Hi, there... This page is part of the Slipcue guide to old-timey musicians, both old and new. This old-timey guide is part of a much larger Hick Music website. This "guide" is not meant to be comprehensive or authoritative, just a quick look at a few records I've heard recently, as well as some old favorites. Comments, corrections and/or recommendations are are always welcome!
This page covers the letter "B"
The Bailes Brothers "Oh So Many Years" (Bear Family, 2002)
Walter and Johnnie Bailes followed in the path of many other "brother bands" such as the Monroe Brothers and the Blue Sky Boys, although the Bailes's came to the game a little late, and hit their peak in the late 1940s, just as the brother act sound was giving way to larger, more aggressive bluegrass arrangements. Even with added musicians (these recordings from 1945-47 feature added guitar, bass and even a steel guitar), they sounded remarkably like the Blue Sky Boys, so much so that they seem to lack an original style of their own. No matter, however: if you like the style to begin with, then these are grand recordings, fun of energy and life, tight harmonies and tremendous musical drive. Most of the material is religious, including fine gospel songs such as "Do You Expect A Reward From God" and "Has The Devil Got A Mortgage On Your Soul"... Mighty fine listening for fans of the old-timey sound!
The Bailes Brothers "Sing Their Hearts Out For You" (Binge Disc/Cattle Records, 2005)
E. C. Ball & Orna Ball "Through The Years: 1937-1975" (Copper Creek)
E. C. Ball & Orna Ball "E.C. Ball With Orna Ball" (Rounder, 1972)
Gentle, Carter Family-styled religious material, with the Friendly Gospel Singers... Very sweet!
Riley Baugus & The Lonesome Sisters "Going Home Shoes" (Tin Halo, 2004)
A quiet, stripped-down set of old-timey spiritual songs and bluegrass ballads, sung with in an understated style that skirts both the folkie and indie-pop scenes. The Lonesome Sisters are a female duet -- Sarah Hawker and Debra Clifford -- accompanied by fiddler-banjoist Riley Baugus, with vocals that sound a lot like Rosanne Cash in a contemplative, quiet, acoustic mood. Their approach is very low-key, and very effective as a result... Some of the songs are standards and oldies, though most are originals. Both Hawker and Clifford have serious old-timey pedigrees -- Hawker is the niece of old-timey singer Ginny Hawker (who is also the wife of New Lost City Rambler Tracy Schwartz); Clifford has played in several old-timey bands, and as an accompanist for Hawker and Schwartz. Here they show that the younger generation has definitely taken up the torch, and they are gonna run with it for a long, long time. Recommended.
Riley Baugus "Long Steel Rail" (Sugar Hill, 2006)
(Produced by Tim O'Brien & Dirk Powell)
A strong, salty set of hardcore old-timey music, much of it played solo by Baugus, accompanying himself on fiddle or banjo, and even singing a capella with a hard-won, ultra-traditionalist, nails-on-a-chalkboard, keening wail. If you're into rugged, uncompromised old-time music from the likes of Hazel Adkins, Bruce Molsky or Dirk Powell, then this disc is definitely for you. Indeed, Powell, along with Tim O'Brien, is a co-producer of this album and they both play on many of the tracks. This album's a real treat for the faithful, each and every song suffused with the craggy, live-wire intensity that best defines the genre. Definitely recommended!
Bud & Joe Billings "Singing Pals From Kansas" (Binge Disc/Cattle Records)
Apparently this duo was really an alias for old-timey vets Frank Luther and Carson Robison, who -- although not actually brothers -- were really both from Kansas. Kansas: a good place to be from. Anyway, this is some fine old-fashioned country music, made by two major stars of the Great Depression era, recorded between 1928-30.
The Blue Sky Boys - see artist discography
Dock Boggs - see artist discography
Bashful Brother Oswald "Don't Say Aloha" (Rounder, 1972)
An interesting confluence of old-time country, traditional bluegrass and 1930s-style Hawaiian music. Oswald Kirby, (aka Bashful Brother Oswald) once a key member of Roy Acuff's old band, was a veteran radio performer way back in the Depression era, whose career was revitalized by the '60s/'70s folk revival... Here he works through a nice slice of his wide repertoire -- clompy old banjo tunes, gospel recitations and Hawaiian ditties, as well as over-the-top sentimental weepers, such as "Should I Tell My Wife I'm Dying?" They just don't make 'em like this anymore! Oswald was pretty long in the tooth when he made these recordings, but it's still nice stuff, delivered with a simplicity and sincerity that stands the test of time.
Bashful Brother Oswald "Brother Oswald" (Rounder, 1972)
A classic dobro instrumental set, made with young'uns Tut Taylor and Norman Blake in tow, as well as another former member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, Charlie Collins, also pitching in. Sweet stuff, also with a healthy odes of old-fashioned Hawaiian music in the mix. Recommended!
Bashful Brother Oswald "Carry Me Back" (RME, 1995)
David Bromberg -- see artist discography
Herschel Brown "Complete Recorded Works: 1928-1929" (Document, 1997)
Relentlessly uptempo old-timey music with a brisk, sawing fiddle accompanied mainly by hambone-style leg-slapping percussion and hollered-out commentary. This includes some drawling comedic numbers and talking blues... also some overtly racist numbers, which are a big drag. Overall, I found this disc to be overly two-dimensional and raspy for me, and Brown to be too much of a dyed-in-the-wool Southern good ole boy. I ain't into it, even though I suppose you could argue for its historical, archival value.
Harry C. Browne "Early Minstrel Songs" (BACM, 2005)
Burnett & Rutherford "Complete Recordings, Vol. 1 : 1926-1930" (Document, 1998)
Hick Music Index