Saturday, August 18, 2012

Victor Presents: Binkley Brothers Dixie Clodhoppers

The Victor Talking Machine Company (1901-1929) was one of the leading phonograph companies in the world. Headquartered in Camden, New Jersey, it was THE leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records. I have a few Victor discs in my 78 r.p.m. collection, including the artist featured here....



The Binkley Brothers' Dixie Clodhoppers were an American old-time string band consisting of Amos Binkley on banjo, his brother Gale Binkley on fiddle, Tom Andrews on guitar, and Jack Jackson on guitar and vocals. The Binkley Brothers first performed on Nashville radio station WSM in 1926, and in 1928 became one of the first bands to record commercially in the city. The group performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry until they disbanded in 1938.

Amos and Gale Binkley were born in Ashland City, Tennessee, and were working as jewelry repairmen before they started playing for WSM. Andrews was from Franklin, Tennessee. The group was given the name "Binkley Brothers' Dixie Clodhoppers" by Opry founder George D. Hay, who preferred rural-sounding band names to fit the show's barn dance format.

In September 1928, the group attempted to record several sides for Victor Records at the YMCA building in Nashville, but Victor's A&R agent Ralph Peer decided the group's vocals were too rough. Peer added Lebanon, Tennessee singer Jack Jackson to the line-up, and on October 2, the band made its first recordings. The group continued performing on the Opry throughout the following decade, and by the early 1930s Jackson— who was known as the "Strolling Yodeler"— was one of the most popular singers on Nashville-area radio.

The band's repertoire included "I'll Rise When the Rooster Crows," which was derived from the 1881 song "Dem Golden Shoes," and the folk song "Give Me Back My Fifteen Cents." Both were recorded at their 1928 Victor sessions, and both are included in my collection. When the Binkley Brothers left the Opry in 1938, they were replaced by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys

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