Darby & Tarlton [JSP Box Set]

Darby & Tarlton [JSP Box Set]

by Darby & Tarlton


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Darby & Tarlton [JSP Box Set]

By all accounts Tom Darby and Jimmie Tarlton were an acrimonious duo, thrown together more by opportunity than any pressing desire to play music together, but in spite of the tension between them (or maybe because of it), the body of work they recorded together for Columbia Records between 1927 and 1933 is as singular and distinctive as any in early country or blues. Both were fine guitar players, with Darby generally handling the lead vocals and Tarlton the harmonies, but the difference-maker was Tarlton's striking slide guitar style. Tarlton played with the guitar in his lap Hawaiian-style, and reportedly fretted it with a wrist pin from a car. His slide lines give everything the duo recorded an eerie, exotic presence that, coupled with their impeccable vocals, makes them utterly unique. Darby & Tarlton played rags and waltzes and other popular dance forms of the day, but their bread and butter was always the blues, and when you hear people say that country music started as the white man's version of the blues, the tracks collected on this four-disc set from JSP Records are exactly what they're talking about. Among the obvious highlights here are the duo's version of "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad" called "Down in Florida on a Hog," the sublime "Birmingham Town" (which borrows its melody from "Jesse James"), their version of Dorsey Dixon's "Weaver Blues," the fun "Ooze Up to Me," the familiar melody of "Roy Dixon" (Roy Acuff would borrow it for his "Great Speckled Bird"), and "Birmingham Jail" and "Columbus Stockade Blues," which were a two-sided hit for Darby & Tarlton, selling some 200,000 copies on 78, an impressive sales figure for the time. Ironically, the last song the duo recorded was "Let's Be Friends Again," when it was doubtful the two ever had any great affection for each other. The final disc of this set collects Chris Bouchillon's late-'20s recordings for Columbia Records. Bouchillon was an unlikely recording star, since he wore conspicuous glasses, seemingly always had a pipe in the corner of his mouth, and by most reports was an awful singer. He had a subtle sense of humor, however, and a horn man's sense of timing when he talked, and he single-handedly invented the talking blues form with the release of "Talking Blues" in 1927 (it had actually been recorded a year earlier). Tracks like "The Medicine Show" and the hilarious "I've Been Married Three Times" show that if Bouchillon wasn't a great singer, he was a master of timing, and his talking blues keep you waiting always for the next line, for the next shoe to drop. As a box set, these four discs show the deep influence of Afro-American blues forms on the creation of early country music, and while Tom Darby, Jimmie Tarlton, and Chris Bouchillon are hardly household names outside of the old-time music community, their influence is pervasive and far reaching, if not always recognized or acknowledged.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/04/2005
Label: Jsp Records
UPC: 0788065774622
catalogNumber: 7746


Disc 1

  1. Down in Florida on a Hog
  2. Birmingham Town
  3. Birmingham Jail
  4. Columbus Stockade Blues
  5. Gamblin' Jim
  6. Lonesome in the Pines
  7. After the Ball
  8. I Can't Tell You Why I Love You
  9. Irish Police
  10. The Hobo Tramp
  11. Alto Waltz
  12. Mexican Rag
  13. Birmingham Jail No. 2
  14. The Rainbow Division
  15. Country Girl Valley
  16. Lonesome Railroad
  17. If You Ever Learn to Love Me
  18. If I Had Listened to My Mother
  19. Traveling Yodel Blues
  20. Heavy Hearted Blues
  21. The New York Hobo
  22. All Bound Down in Texas
  23. Touring Yodel Blues

Disc 2

  1. Slow Wicked Blues
  2. Black Jack Moonshine
  3. Ain't Gonna Marry No More
  4. Down in the Old Cherry Orchard
  5. When the Bluebirds Nest Again
  6. Beggar Joe
  7. When You're Away from Home
  8. Birmingham Rag
  9. Sweet Sarah Blues
  10. Little Bessie
  11. I Left Her at the River
  12. Jack and May
  13. Captain Won't You Let Me Go Home
  14. Going Back to My Texas Home
  15. The Whistling Songbird
  16. Freight Train Ramble
  17. Lonesome Frisco Line
  18. Down Among the Sugar Cane
  19. The Black Sheep
  20. Little Ola
  21. Once I Had a Sweetheart
  22. The Maple on the Hill
  23. My Father Died a Drunkard
  24. Frankie Dean

Disc 3

  1. Pork Chops
  2. In the Banks of a Lonely River
  3. Faithless Husband
  4. Hard Time Blues
  5. Rising Sun Blues
  6. My Little Blue Heaven
  7. Careless Love
  8. By the Old Oaken Bucket, Louise
  9. Lowe Bonnie
  10. After the Sinking of the Titanic
  11. New Birmingham Jail
  12. Roy Dixon
  13. Moonshine Blues
  14. She's Waiting for Me
  15. Goin' Down That Lonesome Frisco Line
  16. Thirteen Years in Kilbie Prison
  17. Once I Had a Fortune
  18. Dixie Mail
  19. The Weaver's Blues
  20. Sweetheart of My Dreams
  21. Ooze Up to Me
  22. Let's Be Friends Again
  23. By the Old Oaken Bucket, Louise

Disc 4

  1. Born in Hard Luck
  2. Talking Blues
  3. New Talking Blues
  4. Hannah
  5. Old Blind Heck
  6. Let It Alone
  7. My Fat Girl
  8. Waltz Me Around Willie
  9. Ambitious Father
  10. You Look Awful Good to Me
  11. The Medicine Show
  12. I've Been Married Three Times
  13. My Wife's Wedding
  14. Adam and Eve, Pt. 1
  15. Adam and Eve, Pt. 2
  16. Oyster Stew
  17. Oh, Miss Lizzie
  18. Girls of Yesterday

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