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Ernest Stoneman

Ernest "Pop" Stoneman was one of the first, and most popular, early country artists. He was born in Carroll Country, Virginia and raised by his father and three cousins, who taught him traditional Blue Ridge Mountain songs. He married as a young man and, when not working various odd jobs, played music for friends and neighbors. After hearing a Henry Whitter record and swearing he could do better, in 1924 he set off to New York to get a recording contract and prove it. His first single, "The Sinking of the Titanic," came out on the Okeh label later that year and became one of the biggest hits of the 1920s. At first he was accompanied only by his autoharp (his best-known instrument) and harmonica, but later switched to guitar; Stoneman was also adept at playing the Jew's harp and the clawhammer banjo. In 1926, he surrounded himself with a full string band, mostly composed of relatives and neighbors. His career reached its peak in 1927, when he became the top country artist at Victor and led the Bristol sessions, which helped the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers gain renown. Stoneman continued to record through 1929, setting down over 200 songs.

When the Great Depression hit in the early '30s, Stoneman lost everything and moved his wife and nine children to Washington, D.C. They remained there in desperate poverty while Stoneman worked odd jobs and tried to re-establish his career, finally finding work at a munitions plant. At the end of the 1940s, he and his talented clan began performing as the Stoneman Family. By 1956, he had earned the moniker "Pop" and appeared on the NBC television game show The Big Surprise, where he won $10,000. Later, his children's band, the Blue Grass Champs, became the Stonemans, which Pop himself joined after retiring from the plant in the late '50s. He continued appearing with them and singing lead vocals through the early '60s. In 1965, the Stonemans signed with MGM in Nashville and hosted a syndicated TV show. In 1967, Stoneman's health began to deteriorate; he continued recording and performing through the spring of 1968, until his death in June. ~ Sandra Brennan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Bloody War: Songs 1924-1939

