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HEROES OF BLUES, JAZZ & COUNTRY
Topic Started: Aug 14 2010, 08:10 PM (3,979 Views)
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Santa's elf has again showered me with a musical gift this year; the book titled: R.Crumb’s “Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country ".
This sweet elf has been trying, over the past few years, to educate me in the history of the music that has influenced Taylor Hicks the most. I am passing this knowledge on to you, hoping that you enjoy this tuneful tour as much as I have.

The drawings that appear in this piece are those by R. Crumb.
The music is from youtube ( try Yazoo records or County Records for more music of this period )
The text by Stephen Calt, David Jasen and Richard Nevins, Wikipedia, oldies.com , allmusic Guide , redhotjazz.com, rockhall.com , southern music.net and me paraphrasing freely.

This thread will encompass Blues,Jazz and Country Greats of the past and will be presented over several weeks. Should you want to delve further into the wonderful world of R. Crumb and/or the Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country , please purchase this book or go to your local library and borrow it.

http://www.amazon.com/Crumbs-Heroes-Blues-Jazz-Country/dp/0810930862

R. CRUMB


R. Crumb the author of this book was born Robert Dennis Crumb on August 30, 1943. He is an American artist and illustrator recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and his critical, satirical, subversive view of the American mainstream. He currently lives in Southern France with his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

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Posted Image Photograph: Sarah Lee


Crumb was a founder of the underground comix movement and is regarded as its most prominent figure. Though one of the most celebrated of comic book artists, Crumb's entire career has unfolded outside the mainstream comic book publishing industry. One of his most recognized works is the "Keep on Truckin'" comic, which became a widely distributed fixture of pop culture in the 1970s. Others are the characters Devil Girl, Fritz the Cat, and Mr. Natural. He also illustrates album covers, including Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company and the compilation album The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead.

The portraits in this thread were drawn around 1980 with the idea that they be resized and printed a trading card. The musicians were drawn from existing studio and family photographs. These cards were to be introduced in each pack of Yazoo LP , much as featured sports , fims and war subjects were in packages of gum. . This did happen but was not terribly successful.



HEROES OF THE BLUES


WILLIAM MOORE

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A barber by trade, William Moore was born in Georgia in 1893 and spent most of his life in Tappahannock, Virginia. His eight extant sides, recorded at a single Paramount Records session in 1928, stamp him as one of the few instrumentally oriented performers of the era. Moore’s upbeat music may echo the happy-go-lucky ragtime dances popular before the heyday of the blues. “Ragtime Millionaire: is probably his best-known song.



Ragtime Millionaire, written by William Moore and recorded by Blind Blake

BLIND BLAKE

“Born in Jacksonville, in sunny Florida, he seemed to absorb some of the sunny atmosphere, disregarding the fact that nature had cruelly denied a vision of outer things. He could not see the things that others saw, but he had a better gift, A gift of an inner vision that allowed him to see things more beautiful. The pictures that he alone could see made him long to express them in some way, so he turned to music.
He studied long and earnestly, listening to talented pianists and guitar players, and began to gradually draw harmonious tunes to fit every mood.
The sweet chords and tones that come from his talking guitar express a feeling of his mood”
Paramount, "Book of the Blues"

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PEG LEG HOWELL


A native of Eatonton, Georgia, Joshua Barnes Howell taught himself guitar around 1909, at the age of twenty-one, and subsequently worked in Atlanta as a street singer. Howell was one of the earliest country blues performers to be recorded. He made twenty-eight sides, many with string band accompaniment, between 1926 and 1929. Like most street singers of the period, Howell had a diverse repertoire that included both blues and up-temp ragtime songs. One of the most important parts to "Peg Leg" Howell's music is hearing the bridge between the influences of plantation work songs and traditional Blues music. It is a recorded link between the two forms.


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Broke and Hungry Blues


CLIFFORD GIBSON

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1901, Clifford Gibson cut his musical teeth in St. Louis. He recorded 24 sides for two different labels between 1929 and 1931. One of the first purely urban performers whose playing had no pronounced rural influences, Gibson’s single-string, vibrato-laden approach resembled that of the highly sophisticated jazz blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson, but placed more emphasis on improvisation. Gibson was a guitarist to be reckoned with who’s playing is unflaggingly inventive, employing a sharp, limpid tone .

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Bad Luck Dice




FRANK STOKES


Born in 1888 in Whitethaven, Tennessee, Frank Stokes began playing around 1900, and pursued his career in Memphis, where he became one of the city’s most popular entertainers. Between 1927 and 1929 he recorded thiry-six sides for two labels, usually in tandem with his accompanist, Dan Sane. His best-known tune wa “Crump Don’t ‘Low It,” which referred to the major of Memphis and was nationally associated with composer W.C. Handy.
Stokes developed a powerful voice and a hard-driving, danceable guitar style playing on the streets of Memphis. He became well-known in the area for having an large and diverse repertoire, playing a variety of minstrel tunes, proto-blues, rags, breakdowns, parlor songs, post-bellum popular songs, old-timey country tunes and a variety of other archaic folk styles, as well as contemporary popular numbers. The breadth of his musical knowledge made him the embodiment of the rural black musical tradition up to the early twentieth century, and makes his recorded works a small window into the popular and folk styles of the 19th and early 20th centuries

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Old Something Blues with Will Batts on Fiddle




JAYBIRD COLEMAN

Burl Coleman was born in Gainesville, Alabama, in 1896 and began playing harmonica around 1908, settling in Bessemer in the early 1920’s. Between 1927 and 1930 he made 11 sides, appearing in the rather unusual role of a harmonica player accompanying his own vocals. Of all recorded blues harmonica players, Coleman developed probably the richest and most varied tone. In the early 1920s, he teamed with fellow bluesman Big Joe Williams as a performer in the Birmingham Jug Band which toured through the American South. He was largely inactive after 1930, and died in 1950.


