Wednesday, February 18, 2009

#24: Rise When The Rooster Crows

Playlist for Sunday, February 22, 2009.
Hosted by Greg Denton with guest Tara Treanor.

1. Wake Up Jacob - Prince Albert Hunt & His Texas Ramblers

2. Rise When The Rooster Crows - Norman Blake & Peter Ostroushko
3. The Old Hen Cackled And The Rooster's Going To Crow - Fiddlin' John Carson

This is the b-side of Fiddlin' John Carson's "Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane" (1923), which is often credited as the recording that first alerted the record companies to the commercial potential of 'hillbilly' music. Ralph Peer, working for Okeh records, was convinced to record Carson by local record peddlar, Polk Brockman, while on a field trip to Atlanta. Peer was there to record some dance bands and college glee clubs.
Though 55 year old Fiddlin' John Carson had a growing reputation as a performer and was regularly winning fiddle contests wherever he entered, Peer was skeptical, and thought Carson's singing was "pluperfect awful". But, if only to appease the dealer, he agreed to make a small pressing of 500 records for Brockman to sell locally. Peer didn't take the prospect seriously enough to even bother with a serial number. As it turned out, the records arrived on the eve of a major fiddling contest in Atlanta and Fiddlin' John Carson sold all 500 pressings of the record off the stage that night! Brockman immediately ordered another larger pressing and Ralph Peer, Okeh records, and the National media had their eyes opened to a new market. It's generally thought that Ralph Peer's own account overstates the numbers a little: "We didn't even put a serial number on the record... [We thought] that when the local dealer got his supply that would be the end of it. We sent him 1000 records...That night he called New York and ordered 5000 more by express and 10,000 by freight. When the sales got up to 500,000 we were so ashamed we had Fiddlin' John come up to New York and do a re-recording". Peer later switched from Okeh to the Victor Recording Company and in 1929 he went on a field recording trip in Bristol, Tennessee seeking Country & Hillbilly acts. Both The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers were among those that showed up to audition for those sessions. They became hugely successful and launched the commercial Country music industry.

4. The Rooster's Crowing Blues - Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers
5. Banty Rooster Blues - Charley Patton

6. The Crowing Rooster - Jolly Joe's Jug Band
7. The Rooster Moans - Iron & Wine
8. Rooster Fight - Fred Eaglesmith & The Flathead Noodlers

9. The Red Rooster - Howlin' Wolf
10. Hen Layin' Rooster - Dr. John
11. Bad Rooster - Koko Taylor

12. Rooster - Ray Wylie Hubbard
13. Rockin' Rooster Inn - Del Reeves
14. Rooster Rock - Brian Setzer '68 Comeback Special

15. Rooster - The Ravens

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