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NEWSLETTER #145
Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
Roy Acuff  -> Bob Wills
 

 

   

NEW BOOKS

 

PUBLIC COWBOY NO. 1 Holly George-Warren The Life And Times Of Gene Autry ● BOOK $27.95
Hardbound, 406 pages, counts as seven CDs for shipping
In depth biography of the most popular, influential and succesful Westrn performer and the only performer to earn five stars on the Hollywood Hall Of Fame - for radio, recording, motion pictures, television and live performances. Includes much newly unearthed information on Autry's impovershed childhood, his adventures as an up-and-coming singer, his mother who died on the brink of his success, his ne'er-do-well father, his lengthy recording, radio and movie career and his own personal triumphs and tragedies and battles with his own demons. The book includes rare photos, deatils of all his recording sessions and a listing of all the films he appeared in.

 

NEW DVDS

 
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted all DVDs offered are in NTSC format which means that they will not play on a European DVD players unless you have a multiple format player.
 
FLATT & SCRUGGS Shanachie DVD 611 Best Of The Flatt & Scruggs TV Show, Vol. 1 ● DVD $17.98
First in a series of DVDs presenting, for the first time, TV shows from the 50s and early 60s featuring one of the greatest bluegrass groups - Lester Flatt & earl Scruggs and their great band The Foggy Mountain Boys which at that time included Paul Warren/ fiddle, Josh Graves/Dobro, Curly Seckler/ mandolin and Jake Tullock/ string bass. This DVD features two shows from August 1961 and February, 1962 and includes selections like Shortnin' Bread/ Pig In The Pen/ Jesus Savior Pilot Me/ Feast here Tonight/ before I Met You/ Lovesick & Sorrow/ Earl's Breakdown/ Down In The Valley/ The Hollow Poplar and more. Shows include comedy routines and commercials for Martha White's Knick Knack Sticks and White Corn Light Bread.

 
FLATT & SCRUGGS Shanachie DVD 612 Best Of The Flatt & Scruggs TV Show, Vol. 2 ● DVD $17.98
This volume features a second show from August 1961 featuring Mother Maybelle carter as guest plus a show from July 1961. Selections include Fire Ball Mail/ Walking In My Sleep/ Foggy Mountain Special/ Polka On A Banjo/ Wildwood Flower/ I Dreamed About Mama Last Night/ The Liberty Dance/ Over There, etc.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Rhino Video 72848 Road To Nashville ● DVD $7.98
110 mins, color, highly recommended
1967 movie. The story of this movie involves hot shot Hollywood producer Richard Arlen sending his goofy sidekick played by Doodles Weaver (formerly with Spike Jones & The City Slicker) to line up country stars to appear in a movie about country music. That's about it for the story, but you're not going to watch this movie for the "plot" - you're going to watch this for the 36 musical performances by some of the top names of the time including Marty Robbins (who co-produced the movie), The Stonemans (three performances including an amazing rocking instrumental featuring the almost unbearably perky Donna Stoneman playing wild electric mandolin), Webb Pierce, Waylon Jennings (very fine indeed on Anita), Don Winters (osbcure but fine singer who worked with Marty and does some fine yodeling), Kitty Wells, Faron Young, Lefty Frizzell, Margie Singleton, Bill Anderson, hank Snow, The Osborne Brothers (in great form), Porter Wagoner, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash (who doesn't look too well) and others! Not all the performances are great but enough are to make this indispensable. Cover and label say movie is 88 minutes long but my DVD player says 110 minutes which makes more sense considering the number of musical performances - all full length. (FS)

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
CHET ATKINS Country Routes 37 With The Carter Sisters & Mother Maybelle ● CD $16.98
Brilliant Chet Atkins from his formative period (1949), playing on every track. Nine tracks are guitar solos only; he also solos on 18 vocal tracks and sings on 6 (3 in harmony). Fine singing from sisters June, Anita and Helen as well as Mother Maybelle. 38 tracks (!) in all including No Vacancy/ The Deaf Woman's Courtship/ Ain't It Hard To Love/ I'm fading Fast With The Tide/ Lord Lead Me On/ When God Dips His Love In My Heart/ In The Pines/ Meeting In The Air, etc.

 
CHET ATKINS JSP JSPCD 7794 The Early Years, 1946-1957 ● CD $28.98
Just arrived - 5 CD set with 158 tracks tracing the early years of this important and influential country guitarist and Nashville producer. Partly drawn from recordings in the Joe Bussard collection. Chet is joined by a stellar cast of accompanying musicians including Louis Innis, Roy Lanham, George Barnes, "Homer" Haynes, "Jethro" Burns, Jack Shook, Jerry Byrd, Grady Martin, "Bud" Isaacs, Hank Snow and many others.

 
BOBBY BARE Omni 106 A Bird named Yesterday/ Talk Me Some Sense ● CD $16.98
36 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
This collection pairs up Bobby Bare's two signature LPs from 1966 & 1967. Bare is certainly one of the better proponents of socially aware Country music artists, later to be somewhat lumped in with the Outlaw movement of the 1970's. At this stage in his career, Bare uses his rich baritone to sing out about the injustices of urban sprawl/ renewal. In 2007 where the damned corporations have paved over so much of this beautiful land of ours, you would imagine Bobby Bare would be miserable, but I just caught Ralph Emory interviewing him on the RFD channel and he seems in great spirit and voice. This collection is a good jumping in point for new fans, but he certainly has a ton of good stuff to check out over the last 40 years. Overall quality job, with fantastic sound, good notes and reproductions of original LP artwork. (JM)

 
JACK BLANCHARD & MISTY MORGAN Omni 102 Life And Death (And Almost Everything Else) ● CD $16.98
29 tracks, 76 min., recommended Best known for the novelty number Tennessee Bird Walk, Jack & Misty made a career from off-beat novelties penned by Blanchard, including the memorable Humphrey The Camel, Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, The Legendary Chicken Fairy, and How I Lost 31 Pounds In 17 Days, which features the line, "She had the smile of an angel and the body of a full-grown whale". And yet, for all their intentional strangeness, they were a talented country act, capable of lovely ballads and such, including Changin' Times, You've Got Your Troubles (I've Got Mine), Somewhere In Virginia In The Rain, among others. This album reissues two original LPs (Birds Of A Feather from 1970 & Two SIdes Of Jack & Misty from 1972), adds songs only released on 45 rpms and ends with a pair of previously unissued titles (Lonesome Song & The Sunset Train). (JC)

 
THE BUCKAROOS Sundazed 11115 The Best Of The Buckaroos ● CD $16.98
Complementing Sundazed 11091 ("Country Pickin'" - $16.98) this is another fabulous collection of country instrumentals plus a handful of vocals featuring one of the greatest backup bands in the business - Buck Owen's Buckaroos. 18 tracks recorded for Capitol between 1965 and 1970 featuring the dazzling lead guitar of Don Rich, the full bodied steel guitar of Tom Brumley plus bassist Doyle Holly and drummers Willie Cantu and Jerry Wiggins. The vocals are by Don Rich, Doyle Holly and Wayne Wilson. Includes Buckaroo/ Seven Come Eleven/ My baby's Comin' Home/ Tom's Waltz/ Sad Is The Lonely/ Woman Truck Drivin' Fool/ Anywhere, U.S.A., etc.