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Kicking Mule Blues ( note he plays harmonica and sings )



BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON


A native of Marlin, Texas, Blind Willie recorded 30 sides between 1927 and 1930.
Seminal gospel-blues artist Blind Willie Johnson is regarded as one of the greatest bottleneck slide guitarists. Yet the Texas street-corner evangelist is known as much for his powerful and fervent gruff voice as he is for his ability as a guitarist. He most often sang in a rough, bass voice (only occasionally delivering in his natural tenor) with a volume meant to be heard over the sounds of the streets. Johnson recorded a total of 30 songs during a three-year period and many of these became classics of the gospel-blues, including "Jesus Make up My Dying Bed," "God Don't Never Change," and his most famous, "Dark Was the Night — Cold Was the Ground."

It is generally agreed that Johnson was born in a small town just South of Waco near Temple, TX, around 1902. His mother died while he was still a baby, and his father eventually remarried. When Johnson was about seven years old, his father and stepmother fought and the stepmother threw lye water, apparently at the father, but the lye got in Willie Johnson's eyes, blinding him. As he got older, Johnson began earning money by playing his guitar, one of the few avenues left to a blind man to earn a living. Instead of a bottleneck, Johnson actually played slide with a pocketknife. Over the years, Johnson played guitar most often in an open D tuning, picking single-note melodies, while using his slide and strumming a bass line with his thumb. He was, however, known to play in a different tuning and without the slide on a few rare occasions. Regardless of his excellent blues technique and sound, Johnson didn't want to be a bluesman, for he was a passionate believer in the Bible. So, he began singing the gospel and interpreting Negro spirituals. He became a Baptist preacher and brought his sermons and music to the streets of the surrounding cities.
Although religious in orientation, Johnson’s music was as percussive as any dance blues, and he attained the most rhythmically fluid and tonally vibrant sound of any bottleneck guitarist of his time.


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Dark Was the Night



LEROY CARR and SCRAPPER BLACKWELL


Leroy Carr, one of the first blues singers to use an understated vocal delivery, was born in Nashville in 1905.
He was an American blues singer, songwriter and pianist who developed a laid-back, crooning technique . The innovation was in the sophisticated piano-guitar accompaniment and the wistfully sad mood. Music had moved from the lone guitarist in the fields to clubs with pianos for ready entertainment.
His partnership with guitarist Blackwell combined his light bluesy piano with a melodic jazz guitar that attracted the sophisticated urban black audience. His vocal style moved blues singing toward an urban sophistication and influenced such singers as T-Bone Walker, Charles Brown, Amos Milburn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Ray Charles among others.

Francis Blackwell was born in 1903 and learned guitar in childhood, eventually developing a delicate vibrato blended with string snapping.
He was an American blues guitarist and singer; best known as half of the guitar-piano duo he formed with Leroy Carr in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he was an acoustic single-note picker in the Chicago blues and Piedmont blues style, with some critics noting that he veered towards jazz.
Blackwell was a self-taught guitarist, building his first guitar out of cigar boxes, wood and wire. He also learned the piano, occasionally playing professionally. By his teens, Blackwell was a part-time musician, traveling as far as Chicago. Known for being withdrawn and hard to work with, Blackwell established a rapport with pianist Leroy Carr, whom he met in Indianapolis in the mid-1920s, creating a productive working relationship.
They made more than 100 sides between 1928 and Carr's death in 1935, including the famous "How Long Blues".


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How Long Blues




BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON

Jefferson was born blind near Coutchman, Texas in Freestone County, near present-day Wortham, Texas.In his 1917 draft registration, he gave his birth date as October 26, 1894,
Jefferson began playing the guitar in his early teens, and soon after he began performing at picnics and parties.[4] He also became a street musician, playing in East Texas towns in front of barbershops and on corners.[4] According to his cousin, Alec Jefferson, quoted in the notes for Blind Lemon Jefferson, Classic Sides:
They were rough. Men were hustling women and selling bootleg and Lemon was singing for them all night... he'd start singing about eight and go on until four in the morning... mostly it would be just him sitting there and playing and singing all night.
By the early 1910s, Jefferson began traveling frequently to Dallas, where he met and played with fellow blues musician Leadbelly.[9] In Dallas, Jefferson was one of the earliest and most prominent figures in the blues movement developing in Dallas' Deep Ellum area. Jefferson likely moved to Deep Ellum in a more permanent fashion by 1917, where he met Aaron Thibeaux Walker, also known as T-Bone Walker.[9] Jefferson taught Walker the basics of blues guitar, in exchange for Walker's occasional services as a guide.
Jefferson had an intricate and fast style of guitar playing and a particularly high-pitched voice. He was a founder of the Texas blues sound and an important influence on other blues singers and guitarists, including Lead Belly and Lightnin' Hopkins. The white North Carolina performer Arthel "Doc" Watson credited listening to Jefferson's recordings as his first exposure to the blues, which would powerfully influence his own style.
His successful recordings debut in 1926 launced the vogue for country blues. He recorded 85 sides and established himself as the most popular blues guitarist of his era.
He was the author of many tunes covered by later musicians, including the classic "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." Another of his tunes, "Matchbox Blues," was recorded more than 30 years later by The Beatles, albeit in a rockabilly version credited to Carl Perkins, who himself did not credit Jefferson on his 1955 recording
An offbeat guitarist known for his free phrasing patterns, he was one of the most inspired singers found in blues. Jefferson’s later recordings seemed to lose some of the originality and impact of his earlier work but he remained popular until his sudden and somewhat mysterious death. Legend has it that he froze to death on the streets of Chicago, although a more likely story is that he died of a heart attack while in his car, possibly during a snowstorm, and was abandoned by his driver

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See That My Grave is Kept Clean




CURLEY WEAVER AND FRED MCMULLEN


Curley Weaver was born in 1906 and raised near Porterdale, Ga. He learned guitar around 1922 and moved to Atlanta a few years later. Most of his records wee duets with other local blues recoding artists, such as Atlanta based Blind Willie McTell and Fred McMullen of Macon, GZ. McMullen began recording in 1933. He teamed up with Weaver and Buddy Moss that same year in a recording trio known as the Georgia Browns.


