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NEWSLETTER #135
Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
The 101 Ranch Boys ->
Charlie Poole
 

 

 

THE 101 RANCH BOYS Cattle 297 Melody Roundup With The 101 Ranch Boys ● CD $18.98
23 tracks from rare radio transcriptions made in 1949 by this group that were one of the most popular western groups of the time.
THE 101 RANCH BOYS: All I Need Is Some More Lovin'/ Between The Lines/ Beyond The Purple Hills/ Dark Eyes (inst.)/ Devil's Dream (inst.)/ Drifting And Dreaming (inst.)/ Forever And Ever/ I'll Wait For You/ It's My Lazy Day/ Lights Out (inst.)/ Mississippi Sawyer (inst.)/ Need You/ Not A Word From Home/ Old Shep/ Sleep/ Texas Home/ The Color Song/ The Old Chisholm Trail/ Till The End Of The World/ Tomorrow's Just Another Day To Cry/ Wabash Blues (inst.)/ When It's Night Time In Nevada/ Within This Lonely Heart Of Mine

 
CHET ATKINS Bear Family BCD 16539 Mr. Guitar - The Complete Recordings, 1955-1960 ● CD $169.98
7 discs, 214 tracks, essential
Picking up where Bear Family BCD 15714 ("Gallopin' Guitar") left off, this represents Chet's complete RCA output from 1955 through 1960. More than even the earlier box, the songs here represent Atkins's most important legacy to guitarists like Eddie Cochran, Duane Eddy, John Fogerty, Mark Knopfler, the Ventures, Jerry Reed and countless other guitarists. During these years he began recording instrumental versions of current pop hits, a pattern he continued through the rest of his time at RCA. He also began working with innovative tone-altering devices like an amplifier with built-in tape echo, electronic tremolo and early "wah-wah" devices that later became commonplace among rock players in the late 60's. This collection covers all his singles, as well as such innovative albums as "In Three Dimensions", "Hi-Fi in Focus", "Stringin' Along with Chet Atkins", "Finger Style Guitar", "Chet Atkins at Home, In Hollywood", "Mister Guitar", "The Other Chet Atkins", "Teensville" and his best-selling album of all, "Chet Atkins' Workshop". It includes his rare singles with a studio band called the Rhythm Rockers, six 1959 songs (one previously unissued) featuring his older half-brother, former Les Paul Trio guitarist Jimmy Atkins crooning Crosby-style on six pop and country hits. An extremely rare 1956 EP featuring Eddy Arnold with a (thankfully) small group with Atkins performing songs from a Broadway Musical is among the surprises, along with alternate takes of Hot Toddy and the wah-wah-heavy Boo Boo Stick Beat. Among the less pleasant surprises are 20 tracks (five unissued) recorded for the song licensing company SESAC with the Anita Kerr Singers and the virtually unlistenable RCA LP "Hum and Strum along with Chet Atkins". The SESAC material, now owned (for what little that means) by Bear Family, is the worst kind of elevator Muzak as is the "Hum and Strum material".
On most of the post-1957 material, Atkins recorded the tracks in RCA's Nashville studios and took the tapes to his basement home studio in Nashville to perfect his solos. By 1960, Atkins was beginning to change his style, curbing his assertiveness in favor of a light, easy-listening style that permeated his albums for over a decade, robbing his music most of the time of the spontaneity and fire it once had, but earning him fans who normally bought albums by people like Billy Vaughan. Happily, this collection doesn't venture into that sugary morass. (You'd need insulin if it did!). The sound is, not surprisingly, superb. Rich Kienzle's outstanding research goes track by track, with interesting discussions on how Atkins's growing role as an RCA producer influenced his records (not always for the better) and how Atkins's endorsement of Gretsch guitars impacted the marketing of his albums. The album closes with two odd numbers: never-before-heard 1940s vocal instrumental transcription discs from Knoxville's WNOX, where Chet did his first professional work from 1942-45. The 112 page book includes an amazing series of never before published black and white photos from the late fifties showing Chet at home, in the studio and around downtown Nashville, as well as color shots of virtually all the album covers (and variations). Also included is a 1966 Atkins cover story for 'Radio-Electronics' Magazine where Chet discusses his electronics and recording concepts. For Atkins fans and for guitarists in general, this one's a necessity. (AK)

