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Kessinger Brothers

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Clark Kessinger (Kanawha County, WV, July 27, 1896 - June 4, 1975) began playing the banjo when he was five years old and two years later he performed at local saloons with his father. He switched to fiddle and began performing at country dances. In 1917, he joined the Navy serving in World War I. Upon his discharge, his reputation as a fiddler had increased and he visited many local fiddling contests. He teamed up with his nephew Luches “Luke” Kessinger (August 21, 1906 in Kanawha County, WV - May 6, 1944) performing at various locations. In 1927, Clark and Luches Kessinger had their own radio show at the newly opened station WOBU in Charleston, West Virginia.
On February 11, 1928, the Kessingers travelled to Ashland, Kentucky to audition for James O’Keefe, a talent agent for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender recording company. The Kessingers were hired and, calling themselves The Kessinger Brothers, they recorded twelve sides the same day, six of the sides together with the caller Ernest Legg. Despite Clark Kessinger’s increasing success as a fiddler and recording star, he had a regular job as a caretaker in Charleston. In the late 1920s, the Kessinger Brothers’ records were best-sellers on Brunswick Records. During these recording sessions, the Kessinger Brothers recorded many classics such as “Wednesday Night Waltz”, “Turkey In the Straw”, “Hell Among the Yearlings”, “Tugboat”, and “Salt River.”

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