 
HENSON CARGILL Omni 101 A Very Well Travelled Man ● CD $16.98
27 tracks, mins, recommended for all the wrong reasons
Henson Cargill is part of a special breed of socially conscious country artists of the late sixties. While Mac Davis went down to the Ghetto and Loretta got herself the Pill, Cargill was loitering around playgrounds eavesdropping on little girls jumping rope (Skip a Rope was his big hit, included here.) Not to poke too much fun at him, but a little Henson Cargill goes a long way and at 27 tracks you can get a little punchy trying to take it all in. If you aren't familiar with the artist, you can liken him to a mix between Rod Mckuen, William Shatner and CW McCall (of Convoy fame). In general the worthy among you will have a good time with this disk, not laughing with him, but.. (JM)

 
JOHNNY CASH Bear Family BCD 16325 The Outtakes ● CD $75.98
Here's one for the REAL Johnny Cash fan. This three CD set features every known alternate take that could be found of his Sun recordings including false starts, microphone tests, undubbed masters and studio chatter. It comes with 100 page booklet. Songs include Wide Open Road/ Folsom Prison Blues (four versions)/Cry, Cry, Cry/ Train Of Love/ Don't Make Me Go (11 versions!)/Home Of The Blues/ Leave That Junk Alone/ Guess Things Happen That Way/ Cold, Cold Heart/ Thanks A Lot (11 versions) and more. Much f this material is making its first appearance on CD.

 
GENE CLARK Sundazed 11188 Gene Clark With The Gosdin Brothers ● CD $16.98
17 tracks, highly recommended
Reissue of first solo album from one of the founding members of the Byrds. After quitting the group earlier in the year, singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Gene teamed with Gosdin Brothers Vern and Rex on backing vocals for this classic of '66 rock awash with echoes of the Byrds - no surprise really, since Byrds bassist Chris Hillman and drummer Mike Clarke are present on the entire album, as well as future Byrd Clarence White. Leon Russell plays keyboards and handles the musical arrangements; Clark's vocal arrangements with the Gosdins presage Crosby, Stills and Nash's 3-part harmonies. Some tunes harken to country-rock sounds which would later be all the rage. And Russell's harpsichord brings in just the right amount of '66 kitsch baroque. This newly remastered reissue also boasts six bonus tracks - two alternate takes, two acoustic demos and two mono mixes. (RS)

 
WILMA LEE & STONEY COOPER Bear Family BCD 16751 Big Midnight Special ● CD $124.98
Four CD box set, 122 tracks, essential
The long awaited collection featuring all the recordings made between 1947 and 1964 by this superb duo accompanied by their group The Clinch Mountain Clan. Wilma Lee is one of the greatest of all female country singers with a wonderful emotion laden and expressive voice that is spellbinding - her singing raises the hair on the back of my neck. Stoney is also a good singer and together they produce some fine harmonies. Their sound neatly straddles the line between bluegrass and honky tonk country featuring Wilma Lee on rhythm guitar and occasionally banjo and Stoney on fiddle. The early sides feature them accompanied by Dobro, mandolin and bass while the later recordings have steel and electric guitars and rums but whatever the arrangements their music always had an irresistable rural intensity. Although they didn't write much of their own material they made whatever they sang their own whether it was a traditional song or a song from the repertoire of Roy Acuff, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, the Louvin Brothers Lonnie Glosson or others. For the first time all their earliest recordings for Rich-R-Tone in 1947 are available in one place including four superb unissued sides. In 1949 they moved to Columbia where they recorded some of their finest sides including the spine-chilling Johnnie & Jack composition What's The Matter With This World , some incredible gospel songs like Walking My Lord Up Calvary Hill and Thirty Pieces Of Silver, a great version of Hank Snow's Golden Rocket with hot electric guitar by Gene Jenkins and many others. From this period are three unissued tracks from acetates in Wilma Lee's possession. In 1955 they moved to Hickory where they stayed for nine years and had their first big country hits with songs like Come Walk With Me, Big Midnight Special - a reworking of bluesman Lead Belly's Midnight Special, Don Gibson's There's A Big Wheel and a version of Wreck On The Highway - a Dorsey Dixon composition that was originally a hit for Roy Acuff in 1942. Many tracks are making their first appearance on CD and those that have been reissued before sound so much better here thanks to the superb mastering by Jurgen Crasser from original masters, wherever possible. Set comes with 48 page LP sized book with notes by Bruce McGuire which includes comments Wilma Lee along with loads of photos, label shots and other memorabilia and full discographical details.

 
RILEY CRABTREE Bronco Buster 9061 The Rare Riley Crabtree Radio Sessions ● CD $18.98
Fine set of songs from radio transcriptions of the "Absolute Security radio Shows" recorded in the mid/ late 50s by this excellent honky tonk singer from Texas. Riley does a variety of material including live versions of some of his commercial recordings, original songs, covers of songs by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Pee Wee King and others and a fine stab at rockabilly on two versions of Go, Cat, Go.
RILEY CRABTREE: A Handful Of Nickels/ Don't Cry Old Pal/ Don't Give Me No Back Talk/ Eat, Drink And Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry)/ Go, Cat, Go (# 1)/ Go, Cat, Go (# 2)/ Hang Your Head In Shame/ Hey Good Lookin'/ I Don't Want To Be There/ I Saw Your Face In The Moon/ If You Don't Believe I Love You, Just Try Me/ Just Call Me Lonesome/ Let Me Be The One/ My Mother Was A Lady/ Once A Day And Twice On Sunday/ Pack Your Clothes And Come On Down/ Rockin' Alone (In An Old Rockin' Chair)/ Shackles And Chains/ So Doggone Lonesome/ Tennessee Waltz/ That's What I Like/ Till The End Of The World/ Trust And Obey/ Walkin' The Streets/ Whisperin' (Inst.)/ You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry

 
STONEY EDWARDS Hux 069 Stoney Edwards/ She's My Rock ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, 55 mins, highly recommended
Most welcome reissue featuring the first two Capitol albums from 1971 and 1973 by this very fine and underrated honky tonk singer. Edwards, who was part African-American and part Native-American was an excellent singer with echoes of Lefty Frizzell and Merle Haggard in his approach and was also an excellent songwriter. Although he never made it to the top ten he had quite a few fondly remembered lesser hits included here like the wonderful She's My Rock (his biggest hit) plus A Two Dollar Toy and You're A Believer. Other songs here were not hits but are consistently fine including All She Made Of Me/ A Kingdom I Call Home/ Why Don't You Go Home (Where You Belong)/ I Won't Make It Through the Day/ She's Helping Me get Over You, etc. 8 page booklet has original cover art plus new notes by John Philbert. (FS)

