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Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
Jimmy Martin ->
 Mac Wiseman


LEON MCAULIFFE Cattle 295 A Musical Souvenir ● CD $18.98
24 tracks recorded by this great steel guitarist in the late 40s to mid 50s after leaving Bob Wills' Texas Playboys. Includes instrumentals as well as tracks with vocals by McAuliffe himself, Jimmy Hall, Duane Bass and others.
LEON MCAULIFFE: Birmingham Bounce/ Bitter Tears/ Blacksmith Blues/ Blue Guitar Stomp/ Careless Hands/ Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy/ Eating Right Out Of Your Hand/ Hear Me Now/ Heart Attacks/ I Didn't Know How Much I Loved You/ I'm Going Back To Birmingham/ No One For Me/ Panhandle Waltz/ Redskin Rag/ Somebody Else Is A-beatin' My Time/ Stolen Love/ Sugar And Salt/ Take It Away, Leon/ The Three Bears/ There's A Right Way, A Wrong Way/ This Side Of Town/ Twin Fiddle Rag/ What, Where And When/ Who Took My Ring From Your Finger

SKEETS MCDONALD B.A.C.M. 072 Wheel Of Fortune ● CD $13.98
24 tracks, 62 mins, highly recommended A superb collection of sides recorded between 1951 by this outstanding honky tonk singer whose comparitive lack of success is puzzling - he was superb singer, excellent songwriter and was accompanied by top West Coast musicians like Joe Maphis, Jimmy Bryant, Speedy West and others. His only hit in the 50s was his great cover of Slim Willet's Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes which is featured here along with lots of other great songs, often with a bluesy flavor, including Scoot Git And Begone/ The Love That Hurts Me So/ Please Come Back/ Curtain Of Tears/ Ridin' Wit The Blues/ Be My Life's Companion/ Let Me Know/ I've Got To Win Your Love Again/ Lookin' At The Moon And Wishing On A Star/ Baby I'm Countin' and others - most of them originals. This set also includes one side of his debut recording for Fortune of Detroit in the 1951 - the great Tattooed Lady which was considered a bit risque for its time. Excellent sound and brief notes from Brian Golbey. (FS)
SKEETS MCDONALD: Baby I‘m Countin‘/ Baby I‘m Lost Without You/ Be My Life‘s Companion/ Big Family Trouble/ Bless Your Little Old Heart You‘re Mine/ Curtain Of Tears/ Don‘t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes/ Hi Diddle Diddle (my My)/ I Can‘t Last Long/ I Need Your Love/ It‘s Your Life/ I‘m Hurtin‘/ I‘m Sorry To Say I‘m Sorry/ I‘ve Got To Win Your Love Again/ Let Me Know/ Lookin‘ At The Moon And Wishing On A Star/ Please Come Back/ Ridin‘ With The Blues/ Scoot Git And Begone/ Tattooed Lady/ The Love That Hurts Me So/ Today I‘m Movin‘ Out/ Wheel Of Fortune/ Worried Mind

