edited from http://www.oldtimemusic.com
Nester and Edmonds:
John Preston Nester (J.P. Nestor) was born Nov. 26 1876 Hillsville in Carroll County Virginia (died in 1967). Norman Edmonds was born Feb. 9, 1899 in Wythe County, Virginia (died in 1976). Both men played together many year before the recording session.
With the release of the now famed Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music featuring “Train on the Island” many scholars and collectors became aware of a valuable cross-section of great folk music masterpieces recorded during the 1920s and 1930s by commercial record companies. However, as happens with any art form, some pieces among this collection (six LPs’ worth) of great pieces stood out above others. Among these standouts was a tune played and sung with fiddle and banjo. This tune, “Train On The Island,” has been considered a classic in every sense of the word by collectors.
The singer played great mountain-style banjo and sang with much fervour. His name was J.P. Nestor, and this is the only name to be found on the original 78, and consequently, on the LP reissue. Little has been learned about him other than that he died a few years ago, and his middle name was Preston. He apparently went by the nickname of “Pres.” After recording four numbers on August 1, 1927, in Bristol, Tennessee, for the Victor company, Nestor and the accompanying fiddle-player were offered paid transportation to New York City to make more records [another account says they were offered a chance to record again when Peer came back to Bristol].
Unfortunately, Nestor flatly refused to leave the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Hillsville, Virginia, area, and was never recorded again, Thankfully, two of the songs recorded at the 1927 session were released. These were “Train On The Island” and “Black Eyed Susie,” released on Victor 21070. There has been some speculation that the remaining two songs recored at this session, “Georgia” and “John, My Lover,” were damaged – the masters – in shipment from Bristol to Camden, New Jersey. (more…)