BIG SLIM The Lone Cowboy

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The complete Arc recordings of Big Slim, The Lone Cowboy, comprising of three LPs released 1961-1964, are presented here. Below is a brief biography of Big Slim from "Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia" by Ivan M. Tribe (The University Of Kentucky Press, 1984):

One of the musicians who came to WWVA as a Border Rider soon branched out on his own. Big Slim McAuliffe had already experienced a wide degree of geographic and occupational variety. Born in Mercer County, West Virginia, on May 9, 1903 (or 1899, or 1904, or 1905), the facts of Slim’s personal life have become somewhat clouded largely because of his own capacity for contradictory statements. For instance, in a 1939 autobiographical statement in one of his songbooks Slim claimed to have been born in the city of Bluefield and on a 750-acre farm. He also contended he had been orphaned at eight, left home at eleven, and become a radio trick rider that same year, while on another page he displayed a contemporary photo of his father. Slim also punched cows and railroaded according to his “Life Story” before entering radio work in 1929. He gained radio experience in Pittsburgh and on a border station at Eagle Pass, Texas. On December 17, 1936, he did a session for Decca under the name Big Slim Aliff which included the initial recording of the country standard “Footprints in the Snow” under that title. He came to WWVA late in 1937. At five feet eleven inches and 1 75 pounds he was neither very big nor very slim, but the nickname did seem to be in character with his other qualities.
Big Slim possessed a rich and deep voice and rendered good versions of both common and more obscure western songs such as “The Strawberry Roan” and “Patanio, the Pride of the Plains.” He also sang mountain ballads like “Hills of Roane County” and copyrighted some good original material such as “On the Sunnyside of the Mountain” and “Moonlight on My Cabin” (although he reportedly wrote none of them). Slim had other talents which supplemented his stage shows, including whip and rope tricks along with a trained horse act. While the Lone Cowboy generally stayed close to WWVA, he went to other stations for brief stints and later helped younger artists such as Hank Snow and Hawkshaw Hawkins.

Harry C. "Big Slim" McAuliffe passed away in 1966, two years after the release of his last Arc album.

Big Slim The Lone Cowboy
Arc 523

1. Sunny Side Of The Mountain
2. Put Me In Your Pocket
3. Where The Old Red River Flows
4. Wondering
5. Thought I Heard You Call My Name
6. Release Me
7. Patanio
8. Golden River
9. Speckled Bird No. 4
10. Rainbows End
11. Tragic Romance
12. Over The Hill

*download here*

Big Slim "The Lone Cowboy"
"Old Favourites" Arc 544

1. Little Joe
2. Go Down To The Graveyard
3. Pink Party Dress
4. Footprints In The Snow
5. Blue Velvet Band
6. Little Blossom
7. Old Rover
8. Cowboy Dance
9. Don't Blame The Children
10. Will You Love Me When I'm Old

*download here*

Big Slim The Lone Cowboy With The Blue Valley Boys
"On Tour With Big Slim" Arc 583

01-Rainbow at Midnight
02-Letter Edged in Black
03-Billy Veneero
04-Old Shep
05-Mother Queen of My Heart
06-Oklahoma Hills
07-Little Old Rag Doll
08-Never Say Goodbye
09-Weary River
10-When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold

*download here*

BUCK OWENS Country Hit Maker #1

An early bird Starday Saturday special! This collection of early Buck tracks plus some covers by Starday standbys popped up through the years with a few different covers and issue numbers. This edition is from 1965, and supposedly Buck worked a deal with Don Pierce to sell it at live shows at a time when Owens wasn't getting along so well with Capitol. All great stuff, enjoy!


1. Buck Owens-Down On The Corner Of Love
2. Buck Owens-There Goes My Love
3. Tommy Hill-Above And Beyond
4. Buck Owens-The House Down The Block
5. Cowboy Copas-Under The Influence Of Love
6. Cowboy Copas & Dottie West-Mental Cruelty
7. Buck Owens-Sweethearts In Heaven
8. Buck Owens-It Don't Show On Me
9. Eddie Wilson-Foolin' Around
10. Buck Owens-Right After The Dance
11. Darrell McCall-Excuse Me (I Think I've Got A Heartache)
12. Cowboy Copas & Dottie West-Loose Talk

*download here*


Sunday, April 17, 2016

I am very pleased to present yet another rare LP on the Audio Lab label, "A Variety Of Country Sacred Songs". This fantastic transfer comes to us courtesy of the Attic's good friend Rounder, who previously sent the J.E. Mainer track from this album to add to the recent post of J.E.'s King recordings. Thanks Rounder!
Standard vintage King country gospel fare comprises this 1961 collection, with many great titles including the Delmores and Turners as the "Harlan County Four" and early Johnny & Jack as "King's Sacred Quartet". Prime stuff....


