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NEWSLETTER #147
Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
Roy Acuff -> Skeeter Hubbert & His Cowboys + Books & DVDS

 

 

NEW BOOKS

 

LOUISIANA HAYRIDE Radio & Roots Music Along The Red River by Tracey E.W. Laird ● BOOK $39.95
Hardbound, 208 pages, counts as 5 CDs for shipping
The Louisiana Hayride--a country music variety show like the Grand Ole Opry--broadcast from Shreveport, Louisiana on local station KWKH, the 50,000-watt signal of which reached listeners in more than 28 states and lured them to packed performances of the Hayride's road shows. By tracing the dynamic history of the Hayride and its sponsoring station, Tracey Laird reveals the critical role that this part of northwestern Louisiana played in the development of both country music and rock and roll. Delving into the past of this Red River city, she probes the vibrant historical, cultural, and social backdrop for its dynamic music scene. Against the backdrop of the colorful history of Shreveport, the unique contribution of this "radio barn dance" is revealed. Radio shaped musical tastes, and the Hayride's frontier-spirit producers took risks with artists whose reputations may have been shaky or whose styles did not neatly fit musical categories--for example, both Hank Williams and Elvis Presley were rejected by the Opry before they came to Shreveport. The Hayride also served as a training ground for a generation of studio sidemen and producers who steered popular music for decades after the Hayride's final broadcast. Though the Hayride is often overshadowed by the Grand Ole Opry in country music scholarship, Laird balances the record and reveals how this remarkable show both documented and contributed to a powerful transformation in American popular music.

 
TELLING STORIES, WRITING SONGS An Album Of Texas Songwriters by Kathleen Hudson ● BOOK $19.95
Paper, 318 pages, counts as 5 CDs for shipping
Willie Nelson, Joe Ely, Marcia Ball, Tish Hinojosa, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lyle Lovett - the list of popular songwriters from Texas just goes on and on. In this collection of thirty-four interviews with these and other songwriters, Kathleen Hudson pursues the stories behind the songs, letting the singers' own words describe where their songs come from and how the diverse, eclectic cultures, landscapes, and musical traditions of Texas inspire the creative process. Conducted in dance halls, dressing rooms, parking lots, clubs--wherever the musicians could take the time to tell their stories--the interviews are refreshingly spontaneous and vivid. Hudson draws out the songwriters on such topics as the sources of their songs, the influence of other musicians on their work, the progress of their careers, and the nature of Texas music. She also includes a brief biography and discography of each songwriter. These interviews form part of a larger collection archived at the Texas Heritage Music Foundation in Kerrville, which Hudson founded and directs. She is also a Professor of English at Schreiner University, where she writes and teaches about the creative process, mythology, rhetoric, drama, and the power of storytelling.

 

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.
 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family DVD 20111 Country Style U.S.A. - Season 1 ● DVD $31.98
First of four amazing DVDs featuring television army recruiting shows broadcast between 1957 and 1961 featuring some of the top country artists of the day along with some lesser known names. The shows are presented here complete with army recruiting spots . This volume presents the first 13 shows featuring appearances by Jim Reeves, Little Jimmy Dickens, Faron Young, Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce, Jean Shepard, Ray Price, Marty Robbins, George Morgan, Carl Smith, Red Sovine, Ferlin Husky, Roy Acuff and others. Video and sound quality is superb thanks to extensive restoration. Because of the amount of work involved and to deter bootleggers the DVD has a faint outline of the Bear Family logo in the bottom right hand corner. It's not distracting but it's worth pointing out for those who might be concerned. Includes 28 page booklet with extensive notes and photos.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family DVD 20112 Country Style U.S.A. - Season 2 ● DVD $31.98
From the second season of 13 shows we have Ray Price, Lonzo & Oscar, hank Snow, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Hylo Brown, Johnny Cash, Faron Young, Skeeter Davis, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Benny Martin, Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart, Minnie Pearl, Bobby Lord, Grady Martin, Justin Tubb, Jim Reeves, Roy Acuff and more.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family DVD 20113 Country Style U.S.A. - Season 3 ● DVD $31.98
The third season brings us Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins, Ferlin Husky, The Wilburn Brothers, Ray Price, Skeeter Davis, Mac Wiseman, George Morgan, Don Gibson, Carl Smith, Carl Butler, Marty Robbins, Faron Young, The Browns, Floyd Tillman, The Carter Sisters & Mother Maybelle, Benny Martin, Hank Snow and others.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family DVD 20114 Country Style U.S.A. - Season 4 ● DVD $31.98
The fourth and final season was hosted by Faron Youngs who sings on every shows and sometimes duets with the guests which include Darrell McCall, The Jordanaires, Billy Walker, Billy Grammer, Patsy Cline, Skeeter Davis, Roy Drusky, Jimmy Newman, Hank Garland and others.

