Take a step back in time with these reviews of recordings from the past. On these pages you will find reviews of bluegrass and acoustic recordings from times gone by. It may be that obscure recording that wasn't widely distributed or maybe a recording of historical significance that has slipped by the wayside. Many of these reviews will be of recordings long out of print, yet others will be of recordings that have made their way to CD re-issue. Hopefully with these reviews, your memories will be awakened, and you'll dust off some old recordings that you haven't listened to for awhile, or maybe you'll seek out some of these recordings that you may have missed. Remember, if you haven't heard it, it's new to you!
J.D. Crowe and The New South
Starday SCD-489 (CD Reissue)
You Can Have Her, You Can Share My Blanket, Devil In Disguise, God's Own Singer, Ten Degrees And Getting Colder, How Come You Do Me (Like You Do, Do, Do), For Lovin' Me, My Heart Talks To Me, Come On Down To My World, Leaves That Are Green.
1972, I was only a year out of high school and was working as a roadie/soundman/truck driver for a local rock/country rock band here in rivertown by the name of Big Bear. At the time, Big Bear was pretty popular on the college circuit, playing alot of dates in Lexington, Ky and the surrounding areas, mostly country clubs and frat parties, and an occational gig opening for, then rock band, Exile. I remember times when the shows would end early enough for the guys in the band to make the trek to the Holiday Inn-North, in Lexington, to catch this hot bluegrass band that everyone was talking about, J.D. Crowe and The New South. Sadly to say, I had to stay to tear down and load the equipment, and then make the journey back home never to have had the pleasure of catching The New South's act at the Holiday Inn. Oh well, someone had to do the grunt work! By the time I was exposed to The New South, it was nearly 10 years later when I first heard Rounder 0044, the landmark Crowe recording with Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, and Jerry Douglas; then I realized what I had been missing. This recording pre-dates 0044 by a couple of years and was the stepping stone for what was to become one of the greatest progressive bluegrass bands of our time. For this, the debut recording for The New South, the group incorporated piano, pedal steel, and drums, along with J.D's banjo, and the guitar and mandolin pickin' and soulful vocals of Tony and Larry Rice, along with Bobby Slone on bass. All the tunes on this set have since become New South classics, having found their way to later New South recordings as well as those by Tony Rice, Larry Rice and more. Most have become bluegrass classics, period, with many of todays bluegrass pickers having learned these tunes and their bluegrass chops by way of J.D. Crowe and The New South. J.D. has indeed proven that he was ahead of his time and created a formula that has stood the test of time as bluegrass moves into the next century and beyond. LONG LIVE BLUEGRASS MUSIC! NH
Robin Trout and Super Bluegrass
"Listen to That Old Banjer Ring"
King Bluegrass Records KBA-601
Listen to That Old Banjer Ring, I'm Sad and I'm All Alone, Clark County Breakdown, I Remember, St. George Ramble, I'm Gonna Get You, Makin' A Crop, All Right Clyde, Early In The Morning, Pickin' Grass, Day After Tomorrow, 34 Get-A-Way Sedan, Faithful To Him.
I first met Robin Trout when I was still in High School, in Maysville, Ky around 1969. I never had the pleasure of hearing Robin play with a band, though I did hear him pick around on the old Banjer a couple times. I wasn't much into bluegrass at the time, but was able to tell that he was very much into his craft. I lost contact with Robin sometime after that, I supposed that was when he moved to Vegas to pick bluegrass with Super Bluegrass. A few years later I became friends with a cousin of Robin's who turned me on to this LP, Robin Trout and Super Bluegrass. By this time I had started listening to a little bluegrass, though I was still pretty much only into rock and roll and blues. I remember thinking that this was a pretty good album, but it wasn't until some years later that I really came to appreciate it.
At the time of this recording Robin Trout and Super Bluegrass were pickin' bluegrass in Las Vegas and on the campus of UNLV. I would guess that it was at that time that Robin met fiddler Bobby Hicks, who guests on a couple of cuts on this project. What a coup to land an ex-Bluegrass Boy to pick on your debut project. From the liner notes of Bobby Hick's most resent recording, "Fiddle Patch", Bobby was playing fiddle for The Judy Lynn Show, in Vegas at the time of this recording.
Most of the tunes here were penned by guitarist, Earnest Cockrell and mandolin picker, Doug Bounsall, with most of the vocals being handled by bassist, Cotton Harp.
There is some mighty fine banjo pickin' to be found on this project. On the title song, Robin lets loose with some fine Scruggs style pickin' and Bobby Hicks adds some hot fiddle licks that add up to some Super Bluegrass. Fiddler Hicks also makes another appearance here on the Cockrell-Trout penned "Makin' a Crop" which tells pretty much the whole process of raising burley tobacco, which Robin undoubtedly learned of first hand, living here in Maysville; one of the largest tobacco markets in the country. There is a tremendous amount of fine pickin' to be found here such as "Clark County Breakdown" and the banjo-mandolin tune,"34 Get-A-Way Sedan". Also, Robin struts his stuff on the mandolin on "All Right Clyde" and "St. George Ramble", and you gotta wonder what ever happened to such a fine bluegrass picker. I am pretty much sure that this recording is long out of print, and probably not that easy to find, though if you're lucky enough to lay your hands on one, you'll have a real keeper. At the very least, if you catch me somewhere down the road and want to experience this LP, I'd be glad to help. NH