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Bulletin - March/ April 2009
Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
The Carter Sisters -> The Wilburn Brothers
 

 

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
GEORGE JONES Raven 292 Step Right, 1970-1979: A Critical Anthology ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, essential
What an amazing man George Jones is. With a career extending more than 50 years his recordings rarely find him giving vocally less than 100 percent in spite of a life full of personal turmoil, or maybe because of it. The raw, stripped down honky tonk of the 1950s gave way to a countrypolitan sound with strings and choruses in the 1960s. By 1970 George was 39 years old and his voice had gotten deeper and richer and had become even more expressive, if such a thing was possible. The recordings on this fabulous collection feature some of his very best recordings from the 70s starting with some of his last recordings for Musicor but mostly featuring sides recorded for Epic under the improbable guidance of Billy Sherrill whose lush arrangements might seem at odds with George's style but actually work to accentuate it. The 70s were a particularly traumatic time for George including his divorce from Tammy Wynette after a tumultuous relationship and battles with alcohol and drugs that almost ended his life and quite a few of the songs here seem to reflect that turmoil. Many of the songs here were hits - A Good Year For The Roses/ We Can Make It/ A Picture Of Me (Without You)/ The Grand Tour/ The Door/ These Days (I Barely Get By)/ Bartender's Blues and other but it also includes some prime album cuts like Image Of Me/ She Loves Me (Right Out Of My Mind)/ I Just Don't Give A Damn, the autobiographical Wean Me and A Drunk Can't Be A Man and others. Great sound and booklet with perceptive notes by John Dowler. (FS)

 
GEORGE JONES Time Life 19330 40 Years Of Duets ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, 59 mins, highly recommended
George Jones has had quite a long career at this point, and throughout it all, pretty much since the start, Jones has had a lot of success performing duets. Sure you are gonna know his famous duets with Tammy Wynette like Golden Ring/ Were Gonna Hold On, and Two Story House, but have you heard him with James Taylor doing Bartender's Blues, or with Gene Pitney on I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night? This career spanning set show how wide reaching Jones' appeal and talents are and will be a real delight for fans of George Jones, or of great Country music in general. You get early cuts like Yearning from 1957 with Jeanette Hicks, Milwaukee Here I Come with Brenda Carter, plus fine duets with Melba Montgomery, Johnny Paycheck, Randy Travis and many more. Probably my favorite is Jones and Merle Haggard's version of Willie Nelson's Yesterday's Wine, from a duet LP with Haggard of the same name that is worth hunting down. Fittingly this Duets collection ends with the last duet Jones did with his soul mate Tammy Wynette on their 1995 hit, One. (JM)

 
CHARLIE LOUVIN Hux 099 Less And Less I Don't Love You Anymore/ Lonesome Is Me ● CD $17.98
24 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
By himself, Charlie Louvin doesn't have that fantastic, other-worldly quality that his records with his brother Ira did, but they have plenty of merit on their own. This CD gathers up Charlie's albums from 1964 & 1966 respectively. "Less and Less and I Don't Love You Anymore" features such fine Country tear-jerkers as the title track and I'll Have Made it To The Bridge/ See The Big Man Cry, and Once A Day, plus a great take on Buck Owens' Tall Dark Stranger. "Lonesome is Me" follows in the same vein with Making Plans/ Queen Unfaithful/ All the Lies Are True/ Two Minus One, etc. Truly, these are two fine Country albums that are wonderful to rediscover again in 2009. Quality job done by the label, with fantastic sound, all artwork reproduced, liner notes, and lyrics. (JM)

 
J.E. MAINER JSP JSPCD 77118 1935-1939 The Early Recordings Of One Of The Most Influential Country Music Pioneers ● CD $28.98
Four CD set with 100 tracks featuring recordings made between 1935 and 1939 by country music pioneers J.E. Mainer and his brother Wade along with associated artists Daddy John LOve, The Dixie Reelers and The Morris Brothers. This is the first of two projected volumes featuring these important country musicians. Although J.E. is prominently featured on the cover there are an equal number of songs by his brother Wade with singer/ guitarist Zeke Morris. J.E.' group, Mainer's Mountaineers line up using fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar and string bass were an important precursor to the bluegrass style and many of the songs J.E. and Wade popularized have become bluegrass staples. More details next time.