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DeKalb Chain Gang



WHISTLER & HIS JUG BAND


The first jug band to record was Whistler & His Jug Band, a group hailing from the Louisville, Kentucky area where, beginning at the turn of the century, jug bands playing string band arrangements entertained during the Kentucky Derby. From 1924 to 1931 Whistler’s aggregation recorded 21 titles for three different companies. A movie clip of the essentially unknown players exists, a still from which provided the source for this illustration.
Whistler & His Jug Band was a long-lasting and popular group that recorded for several labels from the mid-'20s through the early '30s, and influenced many of the jug bands that followed. The group was formed in 1915 in Louisville, KY by guitarist, vocalist and whistler Buford Threlkeld, and went through occasional lineup changes over the years, but fiddler Jess Ferguson and banjo player Willie Black were steady members of Whistler & His Jug Band for over a decade. The jazz-influenced jug band first entered the recording studios in September, 1924


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Folding Bed


MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS


The Mississippi Sheiks were a popular and influential guitar and fiddle group of the 1930s. They were notable mostly for playing country blues but were adept at many styles of United States popular music of the time, and their records were bought by both black and white audiences. Country blues is often seen as being the domain of individual musicians, a stereotype propagated by the way such delta blues performers as Robert Johnson and Charley Patton have entered the popular consciousness. Of the smaller number of groups playing at the time, the Mississippi Sheiks are among the better known and most influential among their peers. When the band first recorded in 1930, the line-up consisted of Carter with Lonnie and Sam Chatmon, and Walter Vinson. The band blended country and blues fiddle music -- both old-fashioned and risqué --
In 2004, they were inducted in the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.
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Sitting on Top of the World
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HEROES OF JAZZ



COLEMAN HAWKINS

Coleman Hawkins was the first great saxophonist of Jazz. From the Classic Jazz period to the Swing Era one player had a virtual monopoly on the tenor sax, that man being Coleman Hawkins, a.k.a., the Hawk or the Bean. Hawkins (born 1904, St. Joseph, Mo.) was not the first Jazzman to play the tenor but he was the leader in transforming it into a fully expressive, hard driving Jazz instrument. Following a ten year period of getting the hang of that confounded contraption, the Hawk went on to a fifty year career filled with near flawless playing as leader of his own groups as well as with an amazing variety of other combos. He was an inspiration to dozens of top notch Jazz tenor men.
Hawkin's technique and style ( highly influenced by Louie Armstrong ) continued to develop and by 1933 he had already mastered two important Jazz tenor styles: the hard-driving explosive riff and the smooth flowing ballad form. It was also in 1933 that Hawkins encountered the first real threat to his monopoly of the tenor sax. As the modern Jazz era unfolded, Hawkin's style remained firmly entrenched with players like Ben Webster and Don Byas. Lester Young's style, however, had a greater influence than Hawk's on progressive players like Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon and on the group of Cool players that followed, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn and many others. Hawkins had no problem with the idea of Bop, however, even though he never actually played it. He had long been in the habit of absorbing everything musical that came his way. Hawk not only encouraged many young modernists but as early as 1944 hired many of the young revolutionaries like Thelonious Monk, Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie
Hawkins played at every major jazz festival in the world, appeared in films and made thousands of records, the most famous of which is �Body and Sou�, recorded with his own band in 1939.

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Body and Soul

Clip from Night Music


�JELLY ROLL� MORTON

Jelly Roll Morton is a seminal figure in the birth and development of jazz in the early decades of this century. A multi-talented pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader, he has been called �one of the handful of Atlases upon whose shoulders rests the entire structure of our music� by jazz historian Orrin Keepnews. Morton wove disparate musical strands-blues, stomps, and ragtime, plus French and Spanish influences-into the fabric of early jazz. A native of New Orleans, he played on the streets and in in the honky-tonks of that wide-open city, helping to give birth to the jazz idiom as it took shape in the infamous red-light district known as Storyville. Morton recorded solo and with small groups, and the festive stamp of his hometown was evident in every note he played. He was the driving force behind Jelly Roll Morton�s Red Hot Peppers, which recorded and toured in the late Twenties. Their performances combined ensemble work in the New Orleans style with space for soloing, which was the then rage on Chicago�s jazz scene. Morton�s pioneering work with the Red Hot Peppers was contemporaneous with the innovations made by Louis Armstrong with his Hot Five and Hot Seven. It is doubtful that the Jazz Age or the Swing Era could have happened without either of them.
His concept of trying to sound like a Dixieland jazz band on the piano was unique.
On a personal level, Morton was �just about the most flamboyant, colorful and exasperating personality imaginable,� according to the liner notes of a 1953 reissue, which would seem to make him of a rock and roll forebear as well.

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Hesitation Blues

Finger Breaker


JUNIE C. COBB

Whether it be Alto, tenor sax or clarinet. Junie Cobb attained reputation for flexibility and versatility; he played many instruments well, though wasn't great on any one. He began as pianist in Johnny Dunn's band as a teen, then moved from Arkansas to Chicago, leading his own band at the Club Alvadere in 1920 and 1921. He also doubled on clarinet. He subsequently played banjo with King Oliver and Jimmy Noone, and also recorded as a leader on clarinet, alto and tenor sax. He backed vocalist Annabelle Calhoun in both the '30s and '40s, and then was a solo pianist for many club and record dates. He retired from fulltime playing in 1955, but kept his hand in scene by doing periodic concerts, dates.

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JABBO SMITH


Jabbo had a short but exceedingly important recording career in the late 1920's when he became the first trumpeter to seriously challenge Louis Armstrong with a virtuosity which was years ahead of its time. His work had a direct influence on Roy Eldridge, a pivotal figure in the development of Modern Jazz.

