact did you ever see the Buddy Guy record You Sure Can’t Do?  We cut that the same day with Ike’s band behind him.  If I recall correctly Ike’s even playing guitar. And we had to just cut in one day, because Ike was playing every night in the week I think except Monday. We left here Sunday night. We had two carloads of people and we went to Chicago and we headed back ’cause he had to play.


“In fact Ike Turner put my band out of business. I had a band and played all around town. Made big money, sometimes 20 bucks a night. We were just plain making some noise, and Ike Turner came up with his band. Anyway I went with Ike Turner and I wound up not playing so much with Ike Turner because my horn work wasn’t really up to par. So I wound up taking care of the money for him, because I don’t drink or smoke, never did. I was the only guy that’d be sober at the end of the evening, and he’d say, ‘Here’s $2000 we made. Take care of it.’ And there was never a penny missing in the morning.”


Gabriel, who had a wealth of other stories about Turner, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and other bluesmen he befriended and supported, stayed busy with his radio show and various enterprises throughout the ’60s, and scored a local novelty hit with The Buzzard Lope, a droll monologue he recorded in 1968 at the KATZ studio above the music of an instrumental Jackie & Tut 45 featuring Freddie Roulette on steel guitar—which was Gabriel’s favorite instrument. He found one at a pawn shop and still had it when I met him 1981. “I had gotten really good with it,” he said, “where I could work the Dust My Broom thing. That’s all I knew and I would take it around and I could sit in with the different blues bands, glad to have me. If I’d ’a kept on I could’ve come up with four or five more songs by now.”


In 1969 Gabriel resigned from KATZ, submitting a letter published, with his photo, in Jet magazine calling the station’s music “garbage, and a decadent type of music that is nothing, and says nothing for the black man.” Jet reported that he “criticized station management for banning Negro blues from the air.” He was able to find slots at St. Louis’ new underground lister-supported station, KDNA, and later at WESL. He claimed he lost $20,000 on the Majestic Theater venture but continued with his retail operations in East St. Louis and for a time in Michigan. In 1981 he was back in East St. Louis trying to market a syndicated blues show, hoping Willie Dixon or blues radio mogul Pervis Spann could help, but nothing came through other than some air time he said he had earlier bought himself for a few months in Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis. His business scheme of the moment involved transferring 45s from his huge collection onto cassette and selling the tapes through the mail. He also wanted to press a series of vinyl EP records, as he had done once when he put four classic Chess tracks on a label he named The Blues. When he offered me the rights to his catalogue of Planet and other recordings, I jumped at the chance and then spent years trying to fill in the missing pieces, either by buying more from him or contacting collectors in St. Louis.


Finally in 1989 a new community station, KDHX, provided a home for Gabriel’s rambling musings, friendly patter, tongue-in-cheek proclamations, zany sound effects, plugs recorded for him by Muddy, Willie Dixon, Rufus Thomas and others, and an eccentric playlist that included blues, R&B, country, “holy blues” (as he called gospel music), old standards, TV theme songs, marches or anything else within his sphere of approval. He especially loved the music of his younger days and favored the oldies on his show, although he aired newer blues as well. Rap, to Gabriel, was trash—but then so was disco when I met him, and over the years disco found its way into his oldies playlist, as did some of the songs he lambasted KATZ for playing.


Gabriel enjoyed manipulating tapes for different effects, although the digital age seemed to present more of a challenge, as his later broadcasts were peppered with miscued tracks, home-burned CDs that wouldn’t play, or conundrums finding the right button to push in the studio, in the midst of voicing his hunger for candy bars, White Castle hamburgers, or Krispy Kreme doughnuts. As Paul A. Harris wrote in a 1996 Post-Dispatch article, “His on-air style could trigger massive coronaries among commercial radio programmers.” Yet it was all endearing to his fans, who would obligingly call in with their guesses when he conducted “name the singer” contests.


