16-inch transcription disc of the week: The Prairie Ramblers

TR1180_1Another research query to share this week. I found the Standard Program Library 16-inch transcription disc pictured above, call number TR1180 from the Southern Folklife Collection Transcription Discs (#30024), while assisting a patron searching for a recording of a track called “Mussin’ Frets,” a novelty guitar instrumental by the excellent Prairie Ramblers [bio by Greensboro, NC resident Eugene Chadbourne!]. The group coalesced in the 1930s appearing on numerous radio stations before settling down at WLS in Chicago. Featuring mandolinist Charles Chick Hurt, bassist “Happy” Jack Taylor, fiddler Tex Atchison, and Floyd “Salty” Holmes, a multi-instrumentalist and master of the harmonica, the group rose to fame after partnering up with a young Patsy Montana. Comfortable jumping from old-time stringband music, to country, to western swing, they went on to appear in numerous cowboy films with Gene Autry and other singing cowboys before splitting up for good in 1947 (well after Montana left to pursue her solo career). But back to the disc, Here’s “Huckleberry Picnic” to wet your whistle.  TR1180_Huckleberry Picnic
TR1180_1_spinUnfortunately, we were unable to locate “Mussin’ Frets,” but fortunately we were able to digitze TR1180 to share with you fine readers and listeners. These recordings feature a Post-War incarnation of the Prairie Ramblers, aka The Westernaires at this time, after Atchison and Holmes had left the band. Rusty Gill, the vocalist on this disc, including the classic cowboy number “Ridin’ Old Paint in the Sky,” was married to Carolyn DeZurik of the remarkable DeZurik Sisters. If any of you have any information about “Mussin’ Frets,’ please do let us know. TR1180_Ridin’ Old Paint in the Sky

Photo of the Week UPDATE: The Stoneman Family

Thanks to a recent correspondence with a descendant of Iver Edwards, ukelele player for The Stoneman Family band [pictured below], we have changed the caption of our original post of this photo in 2010 to include the correct spelling Edwards’s first name. The correct spelling is “Iver Edwards,” rather than “Ives Edwards” as we originally posted. Many thanks to all the readers that help us with our work.

Taken in Galax, Virginia, in 1928. From left to right: Iver Edwards, George Stoneman, Eck Dunford, Ernest Stoneman, Hattie Stoneman, and Balen Frost.

The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax, this Friday Feb. 22


The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013
Wilson Special Collections Library
5:30 p.m. Program | Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza TerllFriends of the Library, (919) 548-1203

Folklorist Alan Lomax, who recorded music of the American South in the 1930s and 1940s, will be the subject of an evening of lectures and performances Friday, Feb. 22, at the Wilson Special Collections Library.
Lomax’s daughter, Anna Lomax Wood, and Grammy Award-winning music writer Tom Piazza will discuss The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax (W.W. Norton, 2012). The book features largely unpublished images of Southern blues and folk musicians, church worshippers, and workers from Lomax’s tour through backcountry Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee taken between Aug. 1959 and May 1960. The book also includes an essay by Piazza.
UNC professor Bill Ferris, who wrote an introduction to the book, will introduce Lomax Wood and Piazza, along with the evening’s other speakers and performers: Columbia University Professor John Szwed, author of Alan Lomax: the Man who Recorded the World (Viking Penguin, 2010); archivist,  musician, and curator of the Alan Lomax ArchiveNathan Salsburg; and musician Rayna Gellert.
Piazza is the author of ten books, including Devil Sent the Rain (HarperPerennial, 2011) and Why New Orleans Matters (HarperPerennial, 2008). He is currently a writer for the HBO television show Treme.
Lomax Wood is director of the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), a center established to explore and preserve the world’s expressive traditions.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library, the UNC Department of American Studies, the Center for the Study of the American South, the Southern Folklife Collection, and the UNC Department of Music.

Big Slim loves you (we do too)

FL247_Cover_Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios (#30006)If you sing along, Big Slim the Lone Cowboy won’t be so lonely. The Southern Folklife Collection happily welcomes you to learn the Secret’s of our heart. Another classic from the Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios, 1882-1893 (#30006), FL-247. See the remaining contents below. Special thanks to a new Southern Folklife Collection friend in Australia for leading us to this great collection of songs through a research request from almost 10,000 miles away.
FL247_Heart_Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios (#30006)

Folio of Favorite Radio Songs of Big Slim, The Lone Cowboy. American Music Pub. Co. New York, N.Y. 1946. 27 p. of music.
“After Yesterday”
“Heart Weary and Blue”
“Lone Star Trail”
“Moonlight on the Cabin”
“Never Say Goodbye”
“Only a Rose (From My Mother’s Grave)”
“Patanio, the Pride of the Plain”
“Secrets of My Heart”
“Sunny Side of the Mountain”
“There’ll Never Be a Sweeter Girl Than You”
“There’s Another Mother Angel Up in Heaven”
“You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine”
“Cowboy Jack”
“Don’t Cry Little Girl of Mine”
“Green Grows the Laurel”
“Hazel That Old Gal of Mine”
“Kickin’ My Love Around”
“Oh, Oh, Uhm Uhm”
“Ridin’ Along Singin’ a Song”
“The Letter Edged in Black”
“There’s a Little Winding Road”
“Two Sparkling Blue Eyes”
“When the Shadows Fell on the Prairie”
“Whoa Mule Whoa”
“Yellow Rose of Texas”

78 of the week: Les "Carrot Top" Anderson on La Marr's Star Records

A Friday afternoon treat for you from one of two discs at the Southern Folklife Collection released on La Marr’s Star Records, a Hollywood based regional record label owned and operated by the remarkable Baline La Marr (more on Ms. La Marr in the next post). For now, enjoy Les Anderson’s Melody Wranglers version of “Sad But True” from 78 rpm disc call number 78-9188. Anderson, also known as “Carrot Top,” saw his career take off in 1942 with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys as the replacement of legendary steel guitarist Leon McAullife who was drafted into the Navy. Anderson travelled to California with the Playboys, and in1946 formed his own Melody Wranglers. He became a regular guest on the western swing radio show “Spade Cooley Time,” before eventually ending up on the classic country television broadcast, “Town Hall Party.”  Come back next week for more of Baline La Marr’s Star records.78_9188_1