Allen Brothers

Allen Brothers, Vol. 1: 1927-1930

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The Allen Brothers (singer/banjoist Austin Allen and Lee Allen on kazoo, guitar, and occasional vocals) were one of the most popular and prolific of the early country groups. All of their music has been reissued on three Document CDs. The duo primarily played good-time music, influenced by the blues and to a small extent by hokum. Listening to their performances, one has to occasionally overlook small and unfortunate racist remarks that were part of the Southern white culture of the time. However, the sound of the duo is appealing (even if "Laughin' and Cryin' Blues" is a bit annoying), with the highlights on this first disc including "Salty Dog Blues," "Prisoner's Dream," "Jake Walk Blues," and "Frisco Blues." One session is unusual because it has the duo joined by violin and guitar, but that was the only time in their career that the Allen Brothers used other musicians. Early country collectors will want to hear this music.

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