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Country Chat - April 2012

Early April 2012.

Hi All,

Yes, it’s come around again for another batch of BACM CDs. I’m hoping that you’ll enjoy these as much as you did last month’s.

I did mention in the last Chatterbox about South African recordings. Well, as I expected, we barely had any response at all. Tony Russell did mention that there were a handful of songs recorded mostly in Afrikaans but didn’t know the artists who recorded them. As I said last month the only one I know of was Joseph Marais and we have a good representation of his work here at the Archive, but it’s hardly country music as we all know it. So I think we’ll pass on that for a while until something else crops up.

Our first CD this month is the second volume of Uncle Henry & His Original Kentucky Mountaineers (BACM 373), a strange collection of songs, some with a hint of old time music and others with a definite change towards a 50s style. Most of these were recorded for the Capitol transcription service which was distributed out to radio stations. Thanks to Lynn Russwurm who had the original discs enabling us to put out a second full ‘Uncle Henry’ CD.

Lynn Russwurm also provided the tracks for our third compilation of minor Canadian country artists (BACM 374). Some of these were so rare that even Lynn didn’t know any details about the artist. We apologise for the lack of liner notes with this CD but if any historian of Canadian Country comes up with more information then we would gladly update the notes and let you all have copies.

After two years of trying to get a Margie Singleton CD out, we finally made it! Most of Margie’s early recordings are here (CD 375). She was a beautiful young lady recording mostly for Starday and Mercury records. Her husband, Shelby Singleton, was head of Mercury records at the time. I first met Shelby in 1961 when I dropped in the studio to hear Jimmie Skinner sing for a Jimmie Rodgers album. I felt just like a poor English guy visiting Nashville for the first time and seeing the wealth of the stars there with their rhinestone suits and expensive boots & big cars. What I would have given to be a part of the scene there at the start of the 60s.

But things were not to be and I continued to produce my Country music magazine in England for the next few years. The Nashville trip anyway was a great experience and I learned so much by going there and seeing for myself how it all worked. But, back to Margie Singleton, we have included two tracks here that she recorded with Harry Hanson, her very first recordings. The record company “Empire” didn’t give her credit on the label but thanks to the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Country Music’, Al Turner, he found a Billboard Magazine cutting that stated it was her. What would we do without such dedicated historians as these to help us!

On the reverse of this note you’ll find another new list of LPs that the Archive is overflowing with. I’ll keep them as cheap as possible so you all get a chance of buying them without breaking the bank. Trouble is the postage, I can do nothing about this except by letting you have them at actual post cost.

Over the past month or two we’ve lost two of the greatest country music legends of the 50s-60s, yes Billy Strange and Earl Scruggs have passed on, maybe to entertain another audience. Billy Strange was a master on guitar and recorded quite a few hits on the Capitol label. He was married to Jeanne Black – BACM have brought out CDs by both of them. Also Earl Scruggs, who as you all know was half of the Flatt & Scruggs duo who recorded hundreds of songs on the Columbia label. He was of course master of the five string banjo and many other instruments. On my one visit to his house in the early sixties I was in awe of the big collection of musical instruments that hung around the place. He was a real nice genuine person and the world will miss his music, although, he did leave behind a legacy of music that would last anyone a lifetime to listen to.

Due to the hefty increase of postage due this month we have had to increase our special offer to preferential customers, so instead of 3 CDs for £10 it will now be £12. We will still foot the bill on the post but it will be a lot more 2nd class now. Our regular CDs are still the same price as they have been for the past 10 years.

On that score I think that it’s time once again to say goodbye to you all, until the next time.

Best from us all here