Rural Rhythm

Rural Rhythm : The Story of Old-Time Country Music in 78 Records

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There are many biographies and histories of early country music and its creators, but surprisingly little attention has been given to the actual songs at the heart of these narratives. In this groundbreaking book, music historian Tony Russell turns the spotlight on seventy-eight original 78rpm discs of songs and tunes from the 1920s and 1930s, uncovering the hidden stories of how they came to be recorded, the musicians who sang and played them, the record companies
that marketed them, and the listeners who absorbed them.

In these essays, based upon new research, contemporary newspaper accounts, and previously unpublished interviews, and copiously illustrated with rare images, readers will find songs about home and family, love and courtship, crime and punishment, farms and floods, chain gangs and chain stores, journeys and memories, and many other aspects of life in the period. Rural Rhythm not only charts the tempos and styles of rural and small-town music-making and the origins of present-day country
music, but also traces the larger rhythms of life in the American South, Southwest, and Midwest. What emerges is a narrative that ingeniously blends the musical and social history of the era.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 185 x 262 x 24mm | 796g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 268 illustrations
  • 0190091185
  • 9780190091187
  • 1,013,412

Table of contents

User Notes

1. "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" - Fiddlin' John Carson (Okeh 4890) (1923)

2. "Silly Bill"/"Old Time Cinda" - The Hill Billies (Okeh 40294) (1925)

3. "Woman's Suffrage" - George Reneau (Vocalion 14999) (1925)

4. "The Death of Floyd Collins"/"Little Mary Phagan" - Vernon Dalhart (Columbia 15031-D) (1925)

5. "When the Work's All Done This Fall" - Carl T. Sprague (Victor 19747) (1925)

6. "Seneca Square Dance"/"Echoes of the Ozarks" - Fiddlin' Sam Long (Gennett 3284) (1926)

7. "Wish to the Lord I Had Never Been Born" - Luther B. Clarke Accomp. by Blue Ridge Highballers (Columbia
15096-D) (1926)

8. "Where We'll Never Grow Old"/"Pictures from Life's Other Side" - Smith's Sacred Singers (Columbia 15090-D)

9. "Let Me Call You Sweetheart"/"Sweet Bunch of Daisies" - McMichen's Melody Men (Columbia 15111-D) (1926)

10. "I'm a Stern Old Bachelor" - Chubby Parker (Silvertone 5012) (1927)

11. "Going Slow"/"Spartanburg Blues" - Homer Christopher and Raney Van Vink (Okeh 45117) (1927)

12. "Carbolic Rag"/"Stone Mountain Wobble" - Scottdale String Band (Okeh 45118) (1927)

13. "Chain Gang Special"/"Walk Right in Belmont" - Watts and Wilson (Paramount 3019) (1927)

14. "Gray Eagle"/"Forked Deer" - Hill's Virginia Mountaineers [Taylor's Kentucky Boys] (Silvertone 8183) (1927)

15. "The Picture on the Wal"/"My Carolina Girl" - Georgia Yellow Hammers (Victor 20943) (1927)

16. "You Can't Make a Monkey out of Me" - Eva Quartette with W. J. Smith (Gennett 6239) (1927)

17. "A Corn Licker Still in Georgia"-Parts 1 and 2 - Clayton McMichen, Riley Puckett, Gid Tanner, Lowe Stokes, Fate Norris, Bob Nichols and Bill Brown (Columbia 15201-D) (1927)

18. "Blue Yodel" - Jimmie Rodgers (Victor 21142) (1927)

19. "Combination Rag" - East Texas Serenaders (Columbia 15229-D) (1927)

20. "Davy"/"Greenback Dollar" - Weems String Band (Columbia 15300-D) (1927)

21. "Handy Man"/"I Tickled 'Em" - New Arkansas Travelers (Victor 21288) (1928)

22. "Hog Eye" - Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers (Victor 21295) (1928)

23. "The Bluefield Murder" - Roy Harvey and North Carolina Ramblers (Brunswick 250) (1928)