 
CHET ATKINS Country Route 32 Early Chet Atkins ● CD $16.98
32 tracks, 63 minutes, recommended with reservations
 Don't get me wrong - the music on this CD is generally great, but this compilation and its packaging are incredibly misleading. More than half the tracks feature the Carter Sisters, Mother Maybelle and Chet Atkins, pulled from a mere fraction of the thirty-some RadiOzark transcriptions they recorded around 1950. Ten of these early tracks are vocals, featuring numerous combinations of the Carters and Atkins. Six instrumentals feature the classic Atkins guitar; and two feature his solid, if not superlative fiddling. If you only know the Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle from their Carter Family tributes and intrusive vocals on mediocre Johnny Cash records, these RadiOzarks are revelatory. Ill-served on record during their prime years, their transcriptions capture the quintet as it really was: a dazzling, self-contained showband from country music radio's golden age. This set also features a version of Atkins' early masterwork Canned Heat from a late '40s Shorty Thompson aircheck, plus eight mid-'50s Atkins solos culled from military recruiting transcriptions. For some reason, compiler Brian Pymm opted to include two Jimmy Dean vocals (neither of which includes Atkins), a mediocre Faron Young ballad (with Hank Garland on guitar), and two uninspired late '50s June and Helen Carter tracks with a guitarist that sounds nothing like Atkins. Pymm's brief notes are ill-informed at best; incredibly erroneous at worst. If you want to sample the Carter Sisters, Mother Maybelle and Chet Atkins as they sounded more than a half-century ago, this is a great set to have. If you're more interested in Atkins, save your money for Bear Family's seven-CD "Mister Guitar: The RCA Victor Years - 1955-1960" (see above)  (DS)
CHET ATKINS: Alabama Jubilee/ Country Gentleman/ Country Gentleman/ Dance Of The Golden Rod/ Five Foot Two/ Poor People Of Paris/ Poor People Of Paris/ Rainbow/ San Antonio Rose/ HELEN & JUNE CARTER: Poor Old Heartsick Me/ JUNE CARTER: It's My Lazy Day/ THE CARTER SISTERS, MOTHER MAYBELLE & CHET A: Beaumont Rag/ Cabin In The Valley Of The Pines/ Canned Heat/ Canned Heat/ Charming Billy/ Draggin' The Bow/ Grandma Told Me So/ Guitar Solo/ Guitar Solo/ Heartbroken/ I've Been Bitten By The Same Bug Twice/ Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider/ In The Pines/ Johnson Boys/ Late Evening Blues/ Little Sweetheart, I Miss You/ My Gal Sal/ One More Chance/ Radiozark Theme/ That Pretty Little Face/ The Leaf Of Love/ The Old Black Mountain Trail/ JIMMY DEAN: Bummin' Around/ Good Lord Saying, 'good Morning'/ FARON YOUNG: Moonlight Mountain

 
ELTON BRITT B.A.C.M. 086 Jackass Blues & Other Country Songs ● CD $14.98
24 tracks recorded in the 40s by this popular artist including sides with The Skytoppers, Rosalie Allen and The Three Suns.
ELTON BRITT: After We Say Goodbye/ Anyone/ Before You Know It Christmas Will Be Here/ Beyond The Sunset/ Blueberry Lane/ Game Of Broken Hearts/ Got To Get Together With My Gal/ I Get The Blues When It Rains/ I‘ve Lived A Lifetime For You/ Jackass Blues/ Lonely Little Robin/ Looking Around/ Merry Texas Christmas You All/ Mocking Bird Hill/ Rainbow In My Heart/ Someday/ Summer Kisses/ Swiss Lullaby/ Tale A Sailor Told/ Talk To The Boss In The Sky/ Tell Her You Love Her/ The Red We Want Is The Red We‘ve Got/ Tomorrow You‘ll Be Married/ Written Guarantee

 
JIMMY BRYANT Sundazed 11134 Frettin' Fingers - The Lightnin' Guitar Of Jimmy Bryant ● CD $41.98
3 discs, 75 tracks, essential
The teaming up one of the first performers to play a hard-body electric guitar (Bryant, using Leo Fender's proto-Stracaster) with the first to use a pedal steel guitar (Bryant's partner-in-crime Speedy West), give them both tremendous speed & skill & you get some of the most hell-bent-for-leather instrumentals ever recorded! Playing together in famed early L.A. country star Cliffie Stone's band on radio & TV (where they were given a duet slot as "The Flaming Guitars", the duo was also able to record for Cliffie's label, Capitol Records, as part of the band, as solo & duo (though solo, they were on each other's recordings) and on hundreds of tunes backing up Capitol recording artists, as well as Jimmy being part of Roy Rogers' backing band, The first half of this set has the wonderful Bryant/ West Capitol sides 1950-56, Bryant's LP "Country Cabin Jazz", West's LP "Steel Guitar", & the only LP under both names - "Two Guitars Country Style", along with non-LP 45s & unreleased tracks. After Jimmy drifted around awhile he did a rare single for the Big J label in '62 - Ha-So/ Tobacco Worm, then went over to Imperial '66-67 where we get the LPs Bryant's "Back In Town", "The Fastest Guitar In The Country", "Laughing Guitar, Crying Guitar" & "We Are Young", with sidemen ranging from Red Rhodes to Barney Kessel, along with a few unreleased sessions. Exhaustive liner notes by Rich Kienzle along with short pieces by Bryant's sister Lorene Bryant Epps who is writing Jimmy's bio, & his son John Bryant who maintains a website. (GM)

 
CECIL CAMPBELL & THE TENNESSEE RAMBL Jasmine 3542 Steel Guitar Swing ● CD $11.98
24 tracks from the 40s by fine western swing band led by steel guitarist Campbell. Very little duplication with Bronco Buster 9003.
CECIL CAMPBELL: All My Natural Life/ Beaty Steel Blues/ Campbell's Steel Guitar Special (instrumental)/ Catawba River Blues/ I Don't Know Why I Should Cry Over You/ I'll Keep On Loving You/ I'm A Hen Pecked Man/ It's Gonna Come Home To You/ Last Night I Cried/ Left All Alone With A Broken Heart/ Midnight Boogie (instrumental)/ No Where, No Time, No Place/ North Carolina Skies/ Please Don't Call In Any Help/ Put Some Meat On Them Bones/ She's Got The Cutest Eyes/ Southern Special/ Steel Guitar Hop (instrumental)/ Steel Guitar Swing (instrumental)/ Talk, Talk, Talk/ Tennessee Border/ Time Will Tell/ Who's Blues Are You Now/ Won't You Sometimes Dream Of Me

