Saturday, February 12, 2011

J.E. Mainer on the Rural Rhythm label - Vol. 1&2

Here is a sort of a series I`m going to start. J.E. Mainer had at least 20 LP`s released on the Rural Rhythm label, as I have up to Vol. 20 (I`m missing Vol.17). There really isn`t a lot to say about J.E. as there is plenty of information about him on the web.
One thing I will say is that when he was learning to play that he must have listened to many 78`s, as his material covers many classic performances. I will give a few examples as we go through the collection.
The first two releases posted here didn`t have a volume number, but I call them Vol.1&2 due to the catalog numbers. I guess these two released sold enough to warrant more records being made. A few of the tunes in this series has been released on cd, but certainly not as a set of any kind.
I have not included scans of the backs of these LP`s as there is only lists of other Rural Rhythm releases in type so small you couldn`t read the scans anyhow. A few of the discs in this series do have information on them, and those that do will be scanned onto the blog page.

So... here we start with "Vol.1" titled Old Time Mountain Music

Track list for "Vol.1"---
1. Watermelon On The Vine ( a Skillet Licker & Uncle Dave Macon tune)
2. Hoop It Up Liza Jane (a Bradley Kincaid tune)
3. Sweet Sunny South (a Charlie Poole tune)
4. Shoot The Turkey Buzzard (an east Tennessee tune associated especially with Roy Acuff`s fiddling)
5. Oh! Those Tombs (another Roy Acuff tune)
6. Kenny Wagner (a Vernon Dalhart song)
7. Run Mountain (this tune seems to be unique to the Mainer`s)
8. Rock The Cradle, Lucy (a Skillet Licker song)
9. Don`t Go Out Tonight Little Darlin` (I think a Grayson & Whitter song)
10. Granny Kickin` Up Her Heels (I never heard this one anywhere else)
11. Johnson`s Old Grey Mule (Gid Tanner & Earl Johnson both had good versions of this in the 20`s)
12. Ticklish David (an old tune written & recorded by Cal Stewart aka Uncle Josh, also Uncle Dave Macon did this one)
13. Stayed In The Wagon Yard (a Lowe Stokes tune, also Grandpa Jones did it)
14. Gettin` There Rabbit (Samantha Bumgarner tune)
15. City On Mt. Zion (don`t know where this came from, likely a shape note song book)
16. Don`t Cry Honey (Riley Puckett sang this one with the Skillet Lickers)
17. Dance Around Molly (just a fiddle tune, recorded by Tommy Magness in the late 40`s for one)
18. Taby Let Your Hair Hang Down (unknown to me)
19. Me And My Gal (another mystery to me)
20. Jim Boy`s Breakdown (don`t know this one either)

Click here to download J.E. Mainer - Old Time Mountain Music (Vol.1)

Next is More Old Time Mountain Music (Vol.2)

Track list---
1. Jolly Blacksmith (a Theron Hale tune for one)
2. Hop Along Peter (a 20`s recording that I can`t remember the artist of right now)
3. Mainer`s Blues
4. Shout Lula (a common tune)
5. Wildwood Flower (of course we know this is a Carter Family tune!)
6. Down The Old Plank Road (an Uncle Dave Macon song)
7. Keep My Skillet Good And Greasy (another Uncle Dave tune)
8. Forty Years Ago (likely started as an old parlor tune)
9. Glass Number One (no idea about this one)
10. Railroad Bill (Riley Puckett recorded this one)
11. Blue Ridge Break Down (no idea about this one either)
12. Courtin` In The Rain (a Dock Walsh song)
13. Old Hen Sitting In A Chimney Jamb (a Skillet Lickers tune)
14. Donkey On The Track (likely from the Al Hopkins record)
15. Adam And Eve In The Garden (no idea here)
16. Get Away Old Man (a Vernon Dalhart number)
17. Jay Goose Is Dead (??? no idea)
18. Climbing Up The Mountain (don`t know this one)
19. Goodbye Little Bonnie (a popular song in the 30`s titled Bonnie Blue Eyes usually)
20. Hand Me Down My Peg And Awl (a Kelly Harrell tune)

Click here to download J.E. Mainer - More Old Time Mountain Music (Vol.2)


  1. thanks! nice bridge between oldtime and bluegrass

  2. hi allen

    here's a link for vol. 17

  3. Help for you:
    Shoot the Turkey Buzzard is also an East Tennessee tune, but it's usually called 'Waiting for the Federals' or 'Running from the Federals', depening on your political history. It was recorded as 'Seneca Square Dance' by Ozark fiddler Sam Long in 1926, and as Shoot The Turkey Buzzard' by Kentucky Fiddler Doc Roberts in 1928.
    You have heard 'Tabby Let Your Hair Hang Down'! That's a verse in Bascom Lamar Lunsford's "I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground" (in Harry Smith's Anthology), although her name is 'Tempe'.
    According to Gus Meade's "Country Music Sources", the earliest recording of 'Hop Along Peter' was in 1937, by Wade Mainer and Zeke Morris.
    Thanks for making this wonderful stuff available!

  4. Song and tune sources are always interesting. Thanks.

  5. Hopalong Peter was recorded by the New Lost City Ramblers (Old Timey Songs for Children), their source being Fisher Hendley and His Aristocratic Pigs, who seem to have recorded the tune in 1933...

  6. He did 20 albums for Rural Rhythm... The final 3 albums are compilations issued after Mainer's death in 1971, however, they do include some previously unissued material, plus stereo versions of the songs taken from the first five albums, which were issued in Mono.... looking forward to this series.

  7. More so a question than a comment; Who was the banjo player on these Rural Rhythm records - Morris Herbert or Glenn Mainer? Anybody know?

  8. It seems that Morris Herbert did not start playing Banjo on Mainer albums until Volume 4.