Old Hat Records : Vintage American Music


Old Hat Enterprises was founded in 1994 by collector Marshall Wyatt in order to promote awareness of American vernacular music and to research its history. Old Hat conducts field work and maintains archives of sound recordings in various formats, with an emphasis on 78 rpm records of the prewar era. Other holdings include oral history interviews, vintage photographs, catalogs, books, discographies, and musical ephemera. Mr. Wyatt is a member of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).

Old Hat Records was formed in 1997 as a label devoted to quality reissues of vintage American music, coupled with thorough historical research. One of America’s most valuable cultural resources is the great music recorded in the early decades of the 20th century: old-time string bands, blues, jazz, gospel, jug bands, songsters, vocal quartets, vaudeville and medicine-show music, and more. Old Hat creates CD anthologies of these early recordings, carefully remastered from the original 78 rpm discs and presented in historical context, with extensive notes, rare photographs, period artwork, and full discographical details.

Old Hat has formed alliances with top professionals in the field in order to ensure the highest caliber productions. David Lynch of Lynch Graphics, Inc. creates our distinctive website and graphic design; Grammy-winning sound engineer Christopher King of Long Gone Sound Productions is in charge of analog-to-digital remastering; and Harris Wray, formerly of Smithsonian Folkways, handles publicity for the label. Digital mastering is provided by Jeff Carroll of Bluefield Mastering, and precision printing is executed by Millenium Print Group. The rare 78 rpm records and other historical artifacts that appear on the Old Hat anthologies are made available by a network of America’s top collectors and archives.

Here’s an outstanding collection of 22 songs and tunes first recorded between 1927-1931 by string bands from Ashe County, North Carolina, a mountainous area in the northwest corner of the state once known as “The Lost Provinces” because of its extreme isolation. The music includes traditional fiddle tunes, folk songs, Anglo-Irish ballads, comic songs, topical numbers and original compositions, all from the time period often called the “golden era” of old-time string music. The anthology brings together for the first time the complete recordings of Frank Blevins & His Tar Heel Rattlers, the Carolina Night Hawks, the North Carolina Ridge Runners, and many more. All tracks on the CD have been carefully remastered from the original 78 rpm records, and a 28-page booklet gives a detailed history of the music based on interviews with original band members. Also included is a complete discography and numerous vintage photographs, many never before published. Music From The Lost Provinces is the premier release of Old Hat Records, a label devoted to quality reissues coupled with thorough historical research.

African-American Fiddlers, 1926-1949
The violin played a significant role in the early history of recorded blues, with its crying vibratos and sliding notes creating a dramatic and soulful sound. Violin, Sing The Blues For Me offers 24 tracks of this rare music, played by many of the greatest black fiddlers who recorded before mid-20th century. From the sophisticated style of Lonnie Johnson to the raw Delta blues of Henry Sims to the rollicking tunes of the Memphis Jug Band, these musicians demonstrate the depth and diversity of African-American fiddle music. Included are two early instrumentals by the multi-talented Howard Armstrong, also known as “Louie Bluie,” whose career in music spanned seven decades. This unique collection presents 73 minutes of vintage fiddle music, carefully remastered from the original 78 rpm records. In addition to blues, the album contains country dances, rags, stomps, and folk songs. The CD comes with a 32-page, full-color booklet with detailed history, complete discography, and a host of rare photographs and illustrations.

Vintage Fiddle Music, 1927-1935
Blues, Jazz, Stomps, Shuffles & Rags
Here are 24 tracks of rare fiddle music from the early years of recorded sound, covering a wide range of artists and styles. Playing ragtime tunes, country breakdowns, hardcore blues and hot jazz, these fiddlers cut loose on the instrument known as “The Devil’s Box.” Blues fans recognize Lonnie Johnson, Bo Carter, and Big Bill Broonzy as masters of the guitar, but these men were also talented fiddlers, and they’re all included on this disc. You’ll hear jazz from Chicago’s South Side, string band music from Mississippi, and blues from Beale Street. The State Street Boys play uptown blues, while groups like the Alabama Rascals and the Dixieland Jug Blowers provide good-time dance music. And there’s much, much more- a full 74 minutes of music. Old Hat Records has teamed with Long Gone Sound Productions to capture the brilliant, clear sound of the original 78 rpm records. Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow comes with a full-color, 32-page booklet that tells the fascinating story behind the music, illustrated with many rare photographs, drawings, and artifacts.

IN the pinesIN THE PINES
Tar Heel Folk Songs & Fiddle Tunes
Old-Time Music of North Carolina 1926 – 1936
North Carolina, the “Tar Heel State,” has a proud heritage of traditional music and this CD anthology offers compelling proof. Here are 24 rare tracks recorded between 1926-1936, a decade of inspired musical achievement. You’ll hear old-time fiddle and banjo tunes, folk songs and murder ballads, gospel hymns, mountain blues, railroad songs, sentimental favorites and showpiece instrumentals, all performed by the state’s top musical talent. From the western Mountains to the rolling Piedmont to the eastern Coastal Plain came such legendary names as Dock Walsh, Clarence Greene, Charlie Poole, the Dixon Brothers, Mainer’s Mountaineers, the Cauley Family, and the Red Fox Chasers. You’ll hear prime recordings from these artists, and many more. In The Pines has been carefully crafted by Old Hat’s team of experts, and the entire CD package is handsomely designed in a style to match the music. Most tracks are reissued here for the first time on compact disc, and the music is digitally remastered for brightness and clarity. Included is a 24-page, full-color booklet with rare vintage photographs, many unpublished until now, and extensive historical notes on the era, the songs, and the musicians.