 
CLIFF CARLISLE JSP JSPCD 7732 A Country Legacy, 1930-1939 ● CD $28.98
Four CDS, 84 tracks, approx 4 hours, highly recommended with reservations
The reasons for my reservations is that while the music is wonderful this set seems to have been put together with less care than most of JSP's other boxes. Cliff Carlisle recorded more than 200 sides between 1930 and 1939 so why are there only 84 tracks here? Most JSP four CD sets have around 100. Further, half of these tracks are currently available on Arhoolie 7039 and B.A.C.M. and half the rest were on the out of print collection on Zircon Vert. In addition the titles are not presented in chronological order and there is no discographical information. Now to the music! Carlisle was a superb singer, a magnificent slide guitarist (playing a steel bodied National) and had a varied and consistently worthwhile repertoire which embraced traditional songs, blues, love songs, some wickedly raunchy risqué songs, gospel songs, western and sentimental songs. Cliff was a master blue yodeler on a number of cuts here and on No Daddy Blues and Shanghai Rooster Yodel he does some original scat yodeling. Some tracks feature his early playing partner singer/ guitarist Wilbur Ball, others have his brother Bill or his son Tommy and some have a small string band with some lovely fiddle. Some of the gospel songs feature some great quartet singing which includes Cliff, Bill, Tommy and another Carlisle, Louis (another brother?) including a sublime version of Shine On Me. He does a great cover of the Darby & Tarleton classic Columbus Stockade Blues and the soon to become bluegrass standards Footprints In The Snow with Shannon Grayson on mandolin and Girl In The Blue Velvet Band. And for those of you who like double entendre there are such gems as Ash Can Blues/ That Nasty Swing/ Sal's Got A Meatskin and others. But it's all great. Sound quality is excellent, booklet notes are adequate. If you don't already have much Carlisle this is indispensable. (FS)
CLIFF CARLISLE: A Mean Mama Don't Worry Me/ A Stretch Of 28 Years/ A Wild Cat Woman And A Tom Cat Man/ Ash Can Blues/ Bamblin' Man/ Black Jack David/ Broken Heart/ Chicken Roost Blues/ Columbus Stockade Blues/ Cowboy Johnny's Last Ride/ Dang My Rowdy Soul/ Dear Old Daddy/ Desert Blues/ Far Beyond The Starry Sky/ Footprints In The Snow/ Georgia Moon/ Get Her By The TrailOn A Downhill Grade/ Girl In The Blue Velvet Band/ Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad/ Going Back To Alabama/ Going Down The Valley One By One/ Gonna Raise A Ruckus Tonight/ Goodbye Old Pal/ Guitar Blues/ Handsome Blues/ High Steppin' Mama/ Hobo Blues/ Hobo's Fate/ Home Of The Soul/ I Don't Mind/ I Want A Good Woman/ I'm Savin Saturday Night For You/ I'm Sorry Now/ It Ain't No Fault of mine/ It Takes An Old Hen To Deliver The Goods/ Lonely Orphan Child/ Lonesome For Caroline/ Memories That Haunt Me/ Memphis Yodel/ Mouse's Ear Blues/ My Lovin' Kathleen/ My Rockin' Mama/ My Rocky Mountain Sweetheart/ My Travellin' Night/ Nevada Johnny/ New Memories Of You That Haunt Me/ No Daddy Blues/ On The Banks Of The Rio Grande/ Onion Eating Mama/ Pan American Man/ Pay Day Fight/ Prepare Me O lord/ Ramblin Yodeler/ Ring Tail Tom/ Roll On, Roll On/ Rooster Blues/ Sal's Got A Meatskin/ Sally Let Your Bangs Hang Down/ Seven Years With The Wrong Woman/ Shanghai Rooster No 2/ Shanghai Rooster Yodel/ Shine On Me/ Shine Your Light For Others/ Shot The Innocent Man/ Sugar Cane Mama/ That Great Judgement Day/ That Nasty Swing/ The Blind Child's Prayer/ The Brakeman's Reply/ There Is No More That I Can Say/ Tom Cat Blues/ Trouble Minded Blues/ True And Trembling Brakeman/ Two Eyes In Tenessee/ Uncloudy Day/ Waiting For A Ride/ When It's Round Up Time In Heaven/ When It's Round Up Time In Texas/ When The Angels Carry Me Home/ When The Evening Sun Goes Down/ Where My Memory Lies/ Why Did It Have To Be Me?/ Wigglin' Man/ You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone ( Just Because )

