The coo coo bird - Clarence Ashley. 1929. Harry Smith Anthology. 
Clarence (Tom) Ashley. -    Bristol, Tennessee.1895-1967.
He learned songs & Banjo from his aunts. He played with various bands, notably the Carolina Tar Heels, but stopped in the mid 1940,s after a hand injury. He was brought out of retirement in the 1960,s thanks to Ralph Rinzler,s enthusiasm for his recordings in the Harry Smith Anthology. Dock Watson was also rediscovered at the same time & the two enjoyed a late flowering second carreer.

The coo coo – Tarbox Ramblers. 2000.
Leader, Michael Tarbox. Group are longtime Boston favourites. One album only, 2000.

Cuckoo/Stewball - The Curst Sons . 2004. A day late & a dollar short.
One of the best live bands I've ever seen! (Who says you can't play mandolin with a slide?!)

I,m thinking tonight of my blue eyes - The Carter family. 1929. Hillbilly. (same melody as Great speckled bird. ) (also see Hank Thompsons Wild Side of Life).

Wabash cannonball – Roy Acuff. 1936. 
Great Speckled Bird -  Roy Acuff. 1936.- Maynardville,Tennessee.1903-1992.
"The grand old man of American country music", Roy Acuff, for over 50 years a mainstay of the Grand ole opry, was an all round C & W showman, ace fiddler, guitarist, vocalist & music publisher. With his "Crazy Tennesseans" he first hit radio in 1933 (WNOX, Knoxville) and made his first records in 1936, one of which, the A.P.Carter song, Wabash Cannon Ball, was soon to become a million seller.

Brown skin blues - Dick Justice. 1929. Hillbilly blues.
Dick Justice. - B.C.  1906-?? Logan County,West Virginia.
A native of West Virginia, folksinger Dick Justice blended both blues and folk patterns on his
recordings of the late '20s. Born Richard Justice in 1906, he played with many black musicians as a youth and listened to blues records as well. Justice recorded a total of ten sides for Brunswick during 1929 (some as a duo with Reese Jarvis), including a version of "Henry Lee" that later gained  inclusion on Harry Smith's 1952 folksong collection Anthology of American Folk Music. Little is known about the rest of Justice's life, though he often worked in the coal mines. Many of his sides were compiled on the Document collection Old-Time Music from West Virginia (1927-1929).  He was a neighbour & contemporary of the more celebrated white blues singer Frank Hutchison. ‘Brown skin blues’, which uses a guitar part similar to that of Hutchison,s "The miners blues", derives some of its verses from Blind Lemon Jeffersons "Black horse blues" & "Stocking feet blues", both of which had been recorded 3 years earlier.

Lonesome Frisco line - Darby & Tarlton. 1929. Roots n, blues.
Sweet Sarah blues - Darby & Tarlton. 1929. White country blues.
Darby & Tarlton. - Tom Darby. 1880,s-1971. Columbus. Georgia. Johnny James Rimbert Tarlton. 1892-1979. Chesterfield County.South Carolina.
The vocal harmonies & shimmering steel guitar make the music of Darby & Tarlton stunning but surreal. A strange blend of blues, folk, Hawaiian, & western influences, it,s like something from another planet - yet at the same time grounded in southern soil. They recorded together between 1927 & 1933, & two of their earliest songs "Columbus stockade blues" & "Birmingham jail"are country standards. Tarlton,s steel guitar playing was some of the best of the era & if his falsetto does,nt give you the chills nothing will.!

Soldiers joy - The Skillett lickers. 1929. Roots n, blues.
Skillett Lickers. - 1920,s. North Georgia
Wild & kooky in spirit, the Atlanta, Georgia based Skillet lickers were the quintessential old time hillbilly string band. The group centred around Gid Tanner who played fiddle, banjo & guitar, & was also a skilled showman. The other central musicians were influential singer/guitarist Riley Puckett, fiddlers Clayton McMichen & Lowe Stokes, & banjoist Fate Norris. Between 1926 & 1931 they made more than eighty recordings. 

Shaking hands (Soldiers joy) - Michelle Shocked. 1992.  Arkansas Traveler. (with Uncle Tupelo & Bernie Leadon). Michelle Shocked.   Quirky roots music.  Dallas, Texas. 1962 -  

How can a poor man stand such times & live - Blind Alfred Reed. 1929. H.Smith, vol.4.
Blind Alfred Reed.  Floyd, Virginia, 15.6.1880 - 17.1.1956.
He was a singer/songwriter/fiddler with an attractive baritone voice that was smoother than his hill country peers. he learned to play a number of instruments as was common with blind people of his time & place. He played at local dances, community events & on the streets & made enough to maintain his wife & 6 children. Again, as was common at that time, he played ballads & gospel songs but is better remembered for his social commentary songs.(see above title).  The song that got him recording was "The wreck of the Virginian", a true story of a train wreck that happened in May 1927. Ralph Peer, (see Jimmie Rodgers & the Carter family) heard about it & invited him to a session in Bristol, for the Victor Talking Machine Company. They recorded 4 songs & they sold so well he was invited to another session, in Camden, new Jersey, in 1927. His final session was in 1929. The depression effectively ended his career, although he continued to perform around Mercer county, West Virginia for a number of years.   

Got the farm land blues – Carolina tar heels. 1930. (see Peg & Awl).







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