JIMMIE SKINNER Bear Family BCD 16613 Doin' My Time ● CD $169.98
6 CD box set,168 tracks, highly recommended Like Jimmy Murphy and Onie Wheeler, Jimmie Skinner was one of the great "outsider" artists of postwar country music. Operating far from the Nashville mainstream, Skinner produced minimalist, bluesy records that recall Johnny Cash's spare, early Sun singles - but predated them by more than seven years. But unlike Murphy and Wheeler, Skinner became a successful recording artist. His dry, reedy baritone seemed perfectly tuned to the era's booming jukeboxes. As a songwriter, Skinner had few peers. He fit melancholy and sometimes angry lyrics onto catchy tunes, and many became standards: Doin' My Time/ Will You Be Satisfied That Way/ Don't Give Your Heart to a Rambler/ You Don't Know My Mind, and Let's Say Goodbye (Like We Said Hello), among others. Mandolinist Ray Lunsford helped shape Skinner's trademark style, maintaining a simple melody line that stayed in synch with the singer's frequent disregard for meter - a trait Skinner shared with the country bluesmen he loved. This welcome Bear Family anthology documents this Cincinnati-based singer's first fifteen years on record. Five CDs collect his rare Red Barn discs from 1947-48, his influential Radio Artists 78s (including seven unissued masters), his Capitol and Decca sides, and his successful 1956-62 Mercury period that produced such hits as Dark Hollow and I Found My Girl in the U.S.A. and the album "Jimmie Skinner Sings Jimmie Rodgers". It includes early demo acetates and an obscure bluegrass session that was produced for and sold by the Cincinnati music store/mail-order record business that bore his name. A sixth disc features Skinner reading from an uncompleted autobiography - compelling, unforgettable tales of Depression life, his attempts to get on record, and frank reflections on why he didn't pursue loftier goals in show business. The set includes a 92-page, profusely illustrated hardcover book. Dave Samuelson pieced together Skinner's life and career from family members, musicians, and associates, contemporary trade publications and oral histories Skinner gave before his 1979 death at age 70. Kudos to Bear Family's Richard Weize and collector/researcher Dave Sax for restoring and reissuing the work of this often-overlooked performer. (AK)

RED SOVINE Cattle 292 Country Ballads & Western SWing ● CD $18.98
Red's complete 1949-1952 studio recordings with Jerry Byrd, Chet Atkins, Tommy Jackson and others. 28 tracks including honky tonk ballads, western swing and country boogies - A Hard Road To Travel/ A Quarter's Worth Of Heartaches/ Billy Goat Boogie/ Dear Mr Santa Claus/ Fourflusher/ I Wanted You For A Lifetime/ I'll Worry You Out Of My Mind, etc. Includes a fine version of the Hank Williams song If You'll Be A Baby To Me which Hank never recorded commercially.
RED SOVINE: A Hard Road To Travel/ A Loveless Marriage/ A Quarter's Worth Of Heartaches/ Big Dipper/ Billy Goat Boogie/ Christmas Alone/ Dear Mister Santa Claus/ Don't Worry/ Farewell, So Long, Goodbye/ Fourflusher/ Groovy Boy/ I Wanted You For A Lifetime/ I'll Worry You Out Of My Mind/ I'm Gonna Lock My Heart (and Throw Away The Key)/ I'm Only A Shoulder To Cry On/ If You'll Be A Baby To Me/ It'd Surprise You/ Lifetime To Regret/ Okey Dokey/ Please Don't Let Me Love You/ Sundown Sue/ The Intoxicated Rat (my Little Rat)/ Till Today/ When I Get Rich/ Who's Lonely Now/ Why Pretend/ You Taught Me How/ You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree Now

LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1588 John Deere Tractor ● CD $15.98
CD issue of 1980 album.

THE STANLEY BROTHERS Columbia 86747 An Evening Long Ago ● CD $11.98
20 tracks, 47 mins, essential A stunning and moving set of informal performances by the greatest of all bluegrass groups. These priceless sides were recorded in 1956 at an off air radio station in Bristol, Virginia in March, 1956 with Ralph and Carter joined by fiddler Ralph Mayo and mandolinist Curly Lambert. Although they were at the peak of their success with Mercury at the time, the material here reache back into the past with a selection of traditional songs and tunes as well as versions of some of their earliest recordings. Songs include Handsome Molly/ The Story Of The Lawson Family/ Come All You Tenderhearted/ Darling Do You Know Who Loves You/ Bound To Ride/ My Long Skinny Lanky Sarah Jane/ Train 45/ Little Birdie/ Orange Blossom Special/ Feast Here Tonight and others. This session has a warm, intimate quality so you fell that the Stanley's are singing just for you - truly sublime music. (FS)

OCIE STOCKARD & THE WANDERERS Origin Jazz Library 1002 Western Swing Chronicles, Vol. 3 ● CD $13.98
The complete recordings, made between 1937 and 1946, of this popular Fort Worth based western swing band led by fiddler and banjo player Stockard - a former member of Milton Brown's musical Brownie's. It includes a September 11th, 1937 session featuring jazz trumpeter Harry Palmer - his only recordings.

