Darby and Tarlton

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Darby and Tarlton were an early country music duo, who achieved some level of success in the late 1920s. The duo consisted of Tom Darby (born August 25, 1891[1] Columbus, Georgia - died August 20, 1971) and Jimmie Tarlton, (born May 8, 1892 Cheraw, South Carolina - died November 29, 1979 Phenix City, Alabama).

Biography[edit]

Tarlton grew up on a farm in Chesterfield County, South Carolina learning folk songs from an early age. His parents were sharecroppers and he had to help out with the chores. He still managed to find the time to learn the slide guitar and banjo. After working as a street musician in the 1920s, Tarlton met Frank Ferera who taught him how to play the Hawaiian guitar. Tarlton soon moved to Columbus, Georgia where he met Tom Darby. They began performing together and shortly, they were offered a chance to make a recording for Columbia Records. Two songs were cut on April 5, 1927 and the recording sold well enough to allow a second recording session. On November 10, 1927 they recorded four songs, among them "Birmingham Jail" and "Columbus Stockade Blues". The two songs, coupled on one record, became the duo's biggest hits selling more than 200 000 copies. Darby and Tarlton recorded 63 songs between 1927 and 1933. In the early 1930s they became hostile towards each other and went their separate ways professionally. Their hostility seemed to be about royalty issues. Darby DID, however, visit Tarlton occasionally.

Tom Darby formed a short lived duo in 1931 together with Jesse Pitts, called "The Georgia Wildcats". Darby and Tarlton both retired in 1935. In 1963, Darby and Tarlton reunited to perform in Weracoba Park (known locally as "Lakebottom") when they agreed to be part of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra's opening pops concert.[2] Thomas P. Darby's nephew Richard "Ricky" Whitley claims that he learned guitar from Tom Darby and Jimmy Tarlton.[3] Darby was quoted as saying in a 1963 interview with The Columbus Enquirer (now known as The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer) regarding the opening pops concert performance that "Tarlton’s fine wife said we sounded even better than before. Made goose pimples come up on her arms, she said." Darby was drafted during The Great War, but was shortly thereafter honorably discharged due to being "unfit to serve" (flat feet).

Darby was married to Alma "Olene" Darby (née Brown) until his death at the Columbus Medical Center after a long bout with lung cancer. He was interred in Columbus, Georgia's Riverdale Cemetery in the Veteran's section. His wife died in 1984 after a brief illness and is buried beside him. The song "Little Ola" was actually written by Darby as a tribute to his wife ("Olene" Darby was several years his junior). After retiring from the music business, Darby had other business ventures, including a stint "running moonshine". He would row a boat filled with moonshine from a small island near Phenix City, Alabama (where his still was located) to the Columbus, Georgia side across the Chattahoochee River. A simple yet effective method was employed to avoid prosecution. If "Olene" saw a "revenooer" (as they were called), she would wave a dark handkerchief. If it was safe, she would wave a light-colored handkerchief. On at least one occasion, a "revenooer" had shown up...and a dark-colored handkerchief was waved. Darby reversed course, rowing back to the Alabama side. When the agent approached Mrs. Darby, he asked what she was doing. She replied, "I was waving to my husband." When asked why he'd turned around, she replied, "He must have forgotten something."

During the folk revival of the 1960s, Tarlton performed again.

Original discography[edit]

Darby and Tarlton[edit]

