To the early Opry artists who were trying to work at music full-time, personal appearances were necessary to supplement the meager wages paid them by the station. In April 1933, the brothers went to Chicago to make their first Bluebird records for Victor. They drove up with another popular singing group from the Opry, the Vagabonds. Eli Oberstein, who did so much of Victor’s hillbilly and blues field recording in the 1930s, was in charge of the session. He was to supervise the Delmores’ recordings throughout most of their stay with Bluebird. The seventeen sides from this Chicago session (which included two of their most enduring numbers, “Brown’s Ferry Blues” and “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar”) gave them even wider exposure. By 1936 and 1937, the Delmores were the most popular group on the Opry as well as the show’s only really successful recording act. Their Bluebird records sold well, and soon they had cut over eighty sides, many of which were also issued by the famous mail-order calalog company Montgomery Ward. Their best-seller was “Brown’s Ferry Blues.” By mid-1937 it had racked up sales of over 100,000—an astounding figure in that Depression-wracked economy. Other hits included “Southern Moon,” “When It’s Time for the Whippoorwills to Sing,” “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar,” “The Girls Don’t Worry My Mind,” “Weary Lonesome Blues,” and “Fifteen Miles from Birmingham.” The brothers often toured with Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, the Opry’s most popular fiddler, and with him they recorded some of the era’s most enduring songs: “Beautiful Brown Eyes” (1937), “There’s More Pretty Girls Than One” (1936) and “Walking in My Sleep” (1937). Soon the radio waves were full of other artists covering Delmore songs; a 1937 WSM press release reported, “In every nook and corner of the land, one can hear recordings of The Delmore Brothers being played—in corner drug stores, at church festivals, in private homes, wherever the charm of the folk-tunes or hillbilly songs penetrates.” A disagreement over booking practices caused the Delmores to leave the Opry. In September 1938, they formed a new band (featuring Milton Estes from Pee Wee King’s band) and drove out of Nashville. On the whole, it was a bad move; the Delmores were free to play all the theaters they wanted, but they had a hard time finding a new radio base. They found themselves moving almost every few months; starting in Raleigh, North Carolina, they then went to Winston-Salem, then to Greenville,

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