 
CLARENCE WHITE Sierra DVD 2005 Guitar Workshop ● DVD $15.98
DVD - Running Time: 40 minutes
The filmed legacy of legendary Byrds guitarist Clarence White is presented on this DVD in the form of rare film and TV clips with his band the Kentucky Colonels, and a 1973 appearance on Public Television show "Bob Baxter's Guitar Workshop". These clips showcase White's skills as a bluegrass musician, and pose the question of what might have been had he not died at age 29.

 
 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
ROY ACUFF JSP JSPCD 7799 King Of The Hillbillies ● CD $28.98
First in a series of box set documenting the career of this great country music pioneer in chronological order. This first volume features 100 tracks recorded between 1936 and 1944. It includes the first recording of what was to become his trademark song - the Carter Family's Wabash Cannonball with vocals by the mysterious Sam "Dynamite" Hatcher who also played harmonica with the group. Acuff's group was one that helped popularize the sound of the Dobro and these sides feature two of the best - Clell Sumney and Beecher "Pete" Kirby. Sumney (later known as Cousin Jody) appears on the earlier sessions (1936-1938) and Kirby who appears on the sessions from 1939 on also turns in some fine work. Roy's material included traditional songs, Carter Family songs honky tonk, pop songs and gospel and includes many songs that have become country standards like Great Speckle Bird/ Freight Train Blues/ You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven/ Beautiful Brown Eyes/ Drifting Too Far From The Shore/ Streamlined Cannonball/ Fire Ball Mail/ Night Train To Memphis and others. A number of tracks are making their first appearance on CD here and there are brief notes and full discographical info.
ROY ACUFF: All Night Long/ Answer To Sparkling Blue Eyes/ Are You Thinking Of Me Darling?/ Automobile Of Life, The/ Be Honest With Me/ Beautiful Brown Eyes/ Beneath That Lonely Mound Of Clay/ Blue Eyed Darling/ Blue Ridge Sweetheart/ Blues In My Mind/ Bonnie Blue Eyes/ Branded Wherever I Go/ Broken Heart, The/ Brother Take Warning/ Charmin' Baby/ Come Back Little Pal/ Do You Wonder Why/ Doin' It the Old Fashioned Way/ Don't Make Me Go To Bed And I'll Be Good/ Drifting Too Far From the Shore/ Eyes Are Watching You/ Farther Along/ Fire Ball Mail/ Fly, Birdie, Fly/ Freight Train Clues/ Gonna Have a Big Time Tonight/ Gonna Raise a Ruckus Tonight/ Good-Bye Brownie/ Great Judgement Morning, The/ Great Shining Light, The/ Great Speckle Bird/ Great Speckle Bird No.2/ Haven Of Dreams/ Honky Tonk Mammas/ I Called And Nobody Answered/ I Know We're Saying Goodbye/ I'll Forgive You But I Can't Forget/ I'll Reap My Harvest In Heaven/ I'm Building a Home/ Ida Red/ It Won't Be Long (Till I'll Be Leaving)/ Just Inside the Pearly Gates/ Just To Ease My Worried Mind/ Living On the Mountain, Baby Mine/ Lonesome Old River Blues/ Lonesome Valley/ Low And Lonely/ Lying Woman Blues/ Mother's Prayers Guide Me/ Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel #8)/ My Gal Sal/ My Mountain Home Sweet Home/ New Greenback Dollar/ Night Train To Memphis/ No Letter In the Mail/ Not a Word From Home/ Old Age Pension Check/ Old Fashioned Love/ Old Three Room Shack, An/ One Old Shirt/ Precious Jewel, The/ Prodigal Son, The/ Red Lips - Kiss My Blues Away/ Rising Sun, The/ Sad Memories/ Sailing Along/ She No Longer Belongs To Me/ Shout, Oh Lulu/ Singing My Way To Glory/ Smoky Mountain Moon/ Smoky Mountain Rag/ Steamboat Whistle Blues/ Steel Guitar Blues/ Steel Guitar Chimes/ Streamlined Cannon Ball, The/ Stuck Up Blues/ Tell Mother I'll Be There/ That Beautiful Picture/ They Can Only Fill One Grave/ Things That Might Have Been/ Trouble, Trouble/ Vagabond's Dream, A/ Wabash Blues/ Wabash Cannon Ball/ Walkin' In My Sleep/ Weary River/ What Good Will It Do/ What Would You Do With Gabriel's Trumpet/ When I Lay My Burden Down/ When Lulu's Gone/ Will the Circle Be Unbroken/ Worried Mind/ Would You Care/ Wreck On the Highway/ Write Me Sweetheart/ Yes Sir, That's My Baby/ You Are My Love/ You're My Darling/ You're the Only Star (In My Blue Heaven)/ You've Got To See Mama Every Night (Or You Can't See Mama At All)

