Joe Evans and Arthur McLain

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‘The Two Poor Boys’ were black, and are reported to have come from Fairmount, in east Tennessee, where whites outnumbered blacks by 12 to one. This goes some way towards explaining the eclecticism…
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‘The Two Poor Boys’ were black, and are reported to have come from Fairmount, in east Tennessee, where whites outnumbered blacks by 12 to one. This goes some way towards explaining the eclecticism of, and the large white influence on, their music. Recorded in 1927 and 1931, they performed blues, but this only constituted about half of their issued titles; they also recorded medicine show material, coon songs, 20s pop, white fiddle pieces such as ‘Sourwood Mountain’ (transferred to mandolin and guitar), black ballads such as ‘John Henry’, and a parody of Darby And Tarlton’s ‘Birmingham Jail’. As well as ranging widely in styles, they featured a remarkable variety of instruments: guitar, kazoo, piano, mandolin, and violin. It is thought that although both men played guitar and kazoo, only Evans played the other instruments.