 
TERRY FELL & THE FELLERS B.A.C.M. 191 Get Aboard My Wagon ● CD $14.98
Terry Fell is a decent honky tonk singer who is best known for writing and recording the original version of Truck Driving Man (included here). This is a collection of 25 recordings made for Memo, Four Star and RCA between 1946 and 1957 and is a bit of a mixed bag ranging from fine honky tonk performances to really lame novelties which are here in abundance. His Hillbilly Impersonations is embarrising since, except for Ernest Tubb, his impersonations do not sound remotely like the artists he's attempting to imitate.
TERRY FELL & THE FELLERS: Consolation Prize/ Don't Do It Joe/ Don't Drop It/ Dreamer's Paradise/ Fa So La/ Get Aboard My Wagon/ He's In Love With You/ Hillbilly Impersonations/ I Can Hear You Cluckin'/ I'm Hot To Trot/ I've Done All I Know To Do/ If I Didn't Have You/ Mississippi River Shuffle/ Over And Over/ Paper Heart/ Rainbow At Midnight/ Smokin' Cornsilk/ That's What I Like/ There's A Gold Moon Shining/ Truck Drivin' Man/ Yesterday/ You Don't Give A Hang About Me/ You Don't Want Me Anymore/ You Ran Around/ You're Not Wanted Here

 
CHARLIE GORE B.A.C.M. 185 Absolutely Free ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
Excellent collection of sides recorded by this outstanding, little known, honky tonk singer from West Virginia between 1951 and 1956. Gore was a superb vocalist and arrangements are straight ahead honky tonk - guitars, steel guitar & fiddle. Some of the bluesy uptempo numbers are pretty close to rockabilly and a couple have been reissued on rockabilly collections but most of the tracks here are new to CD. Possibly my favorite is the bluesy Gonna Take A Walk Down Town that sounds like something that Hank Williams could have written. He does a fine rendition of the song Stumbling Block which was first recorded by fellow King artist - the great bluesman Champion Jack Dupree. A real find! (FS)
CHARLIE GORE: Absolutely Free/ All My Love Up And Died/ Chances Are I'll Lose/ Come Back To Me/ Everything But A One Man Woman/ Gonna Take Another Walk Down Town/ Heaven Sent You To Me/ I Wish There Was Something I Could Do/ I'll Find Somebody/ I'm Going to Lock You Up/ I've Got My Doubts About You/ If God Can Forgive You So Can I/ If I Told You Would You Believe Me/ It's A Long Walk Back To Town/ Mabel, Mabel/ Over You/ Post Office/ Railroaded/ She Just Walked In/ Somebody's Been Rockin' My Dream Boat/ Stumbling Block/ Take Me Back/ The Moon Won't Tell/ This Orchid Means Goodbye/ What About You/ When I Gave You My Love

 
MERLE HAGGARD Hip-O 03831 The Definitive Collection ● CD $14.98
22 tracks, 71 mins, essential
Not many can be called a "Living Legend;" thankfully, Merle Haggard is still around to have that title bestowed upon him, and Hip-O does a fine job collecting all the evidence needed to verify that proclamation. Starting with The Fugitive from 1967 and going through If I Could Fly from the stunning album of the same name from 2000 and a fine 2001 cover of the Lefty Frizzell classic Always Late (With Your Kisses). Despite leaving out any 1990's recordings, this nonetheless provides us with outstanding tunes from four different decades. The only other omissions would be his tribute albums (Jimmy Rodgers etc.) that he has made throughout his career, which could easily be a box set of their own. (JM)

 
R.D. HENDON Cattle 329 And His Western Jamboree Cowboys, 1951-1956 ● CD $18.98
31 tracks, 79 mins, recommended
Excellent collection of country recorded between 1951 and 1956 by various groups under the name of Western Jamboree Cowboys led by non-musician Rigsby Durwood Hendon. Their earliest sides feature the fairly dull vocalist Charlie Harris who also played guitar in the group and is featured on the fine boogie No Shoes Boogie and the topical Oh Mr President about President Truman's firing of General Douglas MacArthur. Subsequent vocalists were better including the great Texas honky tonker Eddie Noack who is featured on half a dozen songs including a couple of duets with the excellent Gig Sparks. Other vocalists included Harold Sharp (who also played fine electric guitar with the group), Chuck Davis, Jack Rodgers and others. The personnel of the band changed quite a a bit over the years and though most of the musicians are little known these days the individual musicians and the ensemble sound are excellent. The group disbanded at the end of 1956 after Hendon, who was a troubled man, took his own life. A most worthwhile release. (FS)
R. D. HENDON & HIS WESTERN JAMBOREE COWBOYS: Blues Boogie (Inst.)/ Don't Push Me (Let Me Fall)/ Don't Say No/ For Now And Always/ Hit And Run Driver/ I Ain't Got A Lick Of Sense/ I Can't Run Away/ I'd Still Want You/ I'm Going To See My Baby/ Little White Cottage/ Lonely Nights/ Marking Time/ Music Making Mama From Memphis/ Nervous Breakdown (Inst.)/ No Shoes Boogie/ Oh Mr President/ Please Mr Postman/ Return My Broken Heart/ Spanish Fireball/ Step By Step/ Talking To Myself/ The Waltz Of Texas/ The Wandering Blues/ There's A Place In My Heart/ This Moon Won't Last Forever (# 1)/ This Moon Won't Last Forever (# 2)/ Those Tears In Your Eyes/ Trademark/ We Smiled/ You Crazy Mixed Up Kid/ You Traveled Too Far

 
WANDA JACKSON Country Stars 55541 Before The Fame ● CD $9.98
18 tracks, 46 mins, recommended Great collection that rounds up Wanda's pre-Rockabilly tracks, starting with her sessions for Decca records in front of Hank Thompson's Country Western band up through the first of her recordings for Capitol. Her voice is strong and beautiful showing hints of the Dynamo to come without quite going to the edge of Rock 'n' Roll. Contains her first hit with Thompson's band, the duet with Billy Gray on If You Don't, Somebody Else Will, as well as other western numbers and Country standards and a whole parcel of great tunes penned by Wanda herself, in my opinion quite an under-rated songsmith. Not the magic that we would get later with her 'Billy' recordings or even her later country career, but still a fine collection. (JM)

 
JOHNNIE & JACK B.A.C.M. 183 & The Tennessee Mountain Boys ● CD $14.98
28 tracks by this great country duo recorded between 1947 and 1956 and including some of their great but lesser known titles. There are a number of forgettable novelty songs though their Sing Tom Kitty complete with Donald Duck impersonations is so outrageous as to be irresistabe.
JOHNNIE & JACK: A Pleasure Not A Habit/ Banana Boat Song/ But I Love You Just The Same/ Called From Potter's Field/ Carry On/ Cheated Out Of Love/ Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes/ Eastern Gate/ From The Manger To The Cross/ God Put A Rainbow In The Clouds/ How Can I Believe In You/ Just For Tonight/ Just What The Doctor Ordered/ Live And Let Live/ Look Out/ Love Trap/ Mr. Clock/ Pig Latin Serenade/ Pray Together And We'll Stay Together/ Private Property/ Sing Tom Kitty/ The Humming Bird/ Tom Cat's Kitten/ Too Many Blues/ Weary Moments/ When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again/ When You Want A Little Lovin'/ You're My Downfall

