Sunday, June 13, 2010

Classic Recording Sessions - On This Date (6/13)




Castle Studio, Tulane Hotel
206 8th Ave. North, Nashville 3, TN
Friday, June 13, 1952 - 58 years ago



Hank Williams
Hank Williams: vocal, guitar; Chet Atkins: guitar; Jack Shook: guitar; Don Helms: steel guitar; Charles Wright: bass; Jerry Rivers: fiddle.

(10:00 am - 1:00 pm)



Jim & Jesse McReynolds
Jim McReynolds: vocal, guitar; Jesse McReynolds: vocal, mandolin; Curley Seckler: guitar; Hoke Jenkins: banjo; Bob Moore: bass; Sonny James: fiddle.

(2:00 pm - 5:00 pm) & (7:00 pm - 9:00 pm)


The first of Nashville's recording studios began in 1946 when three of WSM's engineers, Carl Jenkins, George Reynolds, and Aaron Shelton started Castle Recording Studios. Their initial recordings were done in WSM's studios, but by 1947 they had moved their operation to the Tulane Hotel. Today we have three back-to-back sessions recorded at Castle Studios. A morning session with country music legend Hank Williams, and afternoon and evening sessions with up-and-coming bluegrass artists Jim & Jesse McReynolds.

These are two acts in almost opposite phases of their careers. Hank is on top, and has only two sessions after this left for MGM before his passing at the end of the year. This session yields three significant hits for him, including one of his biggest, "Jambalaya." Jim and Jesse McReynolds, on the other hand, are at the very beginning of their recording career. They had previously recorded with Larry Roll as the Virginia Trio for the small Kentucky label in 1951, but these are their first bluegrass recordings as Jim & Jesse & The Virginia Boys. Today they recorded two sessions for Capitol Records. Among the songs they recorded today was the Louvin Brothers composition "Are You Missing Me" which was to became a standard for Jim & Jesse.

It's an interesting opportunity to reconstruct a day at the famous Castle Studios in the early years of the Nashville recording scene. And what an amazing it day it was too! I hope you enjoy these recordings as much as I do...

10 comments:

BarrieB said...

I have the Hank tracks on various records, but I haven't got any of the J & J tunes.
Really enjoyed the listen, thanx.

Joaquin LeFleur said...

@BarrieB - So glad you enjoyed listening! If you want to hear more Jim & Jesse, be sure to check out the link I added to the Warped Records Jim & Jesse volume posted over at Visit Me In Music City.

JLF

howstean said...

What a great concept, a day at the studios !! But finding the session details among all the different discographies ? Did you come across the dates by chance ?

Johnny said...

Pretty eerie that the last session Hank did he recorded "I'll never get out of this world alive"!

BarrieB said...

Thanx, I'd missed it.

Joaquin LeFleur said...

@howstean - Thanks for the comments! I did kind of come across the dates by chance. When I saw that there was a Williams session and Jim & Jesse on the same date, I got kind of excited because it dawned on me there was a good chance they were back to back at the same studio since it was the only one in town at the time. And I thought it was also a nice roll of the dice that they're both great sessions!

@Johnny - "Eerie" is a good word for it - that it was his record on the charts when he died has always had dark irony to me... Think he knew?

Harlan Taylor said...

Thanks, as always, for the post Joaquin. I just wanted to point out that Sonny James is playing fiddle on the Jim and Jesse session.

The story as I understand it is that Ken Nelson auditioned Jim and Jesse around the time he auditioned Sonny James. When he heard Jim and Jesse he thought their sound would benefit from a fiddle but they did not have a fiddler. So Nelson called up James, who he knew to be a great instrumentalist, even though he was used as a singer and did not really play many more sessions, at least that I am aware of.

Anyway, there are not too many opportunities to hear the fiddle playing of Sonny James and just wanted to make sure no one passed on this one.

Joaquin LeFleur said...

@Harlan - Thanks for pointing that out. This is definitely the only time I've heard Sonny James play fiddle. And he's not a bad bluegrass fiddler either. His opening on "Are You Missing Me" is a pretty catchy and proficient bit. In fact, I think he's a better bluegrass fiddler than Hoke Jenkins is a banjo player on these recordings. Even though Jenkins has been singled out as an early North Carolina 3-finger stylist, I think his playing on these recordings is a little sloppy and rudimentary. I've not heard any other examples of his playing, though, so it might just be specific to these sessions. Maybe he was nervous? Sorry Hoke...

MM said...

I'd never heard of Jim and Jesse before - love the harmonies. Hope you don't mind all of the comments, but I'm very impressed by all of the work you've put into the blog. There's so much background information here. Thanks again. Marie

Joaquin LeFleur said...

@ Marie - I definitely don't mind all the comments - the more the merrier!

So glad you're enjoying and appreciating the blog! It really means a lot to me.

And glad you like Jim & Jesse. They definitely have a heavy dose of that sibling magic that makes brother teams like the Bollicks, Louvins, and Everlys give me chills...

JLF