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Friday, 29 October 2010

WHITE CHURCH 1072.A / 1079.A

And now the piece de resistance, the Holden Brothers’ release on WHITE CHURCH.

Jack and Farley Holden, were not actually brothers but friends who met when both were serving with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the nineteen thirties. Jack, who’s real name was Milton Jackson, adopted the Holden persona when he and Farley teemed up to perform as the Holden Brothers before the Second World War. According to Jack Holden the “Brothers” recorded two songs for WHITE CHURCH, at face value that should have been the beginning and end of the story regarding the Holden Brothers tenure on the label. However, it appears that Jack and Farley actually recorded four songs, two of which found their way to WHITE CHURCH; the other two may have been designated for release on RED BARN, but to date there is no evidence to support that notion.

The question is whether the material was actually recorded for WHITE CHURCH (and perhaps RED BARN), or if the material in question was bought in either leased or purchased by WHITE CHURCH?

All four songs were released on the WJBW label, the two non secular titles were then subsequently issued on WHITE CHURCH 1072-A b/w 1079-A. At least one other RED BARN release was issued on both labels, that being Dude Hanks offering at 1076.

WJBW looks like it might be a Radio Station call sign, if that notion is correct the only Radio Station at the time with that call sign was based in New Orleans, but there is no evidence that supports the idea that the Holden Brothers ever worked down in Louisiana. Interestingly the Dude Hanks release fits within the same time frame as the Holden Brothers.

WHITE CHURCH 1072.A / 1079.A
HOLDEN BROS. Featuring EMORY MARTIN, One Arm Banjo Player
Mother’s Not Dead, She Is Only Sleeping (1072.A)
(No Composer Credit) (No Publisher Noted)
Dust On The Bible (1079.A)
(No Composer Credit) (No Publisher Noted)

WJBW 1072
HOLDEN BROS. Featuring EMORY MARTIN, One Arm Banjo Player
Mother’s Not Dead, She’s Only Sleeping (1072.A)
(No Composer Credit) (No Publisher Noted)
I’m Doing My Time (1072.B)
(No Composer Credit) (No Publisher Noted)

WJBW 1079
HOLDEN BROS. Featuring EMORY MARTIN, One Arm Banjo Player
Dust On The Bible (1079.A)
(No Composer Credit) (No Publisher Noted)
Parcel Of Love (1079.B)
(No Composer Credit) (No Publisher Noted)

Thanks to Dave Sax for details of the WJBW releases and for the scan of WJBW 1072.B. Dave Sax also points out that “I’m Doing My Time” is the Jimmie Skinner song, however, the Holden Brothers version actually predates Skinners’ own recording.

Source material: “Pickin’ On Peachtree” Wayne W. Daniel (University Of Illinois Press).


  1. The fancy cursive writing on the label has made it hard to tell, but it is definitely WIBW Roundup and not WJBW. WIBW is the station at Topeka, Ks where Jack & Farley spent much of 1947. There is also a Bill Willhite (Shepherd Of The Hills) release on the label (there could be others) & "Roundup" was also the name of a monthly magazine that the station produced during this period.

  2. PS -- I think that White Church/Red Barn drew a lot of material from WIBW artists. Bobby Dick was there, as was the Zeke Williams Family, etc.

  3. My guess is that what appears to be a "J" is really an "I" and that the radio station was WIBW in Topeka, Kansas. Both the Holden Brothers and Dude Hank were at WIBW in this general time frame.

    I've always been a Fairley Holden fan. I saw him several times when he was at WPFB in Middletown, Ohio. "Doin' My Time" seemed to be his most popular song at that time. He had a way of performing it that really got the audience excited. He recorded it again while he was at Middletown on the Barrelhead Gang label which you profiled earlier. Although he was great on record, he was even better in person.

    It would be nice to hear the WIBW versions of "I'm Doing My Time" and "Parcel of Love".

    I'm really enjoying your work on the Red Barn and White Church labels. I've always been rather curious about them.

    Incidentally, you refer to Fairley as "Farley" in your discussion which I assume
    is a typo.