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5/16/2009

Hot 78rpm action with the Sons of the Pioneers

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog, video. Tags: ,

There’s a fellow on YouTube by the name of 78Man, who has posted over 800 videos of 78rpm records playing. The result is strangely compelling — like the yule log, but with better music.

One of the more appealing sides offered is the Sons of the Pioneers classic, Cool Water. The description says that this is a 1948 recording, but I think this is the version they recorded in Chicago on March 27th, 1941 for Decca. It was released on Brunswick’s English subsidiary, which would expain the label. Of course, I can’t see the catalog label to confirm this.

A free Dixie cup to the person who can count all the instances of the word ‘water’ in this recording.

4/27/2009

Fiddlin’ Frank Nelson playing And the Cat Came Back

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog. Tags: , , ,

I listened to this expecting to hear the song Riley Puckett sang so well, and was surprised to hear this very nice fiddle instrumental instead. Surprised, especially, in that I had never heard of Fiddlin’ Frank Nelson.

A quick check of Tony Russell’s Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942 the Rosetta Stone for prewar country music, solved the mystery. Fiddlin’ Frank is a pseudonym for the great Kentucky fiddler Doc Roberts.

This track was cut in Richmond, Indiana, at the studios of the Starr Piano Company, with Joe Booker providing the guitar accompaniment. It was recorded on Saturday, August 27th, 1927, and paired with Roberts’ interpretation of Billy in the Lowground. That pairing was released on half a dozen labels, under half a dozen names. Here’s a mapping for you:

  • Champion Records -> Fiddlin’ Jim Burke
  • Silvertone and Supertone Records -> Jim Burke
  • Challenge and Superior Records -> Fiddlin’ Frank Nelson
  • Bell Records -> Fiddlin’ Bob White
  • Bell Records (again) -> Bob White
  • Gennett Records -> Doc Roberts

Roberts had a career rebirth during the folk revival of the 1960s. Berea College in Kentucky has an extensive collection of his papers.

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Courtesy of Archive.org

4/26/2009

Fiddlin’ Powers playing Cluck Old Hen

Fiddlin’ Powers was a John Cowan Powers, from Russell County, Virginia. His recording career encompasses 33 sides for the Victor, Edison, and OKeh labels, though 14 of those seem to be unissued. This is a 1925 Edison recording, and he is backed by a family band:

  • Orpha Powers, mandolin;
  • Charlie Powers, banjo;
  • Carrie Powers, guitar;
  • Ada Powers, ukulele

Despite what Henry Ford thought, a lot of these old time songs are pretty filthy. ‘She lays eggs for the whole darn crew.’ Indeed.

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Courtesy of Archive.org

12/27/2008

TweedRadio IV: new MP3 stream

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog. Tags: , , ,

Here’s another handy condensed stream of some of the MP3 files that’ve been posted to this site over the past few months. They should play in the Flash dealie below. If you want to know more about the songs or find download links, visit the links below to read the original posts.

  1. Tangleweed: Sandy River Belle, from Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals
  2. Sweed and Stoneman: John Hardy, from the original 78rpm recording
  3. Tangleweed: Summertime, from a December, 2004 show at Martyr’s in Chicago
  4. Bob Dunn’s Vagabonds: You Don’t Know My Mind, from the original 78rpm recording
  5. The Kennett Brothers: One of You in Every Size, from Santa is Real
  6. Tangleweed: Dead Flowers, from a November, 2008 show at the Hideout in Chicago
  7. Blind Alfred Reed: How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live, from the original 78rpm recording
  8. Mike Shaw’s Alabama Entertainers: Tennessee River Bottom Blues, from the original 78rpm recording
  9. Tangleweed: Listen to the Mockingbird, from a November, 2008 show at the Hideout in Chicago
  10. The Kennett Brothers: A Shutin at Christmas, from Santa is Real

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Listen to previous installments of TweedRadio.

9/8/2008

TweedRadio III: new MP3 stream

Here’s another handy condensed stream of some of the MP3 files that’ve been posted to this site over the past few months. They should play in the Flash dealie below. If you want to know more about the songs or find download links, visit the links below to read the original posts.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Previous posts:
TweedRadio II: new MP3 stream
TweedRadio: try our new MP3 stream

7/11/2008

Bo Carter singing Corrine Corrina

This is, as far as I know, the first recording of this tune, which would become a standard. It’s been recorded by Milton Brown, Bob Wills, Tampa Red, Cab Calloway, Bob Dyan, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. There’s some nice mandolin on this track, I’m guessing it was played by Charlie McCoy. The fiddle sure sounds like it was played by Bo’s brother, Lonnie Chatmon. Anyone with access to a decent blues discography can feel free to correct me.

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Courtesy of Archive.org

Previous posts:
Bo Carter singing Please Warm my Weiner

7/7/2008

The Down Home Boys singing Original Stack O’Lee Blues

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog. Tags: , , ,

…Of course, the word ‘Original’ in the title more or less ensures that it’s not the original, but what the heck. Originality notwithstanding, this is the rarest of the rare. There is only one known copy of this recording, and it’s in Joe Bussard’s collection.

This was recorded in Chicago in 1927, and issued on the revered Black Patti label. Black Patti was unusual among so-called ‘Race’ record labels of its era in that it was black owned.

The song is one of the most enduring ‘bad man’ ballads in American music, surviving well into the rock and roll era. The prominient III chord is a ragtime artifact.

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Courtesy of Archive.org. This track is included on the Old Hat compilation CD Down in the Basement, which every American should own.

7/6/2008

Ernest Thompson singing Are You from Dixie

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog. Tags: , ,

This 1924 session for Columbia is among the earlier examples of rural vernacular song on a commercial record. The song is not, as one might suspect, a minstrel song, but rather a Tin Pan Alley tune by George Cobb and Jack Yellen that passed into the oral tradition. Note that the song text is not in the mock dialect of many similar songs of that era, and the sheet music cover is rather dignified when compared to other contemporaneous publications with similar subject matter.

Are You From Dixie has since become an old-timey and bluegrass standard. Click the link at left for a high-resolution scan of the sheet music, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Thompson sings and accompanies himself on guitar and harmonica.

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Courtesy of Archive.org