by Johnnie & JackJohnnie & Jack


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Here are rare transcriptions from the original headliners of the Louisiana Hayride radio show, Johnnie, Jack, and Jack's wife, the illustrious Kitty Wells. Though the trio -- with the rest of the Tennessee Mountain Boys -- were at KWKH from 1948 through 1951, these transcriptions, buried in secrecy for decades, were probably recorded between early 1949 and early 1950. The set begins with the Louisiana Hayride theme, "Raining on the Mountain," as an introduction, and after the introductions are quickly made slips into a burning version of "Orange Blossom Special" followed by "White Dove," a bluegrass funeral song, full of high lonesome passion and Wells' forlorn alto. Wells is up next with a number from one of the later shows (they were either 15 or 30 minutes in length), "The Singing Waterfall," a pretty love song that takes a contralto vocal and jazzes up the arrangement so it borders on being a Western swing tune. Other folks on the Johnnie & Jack show included Paul Warren and his stomping fiddle, burning down the house at every opportunity as Johnnie & Jack tried to keep up and Wells went out for coffee or a doughnut. There are 19 selections here that don't necessarily add up to the rough-hewn majesty of the six-CD box set of Johnnie & Jack's collected studio recordings, and the sound quality is a bit shabby -- though it's not Bear Family's fault, since these transcriptions are from acetates. But collectors will find this indispensable material that sheds light on a little-known period of the trio's beginnings, and the beginnings of the Louisiana Hayride.

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