Matrix Title Record # Recording date
143902 "Down In Florida On a Hog" Columbia 15197-D April 5, 1927
143903 "Birmingham Town" Columbia 15197-D April 5, 1927
145202 "Birmingham Jail" Columbia 15212-D November 10, 1927
145203 "Columbus Stockade Blues" Columbia 15212-D November 10, 1927
145204 "Gamblin' Jim" Columbia 15684-D November 10, 1927
145205 "Lonesome In the Pines" Columbia 15684-D November 10, 1927
146042 "After the Ball" Columbia 15254-D April 12, 1928
146043 "I Can't Tell You Why I Love You" Columbia 15254-D April 12, 1928
146044 "Irish Police" Columbia 15293-D April 12, 1928
146045 "The Hobo Tramp" Columbia 15293-D April 12, 1928
146046 "Alto Waltz" Columbia 15319-D April 12, 1928
146047 "Sleeping In the Manger" Columbia unissued April 12, 1928
146048 "Daddy Won't Have No Easy Rider Here" Columbia unissued April 12, 1928
146049 "Mexican Rag" Columbia 15319-D April 12, 1928
147358 "Birmingham Jail no.2" Columbia 15375-D October 31, 1928
147359 "The Rainbow Division" Columbia 15360-D October 31, 1928
147360 "Country Girl Valley" Columbia 15360-D October 31, 1928
147361 "Lonesome Railroad" Columbia 15375-D October 31, 1928
147366 "If You Ever Learn To Love Me" Columbia 15388-D October 31, 1928
147367 "If I Had Listened To My Mother" Columbia 15388-D October 31, 1928
147368 "Traveling Yodel Blues" Columbia 15330-D October 31, 1928
147369 "Heavy Hearted Blues" Columbia 15330-D October 31, 1928
148293 "The New York Hobo" Columbia 15452-D April 15, 1929
148294 "All Bound Down In Texas" Columbia 15477-D April 15, 1929
148295 "Touring Yodel Blues" Columbia 15419-D April 15, 1929
148296 "Slow Wicked Blues" Columbia 15419-D April 15, 1929
148297 "Black Jack Moonshine" Columbia 15452-D April 15, 1929
148298 "Ain't Gonna Marry No More" Columbia 15477-D April 15, 1929
148303 "Down In the Old Cherry Orchard" Columbia 15403-D April 15, 1929
148304 "Where the Bluebirds Nest Again" Columbia 15403-D April 15, 1929
148305 "Beggar Joe" Columbia 15624-D April 15, 1929
148306 "When You're Far Away From Home" Columbia 15624-D April 15, 1929
148307 "Birmingham Rag" Columbia 15436-D April 15, 1929
148308 "Sweet Sarah Blues" Columbia 15436-D April 15, 1929
149308 "Where the River Shannon Flows" Columbia unissued October 31, 1929
149309 "Little Bessie" Columbia 15492-D October 31, 1929
149310 "I Left Her At the River" Columbia 15492-D October 31, 1929
149311 "Jack and May" Columbia 15528-D October 31, 1929
149312 "Captain Won't You Let Me Go Home" Columbia 15528-D October 31, 1929
149313 "The Blue and the Grey" Columbia unissued October 31, 1929
149322 "Going Back To My Texas Home" Columbia 15715-D October 31, 1929
149323 "The Whistling Songbird" Columbia 15511-D October 31, 1929
149324 "Freight Train Ramble" Columbia 15511-D October 31, 1929
149325 "Lonesome Frisco Line" Columbia unissued October 31, 1929
149326 "Down Among the Sugar Cane" Columbia 15715-D October 31, 1929
149327 "What Is Home Without Love" Columbia unissued October 31, 1929
150247 "The Black Sheep" Columbia 15674-D April 16, 1930
150248 "Little Ola" Columbia 15591-D April 16, 1930
150249 "Once I Had a Sweetheart" Columbia 15674-D April 16, 1930
150250 "The Maple On the Hill" Columbia 15591-D April 16, 1930
150251 "My Father Died a Drunkard" Columbia 15552-D April 16, 1930
150252 "Frankie Dean" Columbia 15701-D April 16, 1930
150263 "Pork Chops" Columbia 15611-D April 17, 1930
150264 "On the Banks of a Lonely River" Columbia 15572-D April 17, 1930
150265 "Faithless Husband" Columbia 15552-D April 17, 1930
150266 "Hard Time Blues" Columbia 15611-D April 17, 1930
150267 "Rising Sun Blues" Columbia 15701-D April 17, 1930
150268 "My Little Blue Heaven" Columbia 15572-D April 17, 1930
71627 "Thirteen Years In Kilbie Prison" Victor 23680 February 28, 1932
71628 "Once I Had a Fortune" Victor 23680 February 29, 1932
13432 "Let's Be Friends Again" (ARC) Ba 32810 June 7, 1933
13433 "I Long For the Pines" ARC unissued June 7, 1933
13437 "Black Sheep" ARC unissued June 7, 1933

Jimmie Tarlton[edit]

Matrix Title Record # Recording date
151000 "Careless Love" Columbia 15651-D December 3, 1930
151001 "By the Old Oaken Bucket Louise" Columbia 15763-D December 3, 1930
151002 "Lowe Bonnie" Columbia 15763-D December 3, 1930
151003 "After the Sinking of the Titanic" Columbia unissued December 3, 1930
151004 "New Birmingham Jail" Columbia 15629-D December 3, 1930
151005 "Roy Dixon" Columbia 15629-D December 3, 1930
151010 "Moonshine Blues" Columbia 15651-D December 4, 1930
151011 "Over the Hills Maggie" Columbia unissued December 4, 1930
71629 "Dixie Mail" Victor 23665 February 29, 1932
71630 "The Weaver's Blues" Victor 23700 February 29, 1932
71631 "Sweetheart of My Dreams" Victor 23665 February 29, 1932
71632 "Ooze Up To Me" Victor 23700 February 29, 1932
13434 "Hitch Hike Bums" ARC unissued June 7, 1933
13435 "By the Old Oaken Bucket Louise" (ARC) Ba 32810 June 7, 1933
13436 "Baby I Can't Use You" ARC unissued June 7, 1933

The Georgia Wildcats[edit]

Matrix Title Record # Recording date
69365 "She's Waiting For Me (Fort Benning Blues)" Victor 23640 May 27, 1931
69378 "The Bootlegger Song" Victor unissued May 29, 1931
69379 "The Monkey Song" Victor unissued May 29, 1931
69380 "Goin' Down That Lonesome Frisco Line" Victor 23640 May 29, 1931
69398 "Broke Man Blues" Victor unissued May 30, 1931
69399 "High Sheriff From Georgia" Victor unissued May 30, 1931

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Familytreelegends.com. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  2. ^ "Muscogee County Ga Archives Photo Person - Jimmy Tarlton, Thomas P. Darby &". Files.usgwarchives.net. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  3. ^ "Ricky Whitley". Ricky Whitley. Retrieved 2012-12-09.