THE ROE FAMILY SINGERS -The Owl And The Bat And The Bumblebee

THE ROE FAMILY SINGERS -The Owl And The Bat And The Bumblebee
Crow Black Chicken – Happy Girl – King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O – Cannoball Blues – East Colorado Blues – Lil’ Billy Reuben – Let That Liar Alone – Elspeth’s Farewell – O Susanna – Reuben Train – The Crawdad Song – Me & My Pony – Chased Ol‘ Satan
 
Does anyone out there, besides me, remember Riley Puckett?  He was a blind guitar player, worked with fiddler Clayton McMichen.  Wow, this was a time when country music was old-timey fun.  McMichen and his co-horts had their own mountain style of good-time music with outstanding fiddle leads.  So does the Roe Family Singers. this CD put me back into another time another place another fun thing to do, to listen to, to ponder, to wonder, to guess…..wow these folks must know Riley Puckett too.  Well maybe, maybe not.  That’s a ponder that will come later.  Right now I’m listening to one of the best old-timey ‘fun’ CD’s I’ve heard since Puckett.  These folks call it roots music.  It’s all in the wrist as they say to aspiring fiddlers.  In the case of old-timey fun ‘roots’ music, it’s all in the beat, the rhythm, improvisation, ad-libbing, and lo and behold maybe even some imperfections.  Yes, could that be right?  Imperfections?  Isn’t that what all that early old-timey ‘fun’ music was all about.  Having fun.  Dancing to a ‘fun’ rhythm, a beat, a cadence.  The Roe Family Singers are made up of some friendly folks, and have an interesting road traveled.  I think everyone sings at one time or another, another neat another.  Kim Roe (mom) plays washboard and autoharp; Quillan Roe (dad) plays banjo (much of it in a frailing style that Ralph Stanley delivers sometimes as taught to him by his mother); Kurt Froehlich on mandolin; Dan Gaarder on flat-top guitar; Ric Lee on fiddle; Jon Olson on upright bass (the only ‘true’ bass sound, so very much more energetic and bass sounding than electric); Rich Rue on steel guitar; Adam Wirtzfeld on musical saw; and Rob “Ol Spitty” Davis on jug.  Whaaaat?  Did you say jug?  Yes, I did say ‘jug.’  This is a “JUG” band, an exact extinct definition of what they play, BUT they also add their own original music to the mix.  And ‘original’ it is.  Very unlike anything you’ve heard in top-forty country music these days, but a mainstay in the golden age of ‘real’ country music, and certainly ‘gold’ for the Roes.  This family lives in Minnesota, and has a remarkable bio.  They’ve played with some of the best names in traditional music, they’ve won some very interesting awards, and they’ve made some notable appearances, most importantly perhaps being hosts of their own weekly radio show “The Roe Family Radio Round Up” on KFAI public radio in Minneapolis.  They also play weekly at a club in Minneapolis called the “331 Club.”  This is string band music at it’s best….let that be a quote from the President of the National Traditional Country Music Association, Bob Everhart.  I will of course forward this CD to the Rural Roots Music Commission, and see a “Jug” CD of the Year somewhere in the future for the Roe Family Singers.
Quillan Roe, 2405 Kirkwood Lane North, Minneapolis, MN 55441

RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART

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