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Author Topic: Old Time starter kit  (Read 5695 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Old Time starter kit
« on: March 08, 2005, 08:14:21 PM »
Any suggestions for an old time CD starter kit for country blues nerds? What would be your top 5 (or 10!) CDs for newcomers to old-timers? I keep meaning to look into this more but need some basics. I'd listen to sugarinthegourd for ideas  but my work connection for internet radio is unreliable (for the Juke too :( ). Who are your favorites or favorite compilations.

Offline Slack

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2005, 08:03:34 AM »
High Atmoshpere - I cannot recommend this compilation enough.  I pretty much agree with the gloating review.  These are all solo perfomances which makes an easy transition for us CB nuts -- and E.C. Ball's "Pretty Polly" is a great spooky version - and In fact I need to find more of E.C. Ball - a fine mountain guitar player.  (Most of the CD is banjo however).

cheers,
slack

Offline banjochris

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2005, 05:38:13 PM »
I would recommend any of the following to start someone off, especially if someone likes blues already:

I second High Atmosphere.

Mountain Blues on County Records -- has Frank Hutchison, Dock Boggs, Jimmie Tarlton, Sam McGee, etc.
Dock Boggs -- either Folkways or Revenant, both good, but the Folkways is a better deal.
String Bands on Document -- has some Miss. Sheiks-type material plus most of Andrew and Jim Baxter, a nice transition between blues/old-time
The Greatest Songsters on Document -- all black artists, but Papa Harvey Hull and Luke Jordan are definitely leaning old-time
Uncle Dave Macon - Go Long Mule - County - a good compilation, mostly stringband but some solo and w/Sam McGee -- if you don't like this album you're not going to like old-time music at all, in my opinion
Anthology of American Folk Music - Smithsonian/Folkways
Skillet Lickers on County -- this was the first old-time band I heard -- they're very accessible, the sound quality's good and they've got a lot of drive and humor
Roscoe Holcomb -- The High Lonesome Sound -- Folkways -- Roscoe's voice may be a surprise to the uninitiated, but the intensity and approach is very much akin to country blues
Any of the Times Ain't Like They Used To Be, My Rough and Rowdy Ways or Hard Times compliations on Yazoo
Both of the New Lost City Ramblers compilations on Smithsonian/Folkways. (One with Tom Paley, one with Tracy Schwarz) -- if I were going to pick just two records to start someone with, it would be these. Although these are more modern recordings, they are great musicians and singers, without static (not remotely a problem for me, but a problem for some), and you will hear practically the entire gamut of old-time music, from solo singing, banjo and guitar to duet singing string-band and even Cajun performances -- serious, bluesy and humorous songs in one package.

There's my two cents.
Chris

Offline Chun

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2005, 09:19:48 PM »
I second the two New Lost City Ramblers discs especially for their variety as Chris mentioned.

Also....Nashville-The Early Stringbands. There are two volumes on County. Good variety of stuff thats not heard a lot. And anything by Charlie Poole..Also County compiliations. Great songs, breakdowns and some blues. Some of the sentimental stuff drags a little but even those have a certain charm.
And last but not least, if notjust for the pure wackiness of it....any  R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenadres records.Not really "Old Time" per se, but great old string bandy type stuff
Have fun picking a few from these lists. :)

Christian

Offline Cambio

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2005, 07:26:50 AM »
If by old time you mean fiddle tunes, my personal favorites are the Stripling Brothers Vol. 1 on Document,  Mississippi String Bands on County, and anything by the Leake County Revelers or the East Texas Serenaders.  That's the especially greezy string band stuff anyway.
The Stripling brothers were from Alabama and make an amazing amount of sound for two guys.  They're super tight and play off of each other very well.  Their version of "The Lost Child" is the first track on Down in the Basement, the Old Hat compilation of Joe Bussard's collection.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2005, 08:38:04 AM »
Thanks for all the recommendations guys. The wife will curse you all for bringing more CD into the house.

I do have the Anthology of American Folk Music, as well as Dock Boggs on Revenant. Just listened to the Boggs on the bus to work this morning. Rather surreal commuting and listening to Dock. I noted some vague similarities, at least lyrically, between "Sugar Baby" and John Hurt's "Payday.": "It's all I can do for to see peace with you..." "Done all I can do, I've said all I can say, I will send you to your mama next payday..."

I also have the Document String Bands disc, and the Songster Tradition.

Fiddles tunes suggestions most welcome as well. The stuff doesn't have to be guitar-related.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2005, 07:19:19 PM »
Hi Andrew,
I have a couple more to add to your list--
* The Watson Family, on Smithsonian/Folkways.  I have always loved this record.  There is tremendous variety, a huge number of cuts, and Doc's father-in-law, Gaither Carlton, was really a nice fiddler.
* The Complete Old Time Music At Clarence Ashley's, also on Smithsonian/Folkways.  Once again, tremendous variety. Clint Howard--what a singer, Whew!  Fred Price was a great fiddler too, and Doc and Clarence Ashley were in great form throughout.  Clarence Ashley sings verses to "Wayfaring Stranger" (which he calls "Wayfaring Pilgrim") I have never heard anyone else do . . . "I'm going there to see my class mates" (!?)
* Anything with Leonard Rutherford, Doc Roberts, or Dykes Magic City Trio.  Great fiddling galore.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 07:01:06 AM by uncle bud »

FiddlinBlues

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2005, 07:08:10 PM »
Hello Andrew,

Better late than never, right?  Here are some of my favorites, (as if you were not inundated enough :-\).

