1-CD Digipak, four panel, with booklet, 27 tracks. Playing time 70:51 minutes.
Historic Country Music Discovery! Recordings of an Interracial Duo located after 60 Years.
Sometimes people who make music history have no idea they're doing so at the time. Bear Family Records has uncovered just such a case and will proudly be releasing this rare and previously undocumented piece of country music history in November 2010.
You can count on one hand the number of African American country music performers who recorded prior to the mid-1950s. Early Grand Ole Opry star Deford Bailey comes to mind because of his unique status as an instrumentalist. Indeed, the Country Music Foundation treats him as the historical oddity that he was. Jimmie Rodgers used Louis Armstrong's cornet on a 1930 session, but it's a cinch the two men never sang together. Black and white country duets are as rare as hen's teeth during this period. In fact, they may be altogether unknown.
Now Bear Family Records has found one. In several months we will proudly release the historical recordings of Allerton & Alton, The Cumberland Ridge Runners. They are perhaps the first interracial country music duet. Their performances dating from the late 1940s/early 1950s were broadcast over radio station WLAM in Lewiston, Maine and heard throughout the Northeast and parts of southern Ontario, Canada. The story of how these two country music fans met while browsing old 78s is as fascinating as their recordings. Perhaps the most amazing part of their story is the utterly unself-conscious way with which they approached the racial aspect of who they were and what they were doing. Equally compelling is the story of how the Korean War put an abrupt end to this interracial duo, after Alton returned a changed man, having experienced the cruel realities of a segregated U.S. Army.
This release will present their music in typical Bear Family style: lavishly illustrated with vintage photos, full historical notes and as many digitally restored recordings as we can fit on a CD.