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The Unsung Father Of Country Music 1925-1934

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 23, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ernest V. Stoneman, pioneering composer & country performer, defined the formula of 'three chords and the truth' and became the first rural singer/songwriter of the 20th century to record. This collection features 46 beautifully remastered performances of Ernest and his circle of talented friends & family. Sentimental love songs, early gospel hymns, fiddle-breakdowns, and disaster songs are included in this set with over 20 never before reissued. Stoneman was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in early 2008. Deluxe package also contains a 44 page booklet with an introduction by Patsy Stoneman, which contains many rare & haunting images.

Review

When Victor Records field engineer and A&R man Ralph Peer arrived in Bristol, TN, in the summer of 1927, he had a mission to record every rural Southern musician he could find. By the time he left Bristol, Peer had recorded 76 songs by 19 different acts and had set the cornerstones for the future of country music, a genre that had yet to be recognized or defined. The Bristol Sessions, the so-called Big Bang of country music, yielded the first recordings from both the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, as well as historic recordings by names less familiar, but no less important, including some restyled and rewritten traditional rave-ups by a previous Peer discovery, harmonica and autoharp player Ernest V. Stoneman. Stoneman had turned up on Peer's doorstep some three years earlier, and Peer, impressed by the musician's ability to generate original material, had steered him to Victor, and Stoneman's first release, a two-sided original epic narrative called The Titanic, was an immediate and huge hit, selling thousands of copies in 1925. It was, alas, to be Stoneman's first and last trip to the charts, making him, as well as arguably country music's first true songwriter, also one of the genre's first one-hit wonders. This delightfully conceived two-disc set covers Stoneman's early recording career between 1925 and 1934 (with sides attributed to his various groups the Blue Ridge Corn Shuckers, Frank Jenkins' Pilot Mountaineers, the Sweet Brothers, the Ernest V. Stoneman Trio, and others) with the Gennett, Paramount, Edison, Victor, and AR imprints, and what emerges is a revelatory look at how Stoneman turned an assortment of gospel hymns, hillbilly raps, and square dance reels into an often wry, ironic, and completely original view of the world turning through its mysterious affairs. The Titanic is here, as well as reconfigured fiddle romps like Old Joe Clark, the poignant All I've Got's Gone (in early and late versions), odd, ornate narratives like The Fate of Talmadge Osbourne, and eerily modern-sounding pieces like Nine Pound Hammer, all of which show, given the times, an uncommonly sharp musical sense. It's comforting, somehow, to think that Stoneman, who started out recording to wax cylinder, now has a defining collection available on CD in the 21st century. Some voices don't get lost. Thank God for that. --Steve Leggett, Allmusic.com

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Goodbye, Dear Old Step Stone
  2. John Hardy
  3. The Resurrection
  4. West Virginia Highway
  5. The Titanic
  6. The Spanish Merchant's Daughter
  7. The Burial of Wild Bill
  8. Sweeping Through the Gates
  9. Long Eared Mule
  10. The Religious Critic
  11. Possum Trot School Exhibition, Pt. 1
  12. Possum Trot School Exhibition, Pt. 2
  13. I Am Resolved
  14. A Message from Home Sweet Home
  15. The Wreck of the Old '97
  16. Old Joe Clark
  17. Mountaineer's Courtship
  18. No More Good-Byes
  19. The Raging Sea, How It Roars
  20. The Face That Never Returned
  21. Ramblin' Reckless Hobo
  22. Hop Light Ladies
  23. All I've Got's Gone

Disc: 2

  1. Goodbye, Dear Old Step Stone
  2. The Railroad Flagman's Sweetheart
  3. There's a Light Lit Up in Galilee
  4. Sourwood Mountain
  5. The Orphan Girl
  6. Too Late
  7. The Fate of Talmadge Osborne
  8. I Know My Name Is There
  9. Flop Eared Mule
  10. The Lightning Express
  11. Old Time Corn Shuckin', Pt. 1
  12. Old Time Corn Shuckin', Pt. 2
  13. Are You Washed in the Blood?
  14. When the Snowflakes Fall Again
  15. The Wreck on the C&O
  16. Once I Had a Fortune
  17. The Road to Washington
  18. He Is Coming After Me
  19. Say, Darling, Say
  20. The Old Hickory Cane
  21. New River Train
  22. Nine Pound Hammer
  23. All I Got's Gone


Product details

  • Audio CD (September 23, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: 5-String Productions
  • ASIN: B001CDL8KA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,843 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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