Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Help With History?

We're really inspired by the rare audio that we're so privileged to listen to. We've started adding the tracks from the reel-to-reel recordings that John has already recorded into the master discography we're working on. We also brought our desktop computer and scanner so that we can begin digitizing photos and images of the 45 labels that we have. 

For example, below is an old family photo from the 1940's or 1950's. We know that the first two people are Frances and John, but we're not sure who the second woman is. Timi thinks it might John's sister Marie, but she hopes that family members can maybe help confirm her identity.

Also, we scanned our first 45 record label and plan to scan the rest to help supplement the documentation available on the online "45 RPM Records of The Ohio River Valley" database. I picked this one because I thought their recording name "Frankie and Johnnie Reedy" was cute and clever!

I'm also intrigued by the fact that Frances wrote "Tiny Bitty Pieces" when she and John were temporarily separated, and yet they harmonize so beautifully on this catchy country tune. It sort of reminds of me of Fleetwood Mac and the way in which they were able to harness some pretty raw and dissonant emotions as a group in such a melodic accessible way.

We also scanned this image of the single 8-track recording in the collection.

There is no information about the recording label or when it was produced, and Timi does not remember who in the world "the Brush Creek Grass" might be! There is absolutely no online information that we could find, so any leads toward solving this mystery would be appreciated.

We've also been working on a preliminary timeline of events throughout Frankie and Johnny lives as well as beyond their own lifetimes. We will continue filling in gaps and updating this timeline as we go along, but we obviously have a lot of information already and some opportunities to get feedback from others for clarification and correction. Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer information!

Date/Year Activity Location
12/09/18 John William Reedy born Tennessee
12/31/22 Frances Williebob Ridner born Bell County, Kentucky
11/22/36 John and Frances married Harlan, Kentucky
1939 John wrote “Somebody Touched Me”
1930’s-40’s John and Frances have radio program on WHLN for 17½ years sponsored by Fuller Furniture Harlan, Kentucky
1949 John and Frances’ first recording of “Somebody Touched Me” on a 78 Bristol, Tennessee
Early 1950’s John and Frances moved to Dayton to work at GM Dayton Ohio
12/25/61 Reel-to-reel recording of family Christmas Dayton, Ohio
Early 1960’s John and Frances recorded three 45’s on the Jalyn label Dayton, Ohio
Early 1960’s John and Frances recorded six multiple-track 45’s on the Starday label Nashville, Tennessee
Early 1960’s John and Frances independently recorded four 45’s Dayton, Ohio
Early 1960’s John and Frances recorded one 45 on Ark label Cincinnati, Ohio
1962 Starday released a compilation titled Tragic Songs of Death and Sorrow featuring Oh Death Nashville, Tennessee
Early 1960’s Reedy family returned to Kentucky Corbin, Kentucky
1972 “Somebody Touched Me” included in Library of Congress
1973 Frances and John record 45 on Jewel label Cincinnati, Ohio
1974 Rounder records released Early Days of Bluegrass, Vol.1, which includes “Somebody Touched Me”
1974-1976 Frances and John recorded three 45’s on the Viola label (Lundy Records) Barbourville, Kentucky
1977 Frances and John released LP Hymns from the hills of Harlan County Kentucky on the Lundy label Barbourville, Kentucky
Late 1970's / early 80's? On My Way to Heaven 8-track released by John Reedy and the Brush Creek Grass
12/25/80 Family Christmas VHS video Corbin, Kentucky
01/30/83 John Reedy passed away Corbin, Kentucky
1996 Frances Reedy oral histories (one on forest and one on music) collected and preserved by Appalachia—Science in the Public Interest (ASPI) in collaboration with Kentucky Historical Society and UK Archives Corbin, Kentucky
March 2001 Japanese CD Bob Dylan Live 1961-2000: Thirty Nine Years of Great Performances includes “Somebody Touched Me,” recorded live at Portsmouth, England in 2000, as the first track
2004 “Somebody Touched Me” released on a compilation CD, Bluegrass Early Cuts 1931-1953
04/06/06 Frances Reedy passed away Corbin, Kentucky
07/22/08 “Somebody Touched Me” released on a compilation CD, Authentic Rare Bluegrass: Independent Label Sides 1951-1954
2009 “Somebody Touched Me” released on a compilation CD, The Appalachian Tradition: Original Bluegrass Classics

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