 
GEORGE JONES Epic 69319 16 Biggest Hits ● CD $12.98
16 tracks, recommended O.K., how 'bout "16 of His Biggest Hits That Epic Has The Rights to, Mostly from the 1970's and 80's" for a much more appropriate title? Classics like A Picture Of Me (Without You)/ The Door/ He Stopped Loving Her Today/ I Always Get Lucky With You/Wine Colored Roses, etc. (JM)
GEORGE JONES: A Picture of Me (Without You)/ Bartender's Blues/ He Stopped Loving Her Today/ I Always Get Lucky with You/ If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)/ Radio Lover/ She's My Rock/ Still Doin' Time/ The Door/ The Grand Tour/ The King Is Gone (So Are You)/ The Right Left Hand/ These Days (I Bareley Get By)/ What My Woman Can't Do/ Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes/ Wine Colored Roses

 
DOUG KERSHAW Wounded Bird 1906 Doug Kershaw/ Mama Kershaw's Boy ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, 69 min., almost recommended
Cajun fiddle player Doug Kershaw had a couple country hits in the early 1960s and eventually gained enough popularity to land a recording contract with Warner Brothers, where he waxed a mess of LPs in the 1970s, including the self-titled album (1906) issued in 1970 and Mama Kershaw's Boy (B-2793) released in 1974. Got to hand it to Wounded Bird Records for rescuing so much music from the far reaches of obscurities closet and for issuing two LPs on each CD, but given Kershaw's WB output, perhaps a greatest hits would have been the way to go. Because, while there are some fine moments here, a cut such as The Battle Of New Orleans misses by so much it alone is enough to keep the whole deal off the iPod. Kershaw's music, like his slightly peculiar stage persona, if that's what it is, can have limited appeal. Some solid, self-penned county rock here, but neither one of these is his best WB effort anyhow. No liner notes beyond listing the song titles and musicians. (JC)

 
ROSE MADDOX Arhoolie 9062 This Is Rose Maddox ● CD $9.98
14 tracks, 41 mins, essential
CD reissue of Arhoolie 5024 from 1980. A wonderful collection featuring the great pioneering and influential female country vocalist who started her recording career performing with her brothers in 40s. After a period of inactivity in the 60s and early 70s Rose returned to performing again in the late 70s, usually in the company of bluegrass bands and showed that her singing was as good as ever and had lost none of her feistiness. On this set she is joined by one of the best bluegrass bands in California - the Vern Williams Band with Vern's former partner Ray Park guesting on fiddle and Kraig Hutchens providing some tasty electric guitar licks. Rose sings a wide variety of songs - new versions of songs she recorded with her brothers, country standards and gospel songs and the mood ranges from the raucous Sally Let Your Bangs Hang Down to a sensitive rendition of Merle Travis's Dark As A Dungeon. Apart from their stellar instrumental accompaniments, Vern and the group provide some terrific vocal harmonies. I had the privilege of being present at this session, all recorded in one day, and can vouch that the vibrant spirit you hear on the record was present in the studio. A true classic from a great performer and a wonderful lady who was frequent visitor to the Bay Area. (FS)

 
ROSE MADDOX & THE MADDOX BROTHERS B.A.C.M. 189 When The Sun Goes Down ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 63 mins, highly recommended 24 tracks from "the most colorful hillbilly band in America." 17 are from their classic recordings made for Four Star from the late 40s and early 50s. As far as I can tell these have not been not on CD before and there are some great performances including some great gospel performances which show, that, in spite of their general zaniness they could perform songs like Flowers From A Master's Bouquet/ Gonna lay My Burden Down/ Unclouded Day and others. There is also a stunning version of Tramp On Your Street plus other great performances like Sweet Little You/ I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand/ Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die and a riotous rendition of Bring It Down To My House Honey with great rockin' mandolin. The remaining seven tracks are from the groups early/ mid 50s Columbia recordings which are available in their entirety on Bear Family (BCD 15850 - The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band - 4 CDS - $84.98) and are enjoyable but pretty tame compared to the Four Star sides. The rest of the groups Four Star sides are available on Arhoolie 391 and Arhoolie 437 ($12.98 each) and are also indisoensible releases. (FS)
ROSE MADDOX & THE MADDOX BROTHERS: Baby You Should Live So Long/ Bring It On Down To My House Honey/ Cowboy Bugle Boy/ Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die/ Flowers From The Master's Bouquet/ Gonna Lay My Burden Down/ Hasty Baby/ Hummingbird/ I'd Rather Die Young/ I'd Rather Have Jesus/ I'll Be No Stranger There/ I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand/ In A Land Where We Never Grow Old/ Just When I Needed You/ Old Pal Of Yesterdays/ Rosalie By The Rio/ Sweet Little You/ The Nightingale Song/ There's No Right Way To Do Me Wrong/ Tramp On The Street/ Unclouded Day/ Waltz Of The Pines/ Wedding Blues/ When The Sun Goes Down

 
ROSE MADDOX WITH THE VERN WILLIAMS Arhoolie 9058 BAND : Beautiful Bouquet ● CD $9.98
Reissue of 1983 Arhoolie LP featuring the great Rose Maddoc accompanied instrumentally and vocally by the superb Vern Williams band on a selection of 14 country gospel numbers. Mostly old standbys given the distinctive Rose Maddox touch - We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder/ Church In The Wildwood/ I Can't Feel At Home/ I'll Fly Away/ Kneel At The Cross/ Beautiful Bouquet/ If We Never Meet Again, etc.

 
DUDE MARTIN & HIS NEVADA NIGHT HERDERS B.A.C.M. 194 RS: Cowboy's Nightmare ● CD $14.98
Excellent collection of Western songs by this excellent group from San Francisco recorded as radio transcriptions in 1935 and '36. Martin didn't record commercially until the mid 40s when he performed in a smooth western swing flavored style but these earlier sides are a stright ahead collection of cowboy songs and tunes with Martin's vocals accompanied by a small group with fiddles, guitar and accordion. Some vocals are solo, some feature fine harmonies from the group members. Includes a mic of old favorites, traditional songs and some originals. Includes Strawberry Roan/ Home On the Range/ Roundup Time Is Over/ Jim Crack Corn/ There's A Blue Sky Way Out Yonder/ Ridin' Home/ Sourwood Mountain/ The Little Shirt That Mother Made For Me, etc. Sound quality is generally excellent and there are the usual high quality notes from Kevin Coffey.

