Saturday, March 26, 2011

J.E. Mainer - Vol. 9 & 10

Here is the next installment of the J.E. Mainer series. As can be heard, the farther along we get in the volumes, the more "bluegrassy" they sound, as more and more the band features Morris Herbert in sort of a lead role, almost replacing J.E. We are getting close to when J.E. passed away, maybe he was having some health problems and couldn`t come up with as many tunes to record, although he doesn`t sound like he is losing any of his musicianship as time goes on through the series.

Track List For Vol.9---
1. Rim Street Breakdown (not a familiar tune to me)
2. Silver Haired Daddy (first made popular by Gene Autry, before he was a cowboy)
3. Hang It In The Henhouse (a totally unfamiliar tune to me)
4. Six Months Ain`t Long (maybe from the Emry Arthur or the Rutherford & Foster 78)
5. Night Time In Nevada (no idea where this may have came from)
6. The Old Wooden Rocker (unfamiliar tune to me)
7. When The Roses Bloom Again (possibly from the Ernest Stoneman 78)
8. Tired Of The Same Thing (another unknown to me)
9. My Wife`s In Europe (likely from the Fiddlin` John Carson 78, called I`m Glad My Wife`s In Europe, concerning the ban on ocean travel during World War One)
10. I Found You Out (another unfamiliar tune to me)
11. Bread & Gravy (likely a depression era composition)
12. Coal Miner`s Grave (don`t know this one either)
13. Sally Goodin (the old fiddle tune)
14. Down In Arkansas (maybe from the old Sid Harkreader 78)
15. Hold Onto The Sleigh (likely from the Uncle Dave Macon 78)
16. Ghost Train (Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper recorded this, could be J.E.`s source for the tune)
17. Good Old Summertime (an old pop song, maybe from the Uncle Dave Macon parody of the tune)
18. Bachelor Blues (unknown tune to me)
19. Storms In The Ocean (likely from the Carter Family)
20. Lavender Cowboy (likely from the Vernon Dalhart 78, one of his last recordings)

Click here to download J.E. Mainer - Vol.9

Track list for Vol.10 - The Good Old Rebel---

1.The Rising Sun Blues (the common old song by this title, I believe first recorded in the mid 30`s by Roy Acuff)
2. I`m A Good Old Rebel (a unique set of words here to a common old tune, source unknown)
3. Somebody`s Waiting For You (sounds like this may be inspired by the Sam & Kirk McGee 78)
4. Pallet On The Floor (a common old tune, likely originating from an old blues tune)
5. Farmer Who Wouldn`t Hoe Corn (I know this was recorded in the 78 era, but I can`t remember by who)
6. Highway Man (likely from the old Charlie Poole 78)
7. Then I`ll Come Back To You (another old Charlie Poole number)
8. Don`t Whip Your Wife On Sunday (likely from an old Fiddlin` John Carson 78)
9. Black Jack David (the old English ballad)
10. Hold Onto The Plow (a common old tune with unique words with a slight gospel message)
11. Cherry Tree Caroll (an unknown song to me)
12. Al Smith For President (likely from the Uncle Dave Macon 78)
13. Dry & Dusty (a good fiddle tune, not an uncommon one)
14. Trade It For A Boy (I believe this was an old pop tune)
15. Way Down In Georgia (I don`t know this tune)
16. I Never Will Marry (I`m sure from the old Carter Family 78)
17. Knoxville Girl (a very common old English ballad, first recorded by Arthur Tanner I believe)
18. Old Man Came A`Courting (the old Uncle Eck Dunford 78 of Old Shoes & Leggins)
19. Farmer & The Devil (can`t recall where I`ve heard this, it`s a familiar one though)
20. Down Yonder (originally an old pop tune with words, adopted by old-time fiddlers, recorded many times in the 20`s)
Click here to download J.E. Mainer - Vol.10-The Good Old Rebel


  1. There was a long string of Mainer albums on Rural Rhythm, that going by Album Number, were issued back to back to back.... seems the majority of the 220s on Rural Rhythm was mainer. I would surmise these were all cut at the same session and therefore how the songs are arranged on the LPs may make it seem like Morris was playing more than J.E..... would be interesting to go through and see how many J.E. vs. Morris songs on this particular batch of 6 or so albums. As for Mainer's death, it is my understanding it happened suddenly and unexpectedly in the summer of 1971 while he was preparing to travel to Virginia to play a bluegrass festival.

  2. Old 78 recording of Farmer Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn (as The Lazy Farmer Boy) by Buster Carter and Preston Young, reissued on the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music. Their melody was unusual. There's a later recording with the usual tune by Hobart Smith on an LP.

    Arthur Tanner's Knoxville Girl was the first recording issued, but I would guess that Mainer learned it from The Blue Sky Boys 78, which was hugely popular, and Mainer might have known them personally, but I don't know that.

    Farmer And The Devil recorded by Bill and Belle Reed (as The Old Lady And The Devil), reissued in the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music. The Reeds were, I think, from western North Carolina, but the 78s that Harry Smith chose were not chosen because they were rare (There were Carter Family recordings, e.g.) but because they were exemplars of traditional music, in Smith's estimation. Not unlikely for Mainer to have heard them or to have learned songs from people who had heard them.

    I don't want to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, you would have a great time listening to the Anthology.

    The Rising Sun Blues I assume to be The House Of The Rising Sun. (I haven't had a chance to download the file yet, so I haven't listened. House of the Rising Sun was an early and pretty wide-spread blues.

    Pallet On The Floor was recorded by the Stripling Brothers in 1936, and by the Leake County Revelers (as Bed On The Floor) in 1928. I think that it was pretty much commonly played when Mainer was actively learning.

    Again, many thanks for making this wonderful stuff available.

  3. I did listen, and I report that The Farmer Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn has a melody unrelated to either version I mentioned. I wonder if Mainer might have run across the words in a book or magazine and made up his own melody.

    The Farmer And The Devil is also unrelated to any of the melodies I have heard, and the ballad is quite truncated. A strange version, if I may say so.

    It's hard times on Mainer's farm, hard times I say!


  4. Yeah Joel, it seems J.E. often made up or somewhat changed the tune of songs that weren`t uncommon numbers. Maybe he`d forgot the original music, or just wanted to sort of make the song his own.