Featuring Joe Evans, Nap Hayes, Matthew Prater, John Dilleshaw, Golden Melody Boys, and Arthur McLaine.
This early album of early country music originally recorded in the late Twenties and early Thirties illustrates the variety and style in this rich and colorful music. Joe Evans (New Huntsville Jail) on side 1 sings a story about his ordeal in jail. A familiar phrase that was frequently used in early jazz bands at Negro funerals, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust", can be heard in this recording. "New Huntsville Jail" later became popular with the addition of new words as "Down In The Valley". On the next number a kazoo and scat singing are added to give a real skiffle sound to the music. "Sittin' On Top of the World" starts with the violin followed by vocal and guitar accompaniment. This is a beautiful rendition of an old country ballad. The lilting strains on the mandolin in "Nothin' Doin'" are complimented by the sensitive guitar playing of Nap Hayes, and although the tempo is stepped up in "Somethin' Doin'", the saim sensitivity remains. "Old Hen Cackle" and "Sourwood Mountain" were some of the first songs to enjoy popularity in the early twenties in the country field. The next two sides are good snappy versions of these tunes, and show just how exciting mandolin can sound. John Dilleshaw opens up the second side with the warm and free flowing "Spanish Fandango" followed by "Cotton Patch Rag" and interesting contrast to the first number. The next five numbers are played by the Golden Melody Boys. These are very rare sides and little is know about the group. "Sabula Blues" and "Freak Melody" are mandolin and guitar duets listed on the original record label as being played by Demps and Phil. "Way Down South in Arkansas" and "Cross-Eyed Butcher" are country stories set to the music with humorous lyrics. The final number is "Guitar Rag", a duet of mandolin and guitar played at medium tempo. It is difficult to describe the feeling of this music in the liner notes. The real enjoyment can only come from listening to this LP.
Arnold S. Caplin
Many thanks to Joe Bussard
for his assistance.