THE TARBOX RAMBLERS Rounder 9061 A Fix Back East ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 42 min, recommended Second CD by this excellent Boston band, combining Americana, swamp, gospel & hillbilly to great effeect. Led by guitarist/singer Michael Tarbos (who sounds a bit like John Kay) most of the tunes are originals, along with covers of Dock Bogg's Country Blues & the gospel standard Last Month Of The Year. I especially like the final track here, Ashes To Ashes, but all in all, everything here is excellent! (GM)

TUT TAYLOR & CLARENCE WHITE Tut-Lee 1003 Flatpicking ● CD $15.98
A collection of 24 instrumental duets featuring Dobro master Tut Taylor and legendary guitarist Clarence White. These were recorded informally by Tut in 1965 and appear her for the first time. A collection of traditional tunes, old pop songs and some originals. Includes Picking Peanuts/ Happy Dobro/ Panhandle Rag/ All Smiles Tonight/ Playing Around/ Tennessee Dulcimer Works/ Maggie/ Dobro Country, etc.

FLOYD TILLMAN Bear Family BCD 16415 I Love You So Much It Hurts - His Recordings, 1936-62 & ● CD $195.98
A retrospective of this important, versatile and influential artist. A six CD box set with 173 tracks plus a hard cover book. Tillman's music embraced western swing, honky tonk and jazz and several of his songs went on to become pop standards. This set includes his earliest recordings as vocalist with the Blue Ridge Playboys in 1936, his recordings for Decca (1939-1944), his most successful period with Columbia (1948-1955) plus sessions for various small labels, a 1958 RCA LP, two Liberty sessions in 1960/61, his 1962 Cimarron songs plus a 1981 LP for Gilleys. Includes duets with Ernest Tubb, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and others.

THE VAGABONDS B.A.C.M. 071 Old Cabin Songs ● CD $13.98
20 songs from 1933 sung in smooth harmony by this trio of vocalists accompanied by guitar. Although much of their music is probably closer to pop than country they appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in the early 30s and attracted quite a following. Includes sentimental songs, western songs, religious songs, novelty songs and a traditional ballad.
THE VAGABONDS: An Old Sweet Song For A Dear Old Lady/ At The End Of Sunset Lane/ Barbara Allen/ Father, Mother, Sister, Brother/ Four Thousand Years Ago/ How Beautiful Heaven Must Be/ I Will Always Call You Sweetheart/ In The Sleepy Hills Of Tennessee/ In The Valley Of Yesterday/ In The Vine Covered Church Back Home/ Little Brick Church/ Little Mother Of The Hills/ Little Shoes/ Moonlight Down In Lovers Lane/ Ninety Nine Years/ Sourwood Mountain/ That Little Boy Of Mine/ The Death Of Jesse James/ The Old Rugged Cross/ When The Work‘s All Done This Fall

VARIOUS ARTISTS Acrobat 4015 Hillbilly Honeymoon ● CD $14.98
Subtitled "Manhaters, Misogynists & Marital Mayhem" this is a fun collection of country songs from the late 20 through the early 50s dealing with the perils and pitfalls of marriage - mostly from the male perspective. Many of the tracks have been on CD before bt not in this context includes Beware by Blind Alfred Reed, White Shotguns by Hank Penny, Faithless Husband by Jimmie Tarlton, I Can't Tame Wild Women by Bill Boyd's Cowboy Ramblers, Philadelpha Lawyer by The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Seven Years With The Wrong Woman by Cliff Carlisle and others. Excellent sound and whimsical notes from Keith Briggs.
THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN SINGERS: Christine Leroy/ BILL BOYD'S COWBOY RAMBLERS: I Can't Tame Wild Women/ CLIFF CARLISLE: Pay Day Fight/ Seven Years With The Wrong Woman/ Wild Cat Mama & Tom Cat Man/ THE CARTER FAMILY: Single Girl, Married Girl/ Stern Old Bachelor/ AL DEXTER: Pistol Packin' Mama/ RED FOLEY: Never Trust A Woman/ UNCLE DAVE MACON: My Daughter Wished To Marry/ THE MADDOX BROTHERS AND ROSE: Philadelphia Lawyer/ BILLIE MAXWELL: Cowboy's Wife/ DAVE MCCARN: Everyday Dirt/ BYRON PARKER: Married Life Blues/ HANK PENNY: White Shotguns/ BLIND ALFRED REED: Beware/ THE SHELTON BROTHERS: Hang Out The Front Door Key/ EARL SONGER: Mother-in-law Boogie/ JIMMIE TARLTON: Faithless Husband/ MERLE TRAVIS: Divorce Me C.o.d./ HANK WILLIAMS: Dear John/ First Year Blues/ You're Gonna Change (or I'm Gonna Leave)