 
REX ALLEN B.A.C.M. 217 The Arizona Cowboy - Sky Boss ● CD $14.98
B.A.C.M's fourth volume of recordings by this popular singing cowboy features 24 songs recorded between 1953 and 1957 many with orchestral and vocal chorus accompaniment. Includes Wringle Wrangle/ Westward Ho The Wagons/ Blue Dream/ Sky Boss/ Hawaiian Cowboy/ Flower Of San Antone/ Bringing Home The Bacon/ Lonely Little Robin, etc.
REX ALLEN: Blue Dream/ Blue Light Waltz/ Bringing Home The Bacon/ Chapel Of Memories/ Crying In The Chapel/ Drango/ Flower Of San Antone/ Hawaiian Cowboy/ I'm Lonely My Darlin' (Green Grow The Lilacs)/ In The Chapel In The Moonlight/ Little White Horse/ Lonely Little Robin/ Money Marbles And Chalk/ Put Your Arms Around Me/ Sky Boss/ Softly And Tenderly/ The Ballad Of John Colter/ The Last Carouse/ The Last Frontier/ The Roving Kind/ Tomorrow Is Another Day To Cry/ True Blue Lue Lu Lu/ Westward Ho The Wagons/ Wringle Wrangle

 
BOBBY BARE Raven 267 Drunk & Crazy ... Plus ● CD $19.98
24 tracks, 75 min., highly recommended
It's good, but I wouldn't call this one of the greatest country albums ever, though some have. Shel Silverstein wrote 8 of the 15 songs on the original LP issued on Columbia in 1980, and 3 of the "Plus" tracks, but his undeniable cleverness can wear, as can his relentless glorification of drug use and his occasional misogynistic impulse. Outlaw country with a sense of humor -- I get it. But still. Must have seemed cooler at the dawn of the Reagan administration. The best cut here is the lone Robert Lee McDill-penned Song Of The South, which, with an economy of language, comes off as thoughtful without calling attention to its own cleverness. Count covers of Ray Willis' I Can Almost See Houston From Here and Guy Clark's Desperados Waiting For The Train as among the finest tracks. A winning reissue of a long out-of-print semi-classic, with 9 bonus songs from roughly the same period. (JC)

