Thursday, April 06, 2006

Earl Johnson's Clodhoppers

For the past few weeks we've heard from a few of the bands of younger musicians who are playing in the old-time tradition. Today I thought I'd post some of the pioneers of old-time.

Georgia was hot in the mid 1920s! The music was full of energy and fun. Compare the relatively sedate songs of Charlie Poole and his North Carolina Tar Heels with the wild antics of Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers. Those Georgia boys were havin' a good time!

One of the wildest, most chaotic fiddlers in Georgia at the time was Earl Johnson. Born in 1886, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Johnson learned to play the fiddle from his father. He began his recording career in 1925 for Paramount under the name of the Dixie String Band. He signed up with the Okeh label and recorded over 50 sides with his bands (alternating between the Dixie Entertainers and his Clodhoppers. Driven by the popularity of Tanner & the Skillet Lickers, Johnson sang in a falsetto voice and infused his music with humor. His bands had the tough job of keeping up with his frenzied fiddling. Their recordings are still the standard for some great technical instrumentation.

Earl Johnson & Dixie Entertainers - Ain't Nobody's Business.mp3

Earl Johnson & His Clodhoppers - Red Hot Breakdown.mp3


Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Is it just me or do those three wild gentlemen look like they'd be every bit as comfortable with a long gun in their hands as a musical instrument?

April 07, 2006 6:21 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

It is sort of a sinister photo, eh?

April 09, 2006 8:12 AM  
Blogger Kitty said...

That sinister looking gentleman on the far right is my grandpappy, James Lee Red Henderson. (I get my red hair from him). He might have been wild and firery but he sure loved his family, all of them.

November 12, 2008 6:22 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Wow, Kitty! I'm always glad to hear from family of the musicians featured on the Bus. Your grandpappy was one of the best.

I've found from personal experience that the same passion that makes one "wild and firey" extends to family especially strong.

November 12, 2008 9:00 PM  

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