Thursday, January 30, 2014

the Wise String Orchestra

Vocalion no. 5360

Here is the only record made by the Wise String Orchestra.

It was recorded tuesday, August 27th, 1929
It features:
Newman Wise -Fiddle,
C.J. Wise -banjo-mandolin,
George Wise -Guitar,
and an Unidentified vocal duet on "How dry I am".



How a band this good only made one record is beyond me...
But then again, it's usually the snazzy streamlined stuff that sells enough to motivate the record companies to keep pumping out product.

I guess the Wise String Orchestra just wasn't commercial mainstream shlock enough to be successful in the record business... Well... That, and the people who mostly liked this kind of music, didn't have much money to buy records in the first place..... And also the fact that this was recorded about two months before the most devastating stock market crash the United States had ever seen, probably helped to ensure the certain doom of this great string band's recording career. ... Just as it did to many others.

The record companies dropped all their artists that weren't selling well during the depression.... That's probably why I have to look through endless piles of pop garbage before I find gems like this.

I found this one with my buddy Devin at a record store in Nanaimo, BC Canada of all places.
How a record recorded in Knoxville found it's way up so far north is anyones guess.

Anyways,
the record store guy told us they only had a small handful of 78's.
We were surprised they had any at all. We were even more surprised when we found boxes and boxes of them under all the cd racks in the store. we spent hours in there.

We had to wait till the next day for the owner to price them, but we must have bought close to 100 records. All really good prices too!
Most of them were $1-5 bucks!... A few of them were $10.

Lots of good hillbilly, jazzy 1920's novelty stuff, some foreign records, and I found one pre war blues record there too. Columbia 14639. Rufus & Ben Quillian. A real rarity!



It's like what you want to have happen every-time you're looking for records.

So, here it is folks!
Vocalion 5360 by the Wise String Orchestra.
Their recording career may have been short lived, but their music lives on forever in epic victory!!!
... and their version of Yellow Dog Blues rules ass! 

6 comments:

  1. What a wonderful treasure these songs are. That's some toe-tappin' playing right there. Great harmonies and vocal work on "How Dry I Am" as well. I particularly enjoy their softer signing style, as opposed to the more nasal quality which hillbilly music has at times. What a find!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for renovating this fabulous record.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "How Dry I Am"—wonderful! Excuse this question from a Welshman who spent most of his life living in Belgium and now lives in Spain, but is the tune not that of "Battle Hymn of The Republic"? And is there something else in there, too?

    ReplyDelete