The Golden Melody Boys

Also known as "Demps and Phil",  Dempsy Jones (vocal and tiple )  and Phil Featherstonhaugh or Featherstonehaugh or Featherstone (mandolin) was an Iowa country duet of the 20's.
As told by Tony Russell in "Country Music Originals: The Legends and the Lost" Dempsy Jones was a baseball player and lately manager and the Linn County Recorder, Featherstonehaugh "didn't have much a profession" and was run in for transporting liquor in an automobile and fined 300$ in 1925 but he was a fine mandolin player.
The duet was locally successful around 1925 and recorded for paramount in Chicago during1927.
Fans could follow them on stage and on local radio shows to hear an old time repertoire with comedy tunes and a few instrumentals with "modern" chords & strums ornamentation and nice melodies .

A description of their string complementarity by Tony Russell :

5 tunes could be find on the blog with this vinyl compilation , but the blog description is wrong when speaking about a guitar mandolin duet ( except for guitar rag for my opinion)

The complete Paramount recordings can be found in this tremendous 600 mp3 20's/30's old time music compilation for 10$ (J15108 Parker and Woolbright - Golden Melody Boys)

"Down in Arkansas" :

"Freak Melody" :

"Sabula Blues" :


Dr. Humphrey Bates & His Possum Hunters

Credited in the Michael Simmons article Dr. Humphrey Bate & His Possum Hunters , a legendary pioneering country string ensemble conducted by harmonica player Dr Bate seems to used a tiple .

According to record credits ( here compiled in : "the first génération of country music stars" by David Dicaire ) Buster Bate, son of Humphrey, played the instrument occasionaly as he played Jew's harp  harmonica & fiddle but no audio or photograph his here to testify, his sister Alcyone played "ukelele" (photographs) and piano.

Buster the tiple player is here, playing jew's harp behind Uncle Dave Macon ( banjo and hat ):

The Four Virginians

According to the  Kip Lornell  "Virginia's blues, country & gospel records, 1902-1943: an annotated discography",
this obscure country band of textile mill workers recorded six sides of ballroom music for Okeh in 1927.
Two guitars, a fiddle and a (T18?) tiple played by Leonard Jennings.

Hard to find audio but two tracks on the tube reveals that the tiple is strummed as the rythm guitar :

They came back as old timmers in the 70's but only one veteran of the Okeh sessions is here :
Richard Bigger the fiddler.
Leonard Jennings passed away in 1977.
Audio of the 8-tracks 70's recordings and details about the "new" group here.


The Ukulele Occasional #1

You can find in this 2002 first issue of the magnificant ukulele devoted magazine a very complete article about the tiple, Michael Simmons wrote  it, former staffer at Gryphon Stringed Instruments he contributed to Acoustic Guitar magazine, Fretboard Journal and others specialised publications.
He goes deep in the instrument history back in the 1500's in South America and scrolls along the complicated familiy tree on the continent and west indies to the north american 20's Martin rebirth with the "my dog has fleas" similar tuning.
Complete information can be found about the company models and fabrication boards, and of course the Regal, Lyon & Healy and other brands models.

A wide chronologic panorama of tiple players is presented with of course the swing era groups but also a lot of players from the 20's to 90's decades, obscure or not.
Here are some of the name droped that could be focused on in future pages...

20's-40's :
Dr Humphrey Bate and the Possum Hunters
Nortfolk Jazz Quartet "novelty singing with Tiple" Decca rec label
Wendell Hall
Dempsey and Phil Jones (the Golden Melody Boys)
Jimmy Chu
The Lewis Bronzeville five

60's-90's :
Osborne Brothers (bluegrass tiple)
Andrew Hardin Tom Russell
Grady Nutt
Tonny Cuff
Ry Cooder
Phil Manzanera
Mark Orton Tin Hat Trio
Nick Didkovsky
Eugene Chadbourne

Ukulele Occasional #1  for sale at Elderly

present & future quotes of the article
Courtesy of "Michael Simmons"


Dianetic Tiple

Scientology and Tiple ....what a weird cocktail!
Ron Hubbard owned a post 1933 T28 Martin Tiple, it's obvious that he could played the instrument as could a longtime uke player (he bought a decal pineapple Kamaka ukulele in 1927 in Hawaii and boast about having inspired Arthur Godfrey with his Washigton DC Radio banjo,uke & talk broadcasting performances in the 40's)

On the dangerous "church" pages we can learn that Ron,the hero, was captivated by ethno music and during his numerous travels bought notably a columbian cuarto a timple canarias and the pineapple Kamaka....the Dianetic T28 was probably purchased at his local dealer...


Alexis Korner

The Alexis Korner T28 Martin Tiple

Born in Paris in 1928, austrian greek/turkish by his parents, Alexis Koerner lived in France, Switzerland, North africa and finaly reach London in 1940 were he felt in love with the blues during the blitz !
British blues pioneer in the 50's he brings the delta and chicago riffs to most of the mid 60's brit pop heroes young ears (Stones, Cream, Mayall, Page etc..) His focus on the 10 stringed instrument goes far more than a guitarist interest for a funny little instrument as told in a page by Tom Robinson about AK instruments :

"The one Martin guitar that did capture Alexis’s imagination was the Tiple, a small ten-stringed ukulele-like instrument with a stretched neck and overgrown headstock. He’d first been drawn to its sound on 1930s country records by artists such as the Carter Family, and asked the London guitar dealer Ivor Mairants to find him one. It took ages, but when Ivor finally delivered, Alexis worked hard on mastering the instrument. With the likes of Page, Clapton, Hendrix, Beck and Kossoff all jostling for attention in 1960s London there was no sense in competing as just another guitar player. But by evolving his own unique style on the Tiple, Alexis could hold his own on any stage and in any company – and indeed put it to good effect when recording the Snape album at Island studios. As the UK’s foremost Tiple player he was in a class of one."

Korner shows his tiple skills
on this cover of "Vicksburg Blues" :

A"heavy" Korner & Snape title, "Country Shoes" with
great tiple chorus around 2"30...

A 1971 Robert Johnson cover with wild tiple playing,
including cymbalum sound tremolos,"Hellhound On My Trail" :

from the same album "Bootleg him" :
"Evil hearted woman" with the same bluesy mid-oriental touch


Hobo and the Soundogs

Haight Ashbury looking old hobo, moon coyotes , white church,  psych folk vintage youth western group….and a pre-1932 T17 Martin tiple as leading instrument : Hobo and the Soundogs is on tour round Frisco !

here at the 2011 Fairfax Festival :

Supported by a conceptual and well designed mysterious site….