1. Brother Claude Ely-Holy, Holy, Holy
2. Shorty Long-No Wars In Heaven
3. Harlan County Four-Show Me The Way
4. Bill Franklin-That Moon's No Stopping Place For Me
5. Esco Hankins-Wait For The Light To Shine
6. J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers-If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
7. Wade Mainer-I'm Not Looking Backward
8. Trace Family Trio-Take Time To Understand
9. Gene Davis-I Won't Tell Anybody But My Lord
10. Kitty Mann-My Bright Tomorrow
11. King's Sacred Quartet-I'll Be Listening
12. Gurney Thomas-Jesus And Mother

*download here*

Tennessee Fiddler CHUBBY WISE and the Rainbow Ranch Boys

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I am most glad to present today a truly classic Starday album by one of country music's greatest and most legendary old time fiddlers, the late Robert Russell "Chubby" Wise. This 1962 LP was his first, and many of its tracks found their way onto various Starday and Gusto compilations through the years. Interestingly, the sessions were recorded at Chubby's boss Hank Snow's home studio, and he contributed notes as well. Although these notes credit "Gene Martin on the open-string Martin flat-top guitar", I have to wonder if the Singing Ranger himself isn't playing some of the acoustic guitar here as it seems to have his characteristically stiff but rhythmic quality. I would imagine that as he was contacted to RCA Victor he couldn't be credited here, although there is no way to know for sure.
Starday honcho Don Pierce and Snow's notes are below:

“Fiddlin”, country style, has become a highly developed art in the United States and Canada. Some 36 years ago, the World famous Grand Ole Opry started in Nashville, Tennessee with a weekly gathering of Tennessee fiddlers playing a variety of the tunes that expressed the joys, sadness, love, sorrow, and hardship of our rural people.
The great old fiddle tunes, played in waltz time, in rag time, and with the real traditional southern blues feeling have been “hard to get” in recent years. Therefore, Starday is fortunate to be able to offer this outstanding collection of recordings in the true Tennessee Fiddler style by Chubby Wise, a long time favorite at the Grand Ole Opry, and accompanied by Hank Snow’s internationally famous Rainbow Ranch Boys. We were also fortunate to obtain the valued assistance of the one and only Hank Snow, an all time country music great, to produce the recordings at the studio in his Rainbow Ranch home in Nashville, Tennessee. Hank has been an outstanding recording star for RCA-Victor for over 25 years and is presently one of RCA’s top selling country artists.
Hank, and his Rainbow Ranch Boys are known throughout the world for the purity of their country music style. Since Chubby Wise has been Hank’s assistant for many years in the management of the Rainbow Ranch Boys, and has appeared with Hank throughout the United States and Canada, we feel that no one is better qualified than Mr. Hank Snow to provide the following interesting highlights concerning the personality and career of the featured artist, Chubby Wise.

DON PIERCE, President

“During the many years that Chubby Wise has worked with me and my Rainbow Ranch Boys, we have covered a lot of territory, met a lot of wonderful people, and made many wonderful friends. We have had so many requests from our friends for recordings of the many fiddle tunes that Chubby Wise plays on our personal appearances, on my RCA-Victor records, and on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry, that I personally wanted his fiddle work to be recorded. We welcomed the opportunity to work with Starday Records on this project because Starday is a label that specializes in the traditional type of country music that seems to become more popular every year. Let me point out a few things about my good friend, Chubby Wise, the Tennessee Fiddler extraordinary.
“Chubby has been a professional fiddler for 30 years. His childhood was spent in the Lake City, Florida area, but in 1942, he entered on the Tennessee musical scene as a member of Bill Monroe’s famous Bluegrass Boys on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Chubby played fiddle on all of Bill Monroe’s older recordings on the Columbia label. The recognition he received for his fiddle work with Bill Monroe resulted in the opportunity to record with many other great country music stars such as Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and Jimmy Martin, to name only a few.
“In 1948, Chubby joined the Clyde Moody band working out of Washington, D.C. A little later on, he was a regular on Connie B. Gay’s GAYTIME TV SHOW out of Washington. Then he appeared with Elton Britt on a TV show for several months.
“It was in 1954 that he joined my Rainbow Ranch Boys and he’s been with us ever since. He’s the leader and head arranger of the Band and a sincere and dedicated person that I have enjoyed working with. In 1957, I had the pleasure of working with Chubby Wise on the “Perry Como Show”. We have appeared on radio, television, stages and recordings together for many years. Our type of music is not written out, but it is played from the heart, spontaneously, and each member of the group has to know his job. Chubby is a good showman, a good musician, and above all, he is the type of person that can spend long hours on the road and still look fresh and put on a good performance for the fine people who honor our show by coming to see us.
On the personal side, Chubby Wise is married, has one daughter, and lives in Nashville. His hobbies are fishing and fiddlin’. We’ve had many good times together but we have never had more fun than the informal get-togethers when these recordings were made at the small studio that I have in my home in Nashville.
“Gathered together was Howard White, on steel guitar, Gene Martin on the open-string Martin flat-top guitar. Ed Hyde on rhythm guitar and Junior Huskey played bass. The boys took their time and rambled through a collection of the great old songs that are the most adaptable for the Chubby Wise fiddlin’ style. We wanted to offer a variety of tunes and the listener can tell that these boys were having a ball.
“Speaking on behalf of all the Rainbow Ranch Boys, this old Singin’ Ranger hopes that folks in the U.S. and Canada, and all over the world for that matter, enjoy this music as much as we enjoyed recording it.”

