Wednesday, March 15, 2023

VA - Classic Field Recordings - Landmark Country Sessions From a Lost Era [2010] (4 x CDs)


VA - Classic Field Recordings - Landmark Country Sessions From a Lost Era [2010] (4 x CDs)

The early recording companies had a simple way with talent - they went out, found it and recorded it at 'field' sessions. If the resulting records sold well, you'd be called back. If not, then don't bother. Among the most famous of these sessions was Ralph Peer's 1927 session in Bristol, Tennessee where, for Victor, he recorded The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers among many others. Other labels took up the challenge - Peer hadn't just demonstrated the value of recording in the field - he showed that a market existed for what was then dismissively described as 'hillbilly' music. Here is the product of much determined criss-crossing of the Southern states by determined researchers who weren't going to let the Depression discourage them. But for them, many of the artists in this collection, and their material, might have been forgotten. Alongside well-known performers like The Pine Ridge Boys and The Tennessee Ramblers are less well-known musicians like Dewey & Gassie Bassett, The Rouse Brothers and Louisiana Lou. All deliver performances that sound as fresh and vital today as they must have sounded many decades ago. (Amazon)

First off, the songs collected on this four-CD, 100-track box of early country and old-time sides released in the 1930s and early '40s aren’t exactly field recordings, at least not in the normal sense. The artists compiled here, ranging from string bands like the Tennessee Ramblers and the Pine Ridge Boys to duos like Dewey & Gassie Bessett and polished (for the era) solo singers like Johnny Barfield, were professional musicians to some degree and these recordings were made with an eye to being commercial on the radio, whether or not they actually achieved that aim. That doesn’t make them somehow less authentic, however, since these tracks are only a slight half-step removed from the music played on rural back porches throughout America in the 1930s and 1940s and they prefigure the more stylized and codified motifs of what would eventually come to be known as country music. Among the highlights in this expansive box are Johnny Barfield’s “Ain’t I Right” (a version of the folk tune “Railroad Bill”), Smith’s Carolina Crackerjacks' “There Are No Disappointments in Heaven,” the Tennessee Ramblers' “Don’t Put a Tax on Beautiful Girls,” and a truly haunting version of “Maggie” by Blind Fiddler. There’s a lot of history collected here, and listening to these 100 tracks, one can almost hear modern country music coming just around the bend. (AMG review by Steve Leggett)

These Old-Timey tunes from the Depression Era South are beautiful, sorrowful, inspirational, sometimes hilarious and too often dismissed by folks today. 