 
JANET MCBRIDE Bronco Buster 9060 Honky Tonk Ballads & Classic Yodeling, 1960-1967 ● CD $18.98
Reissue of two old Binge LPs on one CD featuring sides by this fine singer and yodeler recorded in the 60s for various small Texas labels. Janet has a nice honky tonk style and is given strong support by various bands which include such fine musicians as Phil Baugh, Ralph Mooney, Red Rhodes, Dale Potter, etc - it's a shame that the sound from the rare 45s couldn't be better
JANET MCBRIDE: A Woman's Point Of View/ Almost Three/ Another Woman's Man/ Can You Love Us Both?/ Common Law Wife/ Crazy Heart/ Even If I Win (I'm Gonna Lose)/ Help Me Forget Him/ Holding On/ Home Away From Home/ Home Away From Home/ I'm Wild Bill Tonite (& Vern Stovall)/ It's The Truth That's Killin' Me/ Mass Confusion/ My Johnny Lies (Over And Over)/ Outside Of That/ Play Like You Love Me/ Sweethearts By Night/ Swiss Cheese/ Tell Me Again (& Vern Stovall)/ That's Not Like Me/ The Arms Of A Child/ The Guy Here With Me/ What Did She Do?/ Where Did The Other Dollar Go? (& Vern Stovall)/ Why'd You Do It?/ Yodelin' Jan/ Your Nights In Charlie's Shoes

 
THE OKLAHOMA WRANGLERS B.A.C.M. 190 Hillbilly Rhythm ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 64 mins, recommended
Complementing Cattle 290 (The Golden Age Of The Willis Brothers - $18.98) this is another fine and varied collection of western swing, blues, straight country and novelty songs the brothers Willis - Guy (guitar & vocals), Skeeter (fiddle and vocals) and Vic (accordion, piano & vocals) with various added musicians. The group originally started performing in the 30s as The Oklahoma Wranglers and changed their name to The Willis Brothers around 1950. The group continued through the mid 70s and didn't have their first hits until the mid 60s! It features two sides from their first session for Sterling Records in 1946 where they also accompanied Hank Williams on his first session. The tracks here are from the late 40s and early 50s and includes Who Pptt Tobacky On Tessie's Wedding Gown/ Eat A Little More/ Country Kisses/ Poor Boy/ Look What Thoughts Will Do/ Flop eared MuleI Didn't Mean To Tell You/ I May Be Lonesome, etc. (FS)
THE OKLAHOMA WRANGLERS: Back Up And Push (Instr.)/ Country Kisses/ Darling Please Forget And Forgive/ Drive My Blues Away/ Eat A Little More/ Farther And Farther Apart/ Flop Eared Mule (instr.)/ Flying Saucer Baby/ Hillbilly Rhythm/ I Didn't Mean To Tell You/ I Know You'll Never Change/ I May Be Lonesome/ I'm Sorry If That's The Way You Feel/ If You Want The Rainbow You've Gotta Have The Rain/ Lonesome Polecat/ Long Gone/ Look What Thoughts Will Do/ Monogehela Valley/ Poor Boy/ Shine Shave Shower/ Slow Horses Fast Women/ Soldier's Joy (Instr.)/ Who Pptt Tobacky On Tessie's Wedding Gown/ You're The Worm That Used To Be The Apple Of My Eye

 
RED RIVER DAVE MCENERY Jasmine 3582 There's A Blue Sky Way Out Yonder ● CD $11.98
Complementing Jasmine 3529 this is another fine collection of tracks by this popular singing cowboy. 29 tracks from the 40s and early 50s including cowboy songs, country ballads and western swing flavored numbers featuring his band The Texas Tophands. Includes There's A Blue Sky Way Out Yonder/ Life Is Not The Same/ Tumbling Tumbleweeds/ Fiesta In San Antone/ Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wild Women/ Stars Over Laredo/ San Antonio Rose/ Wrong Number/ Eighth Of January/ You Didn't Want Me, etc.

 
DON RENO & RED SMILEY Gusto 0955 And The Tennessee Cutups, 1959-1963 ● CD $45.98
Complementing Starday 7001 (still available - $45.98) which featured the recordings of this fine bluegrass group made for King between 1951 and 1959, this volume continues the story featuring their recordings made between 1959 and 1963. The first volume ended part way through a session from October 26th, 1959 where Don is featured on guitar rather than his usual banjo and this set opens with the remainder of that session as well as a session from the next day with Don on guitar - all gospel songs with simple bass and percussion accompaniment to the duos vocals. The remaining sessions feature Don in his more familiar role as a banjo player with the whole group. Most of these sessions feature son Ronnie on mandolin and Mark Magaha on fiddle. 102 songs in all including the previously unissued Honky Tonk Heaven and a previously unissued alternate take of Row Your Boat. Housed in a 12" x 6" long box it includes a 24 page booklet with extensive notes on each session by the set's compiler Gary Reid.

 
JIMMIE SKINNER B.A.C.M. 184 Too Hot To Handle ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
Fine collection of this distinctive performer with his jagged baritone vocal style that is similar to Ernest Tubb and stripped down instrumental arrangements often featuring the fine mandolin work of Ray Lunsford. This doesn't include any of his hits but it does include his original recording of You Don't Know My Mind - one of several Skinner compositions that has become a country standard - in fact most of the songs here are Skinner originals. It also includes the interesting Hank Williams tribute Singing Teacher In Heaven which is built around song titles of Hank's songs, a countrified version of Duke Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore and his excellent cover of Eddie Noack's great Too Hot To Handle. Some tracks have a bit too much noise reduction but souind is generally fine. (FS)
JIMMIE SKINNER: Baby I Could Change My Ways/ By Degrees/ Don't Get Around Much Anymore/ Fallin' Rain Blues/ Here's My Goodbye To You/ I Can't Believe It's Our Goodbye/ I Need A Little Lovin' Too/ I'm Afraid To Love You Anymore/ I'm Allergic To Your Kisses/ I'm Gonna Put You In My Pocket/ I've Got A Lot Of Love Baby/ It's All The Same To Me/ John Henry And The Water Boy/ Journey's End/ Kentucky And You/ My Broken Heart Is Starting To Show/ Rambler's Call/ Running Out Of Time/ Singing Teacher In Heaven/ Steppin' Out On You/ There Won't Be Much More Time/ Too Hot To Handle/ Want You For My Baby/ What A Pleasure/ You Don't Know My Mind

