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Offbeat Instruments In Old Time Music

We have a certain image of the instruments used during the 1920's birth of the Blues and Country music. Guitars, Banjos, Fiddles, Harmonicas, Pianos, Mandolins and the occasional Autoharp, along with whatever jerry-rigged instruments Jug Bands cobbled together, and that's pretty much it. But that's quite wrong, a trip through the Sears & Roebuck... And we know that some rural folk did indeed play them. Then there were locally produced instruments such as the Mountain Dulcimer, Washboard, Washtub Bass, Musical Saw and the Quills. Lord knows what they played on it. The problem was that in the early days of recordings many instruments simply did not record well given the crude technology of the time. Banjos, Fiddles and Pianos recorded quite well from the start, they were loud, clear and distinct. In fact the banjo, which had been around for over a century as a African-American instrument, became wildly popular in the Ragtime Age when white, tuxedoed players like Fred Van Epps and Vess Ossman had numerous hit records with their rapid fire... Guitars by comparison, now seen as the archetypal blues, folk and country instrument, took longer to catch on, they was too quiet to record well at first. It's noteworthy that the first big selling rural artists like Eck Robertson, Fiddling John Carson, Uncle Dave Macon and Papa Charlie Jackson played fiddle or banjo. Soon enough the guitar pushed it's way in and took over. Of course it was sexier than the weedy fiddles or clanging banjos. They had been around since the 1900's and sold well enough since they were relatively easy to play, however they did not record well and might have been largely forgotten if it were not for the fact that two of the biggest names in country music,... Like the autoharp they are easy to play and in fact have obvious advantages in that since they only have three or four strings they are a lot easier to tune. Due to the vagaries of taste however they were never very popular as recording instruments and never had a hit-maker like Stoneman or the Carters to champion them. The instrument might have slipped into complete obscurity if folk revivalists like Jean Ritchie, John Jacob Niles and Mike Seeger hadn't championed them in the 1950's and 1960's. The mandolin is another example of the vagaries of taste. Source: Moondog's Library

Latest News

  • Real Estate Transfers - 7/12/15

    07/12/15 ,via Knoxville News Sentinel

    Floyd Reedy Jr., Thomas Hendershot and Archie Patterson to Michael Holloway and Nancy Holloway, in Candy Factory subdivision, $271,900. Saira Salahuddin and . Ruby Wyrick to Archie Johnson and Ann Johnson, on Gibbs Road, $134,900. Chadley 

  • 2015 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field All-Americans Announced

    NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the 2015 NCAA Division I All-Americans for outdoor track & field on Monday. The awards were based on the results of the NCAA championships in 

Recipes

Books

  • Los Angeles Magazine

    1998. 172 pages.

    Los Angeles magazine is a regional magazine of national stature. Our combination of award-winning feature writing, investigative reporting, service journalism, and design covers the people, lifestyle, culture, entertainment, fashion, art and architecture, and news that define Southern California. Started in the spring of 1961, Los Angeles magazine has been addressing the needs and interests of our region for 48 years. The magazine continues to be the definitive resource for an affluent population that is intensely interested in a lifestyle that is uniquely Southern Californian.

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  • OU Adds PRs, Shows Consistency in Austin

    05/03/15 ,via Oklahoma Sooner Sports

    In the first event of the day, Julia Reedy and Sarah Tolson placed first and second respectively ... Stephens set a personal best of 14.37 in the 100-meter hurdles. Lauren Gibbs and Chloe Peek set personal records in the 800-meter run.

  • Angling: Paul Gibbs catches seven to take bag of the week at Creedy Lakes

    04/15/15 ,via Express and Echo

    Exeter angler Paul Gibbs tempted seven fish for the best bag of the week, weighing in at 74lbs. His catches included commons of 21lbs 6oz, 17lbs 12oz, 14lbs 8oz and 13lbs 4oz, along with three green tench. Nathan Crang banked two fish, topping his bag with ...

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame to add contributors category

    08/01/14 ,via Fox Sports

    The following were also on last year's preliminary ballot -- Bud Adams,, Bobby Beathard, Gil Brandt, Leo Carlin, Otho Davis, Ron Gibbs, Jack Kent Cooke, Robert Kraft, Art McNally, Bill Polian, Steve Sabol and Ron Wolf.

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Reedy Gibbs U-190 | HOUSE OF USHER

Reedy Gibbs U-190 | HOUSE OF USHER

Photo of Reedy Gibbs from Mysterious Skin (2004)

Photo of Reedy Gibbs from Mysterious Skin (2004)