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Frank Hutchison
Born:  March 20, 1897
Died:  November 9, 1945
West Virgnia Music Hall of Fame (2018)

About The Artist

Frank Hutchison, known as "the Pride of West Virginia," was one of the Mountain State's first recording artists, putting more than two dozen numbers on disc between 1926 and 1929. His songs, all on the OKeh label, displayed a strong African-American blues influence as did his guitar style. These cultural borrowings were supposedly absorbed from black railroad workers he heard playing near his home in rugged Logan County.

Two of his songs "Coney Isle" (renamed "Alabam") and "Train that Carried My Girl from Town" are still heard today (2020).

Frank Hutchison was born in Raleigh County, but his family moved to Logan County when he was a child. There he often listened to black laborers on the railroad tracks and learned something of their style. He also played harmonica.

As Hutchison grew up he often worked as a carpenter, a cook and on occasion in the coal mines. For a few years from 1926, his main source of income was music. He often played in school houses, theaters, and also showed motion pictures along with singing. Although he did not sell records at his shows, knowing that he was a recording artist helped draw crowds to his shows.

He did five sessions in the record studios including skits in the OKeh Medicine Show series and two numbers featuring fiddle tunes with his friend Sherman Lawson.

The Great Depression put an end to Frank's recording career and crippled demands for his music. Briefly he moved to Chesapeake, Ohio and entertained on river boats until this market also dried up.

He opened a little grocery store in Lake, West Virginia, but it burned in 1942, destroying most of the family's belongings. He then moved back to Ohio and died three years later, virtually forgotten until interest revived in his music in the 1970's.

Editor's Note:
There are six sides (three discs) on the OKeh label that Frank Hutchison was a part of - the OKeh Medicine Show series. To provide a complete listing of those recordings, the DAHR (Discography of Historical Recordings) online database was consulted for this additional information listed below:

Label Record No. Song Title Artists Listed
OKeh 45380 The Medicine Show (Act 1) Emmett Miller, Naromour & Smith, Fiddlin' John Carson, Moonshine Kate (Rosa Lee Carson), Bud Blue, Frank Hutchison, Black Brothers (Frank Luther and Carson Robison), Martin Malloy
OKeh 45380 The Medicine Show (Act 2) Emmett Miller, Naromour & Smith, Fiddlin' John Carson, Moonshine Kate (Rosa Lee Carson), Bud Blue, Frank Hutchison, Black Brothers (Frank Luther and Carson Robison), Martin Malloy
OKeh 45391 The Medicine Show (Act 3) Emmett Miller, Naromour & Smith, Fiddlin' John Carson, Moonshine Kate (Rosa Lee Carson), Bud Blue, Frank Hutchison, Black Brothers (Frank Luther and Carson Robison), Martin Malloy
OKeh 45391 The Medicine Show (Act 4) Emmett Miller, Naromour & Smith, Fiddlin' John Carson, Moonshine Kate (Rosa Lee Carson), Bud Blue, Frank Hutchison, Black Brothers (Frank Luther and Carson Robison), Martin Malloy
OKeh 45413 The Medicine Show (Act 5) Emmett Miller, Naromour & Smith, Fiddlin' John Carson, Moonshine Kate (Rosa Lee Carson), Bud Blue, Frank Hutchison, Black Brothers (Frank Luther and Carson Robison), Martin Malloy
OKeh 45413 The Medicine Show (Act 6) Emmett Miller, Naromour & Smith, Fiddlin' John Carson, Moonshine Kate (Rosa Lee Carson), Bud Blue, Frank Hutchison, Black Brothers (Frank Luther and Carson Robison), Martin Malloy

Credits & Sources

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

 
OKeh
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  45064 A Worried Blues
  45064 B Train that Carried the Girl from Town
  45083 A The West Virginia Rag
  45083 B Coney Isle
  45089 A Long Way to Tipperary
  45089 B C. & O. Excusion
  45093 A The Wild Horse
  45093 B Old Rachel
  45106 A Stackalee (Instrumental - Guitar/Harmonica)
  45106 B Stackalee (Vocal, guitar, harmonica)
  45114 A Worried Blues* [new recording]
  45114 B The Train that Carried the Girl from Town* [new recording]
  45121 A Last Scene of the Titanic
  45121 B Logan County Blues
  45144 A Lightning Express
  45144 B All Night Long
  45258 A Back in My Home Town
  45258 B The Miner?s Blues
  45274 A Wild Hogs in the Red Brush (w/Sherman Lawson)
  45274 B Hutchison?s Rag
  45313 A Alabama Gal (Ain?t You Comin Out Tonight) (w/Sherman Lawson)
  45313 B The Burglar Man
  45361 A Johnny & Jane, Part #1
  45361 B Johnny & Jane, Part #2
  45378 A Cannonball Blues
  45378 B The Chevolet Six
  45380 A The Medicine Show (Act 1)
  45380 B The Medicine Show (Act 2)
  45391 A The Medicine Show (Act 3)
  45391 B The Medicine Show (Act 4)
  45413 A The Medicine Show (Act 5)
  45413 B The Medicine Show (Act 6)
  45425 A Railroad Bill
  45425 B The Boston Burglar
  45452 A Hell Bound Train
  45452 B K. C. Blues
  45570 A Cumberland Gap
  45570 B The Deal


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