BY TOM NETHERLAND SPECIAL TO THE HERALD COURIER
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Neither the Carter Family nor Howard Armstrong will literally return from the dead anytime soon. Likewise Appalachia circa late 1920s. However, with the recent completion of Bear Family Records’ trio of boxed sets, each elevates in the public eye.
Windows opened to Appalachian times and people long gone by when Germany’s Bear Family zeroed in on the Bristol Sessions. Its complete recordings box set, “The Bristol Sessions: The Big Bang of Country Music 1927-1928,” in 2011 proved revelatory.
Maybelle Carter as best she could returned from the grave. Music arose from a forgotten heap. Culture rebranded as honorable.
East Tennessee State University professor Ted Olson shepherded the Bristol Sessions and subsequent complete recordings sets from the John-son City and Knoxville Sessions in a number of ways. He served as reissue producer, wrote liner notes and researched each of the three monumental collections.
“It was a labor of love,” said Olson over lunch last week at Yee-Haw Brewery. “Bear Family spared no expense.”
Bear Family fortsätter sin kultur-gärning med att ge ut CD-boxar på hillbillyinspelningar. Tidigare har de gett ut inspelningarna från städerna Bristol resp. Johnson City.