1. Just As The Sun Went Down

2. Bloody War

3. Faded Coat Of Blue

4. Army Mule In No Man's Land

5. Rainbow Division

6. Battleship Of Maine

7. Long Way To Tipperary

8. Dixie Division

9. That Old Vacant Chair

10. Johnnie Get Your Gun

11. Uncle Sam & The Kaiser

12. He Is Coming To Us Dead

13. Captain Won't You Let Me Go Home

14. Not A Word Of That Be Said

15. Everybody Help The Boys Come Home

x

Track List: Classic Southern Gospel

1. I'm Working On A Building (Live)

2. No Disappointment in Heaven

3. Wondrous Love

4. Are You Washed In The Blood

5. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today

6. The Lost Sou

7. The Hallelujah Side

8. Walking in Jerusalem (Just Like John) (Live)

9. Sinner, You'd Better Get Ready

10. When He Reached Down His Hand for Me

11. Away Over In The Promised Land

12. No Tears In Heaven

13. Old Country Church

14. Glory To The Lamb

15. Amazing Grace

16. River of Jordan

17. Shake Hands With Mother Again

18. Gabriel's Call

19. What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul

20. He Said, If You Love Me, Feed My Sheep (Live)

21. I Am A Pilgrim

22. I'm Going To A City

x

Track List: Gennett Old Time Music: Classic Country Recordings 1927-1934

Disc 1

1. When I Was Single My Pockets Would Jingle

2. Good Bye, My Darlin'

3. My Sarah Jane

4. Storms May Rule The Ocean

5. The Cabin With Roses At The Door

6. My Boyhood Happy Days

7. Some Day I'll Wander Back Again

8. We Can Only Have One Mother

9. Taylor's Quickstep

10. Richmond Blues

11. These Bones Gwine Rise Again

12. My Carolina Home

13. Let Her Go I'll Meet Her

14. She's Only A Bird In A Gilded Cage

15. Meet Me In The Moonlight

16. There's More Pretty Girls Than One

17. Two Faithful Lovers

19. Six Months Ain't Long

20. New River Train

21. John Hardy

22. Kenney Wagner's Surrender

23. The Poor Tramp Has To Live

24. Long Eared Mule

25. Round Town Gals

Disc 2

1. The Arkansas Traveler

2. Turkey In The Straw

3. Did You Ever See The Devil, Uncle Joe?

4. Wreck On The Mountain Road

5. Stolen Love

6. Tell Mother I'll Meet Her

7. Weeping Willow Tree

8. Little Sweetheart Pal Of Mine

9. Put My Little Shoes Away

10. Mississippi Sawyer

11. Twinkle Little Star

13. We Shall Meet On That Beautiful Shore

14. May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight, Mister

15. Something Wrong With My Gal

16. Honeysuckle Time

17. The Blind Man And His Child

18. Makin' Likker In North Carolina - Part 1

19. Makin' Likker In North Carolina - Part 2

20. Virginia Bootleggers

21. Naomi Wise

22. Devilish Mary

23. Six Feet Of Earth Makes Us All One Size

24. My Dear Old Mountain Home

25. He's Only A Miner Killed In The Ground

Disc 3

1. Deer Walk

2. The Devil In Georgia

3. Take Those Lips Away

4. Jacks Creek Waltz

5. Martha Campbell

6. The Girl I Left Behind Me

7. Rocky Mountain Goat

8. Cripple Creek

9. Old Buzzard

10. Arkansas Traveler

11. Johnny Inchin' Along

12. Buck Creek Gal

13. I've Got A Girl Named Susie

14. Run Smoke Run

15. Gray Eagle

16. Forked Deer

17. Sourwood Mountain

18. Coal Creek March

19. Eight Of January

20. Fire On The Mountain

21. Wild Geese

22. Fox Chase

23. Little Birdie

24. Purty Polly

Disc 4

2. John Brown's Dream

13. Last Days In Georgia

14. Flop Eared Mule

15. That Old Tiger Rag

16. Favourite Two Step

17. Careless Lover

19. The Bully Of The Town

20. Snatch 'Em Back Blues

21. Bed Bugs Makin' Their Last Go Round

22. All Night Long

23. When The Snowflakes Fall Again

24. Birmingham Jail

x

Track List: Masters Of Old Time Country Autoharp

2. Sweet Marie

3. John Henry

4. May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight, Mister?

6. Sweet Sunny South

8. Marching Through Georgia

9. Wreck Of Number Nine

11. Waltz

12. Old Joe Clark

13. Shortening Bread

14. Cindy

15. Budded Roses

16. Flop-Eared Mule

17. Home Sweet Home

18. Springtime Again Little Annie

19. Great Reaping Day

23. Benfield Hoedown (Idaho Girl)

25. Chinese Breakdown

28. Close By

29. Way Down In The Country

30. Golden Slippers

31. Lights In The Valley

32. Chicken Reel

33. Precious Jewel

34. Muleskinner Blues

36. Hallelujah Side

38. Ain't Going To Work Tomorrow

x

Track List: Mountain Music Played On The Autoharp

1. Stoney's Waltz

2. Sweet Marie

3. May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight, Mister?

4. She'll Be Coming 'round The Mountain

5. Flop-Eared Mule

6. Bile Them Cabbage Down

7. All I Got's Gone

8. Ella's Grave

9. Shortenin' Bread

10. Old Joe Clark

11. Waltz

12. Precious Jewel

13. Ain't Going To Work Tomorrow

14. Muleskinner Blues

15. John Henry

16. Weeping Willow Tree

17. Wreck Of Number Nine

18. Red River Valley

19. The Great Reaping Day

20. I'm Alone, All Alone

21. Jacob's Ladder

22. Way Down In The Country

23. Benfield Hoedown (Idaho Girl)

24. Wildwood Flower

25. Tragic Romance

x

Track List: People Take Warning 3: Man Vs. Man

Disc 1

2. Wreck Of The Old 97

3. Bill Wilson

4. The Crash Of The Akron

5. The Fate Of Talmadge Osborne

8. Fate Of Will Rogers & Wiley Post

9. Down With The Old Canoe

10. Wreck Of Number 52

11. Kassie Jones Part 1

12. Kassie Jones Part 2

13. The Brave Engineer

14. The Sinking Of The Titanic

15. Fate Of Chris Lively And Wife

16. Wreck On The Mountain Road

17. The Unfortunate Brakeman

19. The Fatal Wreck Of The Bus

20. Last Scene Of The Titanic

21. Casey Jones

23. The Titanic

24. When That Great Ship Went Down

Disc 2

1. The Story Of The Mighty Mississippi

3. Dixie Boll Weevil

5. Ohio Prison Fire

6. Memphis Flu

7. Explosion In The Fairmount Mine

8. Storm That Struck Miami

9. When The Levee Breaks

10. Alabama Flood

13. High Water Everywhere, Part 2

14. Ryecove Cyclone

15. McBeth Mine Explosion

16. Dry Well Blues

17. Baltimore Fire

18. Tennessee Tornado

19. Dry Spell Blues, Part 2

20. The Santa Barbara Earthquake

21. The Death Of Floyd Collins

22. The Porto Rico Storm

23. Boll Weavil

24. The Flood Of 1927

Disc 3

1. Peddler And His Wife

2. The Little Grave In Georgia

3. Kenney Wagner's Surrender

4. Henry Clay Beattie

5. The Murder Of The Lawson Family

7. Railroad Bill

8. Frankie

9. Trial Of Richard Bruno Hauptmann, Part 1

10. Trial Of Richard Bruno Hauptmann, Part 2

12. Darling Cora

13. Billy Lyons And Stack O' Lee

14. Tom Dooley

17. Fingerprints Upon The Windowpane

18. The Bluefield Murder

20. Fate Of Rhoda Sweeten

21. Dupree Blues

22. Poor Ellen Smith

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