Sunday, January 29, 2006

Give me old-time music

Just what is "old-time" music? A lot of folks would guess that it is the rural music that preceded the string band music of the 1920's and '30's. Funny thing is, the artists recording in the 1920's called it "old-time" music! If it was already "old-time" in the '20's, just how old is it?
To most, "old-time" music conjures thoughts of music before mass media (video, TV, and even radio). Actually, the term was first used as a marketing move by Okeh Records around 1923. Fiddlin' John Carson, a Georgia farmer and local fiddle champion, recorded several discs for Okeh that turned out to be wildly successful, to the label's surprise. Even John Carson was surprised with his success, reportedly saying "I'll have to quit making moonshine and start making records".
At first Okeh listed the records under the "popular" section of their catalog, but they were out of place with the slicker jazz records there. They didn't belong in the "race" records section either. So Okeh settled on the "old-time" moniker and it stuck.

Arthur Smith & His Dixie Liners - Give Me Old-Time Music

Ernest Stoneman - All I Got's Gone


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met Johnny Carson once, but of course, he was the "other" one. I was verrrrry surprised, after an interesting bit on fiddlin' John Carson, that you didn't post one of his tunes. Is there actually a limit to your library? Please, say it ain't so.

January 30, 2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

I had all intentions of posting a tune or two by John Carson, but I was listening to Stoneman while I was writing the post and changed my mind.

Oh, my humble collection is limited, but I stretch it a little every chance I get.

January 30, 2006 2:32 PM  

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