VARIOUS ARTISTS B.A.C.M. 077 Classic Country Music On The Decca 5000 Series ● CD $13.98
27 tracks, 79 mins, highly recommended A varied collection of sides issued on the Decca 5000 series between 1934 and 1941 including one side by Bill Cox (the great In 1992) originally recorded for Champion in 1931. Includes sides by Homer Briarhopper, Clayton McMichen's Georgia Wildcats (a hot western swing flavored version of Bile Them Cabbage Down), The Carlisle Brothers (the wonderful Broken Heart), Hug & Shug's Radio Pals, Frank Luther & Buddy Ross, The Rice Brothers Gang, Cliff Bruner & The Texas Wanderers (hot western swing), The Louisiana Strollers (fine blues), Dave Edwards & The Alabama Boys, Texas Ruby, The Carolina Buddies, Curly Fox with Joe Shelton, Leon SCott & Claude Boone, The Ross Rhythm Rascals and others. A heap of good music with excellent sound. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Collector 2869 Boppin' Acetates Coast To Coast ● CD $16.98
Amazing collection of 31 tracks, all but one of them drawn from previously unissued private acetates made in the late 40s and 50s - a mix of honky tonk, western swing, hillbilly boogie and more. Mostly by fairly obscure artists though some had commercial records issued. Includes Bobby Watkins, Eddie Moore, Carl Petz & The Drifting Cowboys, Jimmy Seaton & Burton Harris, Ellis Stroud, Sonny Boy Miller, Bill Callahan & His Blue Mountain Boys and others. The sound quality is generally pretty good though a few of the acetates are pretty rough. Musical quality is also pretty good though there are a few duds that could safely have remained unissued. Includes 16 page booklet with notes, photos and label shots of many of the acetates.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Copper Creek 7001 Wildwood Flower - Classic Country Performances ● CD $9.98
12 tracks, highly recommended
Copper Creek is best known for its contemporary recordings of bluegrass and old timey but they've started a new budget priced "Roots" series to reissue vintage bluegrass and country recordings. Their first release features 12 sides recorded for Columbia in the 40s and early 50s. Most of the tracks will be pretty familiar to country music fans but there are some fine less common tracks like Love And Wealth by Carl Story, a Carter Family track from one of their last sessions, Molly O'Day's great Poor Ellen Smith and some others along with more familiar sides from Bill Monroe, Lefty Frizzell, The Stanley Brothers, Carl Smith and more. Music is consistently fine, sound quality is excellent and there are informative notes by Ralph Berrier. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS King 0542 Cabin On A Mountain ● CD $9.98
12 tracks, 28 minutes, essential
This CD is a 'must-have' for anyone who treasures unvarnished vintage bluegrass. It features the complete King recordings of Jimmy Martin and Bobby Osborne, Vern and Ray's complete Starday output, and four dynamic Stardays featuring fiddler Scotty Stoneman. During their brief 1951 partnership, Martin and Osborne recorded four sides that recall Martin's first stint with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. My Lonely Heart/ She's Just a Cute Thing/ Blue-Eyed Darling and You'll Never Be the Same are seminal bluegrass and the least egocentric discs Martin ever cut. The digital transfers were made from the original session reels and free from the echo that marred later EP and LP reissues. Anyone hearing Vern Williams and Ray Park's sole 1961 Starday EP would dispute that music like this could come from southern California. Long treasured by collectors, these three songs and one instrumental are powerful, edgy performances that reflect Vern and Ray's Arkansas backgrounds. Their often-anthologized Cabin on a Mountain became a standard through Del McCoury's cover. If you remember the Stoneman Family as this pleasant, innocuous ensemble that could fit into Christopher Guest's 2003 mockumentary "A Mighty Wind", then you've never heard the unhomogenized, hyperactive bluegrass that Pop Stoneman's five children effortlessly tossed off forty years ago. For this anthology, compiler Gary Reid culled Scotty Stoneman's vocal and fiddle showcases from the family's two Starday albums. Chances are you'd prefer to never hear Orange Blossom Special and Lee Highway Blues again, but Stoneman's manic, unpredictable interpretations make these warhorses compelling listening. The lyrics of Stoneman's two vocals, Turn Me Loose and That Pal of Mine, are unabashed testaments of alcohol abuse - a condition that unraveled this brilliant musician and led to an early death. Gusto/King is marketing this release in its usual haphazard way, so who knows how long it will be available. Nor should you be put off by the disc's short running time - there's more great music here than you'll find on any comparable anthology of contemporary bluegrass. (DS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Proper BOX 29 Bluegrass Bonanza ● CD $26.98
Four CD look at the early years of bluegrass. The first disc is devoted to the string band origins of the music in the 20s and the 30s with tracks from Ernest V. Stoneman, Uncle Dave Macon, Earl Johnson & His Clodhoppers, Prairie Ramblers, Charlie Poole and others. Disc two covers the late 30s and early 40s and features The Monroe Brothers, Charlie Monroe's Boys and the first recordings of Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys. The other two discs features recordings from the mid and late 40s by Monroe, Coon Creek Girls, Delmore Brothers, Bailey Brothers, Stanley Brothers, Armstrong twins, Flatt & Scruggs and others.