24. "A Fiddler's Contest" - The Tennessee Ramblers (Brunswick 257) (1928)

25. "Rye Waltz"/"Medley-Scottische" - Bob Skiles Four Old Tuners (Okeh 45211) (1928)

26."Hallelujah! I'm a Bum"/"The Bum Song"/"Mac"- (Harry McClintock) (Victor 21343) (1928)

27. "Home Again Medley" - Red Mountain Trio (Columbia 15260-D) (1928)

28. "A Red-Headed Widow Was the Cause of It All"/"Don't Get One Woman on Your Mind" - Willard Hodgin (Banjo Joe) (Victor 21485) (1928)

29. "Stay in the Wagon Yard" - "Peg" Moreland (Victor V-40008) (1928)

30. "Eleven Cent Cotton Forty Cent Meat"-Parts 1 and 2 - Bob Ferguson [Bob Miller] (Co 15297-D) (1928)

31. "Lindy"/"Louise" - Proximity String Quartet (Columbia 15533-D) (1928)

32. "When the Roses Bloom for the Bootlegger" - Earl Shirkey and Roy Harper [Roy Harvey] (Columbia 15326-D) (1928)

33. "Just Over the River"/"Beautiful" - Garland Brothers and Grinstead (Columbia 15679-D) (1928)

34. "The Lost Child" - Stripling Brothers (Vocalion 5321) (1928)

35. "Who Broke the Lock on the Hen-House Door?"/"She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain When She Comes" - H. M. Barnes and His Blue Ridge Ramblers (Brunswick 310) (1929)

36. "Wimbush Rag"/"Barrow County Stomp" - Theo. and Gus Clark (Okeh 45339) (1929)

37. "Birmingham Jail"/"Six Months Ain't Long" - Ezra Hill and Henry Johnson [Robinette and Moore]/ Marlow and Young [Rutherford and Foster] (Champion 15750) (1929)

38. "Henry Ford's Model A"/"Married Life Blues" - Oscar Ford (Columbia 15437-D) (1929)

39. "Flop Eared Mule"/"Lynchburg Town" - The Highlanders (Paramount 3171) (1929)

40."Levee Breaking Blues"-Parts I and II - Happy Bud Harrison (Vocalion 5332) (1929)

41. "Over the Hills to the Poorhouse"- W. C. Childers (Champion 45166) (1929)

42. "Haunted Hunter" - Billie Maxwell (The Cowgirl Singer) (Victor V-40241) (1929)

43. "Lonely Cowboy"-Parts 1 and 2 - Arthur Miles (Victor V-40156) (1929)

44. "Sugar Hill"/"Fresno Blues" - "Dad" Crockett/Johnny & Albert Crockett (Brunswick 372) (1929)

45. "Tim Brook" -Carver Boys (Paramount 3199) (1929)

46. "Tennessee Coon Hunt"/"Hen Cacklin' Piece" - Whit Gaydon (Victor V-40315) (1929)

47. "Where the Sweet Magnolias Bloom" - Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers (Victor V-4184) (1929)

48. "Three Men Went a Hunting" - Byrd Moore and His Hot Shots (Columbia 15496-D) (1929)

49 ."Down on Penny's Farm"- The Bentley Boys (Columbia 15565-D) (1929)

50."The Fate of Rhoda Sweetin"- Charles Freshour and the Lonely Eagles (Paramount 3247) (1929)

51. "Cotton Mill Girl" - Earl McCoy and Jessie Brock (Columbia 15499-D) (1929)

52."The Roamin' Musician" - Bill Tuttle (Columbia 15697-D) (1929)

53."That's the Blue Heaven for Me"/"Since I've Grown So Used to You" - George E. Harris (Columbia 15543-D) (1930)

54."Streak o' Lean-Streak o' Fat"- A. A. Gray and Seven Foot Dilly (Vocalion 5430) (1930)

55. "Salvation Is for All" - Rev. Edward Boone (Gennett 7248) (1930)