Track lists


01 Johnny Barfield - Long Tongue Women 2:37

02 Johnny Barfield - Ain't I Right 3:01

03 Johnny Barfield - Desert Lullaby 2:51

04 Johnny Barfield - Heartaches And Tears 3:30

05 Johnny Barfield - Don't Take My Memories 2:44

06 Johnny Barfield - Love Me Only 2:56

07 Johnny Barfield - Boogie Woogie 2:41

08 Johnny Barfield - Everybody's Tryin' To Be My Baby 2:47

09 Johnny Barfield - My Poodle Doodle Dog 2:57

10 Johnny Barfield - That Little Shirt My Mother Made For Me 3:09

11 Johnny Barfield - It Ain't No Good 3:11

12 Johnny Barfield - The Now Boogie Woogie 3:07

13 Mcclendon Brothers (with Georgia Dell) - The Story Of Love Divine 2:36

14 Mcclendon Brothers (with Georgia Dell) - Gamblin' On The Sabbath 2:56

15 Mcclendon Brothers (with Georgia Dell) - My Little Mountain Lady, Queen Of Alalbam 2:40

16 Mcclendon Brothers (with Georgia Dell) - Heaven Bound Gold 2:55

17 Mcclendon Brothers (with Georgia Dell) - Free As I Can Be 2:51

18 Mcclendon Brothers (with Georgia Dell) - Red Roses, Sweet Violets So Blue 2:51

19 Mcclendon Brothers (with Georgia Dell) - Keep Your Love Letters, I'll Keep Mine 2:37

20 Mcclendon Brothers - Goodbye Baby, Goodbye 2:38

21 Mcclendon Brothers - Love Hunting Blues 3:21

22 Dewey & Gassie Bassett - There's A Grave In The Wilderness 3:11

23 Dewey & Gassie Bassett - The Great Final Agreement 2:54

24 Dewey & Gassie Bassett - Blue Moon 2:32

25 Dewey & Gassie Bassett - Black Water Blues 2:02


01 Dewey & Gassie Bassett - One Year Ago Today 2:48

02 Dewey & Gassie Bassett - No Deep True Love 2:54

03 Roy Shaffer - Coupon Song 2:42

04 Roy Shaffer - Bury Me Out On The Prairie 2:57

05 Roy Shaffer - Disappointed In Love (i Wish I Had Never Met Sunshine) 3:10

06 Roy Shaffer - Rocking Alone In An Old Rocking Chair 3:00

07 Roy Shaffer - Answer To 'disappointed In Love' 2:59

08 Roy Shaffer - The Cowboy Jack 3:02

09 Four Pickled Peppers - When I Was A Baby 2:33

10 Four Pickled Peppers - Bungalow Big Enough For Two 2:21

11 Four Pickled Peppers - I'll Remember You, Love In My Prayers 2:56

12 Four Pickled Peppers - I'm Not Angry With You Darling 3:24

13 Tennessee Ramblers - Don't Put A Tax On Beautiful Girls 2:58

14 Tennessee Ramblers - I'll Keep On Loving You 2:51

15 Tennessee Ramblers - Four Or Five Times 2:45

16 Tennessee Ramblers - All My Natural Life 2:34

17 Pine Ridge Boys - You Are My Sunshine 2:46

18 Pine Ridge Boys - Farther Along 2:43

19 Happy Valley Boys - Homecoming Time In Happy Valley 2:39

20 Happy Valley Boys - I'll Never Leave Old Dixieland Again 2:58

21 Pete Pyle - Little Blue Eyed Blonde, Goodbye 2:46

22 Pete Pyle - It's So Hard To Be Just A Pal To You 2:58

23 Walter Couch And Wilks Ramblers - Fourteen Days In Georgia 2:51

24 Walter Couch And Wilks Ramblers - Chesapeake Bay 3:04

25 Walter Couch And Wilks Ramblers - I Want My Black Baby Back 2:11


01 J.H. Howell - Rock City Blues 2:39

02 J.H. Howell - Lonesome Life Of Worry 3:11

03 J.H. Howell - Burning Of Cleveland School 3:03

04 J.H. Howell - My Sweetheart Has Gone And Left Me 2:47

05 J.H. Howell - Girl That Worries My Mind 2:33

06 J.H. Howell - Mollie Married A Travelin' Man 2:19

07 J.H. Howell - Howell's Railroad 2:25

08 J.H. Howell - Lost John 2:20

09 Walter Hurdt - Fiddle And Guitar Running Wild 2:08

10 Walter Hurdt - Fox Hunter's Luck 2:29

11 George Wade & The Caro-ginians - He Turned Around And Went The Other Way 2:24

12 George Wade & The Caro-ginians - Long And Bony 2:24

13 Hinson, Pitts & Coley - Farmer Grey 3:09

14 Hinson, Pitts & Coley - Whoa, Mule, Whoa 3:00

15 Smith's Carolina Crackerjacks - There Are No Dissappointments In Heaven 3:35

16 Smith's Carolina Crackerjacks - Your Soul Never Dies 2:18

17 Julian Johnson & Leon Hyatt - T.b. Killed My Daddy 2:52

18 Julian Johnson & Leon Hyatt - Little Paper Boy 3:12

19 Grady And Hazel Cole - Precious Thoughts Of Mother 2:31

20 Grady And Hazel Cole - Shattered Love 2:43

21 Grady And Hazel Cole - What A Change One Day Can Make 2:36

22 Grady And Hazel Cole - Forbidden Love 2:40

23 Hill Brothers With Willie Simmons - I Am On My Way To Heaven 2:50

24 Hill Brothers With Willie Simmons - Just Over In The Glory Land 2:42

25 Hill Brothers With Willie Simmons - I'm Glad I Counted The Cost 3:01


01 Blind Fiddler - Slim Girl 2:38

02 Blind Fiddler - Maggie 2:36

03 Slim Mays Feat. Jack Pierce - Soap Box Blue 2:34

04 Slim Mays Feat. Jack Pierce - Rabbit Blues 2:25

05 Lester 'pete' Bivins - Big Fat Girl 3:03

06 Lester 'pete' Bivins - Knocking On The Hen House Door 2:57

07 Lester 'pete' Bivins - Minor Blues 3:02

08 Lester 'pete' Bivins - Married Life Blues 3:19

09 Lester 'pete' Bivins - Back In My Home Town 3:34

10 Lester 'pete' Bivins - Home With Mother And Dad In The West 3:19

11 Gwen Foster - How Many Biscuits Can I Eat 2:51

12 Gwen Foster - Side-line Blues 3:00

13 Louisiana Lou - With My Banjo On My Knee 2:18

14 Louisiana Lou - A Package Of Love Letters 3:23

15 Louisiana Lou - The Export Gal 3:25

16 Louisiana Lou - Sinful To Flirt 2:24

17 Louisiana Lou - Go 'long Mule 3:06

18 Southern Melody Boys (odus & Woodrow) - If You See My Saviour 3:13

19 Southern Melody Boys (odus & Woodrow) - Tribulation Days 2:48

20 Southern Melody Boys (odus & Woodrow) - Down In Baltimore 3:30

21 Southern Melody Boys (odus & Woodrow) - Wind The Little Ball Of Yarn 2:17

22 Southern Melody Boys (odus & Woodrow) - Sweet Locust Blossoms 2:34

23 Southern Melody Boys (odus & Woodrow) - I'll Remember You, Love, In My Prayer 2:51

24 Rouse Brothers - My Family Circle (will The Circle Be Unbroken) 3:02

25 Rouse Brothers - Orange Blossom Special 2:56




  1. Many thanks for this great compilation Butterboy. This is music I would not otherwise have ever heard and it is a revelation, a historical document of wonderful (mostly) joyous music from way before my time. Brilliant, please continue to enlighten us all.

    1. Hi Man from Mordor.
      Thank you.
      I post these from time to time. It's always good to take time and stop to smell the roses.

  2. I haven't even downloaded this all the way and I already know that this is gonna be killer. I love sets like these, where they drill down into their subjects, deep into the essence. Anyway, thanks in advance for another awesome set. Your pal, RnRS.

    1. Hi Rock 'n' Roll Steve,
      I like to put these in the mix every now and then. There is so much to hear and wonder about. The music is excellent, and the stories are great too.

  3. Sessions from a lost era... the LINKS as well

    1. Hi mrRadio.
      New links established, tested and working.