Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Who were the Old Smokey Twins?

the Old Smokey Twins

Broadway no. 8128

Paramount no. 3036

You might ask yourself, like I have in the past, who were the "Old Smokey Twins"?
Why, the "Old Smokey Twins" was a pseudonym used on Paramount's budget label, Broadway, for an almost equally unknown band called the Kentucky Thoroughbreds!

As well as recording under their own name for Paramount, they were also known as "the Quadrillers". On Broadway, they went by the "Old Smokey Twins" and also as the "Lone Star Fiddlers", and as the Blue Grass Boys" for the Herwin label.

... Also, from reading Tony Russell's "Country Music Records" discography, it looks like the Old Smokey Twins were actually a trio on this record.
Doc Roberts-mandolin, Dick Parman-guitar and vocals, and Ted Chestnut-vocals.

They had two recording sessions in 1927 (April 13-14th and September 19th- 21st) that produced 18 recordings.

I've heard only a handful of this stuff! Has it all been re-issued and I don't know about it? Are there no known copies of this stuff?
Try googling Kentucky Thoroughbreds. It's depressing... Unless you like horses... Then you'll be like, "oh hell yeah!".
I've found a couple of their 78's, some stuff online (takes some digging), and one or two re-issue albums I've seen, have a small selection of their stuff. I thought the complete recorded works of Fiddlin' Doc Roberts would yield all his Kentucky Thoroughbreds recordings but alas.

So, I wanted to post both sides of this record but when I went through my collection, I realized I must of left it in storage back on the west coast (I'm in N.C.)... But have no fear my friends, I did bring with me, the Paramount record of the same titles.

I already had the "Preacher and the Bear" side recorded from the Broadway record, so I just recorded "In The Shade Of the Old Apple Tree" off the Paramount.

If there is any sound discrepancy between the two, you can chalk it up to being from two different pressings, recorded on two different set ups... And when you drop these mp3's into itunes, or whatever it is you use, they're gonna show up as being two different bands, even though they're not... Pseudonyms y'all.

Also, for those of you that don't collect 78's, like I said earlier, Broadway was a budget label of Paramount. Paramount cut costs wherever they could, and as a result, used the cheapest, most horrible materials they could find to make records.
Brand new, these things sounded like someone had played them with a rusty finishing nail for days!
Who knows how many cheap cost saving ingredients went into the record batch mix to fill it out.
I wouldn't be surprised, if in the next issue of 78 Quarterly I saw an article entitled: "disgruntled underpaid Paramount employees, defecating in "Batch" mix; partly responsible for poor audio quality".
... Or maybe I'd just like to see an article like that....

... Anyways, my point being, is they're a little worn sounding y'all... But they show improvement. "In the Shade Of the Old Apple Tree" starts out pretty quiet... but it gets louder and cleans up a little.
This is a great record.
Enjoy the music folks!

the INEVITABLE DISCLAIMER: "Kit gets serious for a second".
Im sure for most people this shouldn't be an issue but...
Sometimes in old music you will hear certain words, pertaining to race that were common place back in the day, but socially, they're not really kosher today.This might offend some people if they were to judge them by todays standards. If this is you, I remind you to please view these in their historical context or don't listen.

download these sweet sides!