 
KEN MAYNARD Bear Family BCD 16861 Sings The Lone Star Trail ● CD $24.98
Ken Maynard was the first singing cowboy to appear on the screen and one of the first to record cutting eight sides for Columbia in 1930. Only one 78 was issued - one side of which The Lone Star Trail achieved immortality when it was included the legendary Harry Smith collection as an example of authentic cowboy singing. Since then one more side has appeared on an LP but all eight tracks are featured on this CD for the first time featuring Maynard's plaintive nasal voice and basic guitar accompaniment on songs like Fannie Moore/ The Cowboy's Lament/ A Prisoner For Life/ Jesse James, etc. The set includes a 78 page booklet with the full story of Maynard's remarkable life and career (he was a champion horse rider and appeared in more than 90 cowboy movies between 1925 and 1970), rare photos, film posters and other memorabilia and transcriptions and discussions of each song.

 
CHARLIE MOORE & BILL NAPIER King 0248-2 Long White Line ● CD $7.98
10 tracks, 24 mins, highly recommended
Moore & Napier are among the unheralded giants of 1960s bluegrass. With the gorgeous rich baritone lead of Charlie Moore and Bill Napier providing superb harmonies as well as playing banjo, guitar and mandolin they recorded more than 100 titles for King in the 60s but this is only the second CD reissue of any of their recordings. This is a short but sweet collection of truck driving songs done bluegrass style including their local hit Truck Driver's Queen plus Long White Line/ Hot Rod Kids And Women Drivers/ Pinball Blues/ A Truck Driver's Romance/ Truck Driver's Woman, etc. Until someone gets around to doing and in depth reissue of these exceptional artists this and Gusto 0636 - "Bluegrass Gospel And Sacred Song" ($6.98) are indispensible. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS B.A.C.M. 261 Southeastern Swing Bands ● CD $14.98
29 tracks, highly recommended
Exciting collection of swinging jazzy string band music featuring the complete recordings of three groups from the Southeast recorded in 1937 and 1938. As Kevin Coffey points out in his fascinating notes there has been a tendency to associate the more jazzy string band style to bands from the Southwest but the Southeast had it's share of groups with their own individual style. The Swing Billies from North Carolina featured the vocals of Charlie Poole's son James Clay Poole on a selection of mostly jazz and pop standards (St. Louis Blues/ I Can't Give You Anything But Love/ Melancholy baby, etc) along with some country songs accompanied by fiddle, guitars and banjo. The Hi Neighbor Boys from South Carolina featured a more bluesy sound on mostly original songs and included on guitar Eddy Grishaw - or as would later be known Zeb Turner. Zeb also takes several of the vocals as does guitarist/ vocalist Woodrow "Sagebrush Slim" Wofford and the group also features fiddle and accordion. The group was the first to record You Took My Sunshine - a song that was subsequently reworked as You Are My SUnshine. In addition to seven vocals there are two hot instrumentals featuring the dynamic guitar work of Turner. Herald Goodman and His Tennessee Valley Boys were a smoother, more pop oriented group which featured several legendary musicians including Howard "Howdy" Forrester and Arthur Smith on fiddles and future Texas Troubadour Billy Byrd on guitar. A fine and varied selection of music, much of it new to CD, with fine sound Kevin Coffey's excellent notes. (FS)
HAROLD GOODMAN & HIS TENNESSEE VALLEY BOYS: Banjo Rag/ Dadís Little Boy/ Is Your Name Written There/ New Lamp Lighting Time in The Valley/ Tell Me/ Tennessee Swing/ Thatíll Do Now, Thatíll Do/ The Great Shining Light/ The Lamplighterís Dream/ The Old Mountain Man/ THE HI NEIGHBOR BOYS: Are You Lonesome For Me (Tonight Old Pal)/ Down Among The Faded Roses/ Guitar Fantasy/ Honky Tonk Mamma/ Iím Through With You Little Girl/ Keep Truckiní/ On Your Way/ You Took My Sunshine/ Zeb Terneyís Stomp/ THE SWING BILLIES: Crazy Yodeling Blues/ Every Day Away From You/ From Buffalo To Washington/ I Canít Give You Anything But Love/ If Youíre Sorry, Say Youíre Sorry/ Leaviní Home/ Melancholy Baby/ Moonshine In The Carolina Hills/ Somebody Loves You Yet/ St. Louis Blues