Country Musically,



1. Opry Fiddler's Blues
2. Peacock Rag
3. New Sidewalk Waltz
4. Memphis Blues
5. Shenandoah Waltz
6. Rainbow Breakdown
7. Orange Blossom Fiddle
8. Smoky Mountain Waltz
9. Tennessee Blues
10. Cacklin' Hen
11. Georgiana Moon
12. Whistlin' Rufus

*download here*

J.E. MAINER'S MOUNTAINEERS King Recordings 1946-1961

Saturday, March 26, 2016

More great Mainer music is presented in this post which features the recordings J.E. and his Mountaineers made for the King label during three sessions in 1946 and a later session in 1961. The bulk of the 1946 recordings, first released as 78 rpm singles, were collected on the 1959 LP "Good Ole' Mountain Music" (King 666) while the 1961 outing resulted in "A Variety Album" (King 765). Both the 1946 and 1961 sessions heavily featured J.E.'s son, Glen Mainer on vocals and banjo.
Both albums are included here with bonus tracks from the respective sessions. From the final 1946 session in October of that year, "Walking For The Lord" and "Before Judgement Day" were issued as a single on King 851, and both were later included on Audio Lab country gospel compilations. "If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again" is the only issued track from the 1946 sessions not included here, apparently it was only released on a very rare Audio Lab LP (AL-1557) >>> THANKS TO THE ATTIC'S FRIEND ROUNDER, THIS TRACK IS NOW INCLUDED AS TRACK 19 OF KING 666 <<<. From the 1961 sessions, "Mainer's Jews Harp" and "Get Away Old Man, Get Away" were issued on 45 as King 45-5522, while "Hard Times In A Cotton Mill" and "I've Take My Fun Where I've Found It" (a bizarre and surreal hillbilly adaptation of the 1922 Rudyard Kipling poem "The Ladies") remained unissued until they were included on a 2011 Mainer compilation.

J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers
"Good Old Mountain Music" King 666

1. What'll I Do With The Baby-O
2. Workin' On A Buildin'
3. John Henry
4. Run Mountain
5. I'm Not Turning Backward
6. The Lonely Train
7. Pale Moonlight
8. Gathering Flowers From The Hillside
9. Shoot The Turkey Buzzard
10. Mother's Only Sleeping
11. Johnson County Blues
12. Big Ball's In Town
13. The Forks Of The Road
14. The Yodelin' Mountaineer
15. I'll Remember You Love In My Prayers
16. Lonely Tombs
17. Walking For The Lord (bonus track)
18. Before Judgement Day (bonus track)
19-If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again (bonus track)

*download here*

J.E. Mainer And His Mountaineers
"A Variety Album" King 765

1. Mainer's Breakdown
2. Echos
3. Ticklish David
4. Glen's Chimes
5. Johnson's Old Grey Mule
6. Country Breakdown
7. Nobody's Business
8. Old Number Nine
9. Pretty Moon
10. Little Adobe Shack
11. I'll Be True To The One I Love
12. Forty Years Ago
13. Don't Tease Me This Way
14. Tears At The Altar
15. Take Hold Of My Hand
16. I Can Hear My Mother Praying
17. Hard Times In A Cotton Mill (bonus track)
18. I've Take My Fun Where I've Found It (bonus track)
19. Mainer's Jews Harp (bonus track)
20. Get Away Old Man, Get Away (bonus track)

*download here*


Saturday, March 19, 2016

While rummaging through a box of cassettes I've hung onto through the years, I ran across a tape that brought me a pang of nostalgia. It was a Maxell XL II-S 100 onto which I had taped both sides of 18 of my favourites of the Buff Bluebird 78s I had at that point managed to latch onto. I taped them about fifteen years ago, before computers had entered my life to any real extent, when with the exception of a few CDs that I enjoyed, the majority of my music consumption was an analog affair. At that time I was living between the family farmhouse outside Chatham and an apartment in the west end of Windsor, Ontario, where I was regularly playing the bars, or anywhere that would let me bombard patrons with my repertoire of old time, western swing, country, jazz, blues, or anything else I could figure out by listening to the hoard of old records I had gathered. I would often tape material from old records to either play in my truck, trade with other collectors, or to hand out at my shows to both proselytize the music and make people remember the weirdo who gave them a tape and perhaps come out and see me again!
I made these tapes directly without any processing, although I did learn that running the signal back to mono on 78s (or mono LPs) made the results sound MUCH quieter (a concept that many in the digital age seem to unfortunately have not yet embraced). For 78's I used a BSR changer with a ceramic cart run through an unnamed 50s vintage mono tube preamp, and despite the humbleness of the setup, the results stand up fairly well today. Therefore I have transferred the cassette as is, applying only a slight bit of noise reduction to the tape hiss, but in no way have I declicked or denoised the actual 78 signal. Looking back, I really was living a charmed life, able to spend countless free hours lounging around a country house, listening to 78s long into the night, smoking a pipe with my feet up, and learning the material off them to play to appreciative crowds in some of the last of Southwestern Ontario's old school smoky dives...