 
BENNY BARNES Bear Family BCD 16517 Poor Man's Riches - The Complete 1950s Recordings ● CD $21.98
33 tracks, very highly recommended
Fabulous collection of sides by thi superb honky tonk singer from Texas. Barnes had a 25 year recording career from 1956 to 1981 (he died in '86). He notched up one top ten country hit - the terrific Poor Man's Riches (1956) and one minor hit in the 60s and one in the 70s. This set includes all his recordings in the 50s for Starday, Dixie, Mercury and Faith including two previously unissued songs and two solo demos from 1956 including a great version of the Little Walter blues hit My Babe. Barnes had a hand in writing many of the songs here including Poor Old Me/ A Nickel's Worth Of Dreams/ King For A Day/ Gold Records In The Snow (a tribute to Buddy Holly, Big Bopper & Ritchie Valens)/ Nickel's Worth Of Dreams and others. There are also a couple of George Jones composition - Jones and Barnes were good friends and Jones introduced Barnes to Starday owner Pappy Dailey. There are also some almost note-for-note covers of three Johnny Cash hits - a common practice from Barnes's producer Dailey. Sound quality is, as usual for Bear Family, outstanding and the 48 page booklet has extensive notes by Andrew Brown plus rare photos and full discographical information. (FS)

 
STEVIE BARR WITH FRIENDS Arhoolie 531 Along The Crooked Road ● CD $12.98
21 tracks, 65 min., very highly recommended The multi-instrumentalist Stevie Barr is the amazing banjo player of No Speed Limit (Arhoolie 521) and, true to the album's title, plays here with his neighbors and friends around the Fries area of Grayson County, Virginia. Recorded informally at various locations (such as people's houses) and with a single microphone by Chris Strachwitz, this album is a full-blooded bluegrass marvel. It helps that Barr's friends include Martha Spencer of the Whitetop Mountain Band and mandolin ace Spencer Strickland, but in general the "friends" are people in his area who grew up with bluegrass and old timey music and play it out of a true love of the form. The results are an incredibly joyous outpouring of life-affirming bluegrass. There's nothing amateurish sounding about these recordings, despite their humble origins. The songs are largely drawn from the public domain, including Lonesome Road Blues, Sally Ann, It's Sinful To Flirt, At Calvary, Old Jimmy Sutton and others, while originals such as Viagra Blues by guitarist Jessie Lovell remind listeners what century it is. A real pleasure from start to finish. (JC)

 
RAY CAMPI Bear Family BCD 16746 The Memory Lingers On - Remembering Jesse James ● CD $21.98
17 tracks, 46 mins, highly recommended
Rockabilly great Ray Campi spent his formative years in Austin Texas, years when Jesse James and His Boys were the biggest local Western Swing band. Campi got to hang around the band a lot at performances and recordings and all of these years later, the memories are strong and Ray Campi wants to make a tribute record to this great old group. So gathering up a whole parcel of great current players and getting Bear Family on board, he created this fine collection of 17 Western Swing classics that were written and/ or preformed by William Harold "Jesse" James and His band. Campi takes the lead in front of players like D.J. Bonebreak on drums, Jeremy Wakefield on steel guitar, Brantly Kearns on fiddle, Rick Rossi on clarinet and many more. This makes for a fine record that at times makes you forget that you are listening to a modern recording. (JM)

 
GUY CLARK Raven 265 Hindsight 21/20 - The Anthology 1975-1995 ● CD $19.98
21 tracks, 76 mins, highly recommended
Guy Clark is an excellent artist, truly one of the greats, but if you read the liner notes of this, you would think he was nothing short of the second coming. Best to skip over the notes and get straight to the music. For those who dont know, Guy Clark is a country singer in the vein of Towns Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson and, like those two, he is a great songwriter whose songs are biggest hits for someone else. Also like them, the real beauty of the song comes out when you hear the original. This collects 21 of his best tracks from the years 75 through 95. Honestly it should be Best of Part #1 since there is plenty of good stuff from this period and beyond. 20 tracks are written or co-written by Clark, the other song is No Deal by Van Zandt. All in all an essential artist done up in an o.k. fashion. (JM)
GUY CLARK: Baton Rouge/ Boats To Build/ Broken Hearted People/ Comfort And Crazy/ Desperados Waiting For the Train/ Dublin Blues/ Heartbroke/ Homegrown Tomatoes/ L.A. Freeway/ New Cut Road/ No deal/ Rita Ballou/ She Ain't Goin' Nowhere/ She's Crazy For Leaving/ South Coast Of Texas/ Texas 1947/ Texas Cookin'/ The Cape/ The Houston Kid/ The Last Gunfighter Ballad/ The Randall Knife

