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August 31, 2010


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The love interview, Tipper!
Where would we be now without our hillbilly music?!

Great post Tipper, thanks for sharing. I learned alot from it.

Great research! What a fun read :)

Hi Tipper, I loved this post. For you see, I lived not far from Bristol and the Tri-cities... I had family in Bristol, and we would go there from our small town of Big Stone Gap, VA to do our clothes shopping --in the bigger stores there... I have such good memories as a child of going to Bristol.

Thanks for the info on Hillbilly Music...


After I added my two cents worth I realized I hadn't thanked and complimented Mr. Tabler for his very fine article and history. I read it with much enjoyment and learned so much from him. I set out to thank him for his article and failed to do so in my rambling. Tipper, I hope you will tell him for me how very good his contribution is.

Mr. Tabler is correct to remind us that there is seldom if ever a single "big bang" birthing any phenomenon. Ol' timey music and "hillbilly" music grew and evolved from many roots over many centuries. Bristol wasn't the sole crucible for country music no more than was Alan Freed the first to bandy the term "rock and roll" around (actually, the use of that term and variations of it had been a part of and used in rhythm and blues for a long time before Mr. Freed took it as his invention).

Having said that, the Bristol Sessions were seminal if for no other reason than the establishment of Jimmie Rogers and The Carter family as major, if not THE major, forces in the sales and propagation of country (ol'timey) music during the 1920s and 1930 (albeit with much competition and with many fellow travelers along the pathway).

A search of the internet easily yields many references to and histories of string bands, hillbilly bands, jug bands working, performing and recording in the first quarter of the 20th century, from all around the country.

I have long enjoyed an album or collection named "Music from The Lost Provinces" and reading about its performers, one quickly understands, for example, how important were the many string bands and many hillbilly bands of western North Carolina in 1910s and 1920s, and onward to the spawning and growth of "Hillbilly Music".

Yet, and again, Bristol occupies a special place in the roots of country music. And if seizing the sobriquet helps their commerce and helps establish such wonderful music festivals as The 10th Annual Rhythm and Roots Reunion at Bristol in a couple of weeks, I'll grant them the liberty.

HillBillies, I guess that's us! lol!
Tipper it's great to hear about the beginnings of our mountain music coming out. These are stories I've never heard before. Thank you and thank Dave!
They sure must have played those records a LOT to wear them out.

Great article! I had heard little bits of this story before, about some of the early recordings in Asheville and the move to Bristol, and about some of the local talent that did not make it. I enjoyed this very much.

tipper: what a great post, all though most of those artists were gone as i grew, up my dad raised me on those one sided records. dalhart, the skillet lickers charlie poole and others. so now i have the remakes of those songs in albums,that i still enjoy. thanks for these peeks into the past. im feeling right at home your friend k.o.h

Great Post....
Didn't see one "ioda of a mention" about Nashville...guess the opry didn't come into view until the late 30's 40's....
I think this article would be interesting to young folks who think all country hillbilly music got its roots in Nashville. The music crossover from blue grass and folk songs of the mountaineer and hill billy to country western is an interesting study...
I've been privy to a few of those old worn out 78s...scratched so bad you couldn't hear them..

Ralph,recorded Ernest "pop" Stoneman.Pop's daughter,Ronnie,was the nagging woman with rolling pin hitting her drunk husband on Hee haw,she also played banjo on there.
Everything comes from somewhere.

Thank GOD for Ralph Peer,there wdn't be Jimmie Rodgers "Father Of Country Music" more less-white blues/train songs. And the Carter family.They paved the way & influenced alot of people, and not just Country Music people.

Tiper, I have a copy of the Bristol sessions and some of Gid Tanner and Reily Pucket's work with the Skillet Lickers. Also some of the early Carter Family. My Mother had several old Okeh 78's including "The Wreak of Old 97". Someone (oh, that would be me) wore them out. Being a young 70 I grew up with this music and still enjoy it.
You, Pap and Paul have brought a lot of joy and happiness to me as I wait to go Home and sing once more wih Mom and Dad and many Aunts, Uncles and cousins. Spent a lot of night's doing that!
thanks, God Bless
Uncle Dave Richmond, Kentucky

Tipper--A nice piece of historical research, and as a "recovering" university history I appreciated the inclusion of sources at the end.

I would add something of a personal note. My undergraduate years were spent in Bristol (King College) and mountain music still thrived then as I'm sure it does now. That was in the early 1960s (yes, I'm a wee bit long in the tooth, but young in spirit). On weekends you could always find a square dance somewhere (I could clog for hours back then, while a minute to something like "Under the Double Eagle" or "Down Yonder" seems a precious plenty today), hear wonderful local bands on local radio stations, and sense a rich heritage all around you. On top of that, I got to enjoy speakers at King like that wonderful exemplar of Appalachian literature, Jesse Stuart.
I was back in Bristol just a couple of months back to speak at a gathering of fly fishermen, and predictably, the entertainment the first evening for exhibitors and speakers was a fine bluegrass band.
Good stuff by Mr. Tabler.
Jim Casada

Lord have mercy! This is a wonderful documentary about HILLBILLY MUSIC! I'll bet my Mama(b.1907,d.2002) first heard "The Wreck of the Old 97" through this source. It was her favor right tune! At her 94th birthday party she and my sister, Eddie Lee (on guitar) sang "The Wreck of the Old 97" and Mama didn't miss a word of it! I love it!

Eva Nell

Well, I learned a lot of things I didn't know! Thanks for the education.

interesting, i did not know about Bristol or the tri cities. a lot of country music history in this post. thanks

I didn't know all this! And Dave
seemed to have a lot of sources to
back up what he wrote. I always gave credit to the Carter bunch and Roy Acuff for doing "hillbilly" music and bringing country music to life. I
can still hear those old train songs my mama use to sing...Ken

Great article! Many thanks. The Hill Billies (aka the Original Hill Billies) were a terrific band judging from their surviving recordings. They played extensively on several vaudeville theater circuits and had a quite an entertaining show by all accounts. I was fortunate enough to meet the oldest surviving member of the group, Tony Alderman, in the mid-1970's. After the Hill Billies disbanded he moved to Washington, D.C. became an X-Ray technician and was retired when we met. By then he had quit playing fiddle, but still played musical saw.

Lots of interesting things to read in this post. Really enjoyed it Tipper.

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