The Crooked Road: Early String Bands
Virginia figured promenently during the first wave of recordings in the rural south by the major record labels in the 1920's. Virginia proved to be the motherlode of Old Time string bands and rural music that the record companies were looking for, surpassed, perhaps, only by Georgia.
In the past I have featured several of those great artists that the record companies went so far into the hills to find. Fiddle greats such as Crocket Ward and Uncle Eck Dunford, who each played with Pop Stoneman and played together as the Ballard Branch Bogtrotters, Fiddlin' Cowan Powers (pictured above) and his family string band from Russell County, Danville's long bow fiddler Charley La Prade and his highly influential Blue Ridge Highballers, and Jack and Claude Grant who's band called the Tenneva Ramblers played around the Bristol area and included a singer by the name of Jimmie Rodgers up until he left the band a week or two before their recording session. Jimmie Rogers left to record his own session in Bristol that would change country music forever.
It has taken me many years to collect all of the music in my library. Those of you who want some of these great old recordings without the time and research required to collect them individually, have a much simpler solution. Back in 1994, County Records released the compilation CD "Rural String Bands of Virginia" that includes 16 of these rare recordings remastered from old 78's. The CD contains a wonderful selection of songs by some of the best Old Time string bands the Commonwealth had to offer in the 1920's and 30's. "Rural String Bands of Virginia" includes excellent liner notes including background info on all of the bands, the Old Time music scene of 1920's Virginia, and the influence these recordings had on the country music that was born in these hills.
Recorded in Richmond, VA - October 18, 1929
Recorded in Winston-Salem, NC - September 28, 1927
Buy "Rural String Bands of Virginia" from County Sales or Amazon.com