VARIOUS ARTISTS RCA 60085 East Virginia Blues ● CD $13.98
25 tracks, 74 mins, highly recommended
A great collection of 25 old time country songs recorded between 1924 and 1940,drawn from the vaults of RCA & Bluebird - many of which have since become country standards. Includes performances by The Carter Family, Wade Mainer & Zeke Morris, Vernon Dalhart, The Hall Brothers (an intriguing early recording of the highly popular Man Of Constant Sorrow, recorded in 1938 and previously unissued!) The Blue Sky Boys, The Rouse Brothers (one of the first versions of Orange Blossom Specials taken at a far more leisurely pace than the usually frenetic modern versions), G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter, J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmie Davis, Cliff Carlisle, Gene Autry, The Delmore Brothers, Ernest Tubb and others. Sound is super abd disc includes 16 page illustrated booklet with notes by Colin Escott on each track and full discographical information. (FS)
GENE AUTRY: Do Right Daddy Blues/ BUD BILLINGS & CARSON ROBISON: Birmingham Jail/ THE BLUE SKY BOYS: In the Hills of Roane County/ Mary of the Wild Moor/ CLIFF CARLISLE: That Nasty Swing/ THE CARTER FAMILY: The East Virginia Blues/ Wildwood Flower/ VERNON DALHART: The Prisoner's Song/ Wrecl of the Old 97/ JIMMIE DAVIS: She's a Hum Dum Dinger (From Dingersville), Pt. 2/ THE DELMORE BROTHERS: Brown's Ferry Blues/ THE HALL BROTHERS: Constant Sorrow/ THE LONE STAR COWBOYS: Just Because/ J.E. MAINER'S MOUNTAINEERS: The Longest Train/ BILL MONROE AND HIS BLUE GRASS BOYS: Mule Skinner Blues/ THE MONROE BROTHERS: Will the Circle Be Unbroken/ ZEKE MORRIS: Down in the Willow/ Short Life and It's Trouble/ RILEY PUCKETT: Nobody's Business/ JIMMIE RODGERS: Frankie and Johnny/ In the Jailhouse/ THE ROUSE BROTHERS: Orange Blossom Special/ ROY SHAFFER: The Matchbox Blues/ ERNEST TUBB: The TB Is Whipping Me/ HENRY WHITTER: Tom Dooley

