Capitalizing on the success of the “mountaineer songs” by the likes of Vernon Dalhart and Kelly Harrell, in late July 1927, talent scout and record producer Ralph S. Peer arranged for the Victor Talking Machine Company to make a field trip to Bristol, Tennessee and record new artists for the hillbilly market. Peer got the word out through local radio stations and newspapers, and soon musicians began coming to Bristol in droves to record for Victor. Among the earliest of the many who recorded in those sessions were Ernest Stoneman and Blind Alfred Reed. In early August, however, came the artists who were to make the biggest fame for themselves and for the Bristol sessions, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers.
Learning of the sessions, A.P. Carter persuaded his wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle, who made music together as the Carter Family, to make the short journey from their home in Maces Spring, Virginia to Bristol for an audition with Ralph Peer. The audition must have gone well, as the Carters made six recordings in two sessions in Bristol. In return for their recordings, they were paid fifty dollars per song, and half-a-cent royalties on each copy of their records sold. The following May, they traveled to Camden, New Jersey for their second of many sessions, and became among the most famous country music acts of all time in their decades long, multi-generation history.
Victor 20877 was recorded on August 1 and 2, 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee by the Carter Family, Sara, Maybelle, and A.P. Released on November 4, 1927, it was the first issued record, but not the first recorded sides, by the Carter Family.
Recorded third at the Carter Family’s first session is “The Poor Orphan Child”.
And third at their second session, “The Wandering Boy”.