Category Archives: Country History

Pickin’ on Ninnies

Saturday a listener named Liz posted a comment on the Paper and Pen page. I was going to respond there, but then decided that the question was important enough to merit a post. Liz wrote: “When the pickaninnies pick the … Continue reading

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The Legendary Al Hawkes Dies at 88

I met Al Hawkes at one of the Joe Val Festivals, back in the Green Room.  It was not the one where he received the 2009 Heritage Industry Award from the Boston Bluegrass Union.  It might have been 2016 when … Continue reading

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It’s the Eighth of January!

And that means it’s time for ‘The Battle of New Orleans’ with Johnny Horton (1959):     Johnny Horton of course took the song from Jimmy Driftwood (whose real name was James Morris).  From a site called the Greasespot Cafe, … Continue reading

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Extra! Fiddlin’ John Carson Played Tex’s ‘Christmas Time’ in 1927!

Well, sort of. After I played Tex Logan fiddling his composition, ‘Christmas Time’s a-Comin’’ with The Lane Brothers, followed by Bill Monroe’s classic first recording of the song, listener Paul Murphy emailed me with this news (reprinted with his permission): … Continue reading

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Talkin’ about Trains

The High 48s Bluegrass Band Back on the May 26th show I rediscovered the 2014 album of train songs, called Great Northern Railroad, from a band called The High 48s, a slim cardboard volume hiding amidst the plastic jewel boxes … Continue reading

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‘Maple Sugar’, Sweetheart!

Last Saturday (5May) on a whim I played an instrumental version of the fiddle tune ‘Maple Sugar’ (sans fiddle) from White Mountain Bluegrass, and mentioned that the first version I recalled was from Doc Williams, “with words.” As it turns … Continue reading

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Rare Stanley Brothers Radio Transcription—You Can Help Save It!

Yesterday, this note arrived from audio engineer Frank Cunningham: Hi Lynn, your listeners might find this interesting: Bristol, VA/Tenn. (January 10, 2018) – A rare transcription disc containing a live broadcast performance of The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain … Continue reading

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Don Williams, 1939–2017

I have been remiss in not acknowledging the life and work of Don Williams, who died in September. Don had literally dozens of hits on the country charts in the 1970s and early ’80s, many of which crossed over onto … Continue reading

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Adiós Glen Campbell

(Hits and Misses 6) • Glen Campbell: Adiós (2017, Universal) If you’ll look at my post from last September on Hillbilly at Harvard in the 1960s, ‘HAH History: The Committee Saves the Show’, and scroll down, you’ll see a photo … Continue reading

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No Particular Place to Go

Chuck Berry reportedly wrote that title in prison (for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines, violating the Mann Act).  The song devolves into an amusing anecdote when the the protagonist cannot get the young lady’s ‘safety belt’ unbuckled, but … Continue reading

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