Jabbo Smith was born in Pembroke, Georgia on Christmas Eve in 1908, the son of a barber and church organist. After the death of his father when Jabbo was very young he moved, at age four, to Savannah. His mother found it increasingly difficult to care for him and at age six Jabbo was placed into the Jenkins Orphanage Home in Charleston. His mother also found employment in the Home in order to be near to him.

The Jenkins Home placed heavy emphasis on music education and produced a number of important Jazzmen who received their first public playing experience while touring with one of several student orchestras. It was in this setting that Jabbo took up trumpet and trombone at the age of eight and began touring the country with a student band at the age of ten.

Jabbo moved to Milwaukee where he married did some local playing and enjoyed the security of a steady job with a car rental agency. There Jabbo Smith, one of the top four or five most influential trumpet players of Jazz, languished in quiet oblivion for twenty years. This was indeed a catastrophic musical loss. Finally, around 1960, Jabbo was rediscovered. He subsequently recorded two albums (his style a mere shadow of his former heights) and in 1979 was a guest artist in the musical One Mo' Time which opened to rave reviews. He also made appearances at several Jazz festivals, toured Europe and performed at the West End Cafe, the Bottom Line and the Village Vanguard, all in New York. One of his last public performances was in Berlin in 1986 where he greatly impressed Don Cherry, the avant-garde trumpeter!

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�TINY� PARHAM

Tiny Parham is a vastly underrated Chicago bandleader of the 1920s. He cut 38 sides for Victor between 1928 to 1930 under the name of Tiny Parham and his Musicians. The band played the vaudeville theatres.
Hartzell Strathdene "Tiny" Parham (February 25, 1900, Winnipeg, Canada - April 4, 1943, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was a Canadian-born American jazz bandleader and pianist.
Parham grew up in Kansas City and toured with territory bands in the Southwestern United States before moving to Chicago in 1926. He is best remembered for the recordings he made in Chicago between 1927 and 1930, as an accompanist for Johnny Dodds and several female blues singers as well as with his own band. Most of the musicians Parham played with are not well known in their own right, though cornetist Punch Miller and bassist Milt Hinton are exceptions.
After 1930 Parham found work in theater houses, especially as an organist; his last recordings were made in 1940. His entire recorded output fits on two compact discs.


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With the Washboard Wiggles


THOMAS �FATS� WALLER


Born in 1904 and a prot�g� of stride pianist James P. Johnson before the age of 20, Thomas "Fats" Waller became the most famous jazz pianists of his time, in the United States. through more than 1000 recordings . He had a weekly network radio program, made film appearances, did worldwide concerts and nightclub performances .
He was also a prolific songwriter, and many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Squeeze Me". Fellow pianist and composer Oscar Levant dubbed Waller "the black Horowitz".[1] Waller composed many novelty swing tunes in the 1920s and 30s, and sold them for relatively small sums. When the compositions became hits, other songwriters claimed them as their own. Many standards are alternatively and sometimes controversially attributed to Waller.

Fats Waller's big break occurred at a party given by George Gershwin in 1934, where he delighted the crowd with his piano playing and singing. An executive of Victor Records, who was at the party was so impressed that he arranged for Fats to record with the company. This arrangement would continue until Waller's death in 1943. Waller contracted pneumonia and died on a cross country train trip near Kansas City, Missouri on December 15, 1943.




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The Joint is Jumpin�


THE STRIDE PIANO

Stride, Harlem Stride Piano, or Stride Piano, is a jazz piano style that was an evolution of ragtime. James P. Johnson was the prime innovator of stride piano. He embellished basic ragtime syncopation, beginning with a general increase in tempo. Stride is characteristically faster than ragtime.
The left hand may play a four-beat pulse with a single bass note, octave, seventh or tenth interval on the first and third beats, and a chord on the second and fourth beats. Occasionally, this is reversed by placing the chord on the downbeat, for one or even several beats (but not by placing the chord in the bass). Unlike earlier "St. Louis" pianists, stride players often leapt a greater distance with the left hand, played faster, and improvised.

The right hand plays melodies, riffs and often contrapuntal lines while the left hand lays down the rhythmic groundwork. Left hand techniques may also include walking bass, either an uninterrupted bass line, or with three single notes and then a chord, again changing the original pattern.
Stride developed out of the long hours that pianists were required to play every night in Manhattan and Harlem, transforming ragtime into a more virtuosic style. Popular pieces such as "Maple Leaf Rag" gradually had their melodic lines replaced with various clever riffs, and their bass patterns became more melodic. These versions of the older and current rags were more complex, and they could be freely varied, or improvised. Soon, any march, popular song, and many classical pieces could be played in the stride idiom. Well into the 1920s, however, pianists and listeners still referred to the music as "ragtime" rather than stride or jazz.
Octaves are also used on occasion in the place of single bass notes for a change in tone color. James P. Johnson and Fats Waller are credited with introducing "walking tenths" - where the performer plays tenth intervals that "walk" up or down the keyboard, also in the place of either triad chords or single bass notes.
Check out this link for audible access to ragtime and stride piano examples. http://www.johnroachemusic.com/ragtime.html


MARY LOU WILLIAMS


Born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs, in 1910, she taught herself the piano by ear and was playing in public at the age of six. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Williams' life was always filled with music. When she was 13, she started working in vaudeville, and three years later married saxophonist John Williams. They moved to Memphis, and she made her debut on records with Synco Jazzers. John soon joined Andy Kirk's orchestra, which was based in Kansas City, in 1929. Williams wrote arrangements for the band, filled in for an absent pianist on Kirk's first recording session, and eventually became a member of the orchestra herself. Her arrangements were largely responsible for the band's distinctive sound and eventual success. Williams was soon recognized as Kirk's top soloist, a stride pianist who impressed everyone (even Jelly Roll Morton). In addition, she wrote such songs such as "Roll 'Em" (a killer hit for Benny Goodman) and "What's Your Story Morning Glory" and contributed arrangements to other big bands, including those of Goodman, Earl Hines, and Tommy Dorsey.
Mary Lou Williams had a long and productive career. Although for decades she was often called jazz's greatest female musician (and one has to admire what must have been a nonstop battle against sexism), she would have been considered a major artist no matter what her sex.

