A talented guitar picker and a profilic recording artist, Roy Harvey was born in 1882 in West Virginia. He learned to play the guitar as a child and later worked as an engineer for the Virginia Railroad. In 1923, he was fired after a strike and met banjoist Charlie Poole in 1925. With Poole, he began to tour through the country and recorded several sides for Columbia as a member of Poole's North Carolina Ramblers. At the same time, he founded various bands and got recording contracts for them. This was Harvey's strategy to have a bigger ouput than many of his contemporaries, so Harvey could earn more money. He had his first hit in 1928 with the parody recording of "When The Roses Bloom for the Bootlegger" (accompanied by Earl Shirkley). When Poole died in 1931, Harvey took over his band and set up sessions with Gennett, Paramount and Brunswick. Again, Harvey was eager to have a great ouput. The depression hit him hard and he quit the music business in gthe mid-thirties. In 1942, he moved to Florida, where he died in 1958.
"Milwaukee Blues" was recorded earlier by Charlie Poole. Harvey recorded his version on December 3, 1930, in Richmond, Indiana, for Gennett (actually, it was issued on the Gennett subsidiary Superior). He was backed by Jess Johnson on fiddle and vocs. "By the Cottage in the Twilight" was recorded the next year on June 3, backed by the West Virginia Ramblers, which included Jess Johnson (fiddle, vocals), Bernice Coleman (fiddle) and Ernest Branch (banjo). The song was issued on Superior and Champion, another Gennett affliated label.
1. Milwaukee Blues
2. By the Cottage in the Twilight