Vinyl Frontier Playlist 6/2/13

The Vinyl Frontier Playlist, 6/2/13

Artist – Song Title/Album (date) Record Label 0:00

  •  Jim Nesbitt – Living Offa Credit/single (1962) Dot 2:12
  • The Stripling Brothers – The Lost Child/The Lost Child & Other Original Fiddle Tunes 1928-36 (1971) County 3:00
Stripling Brothers
The Stripling Brothers, Charlie and Ira

The Stripling Brothers were one of the best old-time string bands of the 1920′s and 30′s. In 1963, Bob Pinson, later Country Music Hall of Fame director of record acquisitions, recorded an interview with Charlie and Ira (yes, there was another singing Ira and Charlie from Alabama). My friend Benny Ellis kindly shared a copy with me and I will be playing part of this interview next week.

  • Stoney Point – Heart Made of Stone /The Train Never Stops (c1982) Mountain&Grass/Mag 2:40
  • Frazier Moss – Red Apple Rag/Fiddler’s Dream (1978) Royal American 3:06
frazier moss
Frazier Moss photo: David Holt

A fine tune well and stylishly played by a fine fiddler. Frazier Moss was a respected and feared contest fiddler who did not record nearly enough. On this album, Frazier is accompanied by Smoky Mountain Boy Charlie Collins on guitar, Larry Sledge on bass and daughter Mary Lewis Baldwin on piano. Those old-time fiddlers seemed to prefer daughters as piano accompanists.

  • Alex Bevan – Silver Wings/Springboard (1976) Fiddler’s Wind 3:26
  •  The Pinnacle Boys – Take a Look/Take a Look and Listen to the Pinnacle Boys (1974) Atteiram 2:03
  • The Pinnacle Boys – Let Me Live My Life Again/The Award Winning Pinnacle Boys (1975) Attieram 2:08
  • The Pinnacle Boys – Wheels/High Lonesome Bluegrass (1980) CMH 2:40
Rear, l-r: Mike Pearson, Rob Mashburn, Jim Smith, Larry Collins, Jerry Moore. Front: Bud Brewster.
Rear, l-r: Mike Pearson, Rob Mashburn, Jim Smith, Larry Collins, Jerry Moore. Front: Bud Brewster.

The Pinnacle Boys were one of the very best Bluegrass bands around in the 1970′s and 1980′s.  Although East Tennessee possessed an embarrassment of riches in the form of Bluegrass wizards in those days, their only local competition in terms of popularity were the Knoxville Grass. Bud Brewster, of Carl Story’s Rambling Mountaineers, played guitar and sang lead; Randall Collins and Jerry Moore played fiddle; long-time WNOX picker Larry Mathis played banjo for most of this period, succeeded by Mike Pearson and Rob Mashburn played bass for the majority of the band’s lifespan, taking over for Ray Rose in about 1975.

  • Frank Sprouse – Just Close Your Eyes/single (1980′s) The Sounding Board 4:10
  • Brown, Sullivan & Co – The Essence of Sequatchie Valley (c1972) Sequatchie 2:50
  • Kay Tolliver – I’m Coming Back You/A New Singing Star in Country Style (1968) Musicor 2:13
  • Frank Sprouse – Country Fever/single (1980′s) The Sounding Board 3:33

 Going Easy Band 1

I contacted Frank Sprouse recently, and the results of that conversation are a fresh copy of this record and a CD as well. He was extremely warm and generous. Of course, what else would you expect from a Southern gentleman from South Carolina?

  • Bonnie Guitar – Get Your Lie the Way Want It/Miss Bonnie Guitar (1966) Dot 2:22
  • Buddy Cagle – Honky Tonk College/The Way You Like (1966) Imperial 2:24
Buddy Cagle

Buddy Cagle racked up a few minor hits in the 1960′s, but his career never took off. He recorded Wynn Stewart’s “Sing a Sad Song” at about the same time as Merle Haggard did, but it was Merle who got the hit. Buddy had a smooth and powerful voice, almost in the Marty Robbins manner, but he was possibly too smooth for Bakersfield.