Due to a thyroid condition Gabriel avoided public appearances in his later years and turned down a lucrative offer to appear at a festival in Chicago. A fire in 2010 decimated his archives and forced him to find new housing. To raise funds from CD sales at a benefit for him, I programmed a special CD from his old recordings and radio spots. A more complete CD was set to follow but in 2011 my health issues prompted benefits to help with my expenses; I was later able to return to the CD project and we got back in touch as I began recording his shows via the internet to gather a few more nuggets of his on-air wit and wonderment. As it happened, the last program I recorded in 2018 was also his last. As always, the only predictable musical selections he played were the introductory themes every half hour and his closer, Happy Trails by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.


Happy trails, Gabriel.


(And a special thank you to those who have supported him for many years and who contributed to the benefit CD or the forthcoming CD: Tom Kelly, Bill Greensmith, Joel Slotnikoff, Tony Cabanellas, Larry Morrisey, Hound Dog Brown and the KDHX staff. For more on Gabriel, see


Postscript: This article appeared in Living Blues #260 in 2019. Since then more facts—and more confusion—about Gabriel have surfaced, I found his name given as Lubbie Norvell Hearns on his 1944 Social Security application, and Bill Greensmith has collected more documents in St. Louis, including a birth certificate with his name entered as Saddie Hearns (female). Bill compiled his interviews with Gabriel into a two-part article for Blues & Rhythm magazine, followed by a discography he and I compiled as the third installment. More of Gabriel’s words and music to come!









Bill Greensmith and Jim O’Neal

This discography, with revisions from the version printed in Blues & Rhythm magazine in 2019, lists all sessions recorded by The Flock Rocker/Gabriel (Mitchell Hearns) and all other artists he and his partners recorded on their various labels, as far as we know. Much of the information is based on Gabriel’s notes, e-mails and interviews, although he sometimes had conflicting recollections. The chronology and location of various sessions are uncertain and in most cases undocumented. Labels sometimes included recording dates altered so that older records would appear to be newly recorded.



Vcl/tpt; “Jack Woogie” Saunders, pno; “Chops” Nicodemus, ten (-1); Willie Dixon, bs; possibly Jody Williams, gtr; possibly Clifton James, dms.

Universal Recording Corporation, 111 E. Ontario St., Chicago, c. December 1955.

7962    I Don’t Know Where                                    Chess unissued

7963    Back In St. Louis                                                  --

             Chicago Woman                                                 --

             That’s All I Want -1                                            --

[The title of Chicago Woman is written as Chicago Women on an acetate from this session. Nicodemus may play on 7962 and 7963. We have not heard those tracks.]



Speech; “Jack Woogie” Saunders, speech/pno; Bennie Smith, gtr; bs; ensemble spoken response.

Possibly Hurd’s Havana Club, 1176 N. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, probably late 1956 or early 1957

78-100-A               Political Prayer Blues                                    Planet 100 unissued acetate

[This acetate has a Planet 100 printed label on one side. The other side is the same recording with a handwritten label: Crown Prince – Pololical (sic) Prayer Part I.]



Speech (-1)/vcl (-2)/tpt; “Jack Woogie” Saunders, pno; Bennie Smith, gtr (-1); Earl Walker or Nicodemus, ten; Lamon “Meatball” Carruthers, dms.

Hurd’s Havana Club, 1176 N. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, or Club Manhattan, 1320 E. Broadway, East St, Louis, probably late 1956 or early 1957


78-100-A               Political Prayer Blues-1                                    Planet 100 unissued acetate

78-100-B                 Chicago Woman -2                                               --

[Club Manhattan was listed as such in city directory listings and newspaper reports, but the building had a sign in front spelled Club Manhatten in the 1980s.]



Speech (-1)/vcl (-2)//tpt( -3); ensemble vcl (-4}; Earl Walker, “Chops” Nicodemus,, saxes; “Jack Woogie” Saunders, pno; Bennie Smith, gtr; possibly Alvin Ford, bs; Lamon “Meatball” Carruthers, dms.

Hurd’s Havana Club, 1176 N. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, or Club Manhattan, 1320 E. Broadway, East St, Louis, probably late 1956 or early 1957

78-100-A, 45-100-A               Political Prayer Blues -1 ,3                                   Planet 100

78-100-B, 45-100-B               Chicago Woman -3                                                     --



Personnel as above, Club Manhattan, 1320 E. Broadway, East St, Louis, probably late 1956 or early 1957

78-102-I                                      East St. Louis Blues (Part One) -2                   Planet 102 unissued acetate

78-102-II                                  East St. Louis Blues (Part Two) -3, 4              --

[The two acetates and the issued record of Political Prayer Blues all bore the same label for Planet 100, as did the acetate and record of Chicago Woman, although all were different recordings.

