This is the first of three volumes featuring the complete recorded works of Walter Smith & Friends. The 3 volume set covers some of the finest, and some of the rarest, recordings of what is often called the golden age of old-time music. Almost all the musicians in this collection were part of a loose clique that gathered in the 1920s and early ’30s around the charismatic Charlie Poole. Like so many other hillbilly groups of the era they were based in a section of south-western Virginia and north-western North Carolina bound by Patrick, Henry and Pittsylvania Counties in Virginia and Rockingham County, NC. One of the things all these groups had in common was an approach to making string band music that was both elegant and affecting. Walter Smith, the son of a Virginia farmer, was born on August 12, 1895. He was fond of singing and good at it and no doubt his interest in music led to meet musicians like Posey Rorer and Norman Woodlieff who played fiddle and guitar respectively. Together they recorded for the first time in Richmond, Indiana on March 20, 1929. The title track “The Bald-Headed End Of A Broom” was Walter’s first solo recording, this track has been a favourite with old-time bands ever it since it was revived by the New Lost City Ramblers. These first recordings were fairly successful but it was another year before the three musicians would record again, this time in New York as the Carolina Buddies alongside guitarist Lewis McDaniels and banjo player Robert ‘Buster’ Carter. Their first track entitled “The Murder of the Lawson Family” told the tale of North Carolina farmer, Charles Lawson, who on Christmas Day 1929 murdered his wife, four daughters and two of his three sons. Unbelievably for some time afterwards the Lawson home became a visitor attraction and Walter Smith gave lectures there, which he closed by singing the song he had written from the newspaper accounts of the incident. To avoid breaking their contract with Columbia, all musicians took on pseudonyms to allow their New York recording adventure to continue. The story continues in Volume 2â€¦. Includes informative booklet notes by Tony Russell, full discographical details and illustrations.