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BARBECUE ANY OLD TIME
Blues From The Pit 1927–1942
Old Hat CD-1008

If you think barbecue and blues are inseparable today, you should have been around in the 1930s. It was a time when recordings were finally blowing sheet music away as the primary means of selling music. And it was a time when barbecue joints were replacing occasional family and community gatherings as the primary venue in the South for smoked meats, as pointed out in this CD’s liner notes by Tom Hanchett, staff historian at the Museum of the New South in Charlotte NC. One of the results of the confluence of these two developments is the 24 tracks by various musicians compiled on Barbecue Any Old Time: Blues from the Pit 1927-1942.

—John Morthland, Full Custom Gospel BBQ, September 2011
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This album is meaty and smokin'
"Barbecue Any Old Time" has 24 songs about meat.

A few years back, Marshall Wyatt was perusing the used compact discs at Reader's Corner in Raleigh - something he does often, as a record collector and record-label magnate. Wyatt came across a compilation with a song by Teddy "Big Boy" Edwards, a Depression-era blues singer. Called "Who Did You Give My Barbecue To? - Part 1," it was a captivating little banjo-blues number from 1934.

That inspired Wyatt's newest album, songs about barbecue. The just-released "Barbecue Any Old Time: Blues From the Pit - 1927-1942" (Old Hat Records) offers two dozen succulent songs about the beloved Southern fare.

— David Menconi The News & Observer / The Charlotte Observer
September 2011

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5 out of 5 stars - Good and Greasy!

"You gotta love it. Two dozen vintage blues, boogie and jazz songs about yummy, greasy barbecue, with plenty of thinly-veiled sexual metaphors about "good meat" getting stolen, sold, or given away to "some other guy." A lot of the songs also express a genuine love of barbecue itself -- either way, there's are really fun songs. Included are some of the best blues singers of the 1920s and '30s, folks like Lucille Bogan, Bo Carter, Brownie McGhee, Memphis Minnie, Tiny Parnham, Georgia White -- along with a bunch of more obscure artists who throw themselves into the music with equal delight. Among my favorites are Savannah Churchill's "Fat Meat Is Good Meat," singing the praises of those with a little bounce on their bones, and Bogus Ben Covington's "I Heard The Voice Of A Pork Chop," a kooky tune where he goes to great length to explain why chicken isn't ideal for barbecue, but pig meat is. A great collection... aside from the novelty value, these are also great old-fashioned blues songs, with catchy melodies and great musicianship. A very fun record with the usual high quality audio and scholarship as other Old Hat releases... Highly recommended!"

–Joe Sixpack, Slipcue, September 2011

GASTONIA GALLOP: Cotton Mill Songs & Hillbilly Blues
Piedmont Textile Workers On Record
Gaston County, North Carolina 1927–1931
Old Hat CD-1007

“In the 1920s, Gastonia and the smaller towns of North Carolina’s Gaston County were thronged with a hundred textile mills. Part-time musicians, drawn from their farms and fastnesses by the prospect of jobs as comber or doffer, formed string bands to play for community events, updating their repertoire to match their new urban life. This pocket of early country music activity is comprehensively unzipped in a compilation of 24 tracks from 1927-31: blackly humorous commentaries by David McCarn like ‘Poor Man, Rich Man’ and ‘Serves ’Em Fine’ – anticipating Woody Guthrie by a decade – interwoven by the Carolina Twins’ uptown strut and the Three ’Baccer Tags’ barbershop smut, and a bright thread of older banjo songs by Wilmer Watts and The Lonely Eagles. Old Hat Records do this sort of thing uncommonly well.”

—Tony Russell, Mojo, March 2010


“The collection is the the first CD celebrating the artistry of Gaston's largely forgotten music scene — a hillbilly Jazz Age that laid the foundation for modern country music.”

–Joe DePriest, The Charlotte Observer, December 7, 2009
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“There's a sense of unforced, non self-aware history-making from these rural inventors of early country music. It's a really solid set of tunes and another fantastic release from Old Hat...”

–Jay Hinman, High Water Everywhere, January 11, 2010
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“These musicians, who played at picnics, square dances, fiddling contests and union meetings, headed out of Gaston County to Memphis, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, North Carolina or Johnson City in Tennessee to make records which eighty years later are the precursor of country music and give us an insight into the life, hopes, fears and musical traditions of working people in America’s textile industry.”

–Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, March 2010
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IN THE PINES: Tar Heel Folk Songs & Fiddle Tunes
Old-Time Music of North Carolina 1926–1936
Old Hat CD-1006

"In the Pines, which collects songs from the ’20s and ’30s, also shows Southerners wrestling with a fading Dixie as well as with encroaching industrialization into the rural South... The songs on In the Pines present North Carolina as a place desperately clinging to its regional identity in the face of homogenization, urbanization, and growing New Deal nationalism.”

David Dunlap, Jr.,Washington City Paper, September 26-October 2, 2008
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“At the time of writing, I’ve been listening to this CD for about two weeks and you’d need a crow bar to remove it from my player! In The Pines is a classic album of the very finest old-time music that I can’t praise enough.”

–Ken Smith, Red Lick Records, December 2008
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“The level of artistry is consistently high, enough so that you’ll wonder why several of these treasures have remained hidden for so long... Probably the greatest surprise is the lovely “Sweet Freedom” by the Nance Family, a 1931 reading of the anti-slavery anthem that first was immortalized in the Civil War of the 1860s and memorably revived in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Hearing an abolitionist song performed by Depression-era Southern whites is a gentle reminder of the complex social attitudes that characterize the American racial experience.”

–Dick Spottswood, The Old-Time Herald, February-March 2009
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