The music:

Some of the performers here are well-known, some not, and some of these tracks are widely available on legit reissues while some seem not to have circulated in digital form. A few notes about the artists and the tunes follow, with more detail given for more obscure performers.

Jesse Rodgers: Jesse was Jimmie Rodgers' first cousin and was groomed as his successor in the years following the "Yodeling Brakeman's" death. He sort of sounds like a much "croonery" version of his famous cousin. Biography here.

Fred Kirby: Kirby was a veteran country singer and children's TV host who is best remembered for his 1945 topical song "Atomic Power". "My Heavenly Sweetheart" is fairly typical sentimental fare, while "My Man" is anything but. While it was not entirely strange for singers on old recordings to sing from the perspective of the opposite sex (Sara Carter often did), I can't help but think this song may have been recorded with the intention of eliciting a few snickers around the jukebox. Biography here.

Blue Sky Boys: "The Dying Boy's Prayer" is also known by its first line "Companions Draw Nigh".

Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers: I use the term "hillbilly" loosely to describe this collection, it includes a range of rural North American styles popular during the depression from old time ballads and fiddle tunes to cowboy songs and western swing.

Jimmie Revard and His Oklahoma Playboys: More great early western swing. Biography here.

McClendon Brothers with Georgia Dell: From "Linthead Stomp: The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South" by Patrick Huber (2008):

Ralph Rupert McClendon (1907-76). Native of Alabama (probably born in Randolph County); husband of Adelle Bassett (who performed under the name Georgia Dell); worked as a weaver in a LaGrange, Georgia, textile mill, along with his father and several of his siblings; fiddler and singer for the McClendon Brothers with Georgia Dell, which recorded a total of nineteen selections at RCA-Victor field sessions in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Rock Hill, South Carolina, between 1936 and 1938.

From "Country Music Records : A Discography, 1921-1942" by Tony Russell (2004):


McClendon Brothers With Georgia Dell: Rupert McClendon; prob. Buster McClendon. g; Georgia Dell, v-3.
Charlotte, NC
Sunday, October 11, 1936

02507-1 The Story Of Love Divine -3 BB B-6740
02509-1 Gamblin’ On The Sabbath -3 BB B-6740

Monroe Brothers: Credited on the label as "Charles and Bill" (!).

Rambling Rangers: From "Country Music Records : A Discography, 1921-1942" by Tony Russell (2004):


Curtis Streets, Edward Conway, Norwood Conway, v trio; acc. prob. one of them, g.
Charlotte, NC
Thursday, February 18, 1937

07141-1 Wyoming For Me BB B-6914, MW M-7366
07142-i Memory Lane BB 8-6914, MW M-7366

Delmore Brothers: "No One" is a Delmore original that seems reminiscent of Albert E. Brumley's "Rank Strangers".

Jordan Brothers: From "Country Music Records : A Discography, 1921-1942" by Tony Russell (2004):


Thomas Jordan, md/v; ChalmersJordan, g/v; Hershel Jordan, g/v
Charlotte, NC
Monday, August 2, 1937

011837-1 Georgia Mountain Home BB B-7123
011838-1 Goin’ Back Home BB B-7235
011839-1 When We Put On An Old Pair Of Shoes BB B-7235
011841-1 An Answer To Birmingham Jail BB B-7123, MW M-7655

To my ears, the Jordan Brothers sound highly influenced by the Callahan Brothers.

Arthur Smith Trio: The Arthur Smith Trio was of course Fiddlin' Arthur Smith accompanied by Alton and Rabon Delmore. A pairing of fiddle tunes and a pair of sides with vocals are included here.

J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers: Two spiritual sides, one a departed mother adaptation of "Lamplighting Time In The Valley". Although not credited on the label, the vocal on "Lamp Lighting Time In Heaven" is by Leonard Stokes, while "I'm Living The Right Life Now" (later popularized by Molly O'Day) is a vocal duet by Leonard Stokes and George Morris.

Bob Hartsell: From "Country Music Records : A Discography, 1921-1942" by Tony Russell (2004):


Bob Hartsell v/y acc. unknown md-1; unknown g.
Charlotte, NC

Monday, February 15, 1937
07005-1 I’m A Handsome Man -1 BB B-7439, MW M-7169
07006-1 Rambling Freight Train Yodel BB B-7439, MW M-7169

Bob Hartsell also recorded as a member of The Three Tobacco Tags on two 1938 sessions.

The Rambling Duet: In addition to the many recordings by the Dixon Brothers, Howard Dixon cut several sides with Frank Gerald, a fellow East Rockingham, N.C. mill worker.

