Henry Whitter

Henry Whitter (1892 - 1941) from Grayson County, Virginia, was one of the earliest folk & country harmonica players known.

Having picked up the guitar at a very young age he later on added the fiddle, banjo, harmonica and piano to his repertoire. In 1923 he decided to quit his job at the "Fries Washington"Cotton Mill and go to NYC in order to persue his musical career. Although his two test recordings could not convince the A&R in the first place, he ended up getting signed by O'keh Records in late '23. His solo recordings, featuring "The Wreck of the Old 97" which later was covered by Vernon Dalhart to become the first million-seller in record history, were released in January 1924 and were quite successful.

After meeting blind G.B. Grayson (1887 - 1930) at a fiddlers' convention in 1927, the two went on forming the famous bluegrass duo "Grayson & Whitter".

Especially Whitter's fox chase technique pretty much set the bar for this style and did influence countless successors up until today.

Henry Whitter - Rain Crow Bill Blues

This most famous of his solo harmonica pieces he recorded twice, once in 1923 and again in August 1927, and many of his harmonica works are variations of this particular pattern.

Lost Girl of West Virginia

Lost Train Blues

The Old Time Fox Chase

Also, there is more to be found amongst the Honkingduck78s:

Little Brown Jug

Lonesome Road Blues

Western Country

Where Have You been so Long

Please enjoy!



Allen`s Archive said...

Great music by an under-rated artist.

David said...

I'm trying to find information and, if possible, a sound-file, of OKeh 40064 (a label scan would be nice, too!), Henry Whitter playing a version of "Shortnin' Bread," possibly the earliest recording of that song. Any help would be appreciated. david at davidneale dot eu