Discography: Detroit steel guitarist Chuck Hatfield

Chuck Hatfield with two-neck steel guitar, ca. 1948. Source: Craig Maki, courtesy Hatfield family

Chuck Hatfield, ca. 1948. Source: Craig Maki, courtesy Hatfield family

One of the most talented musicians in Detroit during the 1950s, the dynamic, charismatic – and some say enigmatic – Chuck Hatfield played the fire out of a standard (non-pedal) steel guitar. His story, as well as that of his wife, Boots Gilbert, and their group the Treble-Aires, is finally told in the book “Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies.”

After leaving his home in Flint, Michigan, in 1948, Hatfield worked in the Southwest with Texas-based musicians such as Bob Manning, Billy Gray, and Hank Thompson, before returning to Detroit, where he worked in nightclubs, radio, and TV. Here is a discography, compiled with the help of Kevin Coffey, listing the titles of records Hatfield is known to have played on.

Bob Manning and his Riders of the Silver Sage
“Lola Lee” b/w “Old Folks Boogie” Dude 1605 (1948)

Bob Manning and his Riders of the Silver Sage
“The Green Light” b/w “I Left My Heart In Texas” Dude 1606 (1948)

Texas Rhythm Riders (all recorded for the Royalty label, ca. 1948-49)
“I Turned And Slowly Walked Away”
“A Handful Of Kisses”
“The Green Light”
“Tennessee Saturday Night”
“12th Street Rag”
“Red Sails In The Sunset”
“I’m A Fool To Care”
“Blues In My Heart”

"Steel Wool" by Chuck Hatfield And The Treble-Aires (Fortune 175-B)

Davis Sisters
“Your Cheatin’ Heart”
“Cryin’ Steel Guitar Waltz”
“Rag Mop”
Previously unissued WJR radio transcription (ca. 1953) / Bear Family Records BCD 15722 (1993)

Davis Sisters
“You’re Gone” (swinging version)
“Sorrow And Pain” (fast version)
Previously unissued studio recordings (1953) / Bear Family Records BCD 15722 (1993)

Davis Sisters
“Sorrow And Pain” b/w “Kaw-Liga” Fortune 174 (1953)
Note: Band erroneously credited to Roy Hall

Davis Sisters
“Heartbreak Ahead” b/w “Steel Wool” Fortune 175 (1953)
Note: “Steel Wool” credited to Chuck Hatfield and his Treble-Aires

Listen to: Steel Wool – Chuck Hatfield and his Treble-Aires

Boots Gilbert and Bob Sykes with Chuck Hatfield and his Treble-Aires
“Take It Or Leave It” b/w “Man! Turn Me Loose” Fortune 176 (1954)
Note: Different takes of “Man! Turn Me Loose” were issued on 78rpm and 45rpm records.

May Hawks with Chuck Hatfield and his Treble-Aires
“Meet Me Down In Nashville (At The Opry Tonight)” b/w “Wasted Years” Fortune 178 (1954)

Boots Gilbert and Bob Sykes with Chuck Hatfield and his Treble-Aires
“Fickle Heart” b/w “Please Mister Bartender” Fortune 181 (1954)

May Hawks and Lester Thomas with Chuck Hatfield and his Treble-Aires
“Straighten Up And Fly Right” b/w “Baby You’re A Bygone Now” Fortune 182 (1954)

Boots Gilbert and Bob Sykes with Chuck Hatfield and his Treble-Aires
“Sadie And The Cop” (a.k.a. “The Club Song (Nite Club Song)”) b/w “When The Senorita Comes To Hear The Senor Play” Fortune 184 (1955)
Note: “When The Senorita Comes To Hear The Senor Play” was reissued with “You Can’t Stop Me From Loving You”

Boots Gilbert
“He’s A Mighty Good Man” Fortune LP 3001 (recorded ca. 1955)

 

8 Comments to "Discography: Detroit steel guitarist Chuck Hatfield"

  • Adam
    November 22, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    Thanks so much for posting this! I have Steel Wool on 45, I found it in London, UK of all places!

    I would LOVE to have ‘Man, Turn Me Loose!’ on 78, if you know anyone who has it, get in touch!

    • November 22, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      You’re welcome, Adam. Chuck Hatfield and the Treble-Aires deserve the attention, in my opinion. One of the great C&W bands in Detroit during the 1950s.

      • May 6, 2015 at 9:46 am #

        Sounds like he / they are right up there in rare air with many of the best in America. Great 21st Century discovery!

  • Jim
    September 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Hatfield’s playing is a revelation, man. Great stuff, and a great website!

    • September 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      Yes, wasn’t Hatfield great? Thank you!

  • Melanie Hatfield Baeza
    December 29, 2016 at 12:15 am #

    Thanks Craig, for all your work and appreciation for our parents..Chuck and Boots. Its a joy to see others enjoy their music like we did/do. I would have loved to meet you too when you met my sister Lisa and brother Trevon.
    Melanie
    (Daughter #2)

    • December 29, 2016 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks, Melanie! I had a great time visiting with your siblings a few years ago. Hope we can all meet one day for another little party.

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