  • Dick Curless – Heart Talk/Tombstone Every Mile (1965) Tower 3:14
  • Speedy West – Rippling Waters/Guitar Spectacular (1962) Capitol 2:40
  •  The Emmanuel Trio – I Believe There’s Heaven/Must I Go Empty Handed (c1970) Sing 2:00
emmanuel trio
The Emmanuel Trio

From Griffin, Georgia, The Emmanuel Trio were sisters Phyliss Gilreath, Grace English and Hilda McGhee. Preacher’s kids, their parents were the Rev Hoyt McGhee and Mrs Laura Edwards McGhee. Their accompanist was Margaret Gillis who was not a sister. Sadly, lead vocalist Hida McGhee passed away in 2011, at the age of 61.

  • The Happy Travelers – Love Will Roll the Clouds Away (early 70′s) 3:02

The Stripling Brothers – Lost Child

The Stripling Brothers – Lost Child


Stripling Brothers

I had Benny Ellis on the show last week and we had a ball playing a few of his fantastic 78 rpm records from the 20′s to the early 50′s.

As usual, Benny surprised me – this time with a gift. A copy of a rare Stripling Brothers interview from 1963. I intend to use some of  this on the show for the first time on June 9th.  I thought I’d post a link to one the Stripling’s fine numbers, posted on Youtube.

Vinyl Frontier Playlist 5/26/2013

Vinyl Frontier playlist 5/26/13

I hope you enjoyed listening to the great oldies Benny Ellis brought to the studio as much as we did. We had a ball. This time the song entries are in the form of: Artist – Song Title, (date) label. I omitted duration since most 78 rpm singles run pretty near three minutes. They wouldn’t hold much more and the old timers wanted to give the customer his money’s worth. Records were expensive in the 78 era!

  • Ellis and Bill Hall – Stoney Fork (c1952) RCA

Benny doesn’t know much about Ellis and Bill Hall, and I certainly don’t.  But it sure is unusual to hear an unadorned, instrumental fiddle and guitar duet with a release date in the 50′s on a major label. The fiddler’s style is fairly smooth, but very traditional. A fine version of “Stoney Fork.”

The next three songs are a set to commemorate Memorial Day.

  • Carl Sauceman – A White Cross Marks His Grave (1953) Republic
  • Carl Sauceman – Wrap My Body in Old Glory (1952) Capitol
carl sauceman 2
Carl Sauceman

Carl and John Paul Saucemam led one of the earliest Bluegrass bands around back in the late 40′s. At one time or another their band included Carl Butler on vocals and guitar, Tater Tate on fiddle, Larry Richardson on banjo and Curly Seckler on mandolin. By the early-to-mid 50′s, Carl was leading the group, now called  the Green Valley Boys. At the time “A White Cross Marks His Grave” was recorded the Green Valley Boys were: Carl Sauceman, vocal/rhythm guitar, possibly Monroe Fields, mandolin, Frederick “”Fred/“Sparkplug” Richardson’ banjo, J.P. Sauceman’ bass, James “Jim” Brock, fiddle, Alfred Donald “Don” McHan, harmony vocal. By the time Carl recorded “Wrap My Body in Old Glory” the band members were: Carl Sauceman, vocal/rhythm guitar, Alfred Donald “Don” McHan, harmony vocal/banjo, poss. Monroe Field,  mandolin, J.P. Sauceman, bass/harmony vocal, James “Jim” Brock, fiddle. (source: Praguefrank’s Country Music Discographies) “Wrap My Body in Old Glory” is one of the few recordings with credit to Knoxville’s Arthur Q Smith on the label. Unfortunately, “Q” sold most of his songs outright. Benny suspects that “A White Cross Marks a Soldier’s Grave” might be an Arthur Q composition as well.

  • The Webster Brothers - Thank God For the USA (1960′s) IHS

The Webster Brothers are probably most familiar around Knoxville as the other half of the Brewster Brothers’ “Four Brothers Quartet.” This side on IHS (In His Service) is from a bit later, probably the early-to-mid 60′s.

  • Joe Bussard – Guitar Rag (2014) Tompkins Square

Record collector, musicologist and guitarist Joe Bussard waxes one for Record Store Day! On the always interesting Tompkins Square label. This is the Sylvester Weaver classic as performed by a one of WDVX’s – and the Sunday Jubillee’s – own. A limited edition of 700 on 78 rpm were issued this April. (Sold out, naturally.)

  • John Fahey – Weissman Blues (c1963) Fonotone
John Fahey
John Fahey

John Fahey, aka Blind Joe Death, aka Blind Thomas, recorded this blistering slide guitar side for Joe Bussard’s Fonotone label as a teenager. Hawt.