The last four selections were releases on Bluebird's Canadian line, recorded in Montreal.

Smiling Dick: Little seems to know about "Smiling Dick, The Saskatchewan Roamer". The present disc is the first of his four 78s released on Bluebird, all in 1936. In "Cogitations II" by Victor P. Epp (2005) a chapter written by the author's father, Peter W. Epp (1887-1983) recounts his early life in rural Saskatchewan and contains following passage:

"In the spring of 1913 the Funks bought a farm in the Gouldtown district, where the Bengt Rosetts later lived. That is where Dick Funk or Smiling Dick the Saskatchewan Roamer grew up. As a young man he sang, yodeled and played his guitar over a radio station in Saskatoon, and later in Calgary. This was during the hungry thirties."

The text also recounts that the elder Epp married into the Funk family.

Tex Cochrane: Nova Scotian Tex Cochrane made sides issued on Bluebird in late 1930s at the time when the label's output was dominated by Wilf Carter and Hank "The Yodeling Ranger" Snow. Biography here.


 1. Be Nobody's Darling But Mine (A)
 2. (In A Little Shanty) Hummin' To My Honey (B)
    Jesse Rodgers, Singing With Guitar (B-6066) 1935
 3. My Man (A)
 4. My Heavenly Sweetheart (B)
    Fred Kirby, Singing and Yodeling With Guitar (B-6597) 1936
 5. The Dying Boy's Prayer (A)
 6. I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail (B)
    Blue Sky Boys (Bill And Earl Bolick), Singing With Mandolin And Guitar (B-6621) 1936
 7. An Old Water Mill By A Waterfall - Fox Trot (A)
 8. Show Me The Way To Go Home - Fox Trot (B)
    Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers, With Singing (B-6715) 1936
 9. Ride 'Em Cowboy - Fox Trot (A)
10. Triflin' Gal - Fox Trot (B)
    Jimmie Revard and His Oklahoma Playboys, Singing By Eddie Whiteby (B-6739) 1936
11. The Story Of Love Divine (A)
12. Gamblin' On The Sabbath (B)
    McClendon Brothers with Georgia Dell, Singing With Guitar (B-6740) 1936
13. I Am Thinking Tonight Of The Old Folks (A)
14. Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms (B)
    Monroe Brothers (Charles and Bill), Singing With Guitar And Mandolin (B-6773) 1936
15. Wyoming For Me (A)
16. Memory Lane (B)
    Rambling Rangers (Curtis Streets, Edward and Norwood Conway), Singing With Guitar (B-6914) 1937
17. Take Away This Lonesome Day (A)
18. No One (B)
    Delmore Brothers (Alton And Rabon), Singing With Guitars (B-6998) 1937
19. An Answer To Birmingham Jail (A)
20. Georgia Mountain Home (B)
    Jordan Brothers (Thomas, Chalmers and Hershel), Singing With Mandolin And Guitars (B-7123) 1937
21. Beautiful Mabel Clare (A)
22. Beautiful Memories (B)
    Arthur Smith Trio, Singing With Violin And Guitars (B-7203) 1937
23. Goin' Back Home (A)
24. When We Put On An Old Pair Of Shoes (B)
    Jordan Brothers (Thomas, Chalmers and Hershel), Singing With Mandolin And Guitars (B-7235) 1937
25. Lamp Lighting Time In Heaven (A)
26. I'm Living The Right Life Now (B)
    J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers, Singing With Mandolin And Guitar (B-7412) 1938
27. I'm A Handsome Man (A)
28. Rambling Freight Train Yodel (B)
    Bob Hartsell, Singing With Yodelling And Guitar (B-7439) rec. 1937, rel. 1938
29. Indian Creek (A)
30. Smith's Breakdown (B)
    Arthur Smith Trio, Violin And Guitars (B-7511) rec. 1937, rel. 1938
31. Prisoner's Plea (A)
32. There's A Place In My Home For Mother (B)
    The Rambling Duet (Frank Gerald and Howard Dixon), Singing With Guitars (B-7574) 1938
33. I Long For The Old Home Again (A)
34. The Girl Who Played Injun With Me (B)
    Smiling Dick ("The Saskatchewan Roamer"), Singing And Yodeling With Guitar (B-4609) 1936
35. Goin' Home In The Twilight (A)
36. I Miss You Dear Old Dad (B)
    Tex Cochrane "The Yodeling Trail Rider", Singing With Guitar (B-4638) 1938

