Jan. 20: In mid-1931, the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, N.J., had on its roster two of the top acts in those early days of commercial country music: Jimmy Rodgers and the Carter Family. Each had recorded at the famous Bristol sessions overseen by Ralph Peer in 1927, although not together. Four years later, they were gathered in Louisville to wax more tunes. This time they DID share a mic, resulting in two Rodgers/Sara Carter duets, along with this pair of novelties that told a story in spoken word and song.

“Jimmie Rodgers Visits The Carter Family” came out later in 1931 as a B-side. It was set in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, the home base of the Carter clan. More than five years later — on this date in 1937 — “The Carter Family And Jimmie Rodgers In Texas” was paired with a Monroe Brothers number on a 78 rpm disc. It depicted a journey by the Carters to see the Singing Brakeman at his home in Kerrville. On either side of a litte patter, there was singing — no selection more interesting than when the Carters joined Rodgers on his “T For Texas” Blue Yodel.

By the time the second record was released, Rodgers was dead (with artists such as Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb carrying on his tradition), and A.P. and Sara Carter had divorced, although the act (including Sara’s cousin and A.P.’s sister-in-law, Maybelle Carter) continued to perform and record.

Musically, there’s not much to write home about here. But as artifacts of Depression-era country music, these numbers are priceless.

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