String bands were common musical currency amongst the recording labels that trafficked in early country music. OKeh in particular had numerous such ensembles under its expansive roster in the 1920s and 30s. Few boasted the range of repertoire represented by the Scottdale String Band (SSB), eponymously named for a small town in Georgia where its members resided. The trio was fairly conventional in terms of instrumentation: Barney Pritchard and Marvin Head on acoustic guitars and either Belvie Freeman or Charlie Simmons on banjo-mandolin. Freeman or Simmons handled the lead parts while Pritchard and Head were usually responsible for rhythm. All four men were also longtime employees at the local cotton mill and that vocational association accorded their impetus as a musical outfit.
Pic: Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey
Hey! click here for the newly uploaded cloudcast of last week’s Gramophoney Baloney - all recording from during the First World War 1914-1918 + some live tunes performed by special guest Meredith Axelrod
Photo: Montes y Manrique