 
COUNTRY GENTLEMEN Copper Creek 7008 Folk Session Inside ● CD $9.98
13 tracks, essential
During the past thirty-six years many celebrated musicians have been part of the Country Gentlemen. Each edition has been a solid, highly professional unit, dedicated to showcase the band's primary asset: guitarist Charlie Waller's powerful, charismatic vocals. But none has ever rekindled the spontaneous magic of the "classic” 1959-1967 Country Gentlemen, which included lead tenor vocalist/ mandolinist John Duffey; banjo whiz Eddie Adcock; and various bassists, most notably Tom Gray. The first bluegrass band with a real attitude, it cockily pushed bluegrass's boundaries, winning it a young, hip audience while alienating hidebound traditionalists. The Duffey/ Waller/ Adcock Gents recorded nine studio albums during its eight-year partnership. Most consider "Folk Session Inside,” its 1963 Mercury outing, as the best of the bunch. Largely produced by erstwhile Gentleman Pete Kuykendall, the album pulled material from folk, blues, old-time and early bluegrass repertoires – even the pop tune Heartaches was retooled into an instrumental showcase. The Gentlemen's take on the Dixon Brothers' The School House Fire is intense, disturbing and unforgettable. Their arrangement of an obscure Carter Stanley song, The Girl Behind the Bar, impressed young Bob Dylan so much that he recalled it four decades later in his recent autobiography. This reissue includes an unused track from the sessions, Dark as a Dungeon. In his uncredited notes, Gary Reid describes the album's production and the frustrations that followed in its wake. (DS)
THE COUNTRY GENTLEMEN: Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party/ Bluebirds Are Singing for Me/ Can't You Hear Me Calling/ Dark As a Dungeon/ Heartaches/ I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)/ Night Walk/ Sad and Lonesome Day/ The Galveston Flood/ The Girl Behind the Bar/ The School House Fire/ The Young Fisherwoman/ This Morning at Nine

 
TED DAFFAN & HIS TEXANS Jasmine 3547 Born To Lose ● CD $11.98
24 tracks from the 40s from this fine Western flavored group let by singer/ songwriter Daffan. Though not a particularly compelling singer Daffan wrote a number of songs that have become country standards including the title song, Worried Mind and No Letter Today all featured here. It also features his mid 40s hits You're Breaking My Heart and Headin' Down The Wrong Highway plus I'm Sorry I Said Goodbye/ Crying The Blues Again/ Car Hop's Blues/ Are You Satisfied Now/ You Better Change Your Ways and others. About half the tracks are also available on Cattle 213 or Cattle 247.
TED DAFFAN: Are You Satisfied Now/ Baby You Can't Get Me Down/ Because/ Blue Steel Blues/ Born To Lose/ Car Hop's Blues/ Crying The Blues Again/ Down Hilo Way/ Got Money On My Mind/ Headin' Down The Wrong Highway/ I'm Sorry I Said Goodbye/ I'm That Kind Of A Guy/ Lonesome Highway/ Long John/ Look Who's Talkin'/ My Fallen Star/ No Letter Today/ Now I Must Reap (What I Have Sown)/ The Straight And Narrow Way/ Those Blue Eyes Don't Sparkle Anymore/ Trouble Keeps Hanging 'Round My Door/ Worried Mind/ You Better Change Your Ways/ You're Breaking My Heart

 
DAISY MAE Bronco Buster 9059 The Friendly Voice From The Hills ● CD $18.98
28 tracks from radio shows in the mid 60s by Daisy Mae whose early recordings with her husband Old Brother Charlie were reissued on Cattle 274. Mostly just solo vocal and guitar with occasional fiddle from Curley Mitchell.
DAISY MAE: Across The Bridge/ Coming To Carry Me Home/ Did You Tell Her About Me/ Don't Let Me Cross Over/ Don't Look Back/ Hold On, Little Dogies, Hold On/ I Don't Love You Anymore/ It's Your World/ Keep On The Sunny Side (theme)/ Kwik Pep Eastern Gasoline (jingle)/ Let The Spirit Descend/ Meanwhile Down At Joe's/ No Tears In Heaven/ One More Time/ Precious Memories/ Pretty Words/ Rock All The Babies To Sleep/ Satan's Jeweled Crown/ Stop Kicking God's Children Around/ The Boy Across The Street/ The Last Letter/ The Sweetest Gift, A Mother's Smile/ There's A Light Guiding Me/ Turn Around My Darling/ Where Could I Go But To The Lord/ You Gave My Wedding Rings Away/ You Gotta Pray

 
THE DELMORE BROTHERS Cattle 299 Good Time Saturday Night ● CD $18.98
25 tracks recorded between 1946 and 1950 by this great duo - most making their first appearance on CD.
THE DELMORE BROTHERS: 'dis Train/ Born To Be Blue/ Calling To That Other Shore/ Everybody Loves Her/ Give Me Your Hand/ Goin' Back To The Blue Ridge Mountains/ Good Time Saturday Night/ Happy On The Mississippi Shore/ I Let The Freight Train Carry Me On/ I Swear By The Stars/ Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide/ Liefe's Too Short/ Long Journey Home/ Midnight Train/ Now I'm Free/ Oh Susannah/ Please Be My Sunshine/ Silver Threads Among The Gold/ Someday You'll Pay/ Sweet, Sweet Thing/ Tennessee Choo, Choo/ The Girl By The River/ The Trail Of Time/ There's Something About Love/ Who's Gonna Be Lonesome For Me