*download here*

WADE MAINER Live For Collectors

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Another post today in celebration of of the legendary Mainer family, this time centered on the career of brother Wade and his Sons of the Mountaineers. Twelve years back, I had the pleasure of attending Mr. Mainer's 97th birthday celebration/concert in Fenton, Michigan. Wade had lived in the area (namely, in Flint) since the early 50's. He would go on to live unto the ripe old age of 104, and I have to say, when I saw him perform he was still robust, and sang with the voice that was so recognizable from his many recordings in the 78 era of classic southern string band music.
This post is drawn from two cassettes I purchased at that concert, both late offerings of the now apparently defunct Old Homestead label. The first of these is titled "Live For Collectors" and is a true gem, consisting of live recordings from the late 60's and early 70's of Wade and his original band mates from the classic era, including his brother J.E., Zeke and Wiley Morris, and Steve Ledford. It is truly amazing to hear these legends re-create their depression-era string band classics, and it's hard for me to believe these recordings haven't been circulated more. The final track is an "interview" with Wade, or at least a somewhat loose conversation, conducted by Old Homestead's John Morris at Virgil Shouse's (another veteran Old Homestead alumni) studio. Although perhaps a novel idea, this recording gives so much of an idea of the late Mainer's great character, a character of which everyone in attendance at the birthday celebration I attended had no doubt, that I believe it to be the perfect souvenir of the occasion.
I have also included in this post a cassette only release, "Carolina Mule", also recorded at Shouse Studio in October of 1992 when Wade was in his 85th year. I believe this to have been his last regular album release, and it finds him and his late wife Julia in fine form, much the way I remember them in Fenton. I hope all followers of the Attic will appreciate these rare recordings by true legends of American old time music!

Wade Mainer - Live For Collectors - With The Original Mainer's Mountaineers


1. Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar
2. Buckin' Mule
3. Little Birdie
4. On Top Of Old Smokey
5. Train 45
6. Concord Rag
7. Cacklin' Hen
8. A Beautiful Life
9. Going Down The Road Feeling Bad
10. Lonely Tombs
11. Going Down Town
12. Buckin' Mule
13. Rose Conlee
14. The Train That Took My Girl From Town
15. Poor Drunkard's Dream
16. Gone, Gone, Gone
17. Tricklin' Waters
18. Big Eyed Rabbit
19. Live interview with Wade Mainer

*download here*

Wade Mainer - Carolina Mule


1. There'll Come A Time
2. Ring On Your Hand
3. When The Train Comes Along
4. When It's Lamplighting Time
5. Baby Jo
6. Run Mountain (Sugar In The Hill)
7. Gonna Lay Down My Old Banjo
8. Carolina Mule
9. On Old Jordans Side
10. The Cat Came Back
11. Sally Ann
12. Quit Kickin My Dog Around

*download here*

J.E. MAINER And His MOUNTAINEERS 70th Happy Birthday Album

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Brothers J.E. and Wade Mainer, in all their incarnations both together and apart, have always been among my very favourite performers of the old time music of the American south. This homey production on the Blue Jay label was produced in celebration of J.E. Mainer's 70th birthday on July 20, 1968. Present is A.P. and Sarah's daughter, Janette Carter, making this quite the summit of old time royalty! Because each side is a continuous program, both are presented here as a single mp3 file. Below are notes from the original LP:

J. E. Mainer was born in a one-room log cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has played on 199 radio stations, and appeared in person all over the South, and is one of the best-known exponents of true mountain music. His fame has spread all over the world wherever grass-roots music is enjoyed. Not only have simple folk enjoyed his music, but he has hob-nobbed with celebrities and public figures such as the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He has made hundreds of records, many of which are now collector’s items. His main interest these days is the making of fiddles in his shop, which he sells for $25 to $150. J. E. Mainer was the first to sign a recording contract with BLUE JAY RECORDS, and we are truly happy to have one of the greatest artists of all time with us. Janette Carter, who is now recording with BLUE JAY RECORDS, is also on this album as guest artist. She is the youngest daughter of A. P. and SARAH of the original CARTER FAMILY. She was featured on many of the CARTER FAMILY releases. She plays the autoharp and sings all the CARTER FAMILY songs that have also become collector’s items. BLUE JAY RECORDS considers it an honor to number J. E. MAINER and JANETTE CARTER among our fine artists. We hope this and our other fine recordings bring you hours of listening pleasure. The J. E. Mainer birthday celebration is an annual event with everyone invited to come and bring a picnic lunch. For more information, write to BLUE JAY RECORDS.
E. P. Williams, Owner


1. J.E. Mainer And His Mountaineers-70th Happy Birthday Album-Side 1
Theme, Leather Britches, Storms Are On The Ocean, Diamonds In The Rough, Pig In The Pen
2. J.E. Mainer And His Mountaineers-70th Happy Birthday Album-Side 2
Pig In The Pen, Chinese Breakdown, May I Sleep In Your Barn (Tonight Mister), Wildwood Flower, Ground Hog, Soldiers Joy, Down Yonder, Happy Birthday

*download here*


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

GREAT NEWS! The Attic's good friend Mr. Meadowlark has returned and his fantastic blog is once again online. A little bird (aka, a meadowlark...) told me there will be a few posts a week, and we can expect some great music as always. To visit Mr. Meadowlark's Music and Memories click on either the image in this post or the link below:


