Bailey: A Legend Lost
This special was aired on PBS Feb. 14,
the online biography and music clips are worth checking into.
DeFord Bailey was the most influential harmonica player in
the first half of the 20th century. Second to Dave Macon as the most
favorite performer on the Grand Ole Opry, he performed for 15 seasons from
1925 through 1940. Despite such acclaim, DeFord died quietly without
recognition of his place in American music history. Read about his life and
listen to some of his music at the PBS website:
Digital Collections in The Library Of Congress
The Library of Congress is not only the nation's oldest federal cultural institution,
it is also the largest library in the world, with millions of resource items
in its collections. An increasing number of these are becoming available for
Henry Reed with Bobbie Thompson of the Hollow Rock String Band (1967)
experiencing online at the Library of Congress website, with free and open access to historic
maps, photos, documents, audio and video. A subsection Collections
with Audio Recordings includes over 40 collections of articles, photographs, video,
and music recordings. Among these is a collection titled Fiddle
Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection.
Henry Reed was a fiddler from Monroe County, West Virginia,
who lived from 1884 to 1968. He never performed as a professional musician,
or recorded commercially, but has become known for preserving the music
of his life and his culture through these archival recordings, now
accessible for everyone to hear online. Read articles, view photographs of
his life, listen to over
180 audio files of Henry playing his tunes collected
by folklorist Alan Jabbour in 1966-67. Also view a video of Mr. Jabbour
demonstrating Henry's bowing technique.
Be sure to also explore the many other collections available
from the Library. Other topics include:
Band Music & Recordings, 1883-1923
Lomax Collection of Michigan and Wisconsin Recordings
Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America
What a Time: Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943
Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip
Country Music Legend and Local TV Pioneer
Dec. 7, 1908 ~ May 28, 2010
Slim Bryant was a country guitarist and songwriter with a
performance career stretching back over 75 years. He was known by
many Pittsburghers for having performed on the first television program to
air in this city, a musical variety show broadcast live on WDTV (later to
become KDKA TV) from the Syria Mosque in Oakland in 1949.
Thomas Hoyt "Slim" Bryant was born in Atlanta,
Georgia, on December 7, 1908. His father was an electrician who played
old-time fiddle, and his mother was an amateur poet who sang, played guitar
and piano. Slim's music career took off in 1931 when he joined up with
Clayton McMichen and the band that would soon become The Georgia
Bryant and his band came to Pittsburgh's KDKA radio in August, 1940 and
played on "The Farm Show'' every morning until 1959. The group
harmonized, sometimes crooned and could play styles from ballads to polkas
to novelties. "We played, gave news and market reports for the
farmers,'' he explained. It was a time when the radio and record industry were
young, and automobiles were making it possible for itinerant musicians to
tour like never before. They were part of the first generation of country
music "professionals" who could earn a living in the recording and
Bryant was also
best known for his recording days with the legendary
country singer Jimmie Rodgers, who died in 1933. Rodgers recorded Bryant's
song "Mother, the Queen of My Heart," on Oct. 21, 1932 with Bryant
accompanying him on guitar. The song has since been done by singers ranging
from George Gobel to Merle Haggard. In addition to the Georgia Wildcats and
Jimmie Rodgers, Bryant has performed with The Skillet Lickers, Gene Autry,
Eddy Arnold, Tex Ritter, Les Paul, Joe Negri, Burl Ives, Rosemary Clooney
and Snooky Lanson, many of them he still counts as friends.
has written about 200 songs, including country western
standards, as well as jingles for ad agencies. With his Wildcats he recorded
hundreds of songs for a variety of labels, more than 180 of them at NBC in
New York. A CD recording featuring Slim's music was released in the Spring
of 2007. The CD contains 31 songs that were recorded more than a
half-century ago. Slim wrote music and or words for a number of them, among
the tunes are these titles: "Thunderstorm" "Penny Ante
Polka" and "My Saddle, My Bronco and You.''
When the music business slowed in the early 1960's Slim and his
wife Mary Jane opened a card shop and a basement studio on Potomac Avenue in
Dormont. Mrs. Bryant died of a
neurological disease in 1987.
On his 100th birthday, Slim was honored at an open
celebration at his church, Dormont Presbyterian.
