Personalities | The Delmore Brothers | Early Years of Hillbilly | Country
(Vocal duo, 1926–52)
The sound of The Delmore Brothers – a humorous blues or a wistful train song, told to the rhythm of two mellow guitars – echoed through country music across three decades. Alton (1908–64) and Rabon (1916–52) were among the first stars of the microphone era, their voices linked in soft, confidential harmony fit for the intimacy of radio. Between 1932 and 1938, as stalwarts of the Grand Ole Opry, they travelled with fellow cast-member Uncle Dave Macon and recorded behind fiddler Arthur Smith (1898–1971). Their comic piece ‘Brown’s Ferry Blues’ was a major hillbilly hit of the period. Later they were on WLW in Cincinnati and in at the birth of King Records, for whom they had hits like the sombre ‘Blues Stay Away From Me’ (1949), with the lonesome harmonica of Wayne Raney, and up-tempo numbers like ‘Hillbilly Boogie’, in which they transformed the easygoing swing of their earlier music into something close to rock’n’roll.
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