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Cactus CAPCD 1 Capitol Hillbilly, Vol. 1 ● CD $15.98
34 tracks, 80 mins, highly recommended
Continuing on with the series that started on the Official label we now have the first in a series of label oriented hillbilly reissues on the Cactus label. This one features 34 fine sides recorded for Capitol in the early and mid 50s. Like the Official volumes the emphasis here is on uptempo country and hillbilly boogie mixing both familiar names and includes Billy Strange, Red Murrell (the great Talkin' Blues), Eddie Kirk, Gene O' Quin, Roy Hogsed, Dub Dickerson, Ferlin Husky, Skeets McDonald, Merle Travis (the hot Merle's Boogie with some very effective speeded up guitar), Ray Parks, The Louvin Brothers (the rockin' gospel track River Of Jordan) and more. Sound quality is generally excellent - packaging is bare bones. (FS)
ROY ACUFF: Lonesome Joe/ DUB DICKERSON: Sweet Bunch of Bitterweeds/ RAMBLIN' JIMMIE DOLAN: Tool Pusher On A Rotary Rig/ WERLY FAIRBURN: Baby He's A Wolf/ THE FARMER BOYS: I'm Just Too Lazy/ TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD: Tennessee Local/ FREDDIE HART: Canada To Tennessee/ ROY HOGSED: Ain't a Bump in the Road/ Red Wing/ FERLIN HUSKY: Aladdin's Lamp/ SONNY JAMES: Shortcut/ EDDIE KIRK: Freight Train Breakdown/ Saturday Night Time Blues/ JIMMY LEE: I'm Diggin' A Hole To Bury My Heart/ BIG BILL LISTER: What The Heck Is Going On/ THE LOUVIN BROTHERS: River of Jordan/ SKEETS MCDONALD: Look Who's Crying Now/ ROD MORRIS: Three Empty Bottles/ RED MURRELL: Talkin' Blues/ GENE O'QUIN: Mobilin' Baby of Mine/ RAY PARKS: You're Gonna Have to Ball That's All/ LEON PAYNE: I'm A Lone Wolf/ TERRY PRESTON: Tennesse Central Number 9/ OLE RASSMUSSEN: We're Gonna Go Fishing)/ JERRY REED: Just A Romeo/ AL ROGERS: All The Time/ JIMMIE SKINNER: Will You Be Ready/ WYNN STEWART: That Just Kills Me/ BILLY STRANGE: Diesel Smoke-Dangerous Curves/ Hell Train/ MERLE TRAVIS: Guitar Rag/ Merle's Boogie/ WESLEY TUTTLE: I Got a Round Trip Ticket/ JESS WILLARD: Truck Driver's Boogie