Gabriel at one time recalled that one of the saxophonists was named Alvin, but in earlier notes he listed Alvin Ford as the bassist.

East St. Louis Blues was given an issue number, Planet 102, and labels were printed but it remained unissued. Gabriel took a tape or acetate of East St. Louis Blues to Mercury Records in Chicago and sold the rights to bandleader/trumpeter Ralph Marterie, who recorded a number modeled on Part Two retitled Bop A Loo-Bop A Loo on a Mercury single in February 1957. Planet 102 was reassigned to Roosevelt Marks.]



Howard, lead vcl; vcl grp; tens; Bennie Smith, gtr; Alvin Ford, bs; Lamon “Meatball” Carruthers, dms.

Club Manhattan, 1320 E. Broadway, East St, Louis. probably late 1956 or early 1957 (same date as East St. Louis Blues].

                      Is It Wrong                                                                            Planet unissued                                              

                      The Girl I Lost                                                                      - -

[Gabriel could not recall the names of the El Cincos but said the lead singer was named Howard.]




Pastor Mt. Zion Baptist Church

East St. Louis, Ill.

Rev. Walter B. Rouse, sermon; org.

Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1215 Tudor Ave., East St. Louis, IL. 1956 or 1957

78-101-I        (There’s) Something Within Me (Part One)                Planet 101

78-101-II       (There’s) Something Within Me (Part Two)                 --



Bs; Charles Bernard, vcl (-1) Harry Turner, tpt; saxes; pno; Bennie Smith, gtr; dms.

Club Manhattan, 1320 E. Broadway, East St, Louis, 1957

45-CP-1329-100A, 45-102-A            Everytime I Think Of You-1                                      Planet 102

45-CP-1330-100B, 45-102-BB          Rockin’ The Blues                                                       --



Vcl; pno; bari;, Bennie Smith, gtr; bs: Lamon “Meatball” Carruthers, dms.

Club Manhattan, 1320 E. Broadway, East St, Louis, 1957 or 1958

                       Rambling Woman                                                                   Planet unissued

Vcl; pno; alto; gtr; dms.                                          

Unknown location, possibly Club Manhattan, c. 1957 or 1958

                        He’s My Height & Size                                                           Planet unissued acetate

Vcl; gtr; sax; dms

                       Rambling Woman [slow version]                                     Planet unissued acetate

[Ernestine Anderson was a local blues singer, not the well-known jazz vocalist of the same name.]



Guitar Solo by Johnnie B. Goode


Speech/gong (-1); Annie Mae Bullock, gong (-1); Bennie Smith [Johnnie B. Goode], gtr; Raymond Hill, Eddie Jones, tens; Jackie Brenston, bari; Fred Sample, pno; Jesse Knight Jr., bs; Eugene “Stumpy” Washington, dms.

Premier Film and Recording Studios, 3033 Locust, St. Louis, 1958.

CP-1597        After Hours (No.2)                                            Planet 103

CP-1598       The Chinese Rock And Roll -1                          --         

[Label states “Released 8-23-58.” In one interview Gabriel said that East St. Louis Blues, the Roosevelt Marks single, and Planet 103 were all recorded the same day at the Club Manhattan, but in another statement he also cited Planet 103 as a Premier studio recording.]


The following four Joyce and Royal American singles were also recorded at Premier on the same date, by Gabriel’s recollection at one time, although he also said that Joyce 303 and 304 were done at the Hudson studio at 1111 N.  Vandeventer Ave. in St. Louis.



Seaphus Howard Scott, lead vcl; Walter Scott, Charles Scott, Tommie Scott, Jerome Golden, Ike Hickman, vcl grp; Billy Gayles, dms; Kenneth “Buddy” Scott, gtr; bs; Oliver Sain, bari.

Premier Film and Recording Studios, 3033 Locust, St. Louis, 1958.