  • Buster Pack – Cherished Memories (1951) Rich-R-Tone

Buster Pack & His Lonesome Pine Boys were: Stuart Leslie “Buster” Pack, vocal/guitar, James “Jimmie” Farmer, fiddle, Red Ratliff, mandolin, Red Cooke banjo, Blake Stiltner bass. According to Eugene Chadbourne, Buster Pack played with Jim and Jessse McReynolds on the radio when they were all youngsters. (I saw Eugene Chabourne perform once. I certainly wouldn’t have guessed he was a scholar of early Bluegrass.)

  • The Bailey Brothers – Happy Valley Special (1947) Rich-R-Tone

The Bailey Brothers (Charles & Danny) & Happy Valley Boys: Charlie Bailey, lead vocal/mandolin; Danny Bailey, tenor vcl/rhythm guitar; Carl Butler, rhythm guitar; Wiley Birchfield, banjo; English “Jake” ”Junior” Tullock, bass;  L.E. White, fiddle. Along with the Stanley Brothers, the Bailey Brothers were one the first bands to adopt the “new” “old-time” style of the Monroe-Flatt-Scruggs band. The Baileys, Danny in particular, were fixtures on local TV in Knoxville for decades.

  • The Stanley Brothers – Little Maggie (1948) Rich-R-Tone

The Stanley Brothers are legendary, of course. Even though it was on Mercury that they hit their stride, listening to the early Rich-R-Tone sides is a joy. “Little Ralphie” isn’t a Scruggs-style technical monster yet, but the overall sound is already compelling. Besides, Dr. Ralph could always generate more excitement with two fingers than most banjoists can with three.

Rich-R-Tone mastermind James Hobart “Hobe” Stanton found himself in a goldfield in the late 1940′s. Desiring to enter the record business and knowing next to nothing about it, he recorded the best bands in the style that would come to be called Bluegrass. The scene around the Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia in the post-war era was the hottest spot around for the new style in acoustic music. Hobe (the “e” is not silent) had to cart records around in the trunk of his “big, gas drinking monster” (as he described it to Charles Wolfe) to distribute them. He could be described fairly as the Sam Phillips of Bluegrass – except Monroe was on Decca (and Bluebird before that). If Sam had ”only” discovered Jerry Lee, Orbison, Charlie Rich, Johnny Cash, Carl Phillips and Carl Mann,  then it comparison would be perfect. Or if Flatt and Scruggs recorded for Hobe. Truly an underrated figure in the history of the music.

  • Buzz Busby – Me and the Jukebox (1956) Jiffy
buzz busby
Buzz Busby

Buzz Busby (born Bernarr Busbice) was one of the few Bluegrassers to come from Louisiana. “The Father of D.C. Bluegrass,” Buzz Busby and The Bayou Boys were one of the biggest acts on the East Coast in the 50′s. This song was re-recorded for Starday, but this Jiffy label recording is a cut above.

  • Mac Wiseman – I Still Write Your Name in the Sand (1952) Dot

Known as “The Voice with a Heart,” Mac Wiseman possessed one of the most distinctive and moving voices in Bluegrass. This is one of his classic numbers and Benny has the original 78 rpm singles in excellent condition.

  • Bill Harrell – Reno Bound (1957) Carol

Bill Harrell would go on to be Don Reno’s partner after Red Smiley’s retirement. If having a tune with “Reno” in the title before his partnership with Reno isn’t confusing enough, I’ll add that Harrell’s partner at this point was Smiley Hobbs. So you can have your choice of whatever combination of Reno, Harrell and Smiley you choose.

These last three artists were associated with the Washington, D.C.  of the 1950′s.  By the mid-50′s the hottest local scene for Bluegrass was the Washington, D.C. area. Clubs that featured Bluegrass were everywhere festivals abounded and there were at least three outdoor parks in the countryside with live shows regularly- The New River Ranch in Rising Sun, Maryland; Sunset Park, Oxford, Pennsylvania and the American Legion Country Music Park in Culpepper CH, Virginia. The pace slackened not a bit as the torch was passed to The Country Gentlemen, The New Shades of Grass and the Seldom Scene. The Bluegrass scene in D.C. certainly did much to keep Bluegrass alive from the late 50′s through the 60′s and into the 70′s.

