We had a country music quiz in class recently. I managed to get all the questions right except one - aaaaaaagh! What was the question? Who produced the record "Keep on the sunny side" which was recorded by the Carter family in 1928.
If you don't know the answer its actually not that easy to Google. But - its Ralph Sylvester Peer.
Here he is.
So who was he? He was a producer, engineer, and talent scout who spearheaded the U.S. recording industry's shift away from classical and opera to indigenous American roots music, while essentially creating the country market that continue to flourish today.
He's an important figure but is not that well known by the public at least as he did not seek the limelight.
In 1927 he arrived in Tennessee to scout fresh local talent on behalf of the Victor record label. A few years prior, he had not only assisted in the first blues recording by Mamie Smith of “Crazy Blues” and later ones by Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, but also produced the first commercially successful country session with “Fiddlin’ John” Carson. During the next two weeks, he recorded what has become known as the Bristol Sessions with Jimmy Rodgers and the Carter family, credited as the birth of modern country music, earning Peer the nickname of “Father of Country Music” and his place in the Country Music. He founded his own company Peermusic - which still survives.
So now you (and I) know.