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Delmore Brothers Questions

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GUEST,Richie 13 Oct 07 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,Richie 13 Oct 07 - 08:03 PM
pdq 13 Oct 07 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Richie 13 Oct 07 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,Richie 13 Oct 07 - 08:48 PM
pdq 13 Oct 07 - 08:56 PM
Bob the Postman 13 Oct 07 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,Richie 14 Oct 07 - 12:26 AM
Stewie 14 Oct 07 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Richie 14 Oct 07 - 02:14 PM
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Subject: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 07:38 PM


I've got a couple questions about the Delmore Brothers that I don't understand:

At this link and other places it lists the Delmores hit song as "There's More Pretty Girls Than One" as:

There's More Pretty Girls Than One
Writers: Alton Delmore, W. Smith
Artists: Delmore Brothers, Hylo Brown

I don't think the Delmores even recorded it. Anyway does someone know when they recorded it and what label it's on.

This quote by Bill C. Malone seemed interesting but now I don't get it:
[In contrast to most of the string bands of the period, the Delmore Brothers featured guitars (the six-string and tenor) as lead instruments. In many of their novelty and rhythm tunes they used a ragtime guitar technique similar to that of the Negro blues performer Blind Boy Fuller -- an eight-to-the-bar progression heard in such songs as "Step It Up And Go" and "Don't Let The Deal Go Down." Bill C. Malone: The Country Music Encyclopedia, London, 1977, p. 59]

As far as I know The Delmores never recorded either song. I'm not sure what the Charlie Poole song "Don't Let Your Deal" has to do with Fuller or the Delmores. Neither song is an eight bar progression. Although the Delmores were good guitarists, many of their licks were played by session vituosos especially the King recordings.

Does this quote work for you?

I can't find any record of the date they started playing on WLW Cincinnati but I figure it's 1942. Is their any account with the date?
Also I'd like the date the Browns Ferry Four started which must be 1942-43 but most places give 1944. Anyone?

I have Alton's "Truth Is Stranger Than Publicity" which his lacking these answers.

I'm especially curious about Alton's claim that he started (helped to start) King Records. There's almost no mention on-line of the Delmores in the King history. Maybe it's something Syd Nathan wants to cover up. Anyone know about this?



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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 08:03 PM


I see where they recorded "There's More Pretty Girls" it was as the Arthur Smith Trio on Feb. 17, 1937.

I'm sure Alton didn't write this so it's still a bit baffling how he would get credit as the songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: pdq
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 08:18 PM

I put "Brown's Ferry Blues" (minus quotation marks) into the Mudcat search box and got nearly 30 threads about that song or about the Delmore Brothers.

One phrase I found said "It was written by Alton Delmore in 1930, though not recorded until December 6, 1933. ...from the notes to The Delmore Brothers, Brown's Ferry Blues, County CD 116, 1995."

The post-war boogie woogie sound led to another recording of the song in FEB 1946. "Freight Train Boogie" was also recorded in FEB 1946 but at a different day and place, Kenneth "Jethro" Burns is credited with the electric guitar break.

All 20 songs on the CD I have date from JAN 1946 to MAY 1952 and are from King singles, #527 up to #1084.

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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 08:31 PM


There was a dispute about "Brown's Ferry Blues" because the Vagabond's apparently copyrighted the song first. Alton complained and supposedly got the rights back.

I heard that the McGee's also calimed to write it.

I don't this Arthur Smith's Trio should be Delmore Brothers songs. Are they? Here's what I have in my database:

Arthur Smith Trio Recordings (Arthur Smith- fiddle; Alton and Rabon Delmore) Jan. 1935- Jan. 1938:
Across The Blue Ridge Mountains; Adieu False Love; Answer To More Pretty Girls Than One; Beautiful Brown Eyes; Beautiful Mabel Clare; Blackberry Blossom; Bonaparte's Retreat; Cheatum County Breakdown; Cheatum County Breakdown No. 2; Chicken Cookin' Time; Dixon County Blues; Dixon County Blues No. 2; Doin' The Goofus; Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mind; Goin' To Town; Fiddler's Blues; Fiddler's Dream; Florida Blues; Freight Train Moan; Goin' To Town; Henpecked Husband Blues; Her Little Brown Hand; (Singing Those) House Of David Blues; I'm Bound To Ride; Indian Creek; It's Hard To Please Your Mind; Little Darling; Little Darling They Have Taken You From Me; Lonesome Day Today, A; Lonesome For You; Lonesome Rambler's Blues; Lost Love; Lost Train Blues; Love Letters; Mocking Bird; More Like His Dad Everyday; Nellie's Blue Eyes; Never Alone; Paris Waltz; Pig At Home In A Pen; Red Apple Rag; Smith's Breakdown; Smith's Waltz; Spring Street Waltz; Sweet Heaven; There's More Pretty Girls Than One; Straw Breakdown; Sugar Tree Stomp; Take Me Back To Tennessee; Walking In My Sleep;


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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 08:48 PM

Another song that Alton claimed to write (with Smith) is Beautiful Brown Eyes, which was a number #1 song in 1949- which means: big money involved. Although I believe they arranged it, I'm pretty sure he didn't write it.