good for what ails youGOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU
Music of the Medicine Shows 1926 – 1937
Before motion pictures… before radio… before television… the traveling medicine shows brought entertainment to America. Flamboyant pitch doctors roamed the land, hawking their tonics, elixirs, and miracle cures, and with them came a host of singers, dancers, comedians, banjo pickers, blues shouters, jug blowers, string ticklers, and minstrel men. The shows died out by mid-20th century, but not before a handful of seasoned veterans left their musical legacy on phonograph records. Here are 48 classic performances by such colorful names as Pink Anderson, Daddy Stovepipe, Shorty Godwin, Gid Tanner, Banjo Joe, the Three Tobacco Tags, and many more—well over two hours of this extraordinary music. A 72-page color booklet details the fascinating history of the medicine shows with a profusion of rare photographs, artifacts, illustrations, full discography, and song descriptions. Three years in the making, the new release from Old Hat Records is a groundbreaking survey of music from the American medicine show, that peculiar form of theater that merged entertainment with merchandising. Good For What Ails You is a two-CD set that delivers a generous mix of 48 songs, many available nowhere else, first recorded nearly 80 years ago and now remastered with digital clarity.

Good For What Ails You was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Album Notes and Best Histornical Album.

Joe Bussard’s Treasure Trove of Vintage 78s
Joe Bussard has been called the “King of Record Collectors” and there’s solid evidence to justify such a title. In the basement of his Maryland home is a vast treasure trove of American vernacular music first recorded by phonograph companies in the 1920s and ’30s- old-time songs, hillbilly hoe-downs, hot jazz, country blues, jug band music, sanctified singing, and a whole lot more. For over 50 years, Joe has pursued this music with a passion that borders on mania, building a world-class collection of 78 rpm records- more than 25,000 in all. With Joe’s cooperation, we’ve carefully remastered 24 tracks of this rare music, representing the major genres in his collection. Included are classic performances by such colorful names as Seven-Foot Dilly, Gitfiddle Jim, The Grayson County Railsplitters, Fess Williams’ Royal Flush Orchestra, Long Cleve Reed & Little Harvey Hull, The Grinnell Giggers, and many more. A 28-page color booklet gives the story behind the music, and presents a wealth of photographs, rare label art, and period graphics. These recordings are not just historical relics, but vital and entertaining performances that have stood the test of time- a potent dose of great American music.

A Barnyard Serenade 1926-1940
Here’s a collection of vintage music inspired by America’s favorite domestic fowl, the Chicken. Whether it’s folk songs, double-entendre blues, old-time breakdowns, or tunes of Tin Pan Alley, this album is all about roosters, hens, chicks, pullets, and poultry of every description!

You’ll hear French-Canadian fiddler J.O. LaMadeleine cut loose with his foot-stomping Chicken Reel, Memphis blues legend Frank Stokes sing Chicken You Can Roost Behind The Moon, and Earl McDonald’s Louisville Jug Band render the surreal Under The Chicken Tree. Teddy Bunn and Spencer Williams offer their sophisticated take on The Chicken And The Worm, “Honeyboy & Sassafras” deliver their comic Chicken Sermon, and fiddler G.B. Grayson gives his classic rendition of the title song. Cluck Old Hen serves up all of this, and much more – 24 tracks in all!

Sweet Papa StovepipeThe music of Cluck Old Hen has been expertly remastered for digital clarity, and the CD comes with a handsome 20-page, full-color booklet that features rare photographs and illustrations, detailed song descriptions, and a full discography.

Blues From The Pit 1927-1942
Blues and barbecue make perfect companions, both brimming with down-home flavor. Barbecue Any Old Time is an anthology of vintage blues that celebrates the joys of eating meat, with plenty of sly nods to other worldly pleasures. In the early twentieth century, millions of Southerners moved from hardluck farms to the big cities of the North and West. As the Great Migration carried Southern barbecue to new locales, it did the same for Southern music. Jazz, blues, and barbecue would eventually sweep the nation. This CD presents the hokum jive of Frankie “Half Pint” Jaxon, the gritty washboard rhythms of Charlie Campbell, 12-string bottleneck blues by Barbecue Bob, the big-city vocals of Georgia White, Piedmont blues by Blind Boy Fuller, the red hot jazz of “Tiny” Parham, the double entendres of Bessie Jackson, and much more – 24 tracks in all, originally recorded between 1927-1942.

The music of Barbecue Any Old Time has been expertly remastered for digital clarity, and the CD comes with a handsome 20-page, full-color booklet that chronicles the spread of blues and barbecue across America. Opening with an essay by noted Southern historian Tom Hanchett, the booklet also features rare photographs, detailed song descriptions, and a complete discography.

Cotton Mill Songs & Hillbilly Blues
Piedmont Textile Workers on Record
Gaston County, North Carolina 1927 – 1931
Gastonia Gallop provides a vivid portrait of the evolving music traditions heard in the mill villages of Gaston County, North Carolina, during a period of swift social and cultural change. Amid this emerging modern world, with its factory whistles, clattering machines, and low-wage labor, local textile workers created a vibrant working-class music that provided the foundations for today’s country music. Here are 24 tracks celebrating these largely unsung musicians and the enduring musical artistry they inscribed in wax for phonograph companies between 1927 and 1931. You’ll hear David McCarn’s biting satires of cotton mill life, the virtuoso harmonica-and-guitar duets of Gwin Foster and Dave Fletcher; the upbeat novelties of the Three ’Baccer Tags, the heartfelt ballads of Wilmer Watts & The Lonely Eagles, and more. Gastonia Gallop has been carefully crafted by Old Hat’s team of experts, and all tracks are digitally remastered from original 78 rpm records. The handsomely designed CD package includes a 24-page, full-color booklet with rare vintage photographs, complete discography, and a detailed historical essay by Patrick Huber, author of Linthead Stomp: The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South.

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