VARIOUS ARTISTS Scena 270213 Country Crooners ● CD $12.98
15 tracks recorded live on the famed Louisiana Hayride between 1958 and 1968 and, as you might gather from the title is devoted to ballads including songs by Jim Reeves, George Morgan, Jim Ed Brown, Nat Stuckey, George Jones, Slim Whitman, Johnny Horton, Don Gibson and Faron Young. Sound quality is a bit rough on quite a few of the tracks.

JIMMY WAKELY B.A.C.M. 065 Red River Rose & Other Classics ● CD $13.98
26 tracks from World Transcriptions recorded between 1941 and 1946 - some with his Trio (with Johnny Bond and Dick Reinhardt) and others with various studio musicians like Carl Cotner/ fiddle, Paul Sells/ accordion, Merle Travis/ guitar, Jack Rivers/ guitar, Frankie Marvin/ steel guitar and others.
JIMMY WAKELY: Apache Trail/ Blue Montana Skies/ Campfire Lullaby/ Go Your Way And I‘ll Go Mine/ Goodbye Old Paint/ Head On My Pillow/ Hi-e-hi-o/ Hittin‘ The Trail/ Hittin‘ The Trail For Old Tombstone/ Home In San Antone/ Honest And Truly I Do/ How Could You Have Left Me/ I‘ll Always Be Your Buddy/ Little Toy Pistol Cowboy/ My Sweet Prairie Rose/ Nobody Else But You/ Now You Care No More For Me/ One Little Lie Too Many/ Prairie Campfire/ Red River Rose/ Ridin‘ Down To Santa Fe/ Sing Me A Song Of Texas/ There‘s A Blue Star Shining Bright (in A Window)/ Wait For The Light To Shine/ Will You Be True/ You‘re In My Heart To Stay

JIMMY WAKELY B.A.C.M. 066 Cowboy's Heaven & Other Classics ● CD $13.98
25 tracks drawn from radio transcriptions made in the early and mid 40s by this popular and appealing Western singer. Various interesting musicians and vocalists appear on these sides including Merle Travis, Johnny Bond, Pete Martinez, Carl Cotner, Jimmy Rivers and others. Songs include A Broken Heart/ Singing Low/ There's A Home In Wyoming/ Meet Me In Loveland/ Where Is My darling/ Where Is My Darlin'/ Sioux City Sue/ When the Last Train Leaves For Home/ End Of The Trail, etc.
JIMMY WAKELY: A Broken Heart/ Be Honest With Me/ Blue Trail/ Bye And Bye/ Cowboy‘s Heaven/ I Cried All Last Night (over You)/ In That Little Hillbilly Town/ It Makes No Difference Now/ It‘s Too Late To Say You‘re Sorry/ I‘ll Forgive If You Forget/ I‘ve Got Those Gone And Left Me Blues/ Meet Me In Loveland/ My Little Buckaroo/ Nothing Matters To Me/ Singing Low/ Sioux City Sue/ That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine/ The End Of The Trail/ There‘s A Home In Wyoming/ Wacky ’bout A Gal In Waco/ When It‘s Roundup Time In Texas/ When The Last Train Leaves For Home/ When Your Hair Has Turned To Silver/ Where Is My Darlin‘/ You‘re Gone

