Friday, June 15, 2007
Grayson & Whitter cuts (for another friend)
Recently, I had mentioned to another friend that one of my favorite country records was being sold on eBay...and he had (more or less) forgotten what the record sounded like. So I thought I'd post it for him (and for you, dear readers).
The record in question is Grayson & Whitter's He Is Coming To Us Dead. It's about an older gentleman who comes to a telegraph office, looking for his son who is due to arrive shortly. When reminded by the clerk that passengers arrive at the station across the way, he softly replies that his son will arrive at the express office...he's in a coffin. And as a kicker, he adds that Mama had predicted that their darling Jack would come home that way when he went off to join the Boys in Blue. It's a bouncy tune that camouflages fairly morbid lyrics. (http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiCOMEDEAD;ttCOMEDEAD.html and http://www.playingbyear.com/songs/he-is-coming-to-us-dead give slightly different versions of the lyrics, and both sites offer quick audio samples as well.)
40303-1 He is Coming To Us Dead Grayson & Whitter Victor 21139
Atlanta, 18 October, 1927: G. B. (Gillam Bannom) Grayson, fiddle & vocal; Henry Whitter, guitar.
(link killed 23 February 2009 - Downloaded 32 times)
Grayson was the nephew of Col. W. M. Grayson, who arrested Tom Dula in 1868 for the murder of Laura Foster. The arrestee's surname is actually pronounced "Dooley;" it's a regional quirk similar to the reason the Grand Old radio show is pronounced "Opry." So...while I was in a posting mood, I thought I'd include the first recorded version of Tom Dooley as well...by the nephew of the guy that brought him in. It's quite different from the Kingston Trio's version.
56312-2 Tom Dooley Grayson & Whitter Victor V-40235
Memphis, 30 September 1929: Same personnel.
(link killed 23 February 2009 - Downloaded 27 times)
More info on Dula can be found at http://www.mce.k12tn.net/johnson/legends/tom_dula.htm and http://www.wilkesnc.org/history/tomdula/
Quite a few of their records are cautionary tales, either songs about husbands/fathers who are drunkards or old murder ballads like Omie Wise and Rose Conley (I may get around to posting those sometime...there are many musical variations on the 1808 murder of Naomi Wise, the subject's the same, but the treatments are quite different.)...most have G. B. yelling out "take warning!" somewhere. Their I'll Never Be Yours is another take on The Banks of the Ohio (complete with a drowning murder, of course...).
All of their works are available...I have them on 2 Document CDs, but there's a single volume that contains the cream of the crop, and probably in better sound. HICTUD is seldom found in really great condition...my 78 of it sounds about as worn as the one that Parth used on his CD.