Saturday, February 27, 2016

This post is a great occasion to recognize a great personality of old time music, Bashful Brother Oswald. Born Beecher Ray Kirby, Oswald was for many, many years a member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys. On a personal note, as I reach middle age, I often reflect on my early memories of country music as presented by the Nashville media of my youth. Roy Acuff and Oswald were still featured frequently on a variety of shows that reached us from Music City, and I was always rapt with the real and heartfelt style of Acuff and crew. I remember hearing some of the tracks from this album on cassette compilations, and listening as I transferred this album I was brought back to the pleasant setting of my grandparents' "country" home. I hope you enjoy this old Starday album, and the memories it enlivens, as much as I. Liner notes are as follows:

One of America’s most beloved Country Music Entertainers is pictured on the front cover in a familiar pose. It’s Brother Oswald himself entertaining with Roy Acuff’s Smokey Mountain Boys on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee during a performance of the Grand Ole Opry. At long last, the pickin’, singin’ and good humor of Bashful Brother Oswald has been captured on records. Folks who enjoy and appreciate real, honest to goodness country entertainment, are in for a treat when they hear the remarkable collection of old time favorites done up in traditional mountain style by Brother Oswald accompanied by Roy Acuff’s internationally famous Smokey Mountain Boys.
For 25 years Os has been a featured performer with the Roy Acuff Show. In fact he has only missed two shows in all of that period, and he never has been late for a show. This means that millions of Americans have seen and heard this fabulous entertainer on stage and on television. And in recent years, with Roy Acuff’s band playing for American Armed Forces throughout the world, the antics, clowning, fun, plus the music of Bashful Brother Oswald has spread to the far corners of the earth. And millions more have seen and enjoyed Os in the several movies that he made with Roy Acuff also.
No one is better qualified to provide information concerning this artist than the one and only Roy Acuff, internationally acclaimed as the ‘King of Country Music’. We are indebted to Roy for the following data:

“Brother Oswald is much more than a valued member of my Smokey Mountain Boys. We enjoy the kind of friendship that comes from years of traveling and playing the only kind of music that we love and understand, and that’s ‘real Country Music’. Although known to millions as Bashful Brother Oswald, the real name is Pete Kirby, and he was born and raised in Sevierville, which is in Eastern Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains area near where I was born and raised. The name Brother Os seems to reflect the down home country personality of this remarkable entertainer and I’m afraid he’s stuck with it for life. Oswald’s dad was a barber and a farmer but he also played a fiddle and a 5-string banjo and these talents were passed on to Brother Os at an early age. Oswald started working in a saw mill, but his heart was with country music. He played and sang at house parties for the mountain people in East Tennessee and in those days the pay amounted to whatever was collected by passing the hat around after the performance. When only 18 years of age, Oswald left Sevierville and went to Flint, Michigan where he worked with several country music groups.
It wasn’t long before he was lonesome for the Tennessee Mountains so he journeyed back down south and got a job in a bakery in Knoxville.
I first met Os in 1938 when he performed with my band at a house party and he has been with me ever since.
I’ve never stopped to figure it out, but I figure we’ve traveled over a million miles together during the last 25 years and we have had many good times together. There is a certain comradeship that develops between country music entertainers who must be on the road a great deal of the time, travelling during all kinds of weather, having to meet tight schedules, and trying always to put on the kind of a country music show that will reflect credit and make friends for our kind of music. The loyalty, friendship, and entertainment ability of Bashful Brother Oswald has always set an example for the members of the Smokey Mountain Boys band.
Besides playing in every state in the United States, and all the provinces in Canada, Brother Oswald has been a featured member of my Smokey Mountain Boys on 5 trips to Germany where we have had the pleasure of entertaining members of our Armed Forces. Most of the time we have been asked to do this work during the Christmas holidays. We have performed together in Korea, Australia, North Africa, France, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, the Caribbean area, and Alaska. And wherever Os has entertained, he has made friends not only for himself, but for American Country Music. I want to extend best wishes to Os and to Starday Records for the success of this very fine Country Music Album.”


These recordings were made at the Starday Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Recording engineer was Tommy Hill. Recordings were made in Stereo and re-mixed for maximum monaural sound quality. Accompanying musicians were Howdy Forrester on fiddle, Jimmy Riddle on harmonica, Junior Huskey played bass, the great Cowboy Copas played open string Martin Guitar, and Brother Oswald played 5-string banjo on most of the songs. In addition there are 4 dobro instrumentals by Os. Throughout the album the listener will notice the genuine good humor that prevailed during the relaxed atmosphere of the recording sessions. Os carried on in his usual style, just like he was on stage, and the musicians joined in the fun as they picked and sang the great old favorites.
This is another special country music presentation by Starday Records, a label devoted exclusively to authentic Country and Gospel Music.

