YORK Brothers (Leslie & George): Hamtramck Mama – 1940s Hillbilly into 1950s and beyond

Few realize the vintage of the YORK Brothers’ earliest recordings, and that their first and biggest record, « Harmtrack Mama », was actually recorded in 1939 ! Released in Detroit on the upstart Universal label, « Hamtramck Mama » (Universal 105/106) was the very first independant Hillbilly record of a new era which would only really get into full swings toward the end of W.W. II. It reached markets in many parts of the country (over the years selling at least 300,000 copies in the city of Detroit alone) and was as much an achievement for Universal as it was for the Brothers. The record can be found with many distributor names and label variations, some very crudely printed, indicating that they had big trouble keeping up with the demand.

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beginning of May 2009 fortnight

First we have a boogie by Dick Lewis (Imperial, Los Angeles, 1947) “Beale Street Boogie” – Is this about Memphis’ most famous alley? Let’s stay in Memphis with Ernie Chaffin for a strong Country-rock on Sun records, “Laughin’ and Jokin'” (Pee Wee Maddux on steel). Then to Nashville with Dick Stratton, a 1951 romper, “Fat Gal Boogie”(Nashboro label). From Florida comes Joe Asher “Photograph Of You” (DeLuxe label) – I dig interplay between fiddle and steel. Then on to Texas, Jimmy Heap’s “That’s That” (Imperial, 1949) energic & never reissued! We come to an end with the York Brothers and their “Monday Morning Blues”; Hope you enjoy, and post your comments if any…