The Kessinger Brothers

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1: 1928-1929

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Some 70 years after their creation, the complete works of the Kessinger Brothers were reissued by Document in three volumes, bringing into availability 68 historic and influential recordings which have languished in obscurity for many years. Volume one enables 21st century listeners to experience the duo's earliest collaborations in chronological sequence. Their playlist of dance tunes during this period was well stocked with rags, reels, marches, and the elegant waltzes which were particularly popular. In February 1928, James O'Keefe, A&R supervisor for the Brunswick/Balke/Collender Record Company invited ace fiddler Clark Kessinger and his guitar-playing nephew Luches (nine years his junior) to make records inside of Carter's Phonograph and Music Shop at 217 Sixteenth Street in Ashland, KY. Fully half of these first 14 sides were spruced up with genuine square dance calls provided by one Ernest Legg. None of the Kessinger's subsequent recordings had this feature. The idea to bill the Kessingers as brothers rather than uncle and nephew seems to have originated with O'Keefe. This collection combines the complete Ashland recordings with nine selections waxed in New York City almost exactly one year later in February 1929. Luches (the son of Clark's brother Charles) was a solid and sensible guitarist whose steady picking and strumming supported his uncle's dazzling fiddle technique.

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