Within that small and very specific sub-genre of musical Americana identifiable as the train imitation, there is one amazing performance, from 1926, that set the standard: Pan-American Blues. The man who recorded it did a fine and fanciful job of evoking the sounds of a fox chase as well, and his rhythmically compelling solo rendition of John Henry stands as testament to the potential for musical greatness achievable by one man and a humble harmonica. He was an African-American who was a founding member of the Grand Ole Opry, a musical institution that we rarely (as in, never) today associate with black people, and his touching and tragic story, documented here, is one that will be of interest to those concerned with the racial, economic and socio-cultural history of American popular music. He stands at one of its more unexpected intersections: his name is DeFord Bailey. [more inside]
"The Reinstate Hank campaign calls for the remittal of Opry star, and country music legend, Hank Williams." [more inside]
The DeZurik Sisters committed only six songs to record during their recording career, but were the first women stars of the Grand Ole Opry and the National Barn Dance. Now WFMU has 32 tracks of theirs from their early appearance as The Cackle Sisters on the Purina Checkerboard Squares Radio Show. Download away and hear the yodeling that swept the nation in the early 40s.