 
DOC HOPKINS & HIS COUNTRY BOYS B.A.C.M. 088 Volume 1 ● CD $14.98
30 tracks, recommended
An eastern Kentucky native who made his name in Louisville and Chicago radio, Doc Hopkins sang in an appealing tenor that was warmer and richer than his better-known contemporary, Bradley Kincaid. Like many Midwestern radio pros, Hopkins was under-recorded during his prime years. Despite scattered sessions for Paramount, ARC and Decca, his musical legacy primarily rests upon the 16" transcriptions he made around 1944 for Chicago-based music publisher M.M. Cole. Backed by an unidentified string band, Hopkins joyfully tackled traditional and parlor favorites that were Cole song folio staples. Sound quality is generally excellent, outside of a few hissy transfers pulled from inferior tape sources. Brian Golbey's thumbnail bio repeats some previously printed inaccuracies about Hopkins's radio career, but why quibble? This is a welcome, pleasant release by a beloved radio pioneer who helped seed Chicago's folk music revival. (DS)
DOC HOPKINS AND HIS COUNTRY BOYS: Asleep at the Switch/ Asleep in the Briney Deep/ Barbara Allen/ Born to the Saddle/ Bring Back to Me My Wandering Boy/ Bury Me Out on the Prairie/ Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister?/ Church in the Wildwood/ Code of the Mountains/ Days of the Blue and Grey/ Dying Cowboy/ Get On Board, Little Children/ Get Out of Here, Joe/ Give My Love to Nell/ Golden Slippers/ Great Speckled Bird/ Hushabye Baby, Don't Cry/ I Believe in the Good Old Bible/ I Was Born 4,000 Years Ago/ I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen/ Letter Edged in Black/ Little Girl Dressed in Blue/ Polly Wolly Doodle/ Ship That Never Returned/ Spanish Cavalier/ The Old Chain Gang/ They Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Around/ When the Curtains of Night/ Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight/ You're a Flower Blooming in the Wildwood

 
DOC HOPKINS & HIS COUNTRY BOYS B.A.C.M. 091 Volume 2 ● CD $14.98
30 more radio transcriptions from 1944.
DOC HOPKINS & HIS COUNTRY BOYS: Bring Back My Blue Eyed Boy To Me/ Froggie Went A ’courtin‘/ Get Along Down To Town/ Going To Little Creek/ Goodbye My Lover, Goodbye/ Gotta A Lot Of Things To Do Before I Die/ Grandfather‘s Clock/ He‘s The Lily Of The Valley/ Hold Fast To The Right/ Home On The Range/ Honeysuckle Time/ I‘ll Give To You A Paper Of Pins/ Johnson Boys/ Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane/ Little Red Caboose Behind The Train/ Massa‘s In The Cold, Cold Ground/ Moose Meat/ My Old Kentucky Home/ Put My Little Shoes Away/ Sally Get Your Hoe Cakes Done/ The Last Great Roundup/ The Old Folks At Home/ The Vacant Chair/ There‘ll Come A Time/ This Train/ We‘ll Have A Little Dance Tonight/ When You And I Were Young Maggie/ Where Has My Little Dog Gone/ Whispering Hope/ ’tis Sweet To Be Remembered

 
JOHNNY HORTON B.A.C.M. 087 I Won't Forget ● CD $14.98
25 of Johnny's earliest sides recorded in the early 50s for Abbott and Mercury long before he hit it big at Columbia.
JOHNNY HORTON: All For The Love Of A Girl/ Barefoot Boy Blues/ Bawlin‘ Baby/ Broken Hearted Gypsy/ Child‘s Side Of Life/ Coal Smoke, Valve Oil And Steam/ Devilish Love Light/ Done Rovin‘/ First Train Headin‘ South/ I Won‘t Forget/ In My Home In Shelby County/ It‘s A Long Rocky Road/ Mean Mean Son Of A Gun/ Move Down The Line/ On The Banks Of The Beautiful Nile/ Plaid & Calico/ Rhythm In My Baby‘s Walk/ Shadows On The Old Bayou/ Someone‘s Rockin, My Broken Heart/ Ss Lureline/ Talk Gobbler, Talk/ Tennessee Jive/ The Mansion You Stole/ Two Red Lips & Warm Red Wine/ Words

 
GEORGE JONES Encore 193196 Rock It! ● CD $17.98
30 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended
Great collection of 50s and early 60s sides including his two rockabilly classics Rock It and How Come It which were originally issued as by Thumper Jones and his version of Heartbreak Hotel which issued as by Hank Smith & The Nashville Playboys. Also includes other great uptempo country numbers which often blur the line between uptempo country and rockabilly like Maybe Little Baby/ Who Shot Sam/ Boogie Woogie Mexican Boy/ Running Bear/ Reveneooer Man/ Gonna Come Get To You/ Eskimo Pie/ Done Gone/ Sparkling Brown Eyes (a stellar version of Bill Cox's 1937 old time song) / You Better Treat Your Man Right/ Why Baby Why/ Nothing Can Stop/ Long Time To Forget and more. Excellent sound and brief notes. (FS)