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Starday 7000 The Early Starday King Years 1958-1961 ● CD $45.98
4 CD's, 109 tracks, 4 hrs., 33 min., essential
Back in print after being unavailable for a couple of years. This is the one we Stanley Brothers fans have been waiting for. Although the Stanleys had been recording for twelve years and had recorded many classic sides for Columbia and Mercury by 1958, many feel that the recordings for King and Starday represent their finest work. There is no denying the wealth of great performances, including the eerie Rank Strangers and such bluegrass standards as Love Me Darling/ Just Tonight/ How Mountain Girls Can Love/ Clinch Mountain Backstep/ Another Night/ The Memory Of Your Smile and many others. The quality of the material remains high throughout the period, with the Starday sessions remaining more faithful to the traditional set-up of guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and bass. King Records boss Syd Nathan hated bluegrass fiddle; at his insistence the two guitar sound, often featuring the fancy crosspicking of Bill Napier and then George Shuffler, became more prominent. Napier's hot, punchy mandolin is also fetured on the sides for Starday and the early King sessions, along with the great Chubby Anthony on fiddle. The inimitable elements of the classic Stanley Bros. sound abound on this collection, from the sorrowful lead vocals and wonderful original songs of brother Carter to the bright banjo and quavering, intense singing of brother Ralph, whose voice epitomizes their timeless quality. Box includes a well researched, informative 20-page booklet and discography by Gary Reid, and the sound is fine, certainly better than on the myriad reissue LPs issued in the 70s. (RP)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Time Life 19303 The Definitive Collection, 1947-1966 ● CD $39.98
Three CDs, 60 tracks, 153, highly recommended
This could have been rated as essential but I'm a little peeved that they didn't put more material on. The 60 tracks here could have fitted on two CDs so why not add another 15 tracks and really give us a deal? That being said, this is a beautiful retrospective covering the Stanley's entire recording career from their first sides for Rich-R-Tone in 1947 through their last King sessions in 1966 (the year Carter died). It includes tracks from Columbia, Mercury, Starday and King along with material from radio broadcasts and live performances. The earliest Rich-R-Tone sides are deeply steeped in the mountain music of their youth though by the later sessions, probably due to the influence of Bill Monroe, their music evolved into what we think of as bluegrass though their music was always imbued with that strong mountain influence that continues to this day in the work of Ralph Stanley and is considered the "high lonesome sound." By the time they recorded for Columbia in 1949 their recordings were noteworthy for the inspired vocal trios featuring the lead of Carter Stanley, tenor of brother Ralph, and unique "high baritone" of Pee Wee Lambert and from these sessions are such classics as The White Dove and The Fields Have Turned Brown. In 1953 they signed with Mercury where they recorded many classic songs including Carter Stanley-composed songs such as This Weary Heart You Stole Away/ Our Last Goodbye/I Just Got Wise/ Nobody's Love But Mine and others that are now staples of the bluegrass repertoire. There are also some gorgeous gospel songs like Cry From The Cross and Ralph's composition - the spine chilling Angel Band which was featured on the soundtrack of "O Brother Where Art Thou." Among the musicians featured here are fiddlers Art Stamper, Joe Meadows, Ralph Mayo, and Chubby Anthony. Mandolinists include Peewee Lambert, Bill Napier, and Jim Williams. From 1958 on they recorded for Starday and later King which took over the Starday label. King owner Syd Nathan hated the fiddle and so a number of the King recordings feature more emphasis on the guitar - first by Carter and then later by the superb George Shuffler whose distinctive "cross-pickinG" style was another contribution the Stanleys made to bluegrass. From These sessions come such gems as How Mountain Girls Can love/ Think Of What You've Done/ Man Of Constant Sorrow/ Rank Stranger/ Don't Cheat In Our Home Town/ Stone Walls And Steel bars/ O Death and others. The third disc include some radio and live concert recordings including three previously unissued including a truly dlightful rendition of Sugar Coated Love where the Stanleys are joined on vocal by Bill Monroe. In spite my reservations about playing time there is no doubt that this a magnificent collection with terrific sound - even the notoriously poorly recorded Rich-R-Tones sound good, and informative notes by compiler Gary Reid. (FS)
THE STANLEY BROTHERS: (Say) Won't You Be Mine/ A Voice From On High/ Angel Band/ Are You Waiting Just For Me/ Beuatiful Star Of Bethlehem/ Black Mountain Blues/ Blue Moon Of Kentucky/ Cotton Eyed Joe (theme)/ Don't Cheat In Our Home Town/ Dust On The Bible/ East Virginia Blues/ Get Down On Your Knees And Pray/ God Gave You To Me/ Gonna Paint The Town/ Hard Times/ Hide Ye In The Blood/ How Far To Little Rock/ How Mountain Girls Can Love/ I Just Got Wise/ I'm Lonesome Without You/ If That's The Way You Feel/ Jacob's Vision/ Let Me Rest/ Little Birdie/ Little Glass Of Wine/ Little Maggie/ Lonesome Night/ Man Of Constant Sorrow/ Meet Me Tonight/ Molly And Tenbrook/ Mother No Longer Awaits Me At Home/ Nobody's Business/ Nobody's Love Is Like Mine/ Oh Death/ Orange Blossom Special/ Our Last Goodbye/ Pig In A Pen/ Pretty Polly/ Rank Stranger/ Ridin' That Midnight Train/ Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms/ Single Girl/ Soldier's Grave/ Stone Walls And Steel Bars/ Sugar Coated Love - With Monroe/ Tell Me Why My Daddy Don't Come Home/ The Cry From The Cross/ The Fields Have Turned Brown/ The Girl Behind The Bar/ The Lonesome River/ The Old Home/ The White Dove/ Think Of What You've Done/ This Weary Heart You Stole Away/ Train 45/ Where The Soul Never Dies/ Who Will Sing For Me/ Who Will You Call Your Sweetheart/ Will You Be Loving Another Man/ Will You Miss Me

 
MITCHELL TOROK B.A.C.M. 188 Drink Up And Go Home ● CD $14.98
26 tracks recorded between 1950 and 1956 by this Texas artist whose music was from the pop and novelty end of the country spectrum. Includes his biggest hits Caribbean and Hootchy Kootchy Henry From Hawaii plus an unexpected cover of Chuck Berry's No Money Down. Also includes DRink Up And Go Home/ Red Light Green Light/ Haunting Waterfall/ The World Keeps Turning Around/ Gigalo/ Judalina/ Love Me Like You Mean It/ Sweet Revenge, etc.
MITCHELL TOROK: A Peasant's Guitar/ Caribbean/ Dancerette/ Drink Up And Go Home/ Edgar The Eager Easter Bunny/ Gigalo/ Go Ahead And Be A Fool/ Haunting Waterfall/ Havana Huddle/ Hootchy Kootchy Henry From Hawaii/ I Wish I Was A Little Bit Younger/ Judalina/ Little Hoo Wee/ Living On Love/ Love Me Like You Mean It/ Memories Of You Haunting Me Night And Day/ No Money Down/ Pledge Of Love/ Red Light Green Light/ Sober Up/ Sweet Revenge/ Take This Heart/ The World Keeps Turning Around/ Weep Away/ What's Behind The Strange Door/ When Mexico Gave Up The Rhumba