 
THE COUNTRY GENTLEMEN Smithsonian Folkways 40175 Going Back To The Blue Ridge Mountains ● CD $14.98
16 tracks, 47 min., highly recommended
Originally released on the Folkways label in 1973, this live album is drawn from tapes recorded in the early 1960s and thus features the classic Gents line up of Charlie Waller, John Duffey, Eddie Adcock, and Tom Gray. The exact source of the tapes remains unknown, but one of the guys mentions the Beatles in his between-song patter, which would make 1964 a likely date for at least some cuts. Others were almost certainly recorded early. Whatever the case, this album finds the frequently tradition-expanding Gentlemen sticking to an uncharacteristically traditional song set, including a cover the the Delmore Bothers' title tune, Merle Travis' Dark As A Dungeon, Jimmy Rodgers' Muleeskinner Blues, Hank Williams' I Saw The Light, and others. The addition of a 28-page booklet filled with a detailed history of the group, biographical sketches and song notes, makes this reissue irresistible. (JC)

 
HUGH CROSS B.A.C.M. 211 Old Time Music From The Smoky Mountains ● CD $14.98
20 tracks recorded between 1927 and 1930 by singer/ guitarist Hugh Cross who worked and recorded with Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers and other groups as well as recordings under his own name. There are solo sides, duets with his his wife Mary, with Riley Puckett and with Clayton McMichen. The latter includes the original recording of When It's Peach Pickin' Time In Georgia which was later recorded by Jimmie Rodgers. The emphasis of the material is on sentimental songs including Don Where The Cotton Blossoms Grow/ If Only I Had My Home Sweet Home/ Tuck Me To Sleep In My Old Kentucky Home/ Clover Blossoms, etc.
HUGH CROSS: A Mother's Plea/ Clover Blossoms/ Dearest Sweetest Mother/ Down Where The Cotton Blossoms Grow/ Down Where The Swanee River Flows/ Go Feather Your Nest/ I'll Climb The Blue Ridge Mountains Back To You/ If I Only Had A Home Sweet Home/ In My Little Home In Tennessee/ Left My Gal In The Mountains/ Mansion Of Achin' Hearts/ My Old Cabin Home/ Never No More Blues/ Pretty Little Blue Eyed Sally/ Smiles/ Tuck Me To Sleep In My Old Kentucky Home/ Wabash Cannonball/ When I Lived In Arkansas/ When It's Peach Pickin' Time In Georgia/ When The Flowers Bloom In The Ozarks

 
VERNON DALHART Document DOCD 1105 Puttin' On The Style ● CD $15.98
18 tracks, 70 mins, highly recommended
Although Dalhart is often shunned by country music collectors because of his somewhat trained voice and precise diction he is certainly an important performer as well as possibly the most prolific. Among the more than 1,800 songs he recorded between 1916 and 1939 are many fine performances including the first recordings of a number songs that have become country standards. Dalhart started his career singing light opera, coon songs and popular ditties and the first three tracks here recorded between 1916 and 1923 find him performing in this mould. In May 1924 he recorded a cover of Henry Whitter's Wreck Of The Old Southern 97 and it's success led to devote most of the rest of his career to country music which comprises the rest of this CD including The Prisoner's Song (one of his most popular songs that he recorded for 50 different labels!) plus Little Rosewood Casket/ The Boston Burglar/ Better Get Out OF My Way!/ Floyd Collins Waltz/ The Mississippi Flood/ My Blue Ridge Mountain Home/ The Alabama Flood, etc. Arrangements feature guitar, banjo, harmonica and occasional Jews harp and piano. Sound is fine and there are extensive notes but no discographical info. (FS)
VERNON DALHART: Better Get Out Of My Way!/ Can't Yo' Hear Me Callin' Caroline?/ Dardanella/ Floyd Collins Waltz/ Get Away Old Man, Get Away!/ Little Rosewood Casket/ My Blue Ridge Mountain Home/ Old Folks At Home/ Puttin' On the Style/ Razors In De Air/ She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain/ The Alabama Flood/ The Boston Burgler/ The Mississippi Flood/ The Prisoners Song/ The Wreck Of the Number Nine/ The Wreck Of the Shenandoah/ Way Out West In Kansas