 
CLAYTON MCMICHEN B.A.C.M. 081 The Legendary Fiddler ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, recommended
Until the end of his life, the great fiddler Clayton McMichen was at odds between the music his audiences wanted to hear and the music he loved to play. During the late '20s, McMichen had few peers as a breakdown fiddler; he was the driving force and de facto leader of Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers. But he really wanted to play smart, swinging pop tunes with a tight rhythm ensemble, just like his fellow Atlantian Perry Bechtel was doing. In 1931 he broke with the Skillet Lickers set to form the Georgia Wildcats. His guitarist, Slim Bryant, was a Bechtel disciple who could play closed chords or mimic Riley Puckett's powerful bass runs. Though this reissue includes a half-dozen '20s tracks with Puckett and Skillet Lickers spin-offs, it emphasizes McMichen's '30s output. The Wildcats' sound is reminiscent of the Prairie Ramblers, although the band's recording debut predates the Ramblers' first sessions by two years. McMichen was never truly a swing fiddler; Ken Newton actually plays the hot second break on Frankie & Johnny; Gene Autry's longbow fiddler Carl Cotner participated in later Wildcat sessions. The set - and McMichen's recording career - concludes with five of the six superb breakdown medleys he recorded for Decca in June 1939. As with other B.A.C.M. issues, the sound quality is dull in spots, but generally good. Brian Golbey provides brief notes. (DS)
CLAYTON MCMICHEN: Arkansas Traveller/ Bummin' On The I. C. Line/ Cumberland Valley Waltz/ Devil's Dream/Ricket's' Hornpipe/Fisher's Hornpipe/ Fire On The Mountain/Ida Red/Sally Goodin/ Frankie & Johnny/ Georgia Wildcat Breakdown/ Honolulu Moon/ I Don't Love Nobody/ Little Darling I'll Be Yours/ Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane/ McMichen's Reel/ Mississippi Sawyer/ Missouri Waltz/ My Carolina Home/ Please Don't Sell My Pappy No More Rum/ Rose Of Shenandoah Valley/ Smoky Mountain Home/ Soldier's Joy/Arkansas Traveller/ Sourwood Mnt./Peter went a-fishin'/Sugar In The Gourd/ Sweet Bunch Of Daisies/ The Dying Hobo/ Turkey In The Straw/Hen Cackle/Dance All Night/ WildCat Rag/ Yum Yum Blues

 
BUDDY MILLER New West 6063 Universal United House Of Prayer ● CD $16.98
11 tracks, 51 mins, essential
The latest from one of the most talented contemporary performers who draws his influences from folk, country, soul, rock and gospel and merges them seamlessly into something that is uniquely Buddy Miller. Nominally a gospel album this is much more covering the state of the world today. Buddy is joined on most tracks by the great voices of Regina and Ann McRary - daughters of the great Sam McCrary - former lead vocalist of the legendary Fairfield Four. Most of the songs were written or co-written by Buddy, usually with his wife Julie, and several bring to mind the feel of the classic Vee-Jay recordings of The Staple Singers. Among the highlights are the opener Worry Too Much a ferocious performance written by Mark Heard, Wide River To Cross is a beautiful song written by Buddy & Julie with vocal harmonies by Emmy Lou Harris and you'll thrill to the exuberant energy of the dramatic Don't Wait. Centering it all is a an utterly spellbinding performance of Bob Dylan's With God Our Side - written over 40 years ago the lyrics seem tailor made for the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft era. Throughout Buddy's vocals are stunning and his guitar playing is transcendent showing how much more can be done with economy than with flash. The band accompanying Buddy is superb including drummers Brady Blake and Bryan Owing, fiddler Tammy Rogers and brilliantly talented Phil Madeira on organ, accordion and lap steel. All of Buddy's album have been exceptional but this may his best yet. (FS)

 
BILL MONROE Bear Family BCD 16399 Blue Moon Of Kentucky, 1936-1949 ● CD $169.98
6 CDs, 176 tracks, essential
Despite what compilers of nearly every post- "O Brother" reissue want you to believe, bluegrass music starts here - or at least it does on Disc Three. This long-awaited six-CD set gathers all of Bill Monroe's 1936-1949 sides, starting with the Monroe Brothers' sixty Bluebirds, continuing into his 1940-41 Bluebird sessions before moving into the groundbreaking Columbias. On the celebrated Monroe Brothers Bluebirds, Bill's vocals are high, moaning and clearly secondary to his older brother Charlie's leads. At the outset Monroe mostly plays mandolin with a rapid tremolo, but on the 1937 track Sinner You Better Get Ready elements of his trademark, bluesy style begin to emerge. Muleskinner Blues, the initial song cut at the Blue Grass Boys' first session, debuted Monroe's distinctive lead vocals and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries. The February 1945 Columbias show further development; Dave "Stringbean" Akeman plays a two-finger banjo style and most important, fiddler Chubby Wise contributes long, smooth bow strokes. Tempos are less manic, but Monroe's pulsating rhythm fuels the band - even on slow and mid-tempo songs like Rocky Road Blues, Kentucky Waltz, Goodbye Old Pal and Footprints in the Snow. This collection includes a previously unknown, uncataloged track from that session, I'll Have a New Life, plus ten alternate takes. By years' end, lead singer/guitarist Lester Flatt, then Carolina banjo stylist Earl Scruggs joined, modifying their styles to accommodate Monroe's sense of rhythm. With fiddler Wise and bassist Howard Watts playing all over their fingerboards, the 1946-48 Blue Grass Boys defined bluegrass music. It recorded 28 masters for Columbia - all appear here along with 22 alternate takes and 12 fascinating false starts, transferred from the first-generation 16" lacquers. Virtually all these songs became standards: Blue Moon of Kentucky, Why Did You Wander, Toy Heart, Summertime Is Past and Gone, Will You Be Loving Another Man, It's Mighty Dark to Travel, I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky, I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling, Little Cabin Home on the Hill, Molly and Tenbrooks, When You Are Lonely, Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong, My Rose of Old Kentucky, and more. The eight gospel "Blue Grass Quartet" sides long defined perfection; all but one also appear here in alternate versions. In 1948 the irreplaceable Flatt and Scruggs left to form their own band. As Monroe scrambled to find replacements, Columbia signed the sound-alike Stanley Brothers. Angered by his label's actions, Monroe wrapped up his Columbia obligations in October 1949, helming a truly remarkable band with Wise, Mac Wiseman and another innovative banjo picker, Rudy Lyle. The band cut two classics, Can't You Hear Me Calling and Traveling This Lonesome Road. This set includes all four masters from that session, plus eight alternate takes and two false starts. A hardcover book includes in-depth notes by Charles Wolfe, a new discography by Neil Rosenberg and extensive photos, many previously unpublished. Sure, you'll find cheaper releases of most of this material, but remember, this is music you'll treasure for the rest of your life. Sometimes it's worth springing the money for a Godiva chocolate over a Hershey bar. (DS)