56. "The Bald Headed End of the Broom"/"The Nick Nack Song" - Ridgel's Fountain Citians (Vocalion 5455)

57. "Forty Per Cent" - Earl McCoy, Alfred Meng and Clem Garner (Columbia 15622-D) (1930)

58. "I've Got the Chain Store Blues" - Allen Brothers (Victor V-40276) (1930)

59."My Father Doesn't Love Me" - Louis McDaniel-Gid Smith [Lewis McDaniel] (Timely Tunes C-1560) (1930)

60. "Flat Wheel Train Blues"-Nos. 1 and 2 - Red Gay and Jack Wellman (Brunswick 523) (1930)

61. "Got the Jake Leg Too" - Ray Brothers (Victor 23508) (1930)

62."The Night Herding Song"-Marc Williams (Panachord 25510) (1930)

63. "Eleven More Months and Ten More Days"-Parts 1 and 2 - Colt Brothers acc. Rex Cole Mountaineers (Panachord 25029) (1931)

64. "When Katie Comes Down to the Gate"/"A Little White Rose" - Murphy Bros. (Superior 2716) (1931)

65. "Prosperity Is Just Around Which Corner?"/"What Are You Squawkin' About?"-Carson Robison Trio (Conqueror 7935) (1932)

66."That's My Rabbit-My Dog Caught It" - Walter Family (Champion S-16653) (1933)

67."Chinatown, My Chinatown"- Milton Brown and His Brownies (Decca 5166) (1935)

68. "Bankhead Blues" - Nations Brothers (Shelton and Marshall) (Vocalion 03118) (1935)

69. "Feels Good"/"Let Me Play with It" - Hartman's Heart Breakers (Bluebird B-6481) (1936)

70. "Those Rambling Blues" - Steelman Sisters (Melotone 6-11-69) (1936)

71. "Courtin'"/"V-8 Blues"- Three Tobacco Tags (Bluebird B-6730) (1936)

72. "Wondering" - Riverside Ramblers (Bluebird B-6926) (1937)

73. "The Last Letter" - Rex Griffin (Decca 5383) (1937)

74. "Hello Stranger" - The Carter Family (Decca 5479) (1937)

75. "Cotton Mill Blues" - Lester (The Highway Man) [Lester "Pete" Bivins] (Decca 5559) (1938)

76. "Guitar Blues"/"Sweet Hawaiian Chimes"- The DeZurik Sisters (Caroline and Mary Jane) (Conqueror 9252)

77. "Truck Driver's Blues" - Cliff Bruner and His Boys (Decca 5725) (1939)

78. "New San Antonio Rose" - Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (Vocalion/Okeh 05694) (1940)

General Bibliography
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Review quote

...a must for anyone truly interested in the history and thread of old-time. I wish these existed when I was starting out! And look up the referenced recordings. You'll be glad you did. * Dan Levenson, Banjo Newsletter * Music scholarship doesn't get any better than this. Quite simply, it's one of the most insightful and fascinating books about country music I've ever read. * Patrick Huber, coauthor of A&R Pioneers: Architects of American Roots Music on Record * No one knows more about recorded country music than Tony Russell, and no one writes about it with more elegance and insight. Rural Rhythm is a tour de force - part history lesson, part treasure hunt, and part epic playlist, jammed with fascinating illustrations. Don't miss it! * Tom Piazza *
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About Tony Russell

Tony Russell is a music historian who has written on country music, blues, jazz, and other forms of popular music in a wide variety of publications. He is the author of Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942 (OUP 2004) and Country Music Originals: The Legends and the Lost (OUP 2007), both of which received Best Research in Recorded Country Music Awards from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. He has been twice
nominated for a Grammy award for historical liner notes, and holds Lifetime Achievement Awards from the ARSC and Belmont University. Among his other works are the pioneering Black, Whites and Blues (1971), The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings (2006), and the almost twenty-year run of the journal Old Time Music, which he founded and
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