Two distinct groups appear to have used this name. One group was formed in 1924 in Galax, Virginia, USA, and comprised Alonzo Elvis ‘Tony’ Alderman, a fiddle playing barber, and Joe Hopkins, a guitarist and barbershop customer. They began playing together and were soon joined by Joe’s brother, Al Hopkins. They were heard by local businessman and banjo player John Rector, who had already made some records as a member of a trio known as the Virginia Breakdowners (with James Sutphin and Henry Whitter). Rector teamed up with the new trio and persuaded them to accompany him to New York for a recording session. This band was sometimes labelled as the Three Tobacco Tags.
Another same-named group, originating at the start of the following decade, was formed by mandolin players and singers George ‘Looney Luke’ Luther Baucom and George Wade and guitarist-singer Edgar ‘Roly Poly’ Reid Summey. Active through the 30s, this group appeared on radio, where they had their own show, and made numerous records including ‘Get Your Head In Here’, ‘Ain’t Gonna Do It No More’, ‘Why Should It End This Way’, ‘Darling, The Answer Is In This Song’, ‘If I Only Had A Home Sweet Home’, ‘I Love To Ramble In The Roses’ and ‘Don’t Forget Mother’.
Recordings by the Tobacco Tags appear on numerous compilations by various artists and while for the most part these appear to be by the first of the two groups described above, some may be by the second group. These releases, all in the late 90s and early 00s, include Traditional Country Music Makers, Vol. 3 - Railroad Songs (Magnet), Traditional Country Music Makers, Vol. 4 - Mountain Hoedown (Magnet), Good For What Ails You: Music Of The Medicine Shows 1926-1937 (Old Hat), Hillbilly Blues - 25 Country Classics 1929-1947 (ASV Living Era), Farewell Blues - Hot String Bands 1936-1941 (Krazy Kat), Times Ain’t Like They Used To Be Vol. 7 - Early American Rural Music (Yazoo), American Yodelling 1911-1946 (Trikont), and the 4-CD box set Mountain Blues - Blues, Ballads & String Bands 1927-1938 (Krazy Kat). Among further compilations is Songs Of The Tobacco Tags, Vol. 1 (Old Homestead), apparently by the earlier group, while another, probably by the 30s group, has been released as Get Your Head In Here, on the label of the British Archive Of Country Music.