CD: KENTUCKY OLD-TIME BANJO – North American Traditions Series


North American Traditions Series
Devil’s Dream – Tally Ho – Boatin’ Up Sandy –
Grammy Went To Meeting With Her Old Shoes On – John Hardy – Roll On
Buddy Roll On – Rippling Water – Down The River, Oh Yes – Red Lick –
Walking in The Parlor – Wild Bill Jones – Heathen Ridge Stomp/Mama’s
Breakdown – Hot Corn –  Swannanoa Mountain – Blackeyed Susie – Forked
Deer – Little Boy Working On The Road – Johnny Inch Along – Stackolee –
Sugar In The Gourd – Lonesome Road Blues – Cripple Creek/Susanna – John
Henry – Hallelujah I’ A Bum – Home Sweet Home – Rocky Mountain Goat –
Everybody’s Favorite – Sourwood Mountain – The Darker The Nights –
Soldier’s Joy – The Blind Man’s Lament – Callahan – Young Edward –
Turkey in The Straw – Hawk’s Got A Chicken And Gone – Chicken Reel –
State Rock – The Fun’s All Over
Rounder Records has done a remarkable job investigating and
recording these old songs, mostly from the Kentucky area where they
abounded so tremendously.  It’s a great deal of drop-thumb banjo, but as
one listens, the five-string style of Earl Scruggs begins to appear.  
These two styles are incredible different, but both are very
entertaining.  Mark Wilson and John Harrod are mostly responsible for
this massive work of old-style banjo playing. Sometimes referred to as
the ‘clawhammer’ style, many of the banjoists appearing on this CD very
distinctly have their own style of playing.  It should also be noted
this CD is basically an ‘instrumental’ project, keeping the banjo as the
obvious attention getter.  We do hear an occasional vocal, ‘John Hardy’
being the first one. ‘Stackolee” is another great vocal number,
performed by Bert Garvin.  Blanche Coldiron does a very nice job on
“Lonesome Road Blues,” very old-timey and just as it once was sung. 
“Home Sweet Home” is done by Omar Hook, a genuine song-catcher.  He had
very strong feelings about the music he played and how he played it.  He
was often upset with bluegrass players who he felt improperly acted as
if they had invented the three-finger picking style. Omar was a rugged
individualist, devising his own style of playing, including the use of
steel strings instead of gut, and refusing to use picks or capos to play
his music.  A frontiersman of early mountain music to say the least.
The closing song “The Fun’s All Over” is efficiently done by Bert Garvin
with J P Fraley on fiddle and Danielle Fraley on guitar.  It’s a
perfect representation of how the music was done and and obviously over
with.  There is a small notice on the inside of the CD insert from the
North American Traditions Series…”The rural communities of the United
States and Canada possess a rich and varied heritage of spirited forms
of social music including square dance fiddling, old songs and banjo
tunes.  Under the general editor-ship of Mark Wilson of the University
of Pittsburgh and drawing upon recordings made over the past thirty
years this series seeks to introduce this music and its performers to a
wider public.”  Pretty much the same desire of the National Traditional
Country Music Association and my own volunteer as president for the past
41 years.  Real country music, real rural music, of America is rapidly
descending into the historical past, even though rural America doesn’t
listen to today’s modern rock & roll and noise called ‘country’, as a
music emanating from rural America.  Well it doesn’t, does it?
for Country Music News International 

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