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS B.A.C.M. 187 The Mercury Label ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, 65 minutes, essential
If someone gave me an old Seeburg under the condition I fill it with postwar country singles from only one label, I'd pack every slot with Mercs. This B.A.C.M. compilation, which barely scratches the surface of this Chicago independent's varied and often adventurous 1946-1954 country output, validates my decision. With a more diverse country roster than other indie labels, Mercury 78s preserved the talents of regional acts beloved in the Midwest, mid-South, western Appalachians and Texas plains, including such radio vets as WLS's Sheriff Tom Owens and WSM's Lew Childre. Patti Page and Sue Thompson had the goods to break into pop music, while obese Chicago bandleader Tiny Hill, who married Jenny Lou Carson, went the other way, abandoning mainstream pop for hardcore honky-tonk and eventual obscurity. Records by Mac O'Dell and Carl Story remain treasured by bluegrass and country aficionados, while those by Paul & Roy and the Tennessee River Boys curiously and undeservedly languish in obscurity. Other acts captured on Merc 78s include harmonica whiz Lonnie Glosson, take-off lead guitarist Homer Briarhopper and the tragically short-lived singer Art Gibson. Tommy Jackson began his decade-long quest to record the great American fiddlers' repertoire at Mercury, eventually finishing at Dot. Memphis singer Eddie Hill's Foleyesque cover of Steamboat Stomp blindsides casual listeners by unexpectedly incorporating a bop instrumental break quoting Holiday for Strings and Laura. Wow! Note that That Little Old Country Church House, attributed here to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, is actually by the Masters Family. They were great, too. Martin Hawkins contributes all-too-brief notes; sound quality is generally good though some tracks suffer from B.A.C.M.'s knack of rolling off too much high end. (Will they [B]ever[D] learn?) No, not every cut here is a gem, but none could be considered awful, either. On the whole, this is a fun disc that's perfect for road trips. (DS)
HOMER BRIARHOPPER: Briarhopper Boogie/ CLIFF BRUNER: Lucille From Old Mobile/ COTTON CALYON: The Golden Rocket/ LEW CHILDRE: Ridin' On The Elevated Railroad/ TOBY DOWDY: Rainbow/ JIMMIE FLETCHER: I'm Changing Business All Around/ ART GIBSON: Honky Tonk Mama/ LONNIE GLOSSON: I'll Make A Change In Business/ EDDIE HILL: Steamboat Stomp/ TINY HILL: Milk Bucket Boogie/ JIMMIE HINCHEE: I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail/ LOUIS INNIS: Better Back Up Mama/ TOMMY JACKSON: Black Mountain Rag/ ROY KING: Story Of Shelly Liles/ RED KIRK & JUDY PERKINS: I Wonder Who We Think We're Foolin'/ CHARLES LUNDY: Lover's Farewell/ KEN MARVIN: Rotation Blues/ THE MASTERS FAMILY: That Little Old Country Church House/ SHERIFF TOM OWENS: Freight Train Blues/ MAC OíDELL: Wild Rose Of The Mountain/ PATTI PAGE: I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart/ PAUL & ROY: Every Dog Must Have Its Day/ CARL STORY: He Will Set Your Fields On Fire/ SUE THOMPSON: Last Night I Heard Somebody Cry/ JAKE WATTS: Too Late To Regret

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16633 Shit Happens! Songs Of Everyday Life ● CD $25.98
25 tracks, 75 mins, highly recommended
This collection is full of cautionary tales, caustic criticism and cantankerous country lore. Red Foley, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Hank Snow, Dolly Parton, George Hamilton IV, Eddy Arnold, Porter Wagoner, Hank Thompson and many more pour out their hearts out on each tear-jerkin' track on this fantastic compilation. Porter Wagoner graces the cover in his infamous Skid Row Joe character, setting the tone for the misery within. Porter gets 4 tracks on this (with Dolly for 2 of them), outdone only by Hank Snow's staggering 5 tracks of woe. Great sound, Great packaging, etc.--up to the high standard of Bear Family. Little Tom/ Little Blossom/ Nobody's Child/ Little Rosa/ The Hobo and the Rose, or Old Shep: no matter who the story is about, there is heartbreak ahead. (JM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Jasmine 3578 The Old Rugged Cross - Country Gospel ● CD $11.98
28 track collection of country gospel from the 40s and early 50s including mainstream country music, western music and bluegrass and mixing familiar and obscure performers. Includes The Sons Of The Pioneers, Andy Wilson, Jimmy Swan & The Tall Men, Carl Story & His Rambling Mountaineers, Redd Stewart & His Kentucky Colonels, Paul & Bob, The Masters Family, Rusty Gabbard, Esco Hankins, The DElmore Brothers, etc.
ARKANSAS WOODCHOPPER: The Last Great Roundup/ PAPPY 'GUBE' BEAVER: Great Judgement Day/ BOYD CAMERON: Bright Chain Of Gold/ CLIFF CARLISLE: The Devilís Train/ THE DELMORE BROTHERS: The Wrath Of God/ RUSTY GABBARD: You Canít Do Wrong (And Get By)/ ESCO HANKINS: Waiting For My Call To Glory/ THE MASTERS FAMILY: This Old World Is Rocking In Sin/ You Gotta Pray/ THE MCCRAVY BROTHERS: When They Ring The Golden Bells/ GEORGE MORGAN & THE ANITA KERR SINGERS: Oh Gentle Shepherd/ MAC OíDELL: That Final Day/ PAUL & BOB: Thirty Pieces Of Silver/ ROCKY PORTER: The All-Seeing Eye/ DON RENO, RED SMILEY & THE TENNESSEE CUTUPS: Kneel Down/ KENNY ROBERTS: Wide Is The Gate/ Itís Great To Be A Christian/ THE SMITH BROTHERS AND BILL LOWERY WITH THE: I Have But One Goal/ THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS: Lie Low Little Doggies/ Power In The Blood/ Read The Bible Every Day/ The Bar-None Ranch/ The Old Rugged Cross/ What This Country Needs (Is A Good Old Fashioned Talk With The Lord)/ REDD STEWART & HIS KENTUCKY COLONELS: Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine/ CARL STORY & HIS RAMBLING MOUNTAINEERS: When He Reached Down His Hand For Me/ JIMMY SWAN & THE TALL MEN: Little Church/ ANDY WILSON: Great Speckle Bird

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Smith & Co. 1103 Rock 'n' Roll Roots - The Country Influence ● CD $9.98
Budget priced collection of 27 tracks of country from the 40s and early 50s that pointed the way to the birth of rock 'n' roll.
CHET ATKINS & HIS GUITAR PICKERS: Boogie, Man, Boogie/ THE BLUE SKY BOYS: Garden In The Sky/ SPADE COOLEY & HIS ORCHESTRA: Three Way Boogie/ COWBOY COPAS: Hangman Boogie/ THE DELMORE BROTHERS: Blues Stay Away From Me/ LITTLE JIMMIE DICKENS: Hillbilly Fever/ TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD: The Shotgun Boogie/ HARDROCK GUNTER: Boogie Woogie On A Saturday Night/ Birmingham Bounce/ BILL HALEY & THE SADDLEMEN: Crazy Man Crazy/ Green Tree Boogie/ Rock The Joint/ Sundown Boogie/ ROY HALL & HIS COHUTTA MOUNTAIN BOYS: Dirty Boogie/ BILL MONROE & HIS BLUEGRASS BOYS: Rocky Road Blues/ CLYDE MOODY: Tend To Your Business/ MERRILL MOORE: House Of Blue Lights/ MOON MULLICAN: Grandpa Stole My Baby/ ARTHUR SMITH'S HOT QUINTET: Guitar Boogie/ HANK SNOW: I'm Movin On/ The Golden Rocket/ HANK WILLIAMS & THE DRIFTING COWBOYS: Kaw-Liga/ Move It On Over/ Rootie Tootie/ JOHNNY LEE WILLS & HIS BOYS: Milk Cow Blues

