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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

12/10/2008

How can a poor man stand such times and live?

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

Blind Alfred Reed recorded this in New York City, just weeks after the 1929 stock market crash. His recording career began two years earlier in Bristol Tennessee, discovered in the same series of sessions that produced the first recordings by Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Reed was 47 at the time of the sessions.

While Reed’s anthem captures the zeitgeist of the dawn of the Great Depression, his career couldn’t survive the subsequent collapse of the record industry in the early 1930s. This was to be his last session. He lived out the rest of his life in Tennessee and West Virginia, and died in 1956.

Reed sings and provides his own fiddle accompaniment.

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Courtesy of archive.org

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.

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

9/7/2008

California, live from Knoxville

Some members of Tangleweed, along with the Grit Pixies and Corduroy RoadHere’s a quick excerpt from our August 15th appearance on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special. The song is ‘California’, which will be on our next CD, Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals.

The picture at left is Paul and me with the Grit Pixies from Asheville, NC, and Corduroy Road, from Athens, GA, all of whom are better looking than we are. If you’re interested in hearing the rest of our show, you can download the whole thing in MP3 format by visiting the link in this previous post.

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Previous posts:
Tangleweed’s WDVX appearance available for download

8/13/2008

The Takeup Medley live at the Abbey Pub

We played a show at the Abbey Pub a few months back, opening for Hot Buttered Rum (nice folks, they). Our friend Brian taped both band’s sets, and they’re available for download at Archive.org. Here’s a tune from midway through our set: a fiddle tune medley of The Takeup Reel, Cold Frosty Morning, and Grey Eagle.

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The clip should play in the flash player dealie above, or you can download the show at Archive.org.

A studio recording of this medley will be on our forthcoming 3rd CD, Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals, due out soon. The first tune in the medley is a fiddle tune that I wrote for the band about a year ago. I included sheet music for it in an earlier post, should you feel motivated.

8/8/2008

With a Bottle in My Hand, Live at the Ark

This popped up on my iPod this morning, a live recording from June, 2006, at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was shortly before our second CD, Where You Been So Long, came out, and we were playing our first real out-of-town shows.

The Ark was a good place to start–it’s a nice-sounding room, with an attentive and appreciative crowd. The show was an opening set for the Hackensaw Boys. Decent folks, they, and a good band as well.

Fun fact: the hollering you hear in the background is me yelling cues to a band member.

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You can download the whole show @ Archive.org: http://www.archive.org/details/Tangleweed_The_Ark_20060623

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