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date: 14 December 2019

Delmore Brothers, thelocked

  • Dave Marsh
  • , revised by Travis D. Stimeling

Extract

American country-music duo. The sons of tenant farmers, Alton (b Elkmont, AL, 25 Dec 1908; d Nashville, TN, 4 July 1964) and Rabon (b Elkmont, 3 Dec 1916; d Athens, AL, 4 Dec 1952) Delmore taught themselves to play fiddle and guitar as children. Influenced by local fiddlers, the blues, and shape-note gospel singing, the duo had developed a distinctive close harmony singing style by 1926. In 1930 they won an old-time fiddling contest in Limestone County, Alabama, after which Alton wrote “Brown’s Ferry Blues,” a song that remained a key part of their repertoire for the remainder of the duo’s career. In 1931 the Delmores auditioned for Columbia Records in Atlanta and recorded two sides, “Got the Kansas City Blues” and “Alabama Lullaby.” In 1933 they joined the Grand Ole Opry, where they remained until 1938. One of the show’s most popular acts, they also recorded nearly 100 sides for Victor’s Bluebird label during this period, producing such country standards as “The Fugitive’s Lament” (Bb, ...

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