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“CRAZY BARN DANCE:” Bluegrass Roots on Carolina Radio 1933-1940

PineCone and Old Hat Records are collaborating to raise $2,500 to support the release a two-CD anthology of string bands that played on radio shows on WPTF in Raleigh and WBT in Charlotte in the 1930s

PineCone and Old Hat Records are collaborating to raise $2,500 to support the release a two-CD anthology of string bands that played on radio shows on WPTF in Raleigh and WBT in Charlotte in the 1930s.

The anthology will feature original recordings from a Saturday-night radio show born in North Carolina that showcased some of the greatest string bands and brother duets of the Depression era and influenced countless musicians for decades to come. Today’s bluegrass and country music owes a huge debt to these pioneers of early radio, first sponsored by a patent medicine called “Crazy Water Crystals.”

Donations are being collected through the new online donation portal, Power2Give. These donations will help Old Hat Records and PineCone produce a two-CD anthology of this vital and exciting music, complete with period illustrations and extensive historical notes written by Patrick Huber, author of Linthead Stomp: The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South.

Crazy Barn Dance will be a compilation of records from the string bands that played on radio shows on WBT Charlotte and WPTF Raleigh in the 1930s. There was a show every Saturday night called The Crazy Barn Dance sponsored by Crazy Water Crystals, a product from Texas that was sold as a cure for a variety of diseases. A lot of bands that had the word “crazy” in their names, like Mainer’s Crazy Mountaineers, were sponsored by Crazy Water Crystals.

At this early stage of production, donations will specifically be used to help cover costs related to analog-to-digital re-mastering of 48 sides from the original 78 RPM discs, totaling $2,880.

To make a donation to this CD project, visit PineCone’s profile on Power2Give.org, a new fundraising platform to support arts projects in Wake County. Special donor benefits apply:

  • $25:  Recognition in PineCone’s print newsletter, The Traditional Review, and on PineCone’s website
  • $100:  Handwritten thank you card from a North Carolina bluegrass musician
  • $250:  Invited to tour a professional radio station studio
  • $500:  Invited to tour a professional recording studio

Sample: JE Mainer’s Crazy Moutaineers singing “Let Her Go God Bless Her,” with images courtesy of Old Hat Records (youtube link)
Learn more about Raleigh’s WPTF history (excerpt from String Bands in the North Carolina Piedmont, by Bob Carlin)
Learn more about WBT Charlotte
Early country music history & WBT

About Power2Give.org
Power2give.org is an online cultural marketplace designed to connect donors with projects they are passionate about. Arts organizations will list needs for a specific project– for example, metronomes for musicians from low income families or costumes for an upcoming production. People visiting the site will then be able to pick a need that interests them and make a donation. Projects range from $100 – $2500 to fit all budgets.

About Old Hat Records
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.

About PineCone
PineCone – the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Inc., is dedicated to preserving, presenting, and promoting all forms of traditional music, dance and other folk performing arts. PineCone was incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization in 1984.

The role of PineCone is to increase the visibility of Piedmont music and musicians and to provide public programs and educational resources about the depth and breadth of cultural expression in the region today. PineCone is the largest and most active traditional music organization in North Carolina measured by people served, budget size and total number of programs presented. PineCone supports the livelihoods of working artists, inspires and connects fans, educates youth and adult audiences, documents traditions, and provides opportunities for musicians to learn from one another. Each of the three elements – preservation, presentation, and promotion – plays an important role in ensuring the continued vitality and viability of traditional arts in North Carolina’s Piedmont.

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