 
CHARLIE MONROE Cattle 301 Post War Country Classics (1946-1950) ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 61 mins, highly recommended
Charlie Monroe's career is somewhat overshadowed by that of big brother Bill but he was a tremendous singer and was responsible for making some wonderful music. After he and Bill went their separate ways in 1938, Charlie put together a trio and did two sessions in '38 and '39 featuring songs very much in the Monroe Brothers vein (Charlie was lead vocalist on most of the Monroe Brothers sides). In the 40s (from whence these sides come) he formed a group which over the years featured a variety of great instrumentalists including Curley Seckler/ mandolin, Robert Lambert/bass, Ira Louvin/ mandolin, Orne Osborne/ mandolin & steel guitar, William "Red" Rector/ mandolin, Jerry Rivers/ fiddle, Don Helms/ guitar and others and a couple of the sessions features some wonderfully effective electric guitar work. About two thirds of the material is gospel and the rest is secular and it includes original songs by Charlie, traditional songs plus songs by A.P. Carter, Fred Rose, Ira & Charlie Louvin, Hank Williams and others. Superb stuff including There's No Depression In Heaven/ When The Angels Carry Me Home/ Don't Forget To Pray/ End Of Memory lane/ Walking With You In My Dreams/ Our Mansion Is Ready/ Gonna Shake Hands With Mother Over There/ Sugar Cane Mama/ 'Neath A Cold Grey Tomb Of Stone, etc. Sound is generally excellent and a booklet is included but the notes are in German. (FS)
CHARLIE MONROE: 'neath A Cold Grey Tomb Of Stone/ A Valley Of Peace/ Bringin' In The Georgia Mail/ Campin' Canaan's Land/ Don't Forget To Pray/ End Of Memory Lane/ Gonna Shake Hands With Mother Over There/ I Know You'll Understand/ I See A Bright Light Shining/ I'm Gonna Sing, Sing, Sing/ If We Never Meet Again/ Mother's Not Dead, She's Only Sleeping/ Our Mansion Is Ready/ Red Rocking Chair/ Springtime In Glory/ Sugar Cane Mama/ Sweetheart I Love You Best/ The Grave At The Foot Of The Mountain/ There's No Depression In Heaven/ They Didn't Believe It Was True/ Walking With You In My Dreams/ When The Angels Carry Me Home/ You'd Better Be Somewhere Praying/ You'll Find Me There

 
WEBB PIERCE Proper Intro 2062 Groovie Boogie Woogie Boy ● CD $9.98
28 tracks, 74 mins, highly recommended
Fine collection of the early recordings by this superb honky tonk singer who later went on to become one of the most popular country singers of the 50s and early 60s. The earliest sides here were recorded for Four Star in 1949 and 1950 with Buddy Ataway/ gtr, Shot Jackson/ steel guitar and Tillman Franks/ bass and includes some fine mid-tempo boogie flavored numbers. Unfortunately some of them are from later reissues with overdubbed chorus and instruments but Webb's soulful voice still comes through. There are also two duets with his first wife Betty Jane. Nine of the tracks were recorded for Webb's own Pacemaker label in 1950 and '51 and since Webb was still under contract to Four Star most were issued under the name of his sidemen and includes the first versions of a couple of songs that he later recorded for Decca and became hits - his version of Jimmie Rodgers' In The Jailhouse and the rocking Hayride Boogie which became Teenage Boogie when he rerecorded in 1956. The last from feature four of his first no one country hits recorded between 1951-1953 - Wondering/ Back Street Affair/ It's Been So Long and there Stands The Glass. Excellent sound and informative notes by Adam Komorowski. (FS)
WEBB PIERCE: A Million Years From Now/ Back Street Affair/ California Blues/ Driftin' Texas Sand/ English Sweetheart/ Freight Train Blues/ Georgia Rag/ Groovie Boogie Woogie Boy/ Have You Ever Had The Feeling/ Hawaiian Echoes/ Hayride Boogie/ Heebie Jeebie Blues/ High Geared Daddy/ I Got Religion On Saturday Night/ I Heard Her Call My Name/ I Need You Like A Hole In The Head/ I'm Happy You Hurt Me/ I'm Sittin' On Top Of The World/ I've Loved You Forever It Seems/ In The Jailhouse/ It's Been So Long/ Jilted Love/ Lucy Lee/ New Panhandle Rag/ Sweetheart You Know I Love You So/ The Last Waltz/ There Stands The Glass/ Wondering