Just the fact that Williams and Duke Ellington were virtually the only stride pianists to modernize their style through the years would have been enough to guarantee her a place in jazz history books. Williams managed to always sound modern during a half-century career without forgetting her roots or how to play in the older styles.


Following a religious conversion in the early 50�s, Williams foundedf the Canto Foundation. She assisted troubled musicians by establishing thrift stores in Harlem to raise money to help musicians return to their art and contributing 10 percent of her own earnings. Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, Williams still submitted arrangements to the Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman and Count Basie orchestras. Her invitation to The Salute To Jazz at the White House, in 1978, represents just one honor in an array of fellowships, awards and honorary doctorates bestowed on this lioness in what became the winter of her life. Still not content to rest on her laurels, Williams accepted a teaching position at Duke University in 1980. Until her death in Durham, North Carolina on May 28, 1981, Mary Lou Williams delivered the full measure of her boundless energy, her loving heart and her exemplary musicianship to God, to her family and friends, and to jazz.



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Roll Em


JOE VENUTI


One of the first jazz violinists, Joe Venuti wowed and amazed music fans for more than fifty years. Venuti was classically trained, like many early jazz greats, and had a natural skill on the fiddle unrivaled by his contemporaries. He often used a technique, which he invented, that allowed him to play four-note chords. Throughout the years Venuti's ability never waned. He remained impressive and vital up to the time of his death.
Born in Philadelphia (according to his birth certificate but aboard a ship emigrating from Itlay according to legend) , in 1903. Venuti was boyhood friends with jazz guitar pioneer Eddie Lang. During the mid-1920s they began an associated that lasted until Lang's untimely death in 1933, recording frequently under several different titles and working together with many of the best artists of their day, including the Dorsey Brothers, Bing Crosby, Jack Teagarden, Smith Ballew, Adrian Rollini, Frankie Trumbauer, Glenn Miller, Lennie Hayton, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Red Nichols, and Harold Arlen.

After Lang's death Venuti headed a variety of commercial big bands into the 1940s. Vocalists at various times were Kay Starr, Ruth Robin, and Johnny Prophet. In the 1950s he worked with smaller combos and appeared on Bing Crosby's radio show in 1952 and 1953.
Problems with alcohol led to Venuti virtually dropping out of sight in the early 1960s. He settled in Seattle, Washington, in 1963. Urged back into the limelight he performed at the 1968 Newport Jazz Festival and experienced a revival in the 1970s. He became extremely active, recording with a slew of jazz and pop stars and appearing on television. His second round of fame was short, however. Joe Venuti succumbed to cancer and died in 1978.



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An elderly Joe Venuti appearing on The Dick Cavett Show


Dinah


BENNY GOODMAN

Benny Goodman was only 10 when he first picked up a clarinet. Only a year or so later he was doing Ted Lewis imitations for pocket money. At 14 he was in a band that featured the legendary Bix Beiderbecke. By the time he was 16 he was recognized as a "comer" as far away as the west coast and was asked to join a California-based band led by another Chicago boy, Ben Pollack.
By 1934 he was seasoned enough to be ready for his first big break. He heard that Billy Rose needed a band for his new theatre restaurant, the Music Hall, and he got together a group of musicians who shared his enthusiasm for jazz. They auditioned and got the job.
Then Benny heard that NBC was looking for three bands to rotate on a new Saturday night broadcast to be called "Let's Dance," a phrase that has been associated with the Goodman band ever since. One band on the show was to be sweet, one Latin, and the third hot. The Goodman band was hot enough to get the job, but not hot enough to satisfy Benny. He brought in Gene Krupa on drums. Fletcher Henderson began writing the arrangements - arrangements that still sound fresh more than a half century later. And the band rehearsed endlessly to achieve the precise tempos, section playing and phrasing that ushered in a new era in American music. There was only one word that could describe this band's style adequately: Swing.
At the age of 28 Benny Goodman had reached what seemed to be the pinnacle of success, but on January 16, 1938, Sol Hurok, the most prestigious impresario in America, booked the Benny Goodman band into Carnegie Hall. For generations Carnegie Hall had been the nation's greatest temple of musical art, home of the New York Philharmonic and scene of every important artist's debut (even if they had played in a hundred other concert halls first).
So this was a debut not only for Benny Goodman but for jazz. Though many others followed him to Carnegie Hall, there has never been another concert with such an impact. It even made his "classical" Carnegie Hall debut more newsworthy a few years later when Benny returned there to launch his second career, as a soloist with major symphony orchestras and chamber groups.
( BennyGoodman website )

That crowded career, spanning more than six decades, is almost unparalleled .



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Sing Sing Sing



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HEROES OF EARLY COUNTRY




ECK ROBERTSON AND FAMILY

Eck Robertson was, first and foremost, one of America's great folk fiddlers. And through his music and his history a great deal can be learned about the folk tradition of fiddle playing, and the historic and cultural matrix within which it flourished.
Eck Robertson is famous as the first person to record a commercial country music record.
Robertson was born in Delaney, AR, in 1887. His family shortly moved to Texas, and he became forever linked with a "Texas Sound" of fiddling: intense, showstopping, vaudevillian skill. He only recorded around 16 commercial recordings in the years 1922 and 1929. His recordings effectively tell the history of old-time music in the 1920s: His recordings alerted record companies to the market for old-time music throughout the South, and his return to recording in 1929 signaled the end of the classic old-time string band sound that had dominated country music during its first decade. He recorded mostly solo or with his family: his wife, Nettie, his daughter Daphne, and his son Dueron. He also recorded with Nat Shilkret, one of the earliest popular music stars.