Since I am an Old Time _and_ blues fiddler, I highly recommend Old Hat CDs 1003 and 1004 "Violin, sing the Blues for me" and "Folks, he sure do pull some bow."  Whatever you choose, I highly recommend anthologies until you know what you like.  Here are a few more anthologies to think about:
As already mentioned:  "Times ain't like they used to be" is high on the list.
Another great one is County CD 3525 "Old Time Texas String Bands" Volume 2.
Also, County CDs 3506 and 3507 "Echos of the Ozarks"

-Ron
« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 07:01:42 AM by uncle bud »

Muddyroads

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2005, 08:06:52 AM »
Clawhammer Banjo Volumes 1 through 3 on County provide the listener with a  wide range of  old time banjo styles.  These styles are much like the old blues soloists and songsters with some carry over. of the traditons. If you like fiield recordings of  blues like Nergo Country Blues Jam on Arhoolie, or the Arcola releases, you  will find a lot to like with these releases.

Also as mentioned before, High Atmosphere is a must  as it  is perhaps the best collection of old time out there. 

MHO,

Muddy

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2005, 09:24:29 AM »
Thanks guys, and feel free to add to the thread - big lists are good lists IMO. Ron, I do have the Old Hat blues fiddle anthologies and they are superb. They are what I would hand to someone if they were talking about reissuing old music on CD. "Here, do it like this."

thehook

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2005, 10:41:08 PM »
Anything by tommy jarrell one of the best old time fiddlers and banjo players.
fred cockerham is a worthy mention in the same vein.
black banjoists and songsters form north carolina and virgina (pretty close on the title maybe not exact) very good old black folks with banjos some old time playing some bluesy playing. Either etta baker or liba cotten plays a version of the jay bird march that is unbelieveable!

Offline outfidel

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2005, 07:42:50 AM »
Lots of great suggestions so far -- I'd also add:

Legends of Old Time Music - Vestapol DVD

Before the Blues - 3 volume set from Yazoo

Old Time Mountain Guitar - from the great County Records

Old Time Mountain Blues - another one from County

Sam McGee - Complete Recordings, 1926-1934

There are also JSP box sets for 3 artists that I'd add:
- Jimmie Rodgers
- Carter Family (2 volumes)
- Uncle Dave Macon
« Last Edit: March 23, 2005, 07:44:19 AM by outfidel »
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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2005, 07:14:45 AM »
Thought I'd mention I found the Uncle Dave Macon set on JSP at my local used CD joint for $26 Canadian, about 20 bucks US. Impossible to resist at that price, ethics aside. It's great. Also recently picked up Yazoo's Times Ain't Like They Used to Be Vol 8, my first of this series. I had always held off buying these because I wasn't sure how the mix of styles (old-time, blues, cajun, vocal groups) would work for me. I can say now it works great. This is a tremendous disc, which includes a recently discovered King Solomon Hill title (My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon) and new Tommy Johnson (the odd pop waltz I Want Someone to Love Me). Those of you who've bought the Blues Images calendars will have heard those already but if not, this is another place to get them.

Todd's right, them Stripling Brothers just smoke, BTW.

Offline Cambio

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2005, 08:31:15 AM »
I started thinking about this topic last night, and it occured to me that nobody had mentioned the Carter Family.  Now, how is it possible to have a discussion about old time music without mentioning the Carter Family?  Only a bunch of blues fans could make that mistake. 
I'm not sure if you have any of their music in your collection Andrew, but there first few years, 1927-1930 are absolutely dynamite.  The stuff after that is great too, but more of an aquired taste.  I think that the Carter's fill the same roll in old time music that John Hurt does for country blues.  They really catch your ear and drag you in, introducing you to the genre.  They are a little easier to understand that some of the really heavy stuff.   At the same time, I think many people dismiss them as not being "heavy" enough.  !@#$ that!   The Carter's did so many great songs and were such interesting people.  AP did so much important work, scouring the hills and collecting songs that otherwise may have been lost, from both white folks and black (with the help of Leslie Riddle).  Mother Maybelle is such a fantastic, seminal player, and she did it all playing in C with the help of a capo.
Also, the book "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone" by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg is one of the best music related autobiographies that I have ever read.

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Old Time starter kit
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2005, 01:09:34 PM »
There's certainly no denying the importance of the Carter Family. Everything Cambio says is absolutley true, and yet, I've never been able to warm to them at all.
   I'm aware of all the reasons I *should* like them and have done a lot of listening to them over the years wanting to like them. I've even learned several of their songs and yet try as I might,  I just don't like them.
  As we all know, musical preferences are purely visceral and many times I've tried and failed in trying to explain to someone why they should like something that they don't.
  Of course, I have the same problem with Memphis Minnie. I know all the reasons I should like her, but can never work myself up to anything more than just "She's OK".   
   I've often wondered if I'm the only one with this lukewarm response to the Carter Family?

Tags: Dock Boggs