So far I’ve mostly shared jazz records, so I think it’s about time I broke the monotony with something a bit different, so here’s one of my favorite country records, by Frank Luther and Carson Robison.
Carson Robison started out his lengthy and prolific recording career as a guitar player for vaudevillian Wendell Hall in 1924, becoming a studio guitarist and whistler for Victor records. Later that year, he was teamed up with the classically trained hillbilly singer Vernon Dalhart, beginning a partnership that lasted until an acrimonious parting in 1928, and would define “citybilly” music. Soon after, Robison joined forces with minister-turned-singer and fellow Kansan Frank Luther, who had previously sung with the Revelers and as a popular dance band vocalist, and the pair went on to supersede Dalhart as some of the nation’s foremost country recording artists. Their partnership lasted until 1932, when Robison set sail with a new group to bring hillbilly music to the British Isles. Luther continued to record domestically.
Supertone S2061 was recorded on May 21, 1929 and December 10, 1928, respectively, in New York City. The two sides were originally issued apart, with the first side on Brunswick 425 and the second on Vocalion 5278. This Supertone was released around 1931, and draws its masters from the Brunswick/Vocalion catalog rather than the original Gennett masters, after the Brunswick Radio Corporation (a subsidiary of Warner Brothers Pictures) acquired the contract from the Starr Piano Company.
On the first side of Supertone S2061, Frank Luther and Carson Robison perform “Left My Gal in the Mountains”, one of many country songs written by Robison and recorded by the duo on numerous labels. The accompaniment—made up of Earl Oliver on cornet, probably Roy Smeck on steel guitar, and an unknown clarinettist and guitarist—adds a little jazz to the song.
On the flip-side, Luther, accompanied by Robison on guitar, sings Harry McClintock’s famous “Big Rock Candy Mountains” in an almost flawless imitation of Mac.
Updated on October 2, 2016, and June 10, 2017.