THE KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS, LIVE WKIC RECORDING FROM 1949

THE KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS
LIVE WKIC RECORDING FROM 1949

Mountain Broadcasting System
2012

Every once in a while, a CD project will surface that shows a little bit of the history of country and bluegrass music, although this band was more in line with the post World War II country and western style of the late 1940s. This project has been carefully re-mastered from the 16” vinyl transcriptions and covers broadcasts from the period of June and July of 1949.

WKIC was a relatively new radio station located in Hazard, Ky. The leader of the group was Ernest “String” Sparkman who put together the band that included fiddlers Bobby Summer (brother of famed fiddler Marion Sumner) and Don Akers, along with Sparkman on guitar, Bazz Combs on guitar, Corbit Hurt on bass, and Teddy Hurley on lap steel. Also heard on vocals are Taylor Porter, Glenn Thomas, and Ladual “Square” Section. The band was together for three years, breaking up in 1950. Sparkman went on to manage WKIC and later established Mountain Broadcasting Systems and built the powerful WSGS-FM.

This project includes a broad selection of tunes popular for the period, interspersed with advertisements of the day. Tunes most familiar include “Old Joe Clark,” “Rainbow In My Heart,” “The Steel Guitar Stomp,” “Mississippi Shore,” “Alabama Jubilee,” and “Tragic Romance.” Lesser-known selections include “I’ve Taken All I’m Gonna Take From You,” “I Find You Cheatin’ On Me,” “Shame On Me,” “I Wonder If You Feel The Way I Do,” and “My Front Door Is Open.” Outstanding fiddle work from both Aker and Sumner, and Sparkman’s lead vocal is smooth and easy throughout. This project is a nice insight to the beginning of small-town radio and how country music established an early footprint in music of the day. (Graham Sparkman, 1501 30th Ave. S., Unit C, Fargo, ND 58103, e-mail: [email protected].)BF

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