MARC WILLIAMS Jasmine 3534 The Forgotten Singing Cowboy ● CD $12.98
21 tracks, 63 mins, recommended Fine collection of 21, mostly traditional, cowboy songs recorded in the late 20s and early 30s by this obscure cowboy singer who accompanies himself on guitar. Williams has a pleasing, if somewhat trained sounding, voice and does songs like Curly Joe/ The Cowboy's Last Wish/ Sioux Indians/ Sunny San Juan/ When The Work's All Done This Fall/ The Night Herding Song/ The Little Old Sod Shanty On My Claim/ The Old Chisholm Trail/ I'm Waiting For Ships That Never Come In and others. It also includes an unexpected version of the jazz favorite Willie The Weeper complete with drug references! Sound is generally excellent though perhaps filleterd a bit too much and there are informative notes by Paul Hazell. (FS)

CURLEY WILLIAMS & HIS GEORGIA PEACH PICKERS Bear Family BCD 16326 Just A-Pickin' And A Singin' ● CD $21.98
25 tracks, 67 minutes, highly recommended Long overdue for rediscovery, Curley Williams and His Georgia Peach Pickers was a versatile showband with a style that typifies late '40s country music - something similar to the California bands in all those 'B' westerns, but without an accordion. Like Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys, they weren't exactly Western swing, not really honky-tonk and certainly not hillbilly. Like the established Western swing bands, it drew upon rotating singers, including Williams, pianist Joe Pope and steel guitarist Boots Harris. Despite stints on the Grand Ole Opry and the Louisiana Hayride, not to mention three years in southern California, the Peach Pickers never enjoyed King's success. In fact, other performers had more chart action with Williams's material than Williams did: Hank Williams (no relation) and Rosemary Clooney with Half As Much; Red Foley with Mississippi. Other musicians even picked up on the band's instrumentals; Jerry Byrd covered Harris's Georgia Steel Guitar. This Bear Family collection covers Williams's recording career from February 1945 to December 1947, including his first eight Columbia releases and eight unissued titles. It also includes a fragmentary demo of Curley Williams and Hank Williams singing Time Has Proven I Was Wrong. Although Williams's best-known songs were still to come, this CD is the stronger of Bear Family's two sets. Besides Georgia Steel Guitar, highlights include Joe Pope's Leave Me Alone with the Blues and Blue Melody. It also benefits from Kevin Coffey's notes, which cover the band's history in fuller detail than Wayne Daniel's efforts in the second volume. Note that this collection duplicates eight tracks on Cattle's Williams anthology, Swing and Boogie Time (CCD 257), but the sound and production quality here is a quantum leap over that earlier set. (DS)
CURLEY WILLIAMS: At The End Of Each Day/ Because I Believed What You Said/ Blue Melody/ Georgia Anne From Georgia/ Georgia Boogie/ Georgia Polka/ Georgia Steel Guitar/ Georgiana Moon/ Grandma's Turned Over Again/ I Lost My World (When I Lost You)/ I See A Change In You/ I've Lived, Loved And Learned/ If I Had It To Do Over Again/ If I Knew Then What I Know Now/ Jealous Lady/ Just A-Pickin' And A-Singin'/ Leave Me Alone With The Blues/ One Sided Affair/ Southern Belle (From Nashville, Tennessee)/ Take It Or Leave It, Dear/ There Is No Love To Die/ There's A New Blue Eyed Angel (In Heaven)/ Time Has Proven I Was Wrong (& Hank Williams)/ Woe Is Me/ You Can't Brush Me Off