  • Fats Waller – Lennox Avenue Blues (1926) Victor

From the first time I heard this track, I was intrigued. I had heard that Fats had recorded on a church organ, but I had never heard any of the recordings. However, knowing that Fats had made these recordings, I knew that this must be what this was when Benny gave the old Leonard Feather blindfold test. Really a different side of Fats, though.

cotton pickers
McKinney’s Cotton Pickers in 1928. left to right: Cuba Austin, Prince Robinson, George Thomas, Don Redman, Dave Wilborn, Todd Rhoades, Bob Escudero, seated: John Nesbitt, Claude Jones, Milton Senoir, Langston Curl.

Will McKinney’s Synco Septet was the hottest thing in Detroit in the 20′s. Expanded beyond seven pieces, they took the name “Cotton Pickers,” probably to capitalize on the popularity of Harlem’s Cotton Club. Certainly, until Will McKinney came along it was assumed that you had to be based in Chicago, New York or Washington, D.C. to make it in jazz. But the Cotton Pickers went from being a regional “territory” band to a band with a national reputation in a hurry. “Peggy” is great – but almost everything they did was.

  • Reverend Mose Dolittle – Get on Board (prior to 1932) Conqueror

A recorded sermon, this one is a performance. The chanting style of Rev Dolittle grabs you and won’t let you go. Conqueror was sold through Sears, Roebuck from 1926 (some sources say 1928) until the Petrillo recording ban on 1942. I have found complete discographies from 1932 on, and this isn’t in them.

Vinyl Frontier Playlist, Mother’s Day 5/12/13

Here is the Playlist for the Mother’s Day show. (I hope your mother’s day was happy.) :) Artist – Song Title – duration – Album Title – (date) Label

9:00 Introduction

  • Snuffy Jenkins & Pappy Sherrill – I Want My Rib 3:02 “33 Years of Pickin’ and Pluckin’” (1971) Rounder
    snuffy, greasy and pappy
    Snuffy Jenkins, Greasy Medlin and Pappy Sherrill (from NC State Archives)

    Off and on, Snuffy Jenkins, Pappy Sherrill and Greasy Medlin played together for decades. Taking the Garden of Eden as a jumping-off-point, “I Want My Rib” is a minstrel-type novelty number that features Greasy’s vocals. Snuffy Jenkins was a pioneer of the three-finger banjo style that is the backbone of bluegrass, so naturally I played a track on which he plays washboard.

  • Johnny Darrell – Mama Come ‘n’ Get Your Baby Boy 3:08 “The Best of Johnny Darrell (1969) United Artists

    Johnny Darrell
    Johnny Darrell

    Johnny Darrell was a fine singer who had the misfortune of singing great songs that were big hits – for people who covered his versions. “With Pen in Hand” was his biggest number, but basically all the United Artists stuff is awfully good.

  • Meg Christian – Moving Right Along 2:42 “Turning It Over” (1981) Olivia Records
  • Meg Christian – For Mama 0:53 “Turning It Over”meg christian

Meg Christian is a fine singer and songwriter who has unfortunately been overshadowed by Holly Near and Chris Williamson, with whom she was associated in the 1970′s. Meg is performing again, so hopefully she will finally get her due.

  • Pete McMahan – Echoes of the Ozarks 2:19 “Missouri Fiddlin’ #3” (year unknown) Graphic Records

9:15 Mostly Local

  • The Piney Pickers – Panhandle Country 2:11 “A Touch of Grass” (1977) Kim-Pat

The Piney Pickers were a band whose members were drawn from all over East Tennessee. These members were: Billy Womack of Woodbury on fiddle; Jack Sallee of Cookeville on banjo; Mayford Blankenship of Vonore on guitar and lead vocals; James Ramsey of Loudon on bass, plus sometime members Mose Herron of the Knoxville area on rhythm guitar and Alcoa resident Bruce Whitehead or William Garrett on mandolin. On this album the Piney Pickers are joined by a pair of Dobro players – high school history teacher Eldon Davis and the one and only Josh Graves.

Billy Womack’s fiddling is beginning to be released on CD, thanks to the Arts Center of Cannon County’s Spring Fed Records.