The fiddling tradition was especially rich in Texas; the standard of playing being perhaps the highest in the US. Robertson learned all the diverse styles of early American fiddle music and, incredibly, became master of them all. His first record, "Sally Gooden", made in 1922 , was a landmark as it was the first commercial recording of traditional American music. More than 85 years later it still inspires awe for its seemingly impossible technique and brilliant array of variations.


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Ragtime Annie, Fiddle Solo

Sally Gooden


Eck Family Medley






CARTER FAMILY ( From whence comes June Carter Cash, wife of Johnny Cash )

The Carter Family made their first recordings for Ralph Peer on the Victor label in 1927, in Bristol, Tennessee. During the next 17 years they recorded some 300 old-time ballads, traditional tunes, country songs, and Gospel hymns, all representative of America's southeastern folklore and heritage.
The original Family consisted of Mother Maybelle Addington Carter (1909-1979), who played guitar and sang harmony; Sara Dougherty (1898-1979), who played autoharp and sang alto lead; and Sara’s husband, Alvin Pleasant (A.P.) Carter (d.1960), who played fiddle and sang bass.
They operated out of their homes in the Clinch Mountain area of Virginia until 1938, when they moved to Texas for three years, and then to Charlotte, North Carolina. They did their last radio show together in 1942, after which Maybelle Carter, who has been called the "Queen of Country Music," continued the tradition and her career with her three daughters, Anita, Helen, and June who is married to Johnny Cash.
After working on WRWL Radio in Richmond, Virginia, from 1943 to 1946, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, as they were billed, moved first to WRVA, also in Richmond, for 18 months, and then to WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee. When they were finally tapped by the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville became their last stop and home. In popularizing and preserving old folk songs, the family made accessible tunes that were later used by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Odetta, Woody Guthrie, and many more.
It's unlikely that bluegrass music would have existed without the Carter Family. Among the more than 300 sides they recorded are "Worried Man Blues," "Wabash Cannonball," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "Wildwood Flower," and "Keep on the Sunny Side".
The Carter Family's instrumental backup, like their vocals, was unique. On her Gibson L-5 guitar, Maybelle played a bass-strings lead (the guitar being tuned down from the standard pitch) that is the mainstay of bluegrass guitarists to the present. Sara accompanied her on the autoharp or on a second guitar, while A.P. devoted his talent to singing in a haunting though idiosyncratic bass or baritone. Although the original Carter Family disbanded in 1943, enough of their recordings remained in the vaults to keep the group current through the '40s. Furthermore, their influence was evident through further generations of musicians, in all forms of popular music, through the end of the century.
Maybelle Carter recording as narrated by Johnny Cash



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Extracts from the beginning of a six hour series on Country music. This set of clips features the Carter Family and some rare footage.




The Original Carter Family with their song Bury me under the Weeping Willow Tree. This is the first song they recorded in Bristol, Tennesse in 1927.







HARRY “MAC” McCLINTOCK


Harry Kirby McClintock (8 October 1882 - 24 April 1957), also known as "Haywire Mac," was born in Knoxville, Tenn, "the son of a railroad cabinetmaker and nephew of four boomer trainmen. He led a fascinatingly diverse life before settling into the role of cowboy singer. His drifting began when he ran away from home as a boy to join a circus. He railroaded in Africa, worked as a seaman, saw action in the Philippines as a civilian mule-train packer, supplying American troops with food and ammunition, and in 1899 found himself in China as an aide to newsmen covering the Boxer Rebellion. Back in the States, he hired out to the Pennsy in the Pittsburgh area, and from there he took the boomer trail as railroader and a minstrel. Mac lived an adventurous life and never lost his sense of humor".
He was a lifelong member of the Industrial Workers of the World. In the early 1920s he worked and organized union men in the oil fields of west Texas, Having worked as a cowboy himself, McClintock was one of the few "country" singers who had an authentic background from which to draw.
Landing steady work on radio in 1925 solidified his new career. Most cowboy singers sang songs that were first printed as poems rather than lyrics written especially for the singer. Most all cowboy singers of the 1920's and 1930's were caught up in an unbelievably romanticized image of western life. It was an image that was derived by the mass media of print ---- an image that was to have remarkable impact on the American psyche from that time on.



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Ain’t We Crazy recorded in 1928

Big Rock Candy Mountain





DR. HUMPHEREY BATE AND HIS POSSSUM HUNTERS


Dr. Humphrey Bate was a country physician from Castillian Springs, Tennessee who founded the Possum Hunters. Oscar Stone and Bill Barret played the fiddles; Staley Walton and James Hart on guitars; Walter Leggett on banjo; and Oscar Albright on bowed bass. Alcyon Bate (Beasley), Bate's daughter, was also in the band playing uke, but did not record. They recorded 16 titles for Brunswick/Vocalion in 1928. They played a very early style of old-time music and continued to play well into the 1940's.

Humphrey Bate (May 25, 1875 – June 12, 1936) was an American harmonica player and string band leader. He was the first musician to play old-time music on Nashville-area radio, and is generally regarded as the first performer on what would eventually become the Grand Ole Opry. Bate and his band, which had been given the name "Dr. Humphrey Bate & His Possum Hunters" by Opry founder George D. Hay, remained regulars on the Grand Ole Opry until Bate's death in 1936. The band's recordings, while scant, are considered some of the most distinctive and complex string band compositions in the old-time genre.

In September 1925, Bate and his band became the first musicians to play old-time music on Nashville radio when they performed on the small local station WDAD. His band was th first and one of the most popular to appear on the early Grand Ole Opry.

Featuring the dramatic contrast between a smooth, flowing bowed bass and a Morse Code-sounding banjo, the Possum Hunters sound was very similar to Weem's String Band. The group played very actively on radio and in public until his death in 1936.


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In the Lowground From The 20's or 30's




THE TENNESSEE RAMBLERS:

This group’s appeal was fairly local but it was important to the period. While the name Tennessee Ramblers was used by other bands later on, the original Ramblers were this group of 4 Knoxville relatives.

