Presse Archiv - Various Artists Tell It To Me - The Johnson City Sessions - Revisted (CD) - JP's Music BlogRevisit The Johnson City Sessions With New "Tell It To Me" Compilation
Back in 2013, the Bear Family Records label released the award-winning box set "The Johnson City Sessions: Can You Sing Or Play Old-Time Music?" It featured songs from the Columbia Records archives that were recorded in Johnson City, Tennessee between 1928 and 1929. On August 2nd, the Bear Family Records released a new 26-song condensed version of that set, which highlights mainly the essential tracks, in honor of the 90th anniversary of the Johnson City Sessions.
The set features some of the earliest recordings for Columbia Records as artists like Clarence Greene ("Johnson City Blues") and Jack Johnson ("I'm Just A Black Sheep") showcase the basics of the blues. You also get that one-of-a-kind classic country twang with artists like Grant Brothers ("Tell It To Me Baby") and Charlie Bowman ("Roll On Buddy"). The classic folk strumming of George Roark ("I Ain't A Bit Drunk") and Roy Harvey with Leonard Copeland ("Just Pickin'") will quicken your pulse with their swift guitar playing. It's nice to take a step back from today's modern music to appreciate the tunes and melodies that helped shaped these forms of music that we have come to love. To find out more about this new release "Tell It To Me: Revisiting The Johnson City Sessions 1928-1929," from Bear Family Records, please visit bear-family.com.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists Tell It To Me - The Johnson City Sessions - Revisted (CD) - cashboxmusicreviews
Tell It To Me: Revisiting The Johnson City Sessions 1928-1929
Bear Family/MVD 2019
Review by David Bowling
It's time to climb into the time machine and visit a long-gone musical era. During the late 1920's and early 1930's, various record labels would visit different areas of the country, conduct musical try-outs, and then record the best of those who auditioned.
The Victor, Okeh, and Columbia labels all visited the Appalachian area of the United States. The best known of these auditions was Victor's 1927 Bristol Sessions, which produced the first commercial recordings of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Several years later Columbia recorded 100 songs by various artists. While these sessions may not have produced any great stars; they do form a vital link to the development of American music.
Several years ago a 4-CD box set was released that included the entire Johnson City Sessions. Now Tell It To Me: Revisiting The Johnson City Session 1928-1929 has been issued. It is a more manageable release, in that it includes 26 tracks by 26 different artists.
While the artists contained on this CD have mostly disappeared into musical history; the music they left behind forms the beginnings of American country, bluegrass, and rockabilly music, and helped sow the seeds of rock and roll.
Songs and artists such as "When The Roses Bloom For The Bootlegger" by McVay & Johnson, "Just Over The River" by Garland Brothers & Grindstead, "Green Valley Waltz" by McCartt Brothers & Patterson, "Just Pickin'" by Roy Harvey & Leonard Copeland, "Buttermilk Blues" by Ellis Williams, and "The Battleship Maine" by Richard Harold are raw, basic, and recorded during a very non-technological age. The songs include guitars, fiddles, mandolins, banjos, washboards, spoons, and just about anything else that could be used to create sounds.
The sound is nowhere near modern standards. Recorded in an empty store building; every once in a while you can hear a train whistle or sounds from a lumber company in the background.
Whether this music will appeal to you depends on your commitment to the roots of American music. If you are so inclined, Tell It To Me: Revisiting The Johnson City Sessions 1928-1929 will be a treasure trove that leads to a captivating historical journey.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists Tell It To Me - The Johnson City Sessions - oltimereviews
Some of the included tracks here make it seem obvious why the Bristol Sessions are considered seminal and these are not so well known. The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers are perhaps more individual in hindsight and their influence can be traced clearly and strong through the generations of future artists and musicians. However, here we find examples of the music of the people, which is as fine and representative of the people of the day living in those rural areas as was the work of the Carters and Rodgers.
There is quite a shortage of female voice here. That is possibly the only thing which sticks out as unusual. Otherwise, the 26 artist names also bring to mind charmingly a bygone world. There are names and song titles which bring vibrancy and life to a time long gone. Despite this evocation, this music feels as fresh today as ever.