 
JIMMIE DAVIS Acrobat 4220 Midnight Blues, 1929-1933 ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 76 mins, highly recommended
Old-timey country singer, steeped in the blues. You could say that he is part Jimmie Rodgers and part Jimmy Rogers, with comparisons to the "Singing Brakeman" being closer to the mark. Acrobat rounds up a few years worth of old Jimmie Davis in his prime when he was one of the most beloved and respected pre-WW2 Hillbilly singers. A religious man who would later run for--and win--local public office; nonetheless, his early tracks are bawdy and wild, full of double entendre. Davis would cement his name in music annuls with his 1940 composition You Are My Sunshine, certainly a great song, but not near as fun as much of the material herein. Shes a Hum Dum Dinger/ Bear Cat Mama From Horners Corner/ Midnight Blues/ Pea Pickin Papa/ Red Nightgown Blues/ Tom Cat and Pussy Blues and many, many more fine tracks to enjoy! (JM)

 
BUD DECKLEMAN Cattle 336 Hillbilly Love Songs ● CD $18.98
Fine 50s singers who had a minor hit in 1954 with Daydreamin' (included here). This 18 tracks collection also features let's Not Pretend/ What's The Use To take You Back Again/ I'd Only Be Acting A Fool/ Fallin' Fallin' Fallin'/ I Love You So, etc.
BUD DECKLEMAN: As Long As I Can Dream/ Darling, I'll Keep Trying/ Daydreamin'/ Fallin', Fallin', Fallin'/ For So Long/ I Done Fell Too Fer/ I Gotta Find A Way/ I Love You So/ I Love You Still/ I'd Only Be Acting A Fool/ It's Great To Be Living/ Let's Do It Up Brown/ Let's Not Pretend/ No One, Dear, But You/ Waitin'/ What Is It, Darling?/ What's The Use To Take You Back Again/ Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow

 
TIBBY EDWARDS Bear Family BCD 16557 Play It Cool Man, Play It Cool ● CD $21.98
34 tracks, highly recommended
Listening to these superb Dot, Mercury & Todd sides recorded between 1953 & 1961 by Louisiana singer Tibby Edwards it's hard to understand why he never had a hit. An outstanding singer from Louisiana with a powerful honky tonk flavor to his style, he wrote some excellent songs and on some of these recordings, is accompanied by one of the greatest country bands, Hank William's Drifting Cowboys. A diverse mixture of material from slow country weepers to uptempo rockabilly flavored items including a great cover of the Big Joe Turner R&B hit Flip, Flop & Fly with fiddle! Tibby was born a Cajun and a number of songs have a Cajun flavor and Come On Chere (Let's Have Fun) includes a couple of verses in French. (FS)

 
JIMMIE DALE GILMORE & THE FLATLANDERS Sun 7011 Unplugged ● CD $8.98
12 tracks, 33 perfect mins, essential This is currently the only edition of this beautiful record that seems to be in print. This is truly a very special record and it was pretty much done on a fluke: three up and coming musicians -- Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock--were kicking around Lubbock Texas in the wee early hours of the 1970's when they joined forces for about 6 months, 1 amazing single, and enough material in the can for a posthumously released Country-Folk masterpiece of a CD. The last issue of this on Rounder was more complete, with 2 tracks that aren't featured on this CD, but that one is now long out of print, rendering this essential despite those missing tracks. All country fans, especially those of the Alt. Country variation, should own this disk. (JM)