 
CHARLIE POOLE JSP JSPCD 7734 With The North Carolina Ramblers And The Highlanders ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 96 tracks, essential
Although there are some flaws in this collection it is still an absolutely indispensable set featuring recordings by one of the finest and most popular string bands of the late 20s led by singer and banjo player Charlie Poole. Poole had a distinctive vocal style and played banjo in a precise three finger style that owed more to minstrel shows and ragtime than to the more raucous style of other old time banjo players and was to prove an influence on later generations of banjo player and was a forerunner of Scruggs style bluegrass banjo. The group usually worked as a trio and Poole was joined by fine fiddlers Poser Rorer, Lonnie Austin or Odell Smith and except for the groups first session in July 25th which featured guitarist Norman Woodlieff their regular guitarist was Roy Harvey and the group adopted the name the North Carolina Ramblers. The sound of the group was a joy - more melodic and nuanced than many of their contemporaries and their material included traditional ballads (some with their origins in English and Irish songs), minstrel songs, old popular songs, sentimental songs and more. Their first session yielded their wonderful Don't Led You Deal Go Down which sold over 100,000 copies and put their name on the map. Roy Harvey also recorded as leader of the North Carolina Ramblers sometimes with Poole on banjo and at other times with Bob Hoke on banjo-mandolin and many of these tracks are featured here though one six track session from February 1928 is misidentified as by Poole and The North Carolina Ramblers when he isn't present at all. Many of the groups songs became old time and later bluegrass standards and includes such gems as The Girl I Left In Sunny Tennessee/ White House Blues/ Sweet Sunny South/ He Rambled/ Coon From Tennessee/ If I Lose, I Don't Care/ Take A Drink On Me/ Baltimore Fire/ If The River Was Whiskey (a great variation on Hesitatin' Blues)/ Hungry Hash House and many more. It also includes the delightful four part musical/ comedy skit A Trip To New York issued as by The Alleghany Highlanders and a couple of banjo solos by Poole accompanied by Roy Harvey's sister Lucy Terry. Sound quality is generally excellent though a few tracks are from worn 78s. The only real drawback is that it doesn't quite include everything Poole recorded as a couple of 78s are not included though they are in the hands of collectors and could have been used if a little more effort had been taken by JSP. It's also puzzling that they didn't include a couple of unissued tracks that have been reissued on LP and CD. Still apart from those minor omissions this is a truly stellar and inspiring collection of old time country music. (FS)
CHARLIE POOLE: A Home Without Babies/ A Letter To My Mother/ A Letter To My Mother/ A Trip To New York Part 1/ A Trip To New York Part 2/ A Trip To New York Part 3/ A Trip To New York Part 4/ A Young Boy Left His Home One Day/ As We Parted At The Gate/ Baltimore Fire/ Bill Mason/ Bill Mason/ Blue Eyes/ Budded Rose/ Budded Roses/ Can I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister/ Don't Let Your Deal Go Down/ Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues/ Falling By The Wayside/ Flop Eared Mule/ Flyin' Clouds/ Forks Of Sandy/ From Tennessee/ George Collins/ Give My Love To Nell/ Goodbye Booze/ Goodbye Mary Dear/ Goodbye Sweet Liza Jane/ He Rambled/ Home Without Love/ Honeysuckle/ Hungry Hash House/ Husband And Wife Were Angry One Night/ I Cannot Call Her Mother/ I Once Loved A Sailor/ I'll Be There Mary Dear/ I'm Glad I'm Married/ If I Lose, I Don't Care/ If The River Was Whiskey/ It's Movin' Day/ Jealous Mary/ Just Keep Waiting Till The Good Time Comes/ Kitty Blye/ Leaving Dear Old Ireland/ Leaving Home/ Look Before You Leap/ Lynchburg Town/ May I Sleep In Your Barn/ Milwaukee Blues/ Monkey On A String/ Mountain Reel/ My Gypsy Girl/ My Mother And My Sweetheart/ My Wife Went Away And Left Me/ Old And Only In The Way/ On The Streets Of Glory/ Pearl Bryant/ Please Papa Come Home/ Poor Little Joe/ Ragtime Annie/ Ramblin' Blues/ Richmond Square/ San Antonio/ She Is Only A Bird In A Gilded Cage/ Shootin' Creek/ Southern Medley/ Sunset March/ Sweet Sefrain/ Sweet Sixteen/ Sweet Sunny South/ Sweet Sunny South/ Take A Drink On Me/ Take Back The Ring/ Take Me Back To Home And Mother/ Tennessee Blues/ The Bluefield Murder/ The Brave Engineer/ The Girl I Left In Sunny Tennessee/ The Highwayman/ The Letter That Never Came/ The Man That Rode The Mule Around The World/ The Old Clay Pipe/ The Only Girl I Ever Loved/ There'll Come A Time/ There'll Come A Time/ There's A Mother Old And Gray Who Needs Me Now/ Too Young To Marry/ Took My Gal A Walkin'/ Under The Double Eagle/ We Will Outshine The Sun/ What Is Home Without Babies/ White House Blues/ Wild Horse/ Wreck Of The Virginian No.3/ You Ain't Talkin' To Me

 

 

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