I’ve been featuring a lot of jazz recently, and I think it’s about time for a change of pace, so today I offer this old time country record for your enjoyment.
When I bought my VV 4-4 Victrola a while back, along with it came a collection of about sixty or seventy records in the Victrola’s original albums. Most of these records were standard popular fare of the 1920s: Gene Austin, Waring’s Pennsylvanians, and plenty of waltzes. However, as I flipped to the last couple of pages in one album, I discovered three records on the Broadway label, which are always fun to find. One of them was a popular song pairing, the other two were old time fiddle records.
This one, Broadway 8114 is credited to “Harkins and Moran”, an alliterative pseudonym for actual artists Sid Harkreader, fiddle and Grady Moore, guitar. It was recorded in June of 1927 at the Chicago studios of the New York Recording Laboratories (of Paramount fame). It was also issued on Paramount 3023, and “John Henry” was issued on Herwin 75532 with different backing.
The duo’s fine rendition of the old folk song “John Henry” is marred by a large edge flake that necessitated a small amount of audio restoration, but I think it cleaned up fairly well. The same set of lyrics was sung by Harkreader’s associate Uncle Dave Macon in his memorable rendition.
On the flip side, Harkreader and Moore play the classic “Old Joe”, a track that was featured on Volume 2 of Yazoo’s compilation, “Times Ain’t Like They Used To Be: Early American Rural Music”. Real fine fiddle music.
Updated with improved audio on July 20, 2017.