 
MERLE HAGGARD McCoury Music 008 The Bluegrass Sessions ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 44 mins, highly recommended
Not really a bluegrass album this new album finds one of the greatest living country singers in an all acoustic setting and he sounds wonderful. He is joined by Marty Stuart (who produced) on mandolin & guitar, Rob Ickes on Dobro and slide guitar, Charlie Cushman on banjo and guitar and others and they provide a beautiful backdrop for Merle's soulful vocals - his voice has lost very little of its edge over the years. There are five fine new songs from Merle including the gospel song Pray and the topical What Happened, versions of five of his all time classic songs (Mama's HUngry Eyes/ Holding Things Together/ Big City) sounding fresh in this different setting and rounding out the set is a medley of Jimmie Rodgers songs and a stunning version of the Delmore Brothers classic Blues Stay Away From Me. To be honest, when I first saw this disc I wasn't expecting much - boy, was I wrong, it's a knockout. (FS)

 
LEVON HELM Vanguard 79844 Dirt Farmer ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 51 mins, highly recommended
As a member of The Band, Levon Helm was certainly one of that esteemed ensemble's lynch-pins with his supple drumming and richly robust singing voice. When The Band called it quits in 1976, Levon went solo with middling results; several Band reunions, a critically acclaimed acting career, a couple of deaths (Richard Manuel and Rick Danko), and a battle with throat cancer later, Levon is back doing what he does best. His voice has lost some nuance, but after what he's been through it's a miracle he can sing at all, and this album is his hey-I'm-glad-to-be-alive album. And what better way to celebrate life than by singing traditional folk songs his parents taught him; when Levon wraps his tonsils around False Hearted Lover Blues/ Poor Old Dirt Farmer and The Girl I Left Behind, the good vibes exuded are positively infectious. He also gets contemporary by covering Steve Earle's The Mountain and Buddy and Julie Miller's Wide River To Cross (the Millers also contribute harmony vocals on the former), but whatever he sings, Levon Helm re-affirms why he's one of our national treasures and "Dirt Farmer" is one hell of a comeback. (GMC)

 
EARL HEYWOOD B.A.C.M. 212 Canada's No. 1 Singing Cowboy ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, many of them original compositions, by this popular performer recorded between 1950 and 1957
EARL HEYWOOD: A Bad Penny Always Returns/ Alberta Waltz/ Algonquin Waltz/ Broken Down Merry-Go-Round/ Counterfeit Kisses/ Foolish Heart/ Give Me Wings/ I Want A Roof Over My Head and Bread On The Table/ I'll Tell The World I Love You/ Isle Of Campobello/ Letís Dilly Dally Down In Lily Valley/ Nellie Ray/ Old Brunswick Moon/ Picking Flowers/ Smile, Smile Again/ Tears Of St. Anne/ Tellin' My Troubles To My Old Guitar/ There's A New Love True Love In My Heart/ There's An Angel That's Waiting For Mother/ Those Beautiful Big Brown Eyes/ Three Roses And An Orchid/ When The Snowbirds Cross The Rockies/ While The Wagon Wheels Of Texas Roll Along/ Why In Heaven's Name/ Why Must I Wonder/ Your Only Ray Of Sunshine

 
EDDIE HILL Bear Family BCD 16860 The Hot Guitar - Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight ● CD $21.98
34 tracks, 82 mins, highly recommended
The more I listened to this collection, the more I grew to love it. Eddie Hill has a lot to like, but I can break it down into the three main things about him--and this CD--that is most endearing. He always had bands that featured and showcased white-hot guitar pickers as noted on cuts: The Hot Guitar/ Mountain Jam/ Cold, Cold Woman (The Hot Guitar)/ Buckshot/ Wild Cat, and many more. Secondly, Hill had a fine sense of humor as shown on such great novelty tracks as the tongue-twisting Educated Fool/ Bless You Little Thumpin Gizzard/ The Darndest Thing You Ever Saw, and even a great take (better than the hit version) of Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots which also has plenty of rippin lead guitar. Thirdly, Eddie Hill uses the term "Sugar Booger" in his songs more than even Carl Perkins including the fabulous track My Sugar Booger. Despite all of the fine music he produced, Eddie Hill was also (possibly more) famous for being a disk jockey on the Grand Ole Oprys home station WSM for many years. Fans of hot guitar, western swing and classic country will certainly enjoy. (JM)