45-303-A      Nature’s Beauty                                                    Joyce 303

 45-303-B     Summer Sunrise                                                        -

[The Five Masqueraders from Chicago were later known as the Scott Brothers. Seaphus, better known as Howard Scott, recalled that the recording for Joyce was set up by Ike Turner, who may have played on the session.]



Kenneth Churchill, vcl, The Lyrics, vcl grp, possibly including Stanley Curtis; Ike Turner, gtr; Eddie Jones, ten (-1); Raymond Hill, ten; Jackie Brenston, bari (-1); Fred Sample, pno; Jesse Knight Jr., bs; Eugene “Stumpy” Washington, dms.

Premier Film and Recording Studios, 3033 Locust, St. Louis, 1958.

45-304-A    Would You Rather -1                                        Joyce 304

45-304-B    Fate Of Rock And Roll                                                 -



Chuck Bernard, vcl; Robbie Montgomery, Sandy Harding, Elaine Crump, Delores Randolph, vcl grp (-1); Ike Turner, gtr (-2); Eddie Jones, Raymond Hill, tens- (2); Jackie Brenston, bari (-2); Fred Sample, pno; Jesse Knight Jr., bs; Eugene “Stumpy” Washington, dms.

Premier Film and Recording Studios, 3033 Locust, St. Louis, 1958.

45-305-A   Calling Your Name -1                                         Joyce 305

45-305-B   Every Time I Think Of You -2                                        -



Tommy Hodge, vcl; Ike Turner, gtr; Raymond Hill, Carlson Oliver, poss Eddie Jones, tens; Jackie Brenston, bari; Fred Sample, pno; Jesse Knight Jr., bs; Eugene “Stumpy” Washington, dms.

Premier Film and Recording Studios, 3033 Locust, St. Louis, 1958.

SO: 2243       I Know You Don’t Love Me                              Royal American 105

SO: 2244       I’m On Your Trail                                                                  -

[Label erroneously states “Rec. Mar., 1965.”]

[According to Gabriel, “We had dual cuts. We went to a studio and stayed about five or six hours. We had cut that stuff at Ike’s house, but to get it right for release we went to Premier.”]



Robbie Montgomery, Sandra Harding, Elaine Crump, Delores Randolph, Gene Anderson, vcls; possibly Ike Turner, pno; possibly Bennie Smith, gtr; bs; dms; celeste (1); saxes (-2).

Possibly Hudson Studio, 1111 N. Vandeventer Ave., St. Louis, 1958. (Label erroneously states “Rec. March 1965.”)

SO: 2341        I’m Just A Dreamer -1                                           Yvette’s 102

SO: 2342        A Night Like This  -2                                                            -




Ike Turner, vcl (-1)/gtr; Carlson Oliver, vcl (-1)/ten-(2), poss ten (-3); Annie Mae Bullock, vcl (-1); Fred Sample, vcl (-1,2) /pno; Eddie Jones, ten- (3); Jackie Brenston, bari, poss. vcl (-3); Jesse Knight Jr., bs; Eugene “Stumpy” Washington, dms.

Ike Turner’s house, 3126 Virginia Place, East St. Louis, 1958.

TT-45-501-A     Boxtop -1                                                       Tune Town 501

TT-45-501-B     Chalypso Love Cry -2                                               -

                            Unknown titles -3                                             Unissued (lost or destroyed)



Annie Mae Bullock, vcl; Ike Turner, pno; others unknown.

Ike Turner’s house, 3126 Virginia Place, East St. Louis, 1958.

                           You Murdered My Heart                               unissued (lost or destroyed)

                           Unknown titles



Vcl; Ike Turner, gtr/pno (-1); Raymond Hill, Carlson Oliver, tens; Fred Sample, pno; Jesse Knight Jr., bs; Eugene “Stumpy” Washington, dms.

Ike Turner’s house, 3126 Virginia Place, East St. Louis, 1958.

                           Rambling Woman -1                                          unissued

                           We’ll Do The Chicken                        ---

[Ike plays the guitar intro on Rambling Woman and then takes over from Fred Sample on piano.]

