Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Bristol Sessions: Historic Recordings from Bristol, Tennessee
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Right there on the cover, Johnny Cash calls these sessions "the single most important event in the history of country music," and it's hard to argue with him. Sure, there'd been "Southern" music recordings before these, an... more »
Right there on the cover, Johnny Cash calls these sessions "the single most important event in the history of country music," and it's hard to argue with him. Sure, there'd been "Southern" music recordings before these, and of course the music itself had existed for decades. But when Victor executive Ralph Peer went to Bristol, Tennessee, for two weeks in the summer of 1927, he not only jump-started the hillbilly music market, he basically defined the parameters of what would come to be called country music. Peer ran what amounted to an open-mike recording session, inviting any and all rural musicians to record their renditions of hillbilly music: gospels and blues, fiddle and banjo tunes, old-time mountain ballads. He recorded 19 acts (all of whom are represented in this collection), among them Ernest Stoneman and the Johnson Brothers, who were both established recording artists at the time. He also unearthed the two most significant country stars of the day--Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family--as well as the protest singer Blind Alfred Reed. What's most amazing is that even the lesser-known musicians offer performances as engaging as those legendary figures do: the commanding gospel of Kentucky preacher Alfred Karnes, accompanied by his own distinctive harp-guitar; the modal blues of banjo player B.F Shelor; the harmonica showcase of Henry Whitter; the rich a cappella harmonies of the Alcoa Quartet; the spritely fiddle work of Charles McReynolds, grandfather of future bluegrass stars Jim and Jesse. --Marc Greilsamer
Philip Westwood | Lichfield, Staffordshire United Kingdom | 09/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a brilliant collection. The items by the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers are familiar. But the others, except for Blind Alfred Reed's 'Wreck of the Virginian', are new to me. And the majority really are very good. Uncle Eck Dunford's 'Skip to Ma Lou' gets the set off to a rollicking start, and the quality never lets up. Henry Whitter's harmonica playing is a revelation, and the various numbers by Ernest Stoneman reach the high standard expected of this fine traditional musician. For me, the high spot is the singing of Alfred G Karnes. What a superb voice this Kentucky preacher had. And his simple accompaniment on his Gibson harp-guitar complements his singing perfectly. This is the fountainhead of country music. And the sound quality is pretty good too - much better than might be expected from discs cut on primitive equipment at the dawn of the electrical recording era in a temporary studio set up in a one time furniture store. If you have any interest in country music, buy this and see where it all started. You won't be disappointed."
The Bristol Sessions
Joel Shimberg | USA | 02/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set is required listening (and owning) for anyone interested in American traditional folk music and/or country music before Nashville. Only 80% or so of the recordings are absolute gems, but pople can disagree about which cuts aren't gems. These recordings are touted as "the birth of country music". While that's pretty silly, it's not all that far from the truth. The recordings here give a wonderful picture of the state of mountain music within 100 miles of around Bristol -- from eastern KY to around Galax, VA, to southern WV and western NC, to east TN. Even what I think of as the duds are interesting and good music. You'll find the raw power of Alfred Karnes, the sweetness of the Carter Family, Nestor and Edmonds walking down from the mountains, and the jazzy modernity of Jimmie Rodgers and the Tenneva Ramblers. It's a wonderful panoramic view of great music."
The genesis of american country music!
A. Fields | 12/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These recordings (including the first by Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family) mark the moment when folk music became country music (pre-Nashville). Anyone who enjoyed Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music will love this record!"