DON PIERCE, President


1. Southern Moon
2. Weary, Weary Blues
3. Oswald's March
4. Mountain Dew
5. Rabbit In The Log
6. Late Last Night
7. What A Friend (Instrumental)
8. I Like Mountain Music
9. Columbus Stockade Blues
10. Beneath The Willow (Instrumental)
11. Why Not Confess
12. Black Smoke
13. Oswald's Dobro Chimes
14. Lonesome Valley

*download here*


Saturday, January 16, 2016

The early 1960's were a notoriously tragic period in country music history, for although the Nashville based industry was expanding rapidly, the growth came at a price as many of the genre's greatest performers lost their lives in a series of accidents related to the constant travel their careers required. The most storied of these sad tales is probably the March 5, 1963 plane crash that claimed the lives of Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and pilot/manager/Copas's son-in -law Randy Hughes. Syd Nathan's Cincinnati-based King Records had an extensive catalog of titles by Copas and Hawkins and in 1963 the label issued two LPs as memorial tributes (those albums were featured earlier at the Scratchy Attic, click here). In late 1964 King released yet another "In Memory" album, and while the liner notes refer to the collection as "Vol. III", its scope is expanded to include additional artists who had gone on to "Hillbilly Heaven".
"In Memory Of These Great Artists - 16 Of Their Best Songs" (King 887) features tracks by Copas, Hawkins, Jimmie Osborne, The Delmore Brothers, and Texas Ruby Owens. Jimmie Osborne was a mainstay of King's country output in the postwar years, performing in a classic southeastern style somewhat reminiscent of Roy Acuff. His biggest hit was 1949's "The Death Of Little Kathy Fiscus", the true and tragic ballad of a child who perished while trapped in a well. Unfortunately, Osborne himself would perish when on December 26, 1958, during a severe depressive episode, he inflicted on himself a fatal gunshot wound.
The Delmore Brothers, one of the most revered and influential acts in early country music, remained relevant and innovative from the early 1930's up until Rabon succumbed to cancer on December 4, 1952. Brother Alton briefly carried on as a single act, and then spent most of his remaining years teaching guitar and working odd jobs. Alton passed away on June 8, 1964, shortly before the release of the present LP.
Texas Ruby Owens performed for many years with her husband, the legendary fiddler Curly Fox. Like the Delmores, she also made her first records in the 1930's, and was a veteran performer by the time she was the victim of a house-trailer fire on the outskirts of Nashville on March 29, 1963. Ruby fell asleep with a lit cigarette while Fox was away playing at the Opry. Three days earlier, the husband and wife duo had recorded a comeback album for Starday, which was released posthumously.
All in all, this LP is an enjoyable, if somber, piece of ephemera from the golden age of country music, and a nice sampler of King's postwar country output. I often will include an album's original liner notes in such posts, but Seymour Stein' ponderous back-slick essay is so rife with factual inaccuracies I have declined to include it this time around. Of course, jacket and label scans are included in the download.


1. Cowboy Copas-Because Of You
2. Hawkshaw Hawkins-I Love You A Thousand Ways
3. Jimmie Osborne-We Can't Take It With Us To Our Grave
4. The Delmore Brothers-Brown's Ferry Blues
5. Cowboy Copas-The Hopes Of A Broken Heart
6. Hawkshaw Hawkins-If I Ever Get Rich Mom
7. Jimmie Osborne-Not Unloved Nor Unclaimed
8. Texas Ruby-On The Banks Of That Lonely River
9. Hawkshaw Hawkins-Walking The Floor Over You
10. Cowboy Copas-The Man Upstairs
11. The Delmore Brothers-Red River Valley
12. Jimmie Osborne-Son, Please Meet Me In Heaven
13. Cowboy Copas-Some Fine Morning
14. Hawkshaw Hawkins-Silver Threads And Golden Needles
15. The Delmore Brothers-I Won't Be Worried Long
16. Cowboy Copas-Forever

*download here*


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Just in time for Christmas, I'd like to offer all the friends of Scratchy Attic this little collection of yuletide country classics first issued on Decca's subsidiary Vocalion in 1967. The ten selections are culled from the label's catalog of seasonal singles and albums, and range from the maudlin (Elton Britt's "Christmas In November") to the ridiculous (Lonzo And Oscar's "Jangle Bells"). While several of the selection are available elsewhere, a few are hard to find, such as Webb Pierce's 1965 single "Christmas At Home", and The Maddox Brothers And Rose's original 1949 version of "Silent Night". The original Maddox single paired the hymn with their spirited version of "Jingle Bells", and while that more upbeat selection has found its way onto some reissue CDs (you can download an mp3 of it here) as far as I know, "Silent Night" has never appeared before in digital form.

Includes jacket and label scans.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the followers of Scratchy Attic, and to all my fellow bloggers!


1. Jimmie Davis-It's Christmas Time Again
2. Loretta Lynn-Silver Bells
3. Elton Britt & The Pinetoppers-Christmas In November
4. Kitty Wells-Away In The Manger
5. The Maddox Brothers And Rose-Silent Night
6. Ernest Tubb-Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
7. Webb Pierce-Christmas At Home
8. Red Foley And The Little Foleys-Frosty The Snowman
9. Bobby Helms-Jingle Bell Rock
10. Lonzo And Oscar-Jangle Bells