  • The Louvin Brothers  & Fiddlin’ Bob Douglas – Take the News to Mother 2:45 “Sequatchie Valley” (c1990)
    Fiddlin’ Bob Douglas & Georgia Boy Brown (Friends of the Cumberland Trail)

Fiddlin’ Bob Douglas was a southeastern Tennessee treasure who performed on the radio in Chattanooga and won about every fiddle contest around. He also had the distinction of giving the legendary Louvin Brothers one of their first professional jobs in early 1946. This recording dates from that association.

  • Joe Meadows – Cricket on a Hearth 2:28 “Portrait of a Fiddler” (1974) Old Homestead Records
  • Knoxville Grass – No Mother or Dad 2:41 “Darby’s Castle” (1978) Thunderhead Records

    The Knoxville Grass
    The Knoxville Grass

The Knoxville Grass were, along with the Pinnacle Boys, about the biggest thing around in the white-hot Knoxville bluegrass scene of the 1970′s. “Darby’s Castle” was a high point of a great string of fine LP’s.

  • The Piney Pickers -When I Grow Too Old to Dream 2:47 “A Touch of Grass” (1977) Kim-Pat

9:30 Mother’s Day

  • Peggy Little – Sweet Baby Girl 3:08 “A Little Bit of Peggy Little” (1969) Dot Records

    Peggy Little
    Peggy Little

    Peggy Little’s biggest number was a cover of “Son of a Preacher Man,” released shortly after Dusty Springfield’s smash hit version. However, Peggy turned in an unforgettable performance on just about everything she recorded. “Sweet Baby Girl” has been recorded by others, but never as well.

  • Don Helms – Big News 2:00 “Nashville Steel Guitar” (c1963) Nashville (Starday) Records

Hank Williams and Ray Price sideman Don Helms should be familiar to most fans of traditional country music. Starday put out a series of side- and session-man steel guitar and Dobro instrumental LP’s in the 60′s. I wish labels still did that sort of thing.

  • John Hodnett – Help Me Get to Dayton 2:25 single (1972) Morningside Records

I wish I knew something about John Hodnett – “Help Me Get to Dayton” is a gritty, Merle Haggard-type slice-of-life about a hitchhiking runaway junkie teen prostitute who just wants a ride home to mama. The other side of this 45 single is a lighthearted Western Swing-flavored number.

  • Katy Moffatt – She Calls Me Baby 2:48 “Katy Moffatt” (1976) CBS Records
    Katy Moffatt
  • Johnny Darrell – Mama’s Hungry Eyes 3:23 “The Best of Johnny Darrell (1969) United Artists

9:45 Hymn Time

  • Esco Hankins & Jackie Tincher – Mother Sleeps In A Lonely Grave 2:30 “Mother Left Me Her Bible”

Esco Hankins is sometimes belittled as a Roy Acuff imitator, but the two tunes in this set were his own compositions, and amply demonstrate Esco’s well-rounded talent. In addition to being singing partners, Esco Hankins and Jackie Tincher were husband and wife.

  • hankins
    Esco Hankins
  • The Summers Trio – Mama 1:56 “This Is Why We Sing” (1970) Tri-State Recording
    summers trio
    l-r, Margaret Summers, Elmer Summers and Naomi Boshears

    The Summers Trio wrote most of  their own songs. The writer credit on these is merely “Summers,” so it’s likely that credit was evenly divided. The fact that it wasn’t credited to “Summers Trio” caused me to believe that the credit was individual, but I now feel differently after re-reading the album liner notes.


  • The Daugherty Quartet – Mother’s Bible 2:18 “Beyond the Last Mile” (1969) Tri-State Recording
    daugherty quartet
    l-r, Bob Wilson, Carol Wilson, Andy Daugherty and Nina Ruth Daugherty

The gospel music of Jacksboro, Tennessee is rather well represented on vinyl and I suspect that The Daugherty Quartet is partly responsible for that. The Summers Trio number above is from an album which has 6 numbers by the Summers on one side and 6 by the Daughertys on the other, “a” side. Andy Daugherty is the father of both Nina Ruth Daugherty and Carol Wilson and, of course, the father-in-law of Bob Wilson.

  • Esco Hankins & Jackie Tincher – Mother Left Me Her Bible 2:15 “Mother Left Her Bible” (1984) Old Homestead
  • Whitetop Mountain Band – Angel Band – 2:00 “Cacklin’ Hen” (1977) Mountain Records

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