“Hard Time, Good Time, End Time”

by

from http://www.tompkinssquare.com:

Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard : Hard Time, Good Time & End Time Music, 1923-1936 (Tompkins Square Records)

Available as a deluxe 3LP & 3CD Box Set, November 6th.

Work, play, pray – the lifecycle of the rural America that created our greatest generation of country music, 1923 to 1936. These volumes survey songs of labor and occupation, hardship and loss; dance tunes, comic numbers, and novelties that provided distraction and fun; and the hymns and sacred pieces that reached beyond the raw material of daily existence for something enduring.

Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard features 19 previously un-reissued sides and is largely drawn from the collection of the late Don Wahle of Louisville, Kentucky. A hillbilly 78 collector for many years, his records were hours away from the dump when producer Nathan Salsburg recovered them. Compiled and annotated by Salsburg with accompanying essays by Sarah Bryan(editor of the Old Time Herald), Amanda Petrusich (New York Times; author of It Still Moves), and John Jeremiah Sullivan(Southern editor of the Paris Review; author of Blood Horses and the essay collection Pulphead).

Nathan Salsburg on finding the Don Wahle collection:

One evening late in March 2010, my friend Joe called. He told me that his friend Chris had been on a dumpster job that day, helping clean out the house of a recently deceased hoarder. The hoarder had had some 78-rpm records, and Chris had brought a few home. Joe was there for dinner and he put him on the phone. “What kind of records?” I asked. “Old-timey stuff,” Chris said. Visions of Harry James and Morton Downey, Sr., began swaying lugubriously in my head. I thought about lying back down on the sofa, but I went to look at the records instead.

I had never tried to collect 78s. I was young, broke, and peripatetic, and by the time I might have started, I didn’t live in a place where the getting was good. (Never mind that I had gone to college in Richmond, Indiana, the home of the late Gennett Records. The nation’s first great independent label, it had released thousands of sides by jazz, hillbilly, and “race” artists, stars and ciphers alike, but in those days I was looking for mono Kinks LPs.) And when my shellac fantasies began, I was daunted by the many years the Great Southern Record Canvass had been over. So I contented myself with the vigorous stream of reissues from the likes of Yazoo, Arhoolie, and County Records. I had abandoned hope: thus my swoon when I opened the salvaged boxes.

Read entire article here.

Letter from pioneering hillbilly-record collector John Edwards to Don Wahle, July 4, 1960:

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