From same or previous session:                                          -

                           Christmas Song                                              unissued (lost or destroyed)



Vcl with “Jack Woogie” Saunders, pno; gtr; bs; Eugene “Stumpy” Washington, dms.

Premier Film and Recording Studios, 3033 Locust, St. Louis. Acetate label states “Recorded by WOLF 1-22-59.

13304                   (Little Mary) Please Be Careful                   unissued acetate



Vcl (except -1)/tpt (except -2); Ace Wallace, gtr; Vernell Andrews, bs; Robert Thomas, dms/vcl-3.

Nora’s Place, South Broadway, St. Louis, 1959.

                                   Untitled rumba instrumental -1           unissued

13603                     Mean ‘Ol Frisco                                             -

                                Jump With Band -1                                        -

                                The Things I Used To Do -2                            -

                                Just Because                                                    -

                                Sweet Little Angel -1,3                                      -

                                That Will Never Do -1,3                                    -

                                    I’ve Got A Woman -2                                      -

                                   Gotta Travel On                                                      -                        

Vcl with Ace Wallace, gtr.

         Every Time I Think of You                           -

                                         Am I That Easy To Forget                            -


[Mean ‘Ol Frisco acetate label states “Recorded by WOLF 9-10-59.” This is presumably the mastering date at Premier studios when the acetate was cut from the Nora’s Place tape which Gabriel engineered himself.]





vcl-1/tpt (-1)/bs (-2); Ace Wallace, gtr; Vernell Andrews, bs (-3); Robert Thomas, dms (-1)/cg (-2)/h-hat cymbal (-2).

Russ David Studios, 527 N. Grand, St. Louis, 1961.

M80W-7744        Ginza -2                                                    Norman 506        

M80W-7745        I’m Gabriel (take 9) -1,3                               --            

                                  Arapaho (take 3) -2                                   unissued

                              Baby What You Want Me To Do -1,3     unissued

7292                       Every Time I Think of You -1,3                 Tempora 500

[Ginza was originally titled Arapaho.]





Vcl-1/tpt; Ace Wallace, gtr; pno; bs, dms.

Technisonic Studios, 1201 S. Brentwood Blvd., Richmond Heights, MO, c. August 1961

MO8W 2135      Gabriel, Blow Your Horn, Pt. 1                 Norman 510

MB-17669          Horseradish                                                  Dot 16438

MO8W 2136      Gabriel, Blow Your Horn, Pt. 2 -1             Norman 510

(Horseradish is an alternate take of Gabriel Blow Your Horn pt. 1. Crown noise has also been overdubbed on the Dot issue. The backing band was recording for Norman but Gabriel did not recall the name of the band.]





Vcl (-1)/tpt; Terry Williams, pno; Bennie Smith, gtr; Otha Thompson, bs; Chalmus Ramone ‘Bellboy’ Carter, dms.

Technisonic Studios, 1201 S. Brentwood Blvd., Richmond Heights, MO, December 1, 1961

MO8W 4734       Miss You So                                             Norman 514, Dot 16438

MO8W 4735       C.C. Rider                                                            -

11663                   People You Don’t Know My Mind -1   Royal American 33

11664                   Don’t Stay Out All Night -1                             --

[Royal American label states “Released Sept. 1963.”]


Vcl/tpt; Danette Smith, vcl; James Jones, pno; bs, dms.

Russ David Studio, St. Louis, Mo. 1962.

7291                   Last Date                                                Tempora 500

[Despite the label copy stating Detroit, Michigan, this session was recorded in St. Louis.]




Vcl/gtr; bs, poss. Willie “Earthquake” Blackmon, dms.

Ultrasonic Studio, 1106 N. Sarah St, St. Louis, Mo. Sept/Oct 1964

13277                     I Ain’t Botherin’ Nobody                  Ultrasonic 101

13278                     Your Car Machine                                   --

                                   I Love You Baby                                   unissued

                                I’m Worried About You                          -

                                I Don’t Want Nobody                              -

[The Tommy Moore tracks were recorded “on different dates spanning a period of 4 to 6 months of same year,” according to Gabriel.]



Vcl (-1)/ten (-2), Geneva Eiland, vcl; The Spacettes, vcl grp; ten;  gtr; bs; dms

Ultrasonic Studio, 1106 N. Sarah St, St. Louis, late 1964.