 
THE HILL BILLIES B.A.C.M. 223 Volume 4 - Hilly Billy Band ● CD $14.98
The fourth volume from this popular British quartet who performed western flavored songs in the 30s with vocals, guitar, fiddle, harmonica, banjo and accordion. Charming renditions of American Western favorites along with several originals. 24 tracks including Strawberry Roan/ Yodeling Hobo/ A Shanty In A One Horse Town/ Hilly Billy Wedding At The Old Town Hall/ Hilly Billy Band/ Me And The Old Folks At Home/ The Last Of The Texas Rangers/ The Prairie Is A Lonely Place At Night/ Lil Lucy Lane, etc.

 
DOC HOPKINS & HIS COUNTRY BOYS Cattle 335 In The 1940s ● CD $18.98
30 tracks drawn from radio transcriptions of this fine and popular performer who recorded a handful of studio recordings but was a regular on the radio in the 1930s and 1940s and this is a selection drawn from radio transcriptions made for M.M. Cole Transcriptions.
DOC HOPKINS AND HIS COUNTRY BOYS: 't Was Midnight On The Stormy Deep/ 'tis Sweet To Be Remembered/ A Girl In Tennessee/ Cabin Just Over The Hill/ Curly Joe/ From A Cabin In Kentucky/ Get Out Of Here Joe/ Goodbye My Lover Goodbye/ Hold Fast To The Right/ Homecoming In Heaven/ I'll Be Thinking Of You Little Gal/ It's Time To Say Aloha/ Katy Brown And Charley Frye/ Let's Go Up On The Ferris Wheel/ Mary Wore Three Links Of Chain/ My Old Hound/ No Place To Pillow My Head/ Poor Old Hard Luck Joe/ Sally Git Your Hoe Cake Done/ Some Of These Days And It Won't Be Long/ Sourwood Mountain/ The Code Of The Mountains/ The Ship That Never Returned/ There's No Other Love For Me/ Way Down Yonder Where I Come From

 
SKEETER HUBBERT & HIS COWBOYS B.A.C.M. 218 Give Me A Horse And A Saddle ● CD $14.98
Pleasing, if not particularly distinguished, collection of western songs draw from radio transcriptions made around 1941/42 by singer/ guitarist Skeeter Hubbert with his group which included singer/ bass player Ezra Paulette, who took most of the lead vocals and singer/ guitarist Charlie Quirk along with a fiddler and accordion player who are thought to be Billy Hill and Johnny Kiddo respectively. Hubbert is an obscure figure who never recorded under his own name and worked in the late 30s in Stuart Hamblen's band. Nothing is know about him after 1942. Songs include Give Me A Horse And Saddle/ Corinna/ Open Country/ I'll Follow The Trail That I Love/ Over The Garden Wall/ Singe Me A Cowboy Song/ Golden Portals/ I'm Ridin' Saddle For A Dollar A Day/ Let Me Ride The Range and more. Includes notes by Kevin Coffey. (FS)
SKEETER HUBBERT & HIS COWBOYS: Arizona Home/ Buffalo Days/ Come On My Pony/ Corinna/ Give Me A Horse And A Saddle/ Golden Portals/ How I Love Those Saddle Songs/ I'll Follow The Trail That I Love/ I'm Ridin' Saddle For A Dollar A Day/ In The Year Of Jubilo/ Is It True/ Let Me Ride On The Range/ Nancy Till/ Oh For The Life Of A Cowboy/ Open Country/ Over The Garden Wall/ Rhythm Of The Range/ Sing Me A Cowboy Song/ Sing Me A Song Of The Saddle/ Song Of The Moving Herd/ Stars Of The Western Sky/ Susan Jane/ The Strawberry Roan/ Uncle Noah's Ark/ Wagon Train

 

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