Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers

The Skillet Lickers were one of the most influential string bands of the '20s and '30s.
Led by fiddler Gid Tanner, the band which combined old-timey country music with humor and showmanship, were known for their off-the-wall arrangements of old-time fiddle tunes.

The original lineup of the band featured Tanner, guitarist Riley Puckett, fiddler Clayton McMichen, and banjoist Fate Norris.

The lyrics of the Skillet Lickers' music used language common among rural white Americans at the time, but today is considered offensive and racist, including song titles like "Nigger in the Woodpile" and "Run Nigger Run".
Following the original band's dissolution, Puckett and latter-day fiddler Bert Layne led various bands called the Skillet Lickers, but the group wasn't relaunched until 1934, when Tanner formed a new lineup that recorded one final session that yielded their biggest hit, "Down Yonder".

"Soldier's Joy" (October 29, 1929)

The title could refer to payday for soldiers or even opiates in light of the verse: "Well twenty-five cents for the morphine, and fifteen cents for the beer. Twenty-five cents for the old morphine, now carry me away from here." It appears that the extra ten cents for the morphine could have been well worth it.

"Pass Around The Bottle And We'll All Take A Drink" (April 17, 1926)

Each of the above photos is a link to more music (25 tracks in all!).

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