Alton wrote alot of great songs but it's a pity he took credit for some of them that he didn't write. If you look at the list above (Arthur Smith Trio) their are some songs which are clearly PD. Teh common practice at that time was the first one to record a song "wrote it."

What do you think?


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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: pdq
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 08:56 PM

I am not a music historian, just a fan. When I think of The Arthur Smith Trio, it is the earlier version with Kirk and Sam McGee. Thanks for the information, I am sure the Smith-Delmore material will be in my collection as soon as possible.

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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:36 PM

Richie, I reckon you've already checked out Charles Wolfe's "Classic Country: Legends of Country Music", Routledge, 2001, but in case you haven't, it contains chapters on the Delmores and the Brown's Ferry Four. I don't have it to hand but I recall that Wolfe tells the story of how the Four was formed to fill a gap in a broadcast schedule created by the drafting of the station's former gospel quartet into the armed services. Or something like that. I think Wolfe might give a date, but perhaps it's his information that you're querying?

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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 12:26 AM


Wolfe fills in a chapter at the end of Alton's "Truth Is Stranger Than Publicity," since Alton never finished the book.

I know there have been several interviews and I have some info from Old Time Magazine. Does anyone know how to access back issues? Most of the mags were from the 70's and there are some articles I'd love to read. I checked with Tony Russell, the editor, but he only has a couple back-issues left.

Merle Travis and Grandpa Jones are sources also. Ther was an interview with Wayne Raney, the great harmonica player used on some of the King sessions.

I also have questions about the Delmore's London record sessions. Are the sessions available now on CD anywhere?


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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: Stewie
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 03:57 AM

Hi Richie,

Linnell Gentry does not give an actual date for WLW, but it looks like it probably was 1943. His entry has: '... WAPI, Birmingham, 1939-42; WLW, Cincinatti; WCKY, Cincinatti; WIBC, Indianapolis, 1944; WRC, Memphis 1945-47 ...'. [L.Gentry 'A History and Encyclopedia of Country, Western and Gospel Music' 2nd Ed Clairmont Corp 1969, p408].
Meade et alia give 17 Feb 1936 (not 1937) for Arthur Smith Trio recording of 'More Pretty Girls' - issued June 1936 as Bb B632. Earliest recording is by Jesse James and J.D.Foster on 28 July 1927 (unissued). Earliest issued was by Leonard Rutherford and John Foster on 11 April 1929 - Chi 423. Meade's printed reference to the song is Mellinger E. Henry 'Songs Sung in the Southern Appalacians' London, Mitre Press 1933, p170. It's most unlikely that Alton was the author, but he may have adapted it.

Gary B. Reid, the writer of the liner notes for the double CD of the Brown's Ferry Four that I have - 'Rockin' on the Waves: Complete King Recordings 1946 - 1952 King CD 3256-2-2 - notes:

The Brown's Ferry Four were formed in June of 1943 while its four members were working in different groups at radio station WLW in Cincinatti, Ohio. They were put together as a replacement for the Drifting Pioneers, a group that had a spot on the station and was featured with a daily half hour program of gospel songs. Upon hearing the station manager (George Biggar) lament the parting of the Pioneers, Alton Delmore (of Delmore Brothers fame) offered to put together a quartet. A quick rehearsal in the hallway of the station confirmed that Alton and Rabon Delmore, Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis could indeed function as a quartet. They quickly agreed to give it a try and were informed by Mr Biggar that they could start the following morning.

This also confirms the 1943 date for the Delmores at WLW. Reid indicated that his notes relied heavily on research by Dr Wolfe.

I hope the above is of some use to you.


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Subject: RE: Delmore Bothers Questions
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 02:14 PM

Thanks Stewie,

A correction: "Beautiful Brown Eyes" was a number 2 song in 1949. The song was the best selling Country song of 1951 according to Wolfe. Apparently Alton received $1,500 for his song writing credit, given to him when he complained that he wrote the song. Apparently song was copyrighted under his name and Smith's in 1937.

Unknown at the time, was another exsisting version (Gordon manuscript)found in the 20s. Both Smith and Alton heard teh song somewhere and arranged but since it was the first recording, as was customary practice- they claimed authorship.


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