Release Date: 05/11/04
Country Music Pioneers - and Huge Entertainers
The Delmore Brothers adapted their style with the times. At the start of their career, their then innovative approach, superseded many pioneer country artists. Toward the end of their career they adapted to the sounds of the 1940s and '50s, arguably pioneering the rockabilly sound. Alton usually took lead vocals, but they could switch high and low parts between them. Their influence on The Monroe Brothers is undoubted. Apart from harmony singing, their recordings are characterised by clear diction and clean-cut guitar playing. Born in Alabama in the early 20th century Alton and Rabon were sons of tenant farmers. Seeking better land, they moved to Tennessee. Their fortunes did not improve. The family worked on other farms as day laborers. These tough experiences would re-emerge in Delmore songs. Alton later said that the shadow of poverty never quite left them. But their mother could play and read music. She taught Alton and, settling on guitar, he became a fine musician. He also attended gospel singing schools. The early interest in gospel music was later reflected in their use of sacred material which continued throughout their career. Later, in the 1940s and early 1950s, even when they had a string of nationwide hits, they insisted on recording gospel material. By 1926 The Delmores were already working on their harmony singing and instrumental work. At some point Alton had bought a tenor guitar. Taught by Alton, Rabon could play it by the time he was ten - apparently using banjo chords. Alto chose the tenor guitar - smaller than the standard six-string guitar and having only four strings - after he'd seen a vaudeville double act use one. It was an example of their willingness to step outside rigid country traditions. By the end of their careers (Rabon died from lung cancer in 1952) the brothers had been Opry stars (and fallen out with the Opry) and written over 1000 songs including Freight Train Boogie - a key link in the Rock 'n' Roll story.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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