29 tracks, 75 minutes, recommended This CD covers Curley Williams' last ten Columbia releases, recorded between 1949 and 1952 during his years on the Louisiana Hayride, WMC in Memphis, and WHMA in Anniston, Alabama. This set contains some of Williams's best-known songs: Half as Much/ Mississippi, and three numbers co-written with Hank Williams: No Not Now/ Honey Do You Love Me - Huh?, and When You're Tired of Breaking Other Hearts. It also features eight unissued alternate takes from three of Williams' eleven Columbia sessions, plus Curley and Hank's demo of No Not Now. The music is generally catchy, but the band - and Williams' career - are clearly on a downward curve because of inevitable personnel changes, not to mention its lack of hits and changing trends in country music. Still, even the Peach Pickers' last session yielded gems such as Boots Harris's vocal, On the Okefenokee. Wayne Daniel, who annotated this set, deserves credit for encouraging Bear Family to rescue Curley Williams' music from undeserved obscurity. Again, this collection duplicates eight tracks on Cattle's Williams anthology, "Swing and Boogie Time" (CCD 257), but the sound and production quality here far surpasses that collection. (DS)
CURLEY WILLIAMS: All You Gotta Do Is Whistle/ All You Gotta Do Is Whistle (alt.)/ Barbecue Rag/ Between A Rock And A Hard Place/ Between A Rock And A Hard Place (alt.)/ Blue Melody (alt.)/ Fiddlin' Boogie/ Georgia Boogie (alt.)/ Good Ol' Alabam/ Good Ol' Alabam (alt.)/ Grandma's Turned Over Again (alt.)/ Half As Much/ Honey Do You Love Me, Huh?/ Leave Me Alone With The Blues (alt.)/ Lou'siana Serenade/ No Not Now/ No Not Now (& Hank Williams)/ On The Okefenokee/ Saturday Night Rag/ Shy Baby – Mississippi/ String Steeling (instrumental)/ Texas Swing/ Time And A Half Time/ We've Come A Long Way Together/ What's The Matter With My Heart/ When You're Tired Of Breaking Other Hearts/ Whole Hog Or None/ Woe Is Me (alt.)

MAC WISEMAN Bear Family BCD 15976 'Tis Sweet To Be Remembered ● CD $169.98
6 CD box set, 164 songs, highly recommended This welcome six-CD release covering Mac Wiseman's 1951-1964 Dot and Capitol output fills a significant gap in Bear Family's growing catalog of bluegrass pioneers. With his unmistakable tenor voice, bouncy rhythm and impeccable choice of material, Wiseman helped establish the music's perimeters two generations ago. Arguably more 'musical' than his early bluegrass contemporaries, Wiseman's reputation largely rests on the Dot singles collected on Discs One and Two. His popular 1951 waxing of 'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered, a 19th century ballad associated with the WLS duo Mac and Bob, revealed the singer's mastery at reviving long-dormant songs. Standards associated with Wiseman include: Little White Church/ I'll Still Write Your Name in the Sand/ You're the Girl of My Dreams/ I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home/ Shackles and Chains/ I'd Rather Live by the Side of the Road/ Love Letters in the Sand and Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die, among others. Tommy Jackson and Dale Potter's twin fiddling on a 1953 session became a hallmark of Wiseman's style. As bluegrass music's popularity waned, the singer maintained his commercial viability by flirting with rock and roll. Though bluegrass purists will wince at Disc Three's first half, the era spawned gems among the misfires, most notably Wiseman's R&B covers: One Mint Julep/ Step It Up and Go and the previously unissued Shame, Shame, Shame - yes, the Smiley Lewis song. Disc Three ends with his classic "Beneath the Still Waters" album - a gospel set featuring simple acoustic guitar and bass accompaniment. Disc Four contains Wiseman's mediocre "Great Folk Ballads" and "12 Great Hits" albums, while Disc Five finds the singer attempting to reclaim his old audience. The five-string banjo and twin fiddles return, though the beat is pure Ray Price shuffle. A 1961 session successfully welds Benny Williams' bluegrass banjo to a Dixieland band, but the results were shelved. Wiseman ended his first Dot era with a conventional gospel album, then jumped to Capitol, resuming the twin-fiddle bluegrass sound he abandoned six years earlier. Though Wiseman sang as well as ever, his Capitol material rarely matched the consistency of the early Dots. Most notable is Wiseman and Williams' edgy take on Floyd Tillman's Two More Years (And I'll Be Free), which sounds like a lost Bill Monroe-Jimmy Martin duet. As always, Bear Family's presentation is outstanding. Produced with the singer's cooperation, the box contains a 76-page, picture-laden hardcover book with extensive notes by Charles Wolfe and Eddie Stubbs. (DS)


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