”]Photo by Wayne T. Helfrich (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swamper/4264142268/)

June 8

Why today? Alton Delmore, the older half of the influential duo, died on this date in 1964 — eight years after the death of his eight-years-younger brother, Rabon, and 15 years after they recorded this, the best-remembered song from the second phase of their career.

About the record: King 803, recorded May 6, 1949, at the label’s studio in Cincinnati. Released that summer. First album appearance was on Songs By The Delmore Brothers, King LP-589, released in 1958.

I featured the “brother duo” phase of the Delmores’ career back in December. By the time of “Blues Stay Away From Me,” they’d electrified and caught the hillbilly boogie bug. Their co-writer was King Records’ A&R man Henry Glover, who traveled in R&B circles. The song they came up with was, structurally speaking, loosely based on “The Huckabuck,” a key proto-rock ‘n’ roll record. “Blues Stay Away” itself became an important influence, covered over the years and across the genres by the likes of B.B. King, Merle Haggard, Harry James and his Orchestra, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Lonnie Johnson, Doc Watson, Asleep at the Wheel, The Band, k.d. lang and more.

A key feature of these later Delmores records was Wayne Raney’s choke-style harmonica. I’m guessing that’s him on the French harp solo. But, since he provided the third voice in the trio, it’s probably Lonnie Glosson’s harmonica you hear in the background during the vocals.

About the artists: Check out the Delmore Brothers’ profile at the Country Music Hall of Fame site. They were enshrined in 2001.

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