The Kessinger Brothers

Complete Recordings, Vol. 2 (1929)

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Volume two of the Kessinger Brothers' complete works focuses upon their recording activity during the first half of the year 1929. Fiddler Clark Kessinger and his guitarist and nephew Luches (who were always billed on record labels as brothers) performed regularly in public and held down a popular radio slot on station WOBU in Charleston. With all due respect to Ernest Legg, who generated square dance calls on some of the duo's earliest efforts, this collection is blessedly instrumental and represents some of their finest moments on record. A mix of polkas, rags, reels, waltzes, and hornpipes typifies the eastern fiddler's working repertoire at that time. Half the fun is ferreting out details about the song titles. According to the informative notes by Charles Wolfe, "Chinky Pin" is another way of saying "chinkquapin", which is a variety of mountain chestnut. The tune to which the title was attached is based upon an old-time banjo tune known as "Darling Child" or "Love Somebody." Despite all you may have heard to the contrary, the wonderfully titled "Rat Cheese Under the Hill" is not a remake of "Natchez Under the Hill." "Rat Cheese" would reappear later as "Pike's Peak," and subsequently as "Prosperity Special" by Bob Wills. "Salt River" traces back to Ireland and was destined to be renamed "Salt Creek" by Bill Monroe. Listen carefully to "Hot Foot" and you might recognize part of the old jazz tune "I Ain't Got Nobody," whereas "Johnston Girl" will recall "Buffalo Girl." Numerous French subtitles in the Kessinger Brothers discography are attributable to the fact that some of these records were released north of the border in French Canadian editions, which must have been terrifically popular among the North Sea and Northern European immigrant population in Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland.

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