A state as wide as Tennessee encourages rambling, so it comes as no surprise that there are bands called the Tennessee Ramblers, two in fact, in the field of old-time country music alone. This biography concerns itself with the Tennessee Ramblers from East Tennessee, whose late-'20s recordings led to several decades of incredible regional popularity, and a combo lifetime that extends well beyond average. This is not the Tennessee Ramblers that recorded for Bluebird, however. No, the East Tennessee bunch came to be known as the Sievers Ramblers among the old-time music crowd, because it was the last name Sievers, found as a composer credit on a nicked-up antique record, that marked the trail of discovery that this family band was still actively playing around the Knoxville area a half a century after they made their first records. Father William Sievers, who came to be known under the Fiddlin' Bill Sievers moniker, started out playing with his son James and daughter Willie in the '20s, filling out the ensemble with their cousin, lap and pedal steel player Walter McKinney. It didn't hurt that he was a specialist in the art of Hawaiian music, and following the head of the family's death in 1955, the aloha style took over almost completely. Mack's Novelty Hawaiians became the combo's new name from then on, another way to differentiate them from the other Tennessee Ramblers, who kept their allegiance to the land of moonshine rather than switching over to kona and macadamia nuts. Mack is a nickname for James. Fiddlin' Bill was born in 1875 near Oak Ridge, TN, just a few miles down the road from where he would eventually settle to raise his own family. A barber by day, he learned a lot of what he knew about old-time music from a blues and ragtime group called the Kinser Brothers whose main venue was a little patch of ground down by the livery stables. Another massive local influence was a fiddler named Old Bill Jones. All of this old-time musical knowledge was passed along to the children when the time came, all of them unable to remember a time when some relative wasn't picking a banjo or playing a fiddle tune around the house. The children were born in Clinton; James or Mack in 1904 and Willie five years later. Mack first remembers cousin Walter coming over and engaging him in music in 1913; the first song he played was "Jesse James," on a gourd banjo. Most of his banjo style he picked up from Steve Cole of North Anderson County, TN, and another influence was the banjo picking of Arthur Giles, who had a three-finger-and-thumb style that was considered unusual. Younger sister Willie went for piano, and was sent off to a teacher for more formal training. The result: She was sent home after one lesson because the teacher judged her to be a "by the ear" player who would never take to any other approach. She promptly taught herself guitar to prove the point, later winning quite a few picking contests on the instrument. The children began performing in school but were soon guided into semi-professional status by their father. The conflict between Hawaiian and old-time music began even then, with the senior partner preferring the latter. The kids were winning either way, however, because the slide-heavy music of the islands had had a continuing influence on old-time music anyway. The band travelled a great deal around America up until the early '30s, getting into the north and as far south as Florida. Not all their gigs were small by any means. They performed at an enormous banquet held by millionaire industrialist Harvey Firestone and for thousands of people at an open air concert in St. Petersburg, FL. They also performed quite frequently on radio stations around the country. Many well-known old-time musicians performed with them as guests or in short-term collaborations, including Charlie Bowman, who later became manager of the group. Frank Wilson, who billed himself as "the world's greatest comical Hawaiian guitarist" and was a recording artist for Vitaphone, used the Sievers family as a backup band. Georgia fiddler Earl Johnson was a good friend of the family and would join forces with him for gigs or fiddling contests. But their most famous collaborator, bar none, was the little boy they would bring onstage. He was such a little tyke he had to stand on a stool in order to play. He called himself Junior Haines but grew into a much bigger status as one half of the country comedy team Homer and Jethro. It is said that one cannot follow up a performance by a child, but Willie would certainly try. By then just picking the guitar wasn't enough for her, and she was known for both juggling her six-string and playing it with her feet. This aspect of the band's act failed to make it onto their recordings, which they began making in 1928 for Brunswick, moving on to the Vocalion label in 1930. The first sessions for the former company were something of a landmark orgy in old-time music, resulting in dozens of classic releases by the likes of Bascom Lunsford, the Kessinger Brothers, the North Carolina Ramblers, Vernon Dalhart, the Cumberland Mountain Entertainers, and if that isn't enough even some gospel performers showed up. The first of the Ramblers' releases was "Arkansas Traveler" with a flip side of "Cackling Pullet." Some of the recordings from these and later sessions went unreleased until nearly 50 years later, and at that time were marketed without the permission, or even the knowledge of, the original performers. It is suspected that some of these recordings were studio warm-ups, done without the group even knowing the tape was rolling. McKinney left the group in 1931, relocating to the west coast and coming up with a new stage name, Sagebrush McKinney. He appeared in several western films with Ken Maynard and remained active in cowboy music until his death in 1960. The death of Fiddlin' Bill in 1954 caused the major change in the family's professional music, resulting in the name change and shift in direction toward Polynesia. Some fans felt the younger Sievers had "got above their raising," abandoning the good old country music, but one thing was for sure. There was no replacing the dynamic fiddling style of their father, although Mack made a good try. During the '70s the band played regularly around east Tennessee, most of the gigs at country fairs or luaus. Willie absorbed some mainstream jazz influences, and the old-timers even got into a bit of rock before retiring.


