The Baxter Brothers & The Georgia Yellow Hammers
I have often discussed how music ignored the Jim Crow rules of the Old South. At a time when the South was segregated and racial boundaries were clearly defined, music was the one uniting force. Musicians, being more concerned with music than social prejudices, were generally an integrated lot. It was all about the music and the exchange of techniques, styles and riffs.
African-American fiddler Andrew Baxter and his son Jim, an African-American-Cherokee singer and guitarist, were a popular duo also from Gordon County, Georgia. The family duo were well known for the playing a wide variety of musical styles. For reasons unknown to me, the father and son team performed as The Baxter Brothers. Chances are good that the Yellow Hammers and the Baxters played the same dances and exchanged a few licks.
In August 1927 the Georgia Yellow Hammers and the Baxter Brothers traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina for recording sessions with Victor. Because of the Jim Crow laws, the Baxters had to ride several cars behind the Yellow Hammers on the train ride to Charlotte. In Charlotte, each group recorded their individual sessions, with one exception. On one song, "G Rag", recorded by the Yellow Hammers, Andrew Baxter sat in for Bud Landress on fiddle. While it was common for Black and White musicians to play together in different settings, this integrated recording session was extremely rare in the 1920s.
Ah, the power of music!