Follow these links for more about the life of Hoyt "Slim" Bryant:
WQED Multimedia TV OnQ
Tribune-Review, May 19, 2007
Vintage country recordings released on CD
Post Gazette, May 10, 2007
Slim Bryant, 98, returning to country music with CD
Pittsburgh Magazine December 2006
Our Own Country Music Legend Turns 98 This Month
Post Gazette, August 11, 2002
A Life in tune The real Slim's heyday
(This site has some audio clips of Slim's songs, and interview)
Old Time Herald Vol. 8, No. 5
The Varied Musical Career of Slim Bryantó93 Years Young
Thomas Hoyt Slim Bryant -
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Clayton McMichen and his Georgia Wildcats on their
first visit to KDKA in 1931.
From left: Pat Berryman, Clayton McMichen, Johnny Barfield and Slim Bryant.
provide great resource for old time tunes
Here are just a few of a growing
number of sites where you can find old time tunes online:
Kirkhuff from Susquehanna County (Northeast Pa.) was 1954 World
Champion Old-Time Fiddler (Crockett, Texas contest) About
270 of his tunes are available here as mp3 downloads, with more details of
his life. Posted by old time musicians Ed and Geraldine Berbaum.
Jim Bryner Tapes Background information on Dunbar, Pa.
fiddler Jim "Ike" Bryner and mp3 files, posted by Ken Mort, the
grandson of a close friend of Jim's.
Fakebook presents hundreds of fiddle tunes in MIDI format, a
file system that can easily be played by computers with synthesized sound.
Unlike mp3s, which are compressed versions of live recordings, MIDI uses a
much smaller amount of file space, but the sound is computer generated,
like listening to an old fashioned music box. However, I find the versions
of tunes on this site to be very well done, capturing a fun spirit that
makes the tunes work. At the very least, it is a fine resource for helping
to remember how a tune goes, or motivating you to find a live version of
tunes that you find interesting. Another advantage of MIDI is that it can
be converted to sheet music, the software for this is also available for
Live 365 is an online radio site that
provides individuals with the means to upload their favorite music
collections for the rest of us to share. For a number of years Dale Walter
has been running an Old Time broadcast he calls "Rats Won't Stay
Where There's Music" It's a great mix of old and new
recordings featuring selections like: Birmingham
Arkansas Mountaineers, Hawk Shot a Buzzard - Dave Bing
on the Railroad - Bob Carlin and John Hartford, Old Molly
Hare - Franklin George, and
many many more great classics. Just follow the link and enjoy. It's free
to listen to, just requires some sign up.
FIDDLE HANGOUT BANJO
Do you know any other
great websites with Old Time music broadcasts or MP3's? Send them to
and we'll post them on this page. If you would like to include your
personal reviews that would be even better!
3 Part Documentary Aired on WQED
THE APPALACHIANS THE DRAMATIC HISTORY OF A LAND AND ITS
PEOPLE, TOLD IN STORY AND SONG
The story of the Appalachian Mountains is the story of
America: immigration, settlement, the Revolution and the Civil War, the
growth of industry and the use and abuse of land. Appalachia has also had
a great impact on American music, folklore and culture, giving birth to
what we know today as country music.
THE APPALACHIANS is a three-hour documentary which aired on
public television stations nationwide beginning April 1, 2005.
Following an historical chronology, the narrative thread features the
colorful writings of common people and historical figures. Personal
stories are told on camera by people whose families have lived in
Appalachia for generations. Along with comments from historians, artists
such as Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Loretta Lynn and a host of others help
to tell this remarkable story through word and song .
For a more detailed description of the series, visit http://www.wnpt.net/about/news/appalachian_news.html
To view a trailer online, or to buy the dvd, cd or book
Family Documentary Aired on PBS: American Experience
One of the most influencial music groups in the early days
of American country music is the focus of a PBS documentary airing the
week of May 8, 2005. The Carter Family is responsible for writing many
well known songs such as Wabash Cannonball, and I'm Thinking Tonight Of My
Blue Eyes, and popularizing many others others such as Will The Circle Be
Unbroken, and Keep On The Sunnside. Their pre-bluegrass folk style created
an audience and set the stage for much of the bluegrass and country music
that would develop in the years following the depression of the 1930s.
online description of the program can be viewed at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carterfamily/index.html