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SHEPHERD BROTHERS

As a recording artist, Bill Shepherd has released such successful albums as the pop instrumental LP Shepherd and His Flock in 1959 and, in 1968, the Aurora LP. It is as an engineer, and later a producer/arranger, however, that he had a major impact on popular music by virtue of his association with the Bee Gees. The British-born Shepherd had first achieved notice in the pop world in 1959 with his work as producer/composer on a film called Idle on Parade, which attempted to put Anthony Newley into a kind of rock & roll comedy vehicle. He also worked with legendary producer Joe Meek during the early '60s and cut a song with Gene Vincent, conducting the orchestral accompaniment for the American rock legend in 1963 before emigrating to Australia in 1964. Shepherd joined Festival Records and first began working with Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb in 1965 on their recording of Arthur Alexander's "Every Day I Have to Cry" and the Barry Gibb-authored B-side, "You Wouldn't Know." Shepherd departed Australia for England in 1966, and by 1967 was back working with the Bee Gees, this time under the auspices of manager/producer Robert Stigwood. He was responsible for many of the arrangements and the conducting of many accompaniments on their '60s recordings, from small string ensembles to 30-piece orchestras, in effect serving the same function with this group that George Martin had with the Beatles. Shepherd's good professional relationship with the group in those years, along with his musical range, allowed him to work in any of the idioms in which they chose to record, from psychedelia to pop ballads, and he was, at least as much as guitarist Vince Melouney or drummer Colin Petersen, a full-time member of the group in everything but name. Indeed, in those years the group often toured England and performed on-stage with an orchestra in tow, and Shepherd was very much the architect of their sound. In 1968, Shepherd also released an album entitled Aurora on which he conducted a soft pop chorus in performances of songs composed by the Gibb brothers. He remained closely involved with all of the group's work up to and including To Whom It May Concern, which was their last album done in England. Only on the rather more ambitious double-LP Odessa did he cede any of the arranging chores, in that instance to Paul Buckmaster. Although his relationship with the group ended in 1972, Shepherd's arrangements and conducting for the group are still spoken of highly by all concerned. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guid


Banjoist Hayes Shepherd (his given name is sometimes listed as Hays) lived in the Jenkins area of eastern Kentucky, near the Kentucky/Virginia border in Letcher County, an area famous for its old-time banjo players. Shepherd (affectionately dubbed "the Appalachia Vagabond"), in conjunction with his brothers Bill Shepherd (fiddle) and Hence Shepherd (also a banjo player), recorded ten tracks in various instrumental configurations for Lonesome Ace Records in 1932. Only four of the sides were ever issued, two under Bill Shepherd's name ("Bound Steel Blues" and "Aunt Jane Blues") and two that were credited to Hayes Shepherd ("Hard for to Love" and "Peddler and His Wife"). "Peddler and His Wife" was based on the 1896 murder of a peddler that led to the last public hanging in Harlan County, Kentucky. Shepherd, like another blues banjo player from the area, Dock Boggs, spent most of his life working in the Appalachian mines. ~ Steve Leggett, All Music Guide



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Hard For to Love




TAYLOR- GRIGGS LOUISIANA MELODY MAKERS

The music of Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers from near Arcadia, Louisiana, was distinctive. It was by far the mellowest and smoothest of any old-time band that recorded. These characteristics, which are representative of deep southern styling, were heightened by a choice of material that featured predominately slow vocals and waltzes. The beautiful bowed double bass playing of Ausie Grigg added to this effect. The four selections made at their irst recording session (the band shown here) featured either Foster Taylor or Robrert Grigg ( Ausie’s father ) on fiddle. Ausie , on double bass, and his sisters Lorean on mandolin and Ione on guitar. Vocals were sung by brother Croc kett, Robert, and Clavie Taylor ( a nephew of Foster’s ) The second Victor Records session, at which six selections were recorded, featured foster, Ausie, Bun Hiser on mandolin, Henry Galloway on guitar, and Oscar Logan on vocals. All ten of these recordings have a quality that makes them seem suspended in time, and as such convey perfectly the laconic grace of deep southern life.

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Where the Sweet Magnolias Bloom https://www.juneberry78s.com/otmsampler/otmsampat361.html




FIDDLIN’ POWERS & FAMILY

No finer old-time traditional band ever recorded than Fiddlin'Powers and Family.

From Russell County, Virginia came a powerful fiddler in Cowan Powers. The remainder of the band consisted of his three daughters and son: Charlie played banjo and sang, Ada played ukulele, Opha Lou played mandolin and Carrie Belle played guitar. Carrie Belle had been tutored by Byrd Moore, Earl Johnson's guitar player, and added greatly to the strength of their performances.
The oldest material originates from Fiddlin' Powers & Family, representing, as Charles Wolfe points out, the earliest recordings of a professional string band.
The groups early acoustic ( before the 1926 advent of electric microphones) recordings for Victor and Edison Records don't capture the real brilliance of their performances as do the four great electric selections made for Okeh Records in 1927, where Cowan's remarkable tone is especially apparent. Many old-time fiddlers were able to produce such full, rich, liquid tone, sounding almost as if their fiddles were filled with water. Today no one can reproduce the amazing tone of fiddlers like Powers. Adding greatly to the cohesive strength of the Powers band was the superb guitar playing of Carrie Belle. Strangely enough for an instrument that is now viewed as a central component of most traditional American music, the guitar was scorned by most rural performers during its first few decades on the scene. It was stigmatized in its early days as a polite parlor instrument that was socially advantageous for young girls to play. It wasn't until the turn of the century that it began to become a significant instrument in other black and white music.



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Ida Red




HAPPY HAYSEEDS

When the “string bands” who played early forms of country music first emerged in the Northwest, they were regarded as “territory” bands that typically performed at rural barn dances and grange hall hoe-downs all across the region.
The most notable of these local old-timer groups was Laam's Happy Hayseeds, who were originally based out of the rural town of John Day, Oregon. Formed by brothers -- Ivan Laam (fiddle) and Fred Laam (banjo) and joined by the latter's son, Logan Laam (guitar), Ivan Laam (fiddle), and Fred Laam (banjo) -- the group began performing in the 1920s, traveled widely on the West Coast, and when they recorded a couple tunes (“Cottonwood Reel” and “Home Sweet Home”) on March 4th, 1930, that were released nationally by Victor Records, the group became one of the earliest string bands anywhere to be documented on record.

The Laam family was in a totally different musical environment in Oregon from that which was documented on most rural recordings of the 1920's. They represent an intriguing byway of American music that has gone almost totally undocumented... a world of quadrilles, quicksteps, and other such quaint relics of old-time popular dancing. The Laam family moved to California in the 1920's and it was there that the Hayseeds recorded their four issued selections for Victor Records.



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Just audio of The Cotton Reel
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