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Cattle 338 Country Girls Sing 30 Hillbilly & Western Songs ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 73 mins, recommended
Fine collection of female country vocalists from the early/ mid 50s - much of it from previously unissued radio transcriptions. The set opens with 10 tracks recorded for Columbia in 1954 and '55 by California based country singer Bonnie Sloan. Undeservedly obscure she was an excellent honky tonk singer accompanied here by the Town Hall Gang (Joe Maphis, Johnny Bond, Dick Stubbs, Fiddlin' Kate, etc.). The great Wilma Lee Cooper is featured a spine chilling version of Tramp On The Street from a radio transcription and June Carter does an excellent version of Merle Travis's Sweet Temptation. Other artists include a mix of well known and obscure performers including Jeannie Ackers, The Little Country Girls, Goldie Hill, Cindy Walker, Judy Hayden, Betty Foley, Dale Evans, Skeeter Davis and others. Fine sound and booklet has brief notes on all the artists. (FS)
JEANNIE ACKERS OF THE COLORADO HILLBILLIES: I Lost You/ In My Adobe Hacienda/ THE BEAVER VALLEY SWEETHEARTS: You Get What You Pay For/ MOLLY BEE: Too Young To Tango/ SALLY BRIGGS: I Couldn't Keep From Crying/ JUNE CARTER: Sweet Temptation/ THE CARTER SISTERS: Poor Old Heartsick Me/ WILMA LEE COOPER: Tramp On The Street/ SKEETER DAVIS: Set Him Free/ DALE EVANS: Cowgirl Polka/ Ragtime Cowboy Joe/ Texas U.s.a./ BETTY FOLEY: Slowly/ JUDY HAYDEN: I'm Going Back To Whur I Come From/ GOLDIE HILL: A Wasted Love Affair/ THE LITTLE COUNTRY GIRLS: Pals Of The Saddle/ RITA ROBBINS: I'm Walking The Floor Over You/ JEAN SHEPARD: He Loved Me Once And He'll Love Me Again/ BONNIE SLOAN: After The Wedding/ Alone I Cry/ Don't Call Me A Tramp/ Hog Tied And Branded/ Honky Tonk World/ Idle Hours/ Nobody But You/ Poor Paper Kite/ Silly Boy/ The Next Waltz With You/ CINDY WALKER: I Love Everything About You/ Put Your Arms Around Me

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS El Toro CH 101 Collectors Choice, Volume 1 - Texas Fever ● CD $16.98
First in what promises to be an extensive series of anthologies of rare up tempo hillbilly from the early/ mid 50s. This first volume has 20 tracks featuring artists from Texas including Ken Marvin, Leon Tassin, The Jacoby Brothers, Alden Holloway, Perry Washburn, Jimmie Walton, Johnny Maxwell, Jack Cardwell, Chuck Ray, Sammie Lee and others. More than half the tracks are appearing on CD for the first time. Sound quality is excellent and booklet has notes on all the artists - where anything is known about them.
STONEY CALHOUN AND THE NIGHT OWLS: Hot 'N' Cold/ JACK CARDWELL: Walking Away My Blues/ FRED CRAWFORD: I Learned Something From You/ LUCKY HILL: I'm Checkin' Out/ ALDEN HOLLOWAY AND HIS PRAIRIE RIDERS: Woodpecker Love/ THE JACOBY BROTHERS: Who Ye Primpin Fer?/ SAMMIE LEE: Olahoma Blond Headed Gal/ KEN MARVIN: Two Tone Ten Ton/ Uh Uh Honey/ JOHNNY MAXWELL AND THE RHYTHMMASTERS: Ole Satan's Mother-In-Law/ CHUCK RAY AND HIS GANG: I May Not Be Able But I'm Willing To Try/ WALTER SCOTT: I'm Walking/ KING STERLING AND HIS BLUE GRASS MELODY BOYS: Too Many Taverns/ HUB SUTTER AND THE HUB CATS: Gone Golsing/ LEON TASSIN WITH CHARLIE STUCKEY'S WESTERNERS: Get A Move On, Baby/ UNKNOWN ARTIST ACETATE: Texas Fever/ AL URBAN: Run Away/ EARNEY VANDAGRIFF: Where You Been/ JIMMIE WALTON: High As A Georgia Pine/ PERRY WASHBURN AND THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN CANARY B: Pocahontas Baby

 

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