13689                     We Will Never Part -2                        Royal American 102

13690                     Crying Won’t Help You -1                              -    

[Label states “Rel. 12-20-64.”]



Vcl/hca with unknown band.

Ultrasonic Sound Recording Studio, 1106 N. Sarah St., St. Louis, probably 1964 or 1965

Unknown titles                Unissued (lost or destroyed)



Vcl with Benny Sharp, gtr; others unknown.

Ultrasonic Sound Recording Studio, 1106 N. Sarah St., St. Louis, probably 1964 or 1965

If I Was King Kong's Brother                Unissued (lost or destroyed)

I'm Going Back to Mississippi                --

[Gabriel could not remember the name of this singer. only the song titles. Little Willie Brown sang the lines “I’m going back to country” and “move to Mississippi” on other recordings, so this session may have been by Brown, a Mississippi native who was also known as Andrew “Harpkiller” Brown.]




Vcl/pno; Bennie Smith, gtr/overdubbed bs, dms.

Ultrasonic Sound Recording Studio, 1106 N. Sarah St, St. Louis. Label states “Rec. 2/29/65.”

SO: 2337                   Key to My Heart                               Royal American 104

SO: 2338                  Love Is A Losing Game                                 -             




Vcl/gtr (-1); Benny Sharp, gtr; bs, Chalmus Ramone ‘Bellboy’ Carter, dms.

Ultrasonic Sound Recording Studio, 1106 N. Sarah St., St. Louis. (Label states “Rec. Mar., 1965.”)


SO: 2339             No Good Man                                           Yvette’s 101

SO: 2340              I’ll Make Him Mine  -1                                        -

                              Hey Baby -1                                                   unissued


[Mary Coleman remembered recording many songs in the studio over a two- or three-month period. Titles included He’s a Yo-Yo and Big Man, but only those listed above survived. Other tapes were lost or destroyed.]



Vcl/gtr, unknown personnel.

St. Louis, unknown date.

                              Big Man                                                      unissued

[The tape of this session was lost in one of Gabriel’s many moves. Mary Coleman remembered recording Big Man so Gabriel may have been remembering Benny Sharp playing on her session.]




All Nite D.J. at KATZ Radio, St. Louis, Mo

Speech; Freddie Roulette, steel gtr; Jack, gtr; Emmett “Tut” Sutton, bs; bari;  dms.

KATZ Studio, The Arcade Building, St. Louis, June 1968

5232                        The Buzzard Lope pt. 1                 Royal American 35   

5233                        The Buzzard Lope pt.2                                   -     

[Speech recorded over a 1967 Jackie and Tut instrumental, Hawaiian Punch, Chess 2008, which was originally Ten Two Double Plus Pt 2, Dawn 1010.  Royal American label states “Released June 21, 1968.” Royal American label states "Released June 21st, 1968." The acetate for Buzzard Lope is stamped “Jun 7 - 1968."]

Speech; Floyd Cramer, pno, and band.

KATZ Studio, The Arcade Building, St. Louis, 1969

Negro’s Pledge of Allegiance                                             unissued

[Speech recorded over a Floyd Cramer instrumental.]



Speech; Louis Myers, hca; Magic Sam, gtr; Mac Thompson, bs; Odie Payne Jr., dms.

Tin Pan Alley (Gabriel’s home studio), 1904 Lincoln Ave, East St. Louis, c. 1976-1978.

                                The Bobo (Parts 1& 2)                        unissued

[Speech recorded over a Louis Myers instrumental, Top of the Harp, Delmark DS-618, recorded in Chicago, April 1, 1968.]


Many thanks are due to the following people who throughout the years have selflessly contributed information and photographs to enable the completion of this discography: Gabriel, Tom Kelly, Jimmy Thomas, Robbie Montgomery, Sandra Harding, Bruce Bastin, Cilla Huggins, Jake Kamp, Joel Slotnikoff.

Stackhouse CD SRC-1917 will include a selection of recordings by Gabriel and his band along with excerpts from his radio shows. Recordings by other artists are being compiled for additional CDs. For updates see