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Threadgill's 95372 The Gospel According To Austin, Vol. 5 ● CD $19.98
31 tracks, 113 mins, highly recommended Another great volume in the series that collects Gospel music in it's various forms in one of the most musically rich cities in the world. Recorded in the early 1990's and arriving here in an expanded edition with bonus tracks. Whether its Don Walser singing his high yodel up to the heavens, with the Kronos Quartet backing him up or it's the Bells Of Joy Bringing it all back down to earth, this is a collection not to be missed. There are only a couple of clunker that feature a bit too much Casio keyboards, but all in all it's fantastic stuff. Includes WC Clark, Dale Watson, Ruthie Foster, Billy Joe Shaver and many more. Second disk features the wonderful Rev Dan Smith who does some preachin' and testifying mixed in with some fantastic tunes. (JM)

 
PORTER WAGONER Omni 103 The Rubber Room ● CD $16.98
29 tracks, highly recommended
A great collection of tracks recorded for RCA between 1966 and 1977 and focusing on some of the more offbeat and darker material he recorded. It includes the crazed title song plus songs dealing with murder, child abuse and suicide along with the more familiar cheating and drinking songs. Only a couple of these tracks were hits - most were album tracks and B-sides and show that there was more to Porter than the cheerful gregarious figure that he cut on stage. Most of the songs were written by Porter along with a few by Dolly Parton (he duets with her on the truly grim The Party about children dying in a fire). Many of the tracks feature soulful narrations by Porter. Probably not the ideal album to listen to if you're feeling depressed or are expecting mainstream country but a real eye opener. (FS)
PORTER WAGONER: As Simple As I Am/ Bones/ Cassie/ Crumbs From Another Man's Table/ Fairchild/ First Mrs Jones/ George Leroy Chickashea/ He's Alone Again Tonight/ Indian Creek/ Jim Johnson/ Julie/ Let Me In/ Life Rides The Train/ Little Boy's Prayer/ Lonely Comin' Down/ Lonelyville/ Moments In Meditation/ My Last Two Tens/ My Many Hurried Southern Trips/ Nothing Between/ Out Of The Silence (Came A Song)/ Shopworn/ The Bottom Of The Bottle/ The Caroll County Accident/ The Cold Hard Facts Of Life/ The Rubber Room/ Wino/ Woman Hungry/ The Party

 
BOB WILLS JSP JSPCD 7770 King Of Western Swing, Vol. 1 ● CD $28.98
The first in a series of four CD sets to reissue all the issued recordings by Bob Wills. This first volume starts with his first two sides from 1932 as a member of The Fort Worth Doughboys then proceeds to the first session with his Texas Playboys in September, 1935 continuing through to a session in April, 1940. It also includes his fiddle/ guitar duet from 1935 with Sleepy Johnson. Lots of great musicians in his band like Jesse Ashlock, Leon McAuliffe, Al Stricklin, Johnnie Lee Wills, Cecil Brower, Smoky Dacus and others along with the great vocals of Tommy Duncan. It includes the first recordings of such classic tunes as Osage Stomp/ Maiden's Prayer/ Four Or Five Times/ Steel Guitar Rag/ Sunbonnet Sue/ I'm A Ding Dong Daddy (From Dumas)/ San Antonio Rose/ Ida Red/ My Window Faces The South and lots more - 100 tracks in all. All tracks are from the collection of famed collector Joe Bussard and this set does not include any of the unissued songs or alternate takes featured on the massive Bear Family set (Bear Family 15933 - San Antonio Rose - 11 CDs plus DVD covering everything through 1945 - $ 339 .98) but is an inexpensive way to get all those key early recordings of this country pioneer.
THE FORT WORTH DOUGHBOYS: Nancy Jane/ Sunbonnet Sue/ BOB WILLS & HIS TEXAS PLAYBOYS: Alexander's Ragtime Band/ Back Home Again In Indiana/ Basin Street Blues/ Beaumont Rag/ Black And Blue Rag/ Black Rider/ Bleeding Hearted Blues/ Blue Prelude/ Blue River/ Bluin' The Blues/ Bring It On Down To My House/ Carolina In The Morning/ Corrine Corrina/ Dedicated To You/ Don't Let The Deal Go Down/ Dreamy Eyes Waltz/ Drunkard's Blues/ Empty Bed Blues/ Everybody Does It In Hawaii/ Fan It/ Four Or Five Times/ Gambling Polka Dot Blues/ Get Along Home Cindy/ Get With It/ Good Old Oklahoma/ I Ain't Got Nobody/ I Can't Be Satisfied/ I Can't Give You Anything But Love/ I Don't Lov'a Nobody/ I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate/ I Wonder If You Feel The Way I Do/ I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas/ Ida Red/ If I Could Bring Back My Buddy/ Keep Knocking (But You Can't Come In)/ Let Me Call You Sweetheart (I'm In Love With You)/ Little Girl, Go Ask Your Mama/ Little Red Head/ Liza Pull Down The Shades/ Lone Star Rag/ Loveless Love/ Maiden's Prayer/ Mean Mama Blues/ Mexicali Rose/ Moonlight And Roses (Bring Mem'ries Of You)/ My Window Faces The South/ Never No More Blues/ Never No More Hard Times Blues/ No Matter How She Done It/ No Wonder/ Oh Lady Be Good/ Oh You Beautiful Doll/ Oklahoma Rag/ Old Fashioned Love/ Oozlin' Daddy Blues/ Osage Stomp/ Playboy Stomp/ Pray For The Lights To Go Out/ Prosperity Special/ Red Hot Gal Of Mine/ Right Or Wrong/ Rosetta/ San Antonio Rose/ She's Killing Me/ Silver Bells/ Sittin' On Top Of The World/ Sophisticated Hula/ Spanish Two Step/ St. Louis Blues/ Steel Guitar Rag/ Steel Guitar Stomp/ Sugar Blues/ Sunbonnet Sue/ Swing Blues #1/ Swing Blues #2/ That Brownskin Gal/ That's What I Like ‘Bout The South/ The Convict And The Rose/ The New St. Louis Blues/ The Waltz You Saved For Me/ There's Going To Be A Party(For The Old Folks)/ Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again/ Too Busy/ Trouble In Mind/ Tulsa Stomp/ Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/ Wang Wang Blues/ Way Down Upon The Swanee River/ Weary Of The Same Old Stuff/ What's The Matter With The Mill/ White Heat/ Who Walks In When I Walk Out/ Whoa Babe/ Yearning (Just For You)/ You Don't Love Me (But I'll Always Care)/ You're Okay/ BOB WILLS & SLEEPY JOHNSON: Harmony/ Smith's Reel

 

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