Ralph Peer's 1927 BRISTOL SESSIONS

Friday, January 30, 2009


On July 24, 1927, the Bristol Herald ran an ad for the Clark-Jones-Sheeley Company touting the local concern's line of new "Orthophonic" Victor Victrolas. Towards the bottom of the ad was a notice that "The Victor Co. will have a recording machine in Bristol for 10 days beginning Monday to record records - Inquire at our store." Miraculously not one but two legends of country music would be discovered when they presented themselves at these sessions. Both Jimmie Rodgers, who actually had come to audition as part of a string band, and A.P., Sara and Maybelle Carter, the "original" Carter Family would make their first records in a vacant building on State Street in Bristol. The man in charge of those hot July sessions was Ralph Peer, a man who would figure greatly into both acts' careers.
This folder contains 18 tracks recorded by Peer in Bristol on that 1927 outing. Featured are not only Rodgers and the Carters, but many other performers as well, some well know (Ernest Stoneman), some obscure (Alcoa Quartet). It is a fascinating glimpse into a time and place in which a major record company was scouting the backwoods, hoping to find recordings that would score with rural record buyers, or potential record buyers, and in doing so actually brought those rural dwellers and their music into the new century.

Tracks:

1. Shelor Family - Big Bend Gal
2. B.F. Shelton - Pretty Polly
3. Uncle Eck Dunford and Hattie Stoneman - What Will I Do, For My Money's All Gone
4. Tennessee Mountaineers - At The River
5. Tenneva Ramblers - Miss Liza, Poor Gal
6. Jimmie Rodgers - The Soldier's Sweetheart
7. The Carter Family - Single Girl, Married Girl
8. Alfred G. Karnes - Called To The Foreign Field
9. Johnson Brothers - Just A Message From Caroline
10. Ernest V. Stoneman & His Dixie Mountaineers - Sweeping Through The Gates
11. The Carter Family - The Storms Are On The Ocean
12. El Watson - Narrow Gauge Blues
13. Ernest Stoneman, Kahle Brewer & Walter Mooney - Dying Girl's Farewell
14. J.P. Nestor - Train On The Island
15. Blind Alfred Reed - You Must Unload
16. West Virginia Coon Hunters - Your Blue Eyes Run Me Crazy
17. Alcoa Quartet - Remember Me O Mighty One
18. Jimmie Rodgers - Sleep, Baby, Sleep

6 comments:

Jeremy said...

Wow, Lonesome, awesome! And perfect timing too - here in the UK the BBC just broadcast "Folk America", a history of, essentially, pre-war folk in the broadest sense, and the impact that recording had upon this music. It paid quite a lot of attention given to Ralph Peer and these very discoveries of his, how fantastic to hear them like this. Thank you, and truly this is a wonderful blog for your write-ups almost as much as the music.

Robert W. Harwood said...

Well, thanks yet again, Lefty! This is an incredible posting, and I have referred to it on my blog.
You are doing some wonderful things here.

Lonesome Lefty said...

thanks for the kind words, boys...

Jason said...

Thanks so much! I'd been looking everywhere for some of these tracks! In fact, thanks to your post, I now have all the Bristol Sessions on mp3 format! (I'll be uploading them to own blog, www.whosheardofthisstuff.blogspot.com, very soon.) Thanks again!

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