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COUNTRY, BLUEGRASS & OLD-TIMEY

Bob Gallion -> Curtis Gordon

BOB GALLION
JERRY GARCIA & DAVID GRISMAN
HANK GARLAND
FRANKLIN GEORGE
DON GIBSON
JIMMIE DALE GILMORE
TOMPALL GLASER
JOE GOLDMARK
DAVE GOODMAN
CURTIS GORDON
 

BOB GALLION Bear Family BCD 16439 Out Of A Honky Tonk ● CD $21.98
20 tracks, 46 mins, recommended The complete MGM recordings (1956 to 1959) of this outstanding honky tonk singer who had a couple of modest hits from these recordings and later went on to greater success a few years later at Hickory. Gallion is a powerful and expressive singer who wrote many of the songs here. Although full personnel is not known one session does feature Don Helms on steel and another session has Tommy Jackson on fiddle. Some of the later sessions feature unnecesarry vocal chorus but he generally is able to rise above it. The set includes his two very fine stabs at rock 'n roll My Square Dancin' Mama (She Learned To Rock 'n' Roll) and Baby, Love Me. Thre are also four previously unissued songs including an excellent version of the Rod Bernard hit This Should Go On Forever. Definitely worth a listen. (FS)

 
JERRY GARCIA & DAVID GRISMAN Acoustic Disc 2 Jerry Carcia & David Grisman ● CD $15.98

 
JERRY GARCIA & DAVID GRISMAN Acoustic Disc ACD 21 Shady Grove ● CD $17.98

 
HANK GARLAND Bear Family BCD 15551 Hank Garland & His Sugar Footers ● CD $21.98
Guitarist extraordinaire Hank Garland made his first solo recordings for Decca in the late forties and early fifties. This 20 song compilation brings together all those early sides. It includes Garland's original 1949 instrumental version of Sugarfoot Rag and Red Foley's 1950 hit vocal version of the song, recorded a few months later with Hank on guitar. When Decca's Paul Cohen signed Garland in 1949, he thought an instrumentalist needed to sing to sell records (Chet Atkins sang on his first RCA sides). So Cohen had Hank record Hank Snow and Floyd Tillman hits, imitating their vocals Rich Little-style on This Cold War With You and I'm Moving On. Even Owen Bradley, then Cohen's assistant, now admits this wasn't such a hot idea. But Garland's clean, clear picking is a constant, and other instrumentals like Hillbilly Express, Sentimental Journey, Lowdown Billy, Sugarfoot Boogie (the earliest recording here) and Seventh And Union are outstanding. The few vocals in his frame the mostly instrumental Guitar Shuffle and E String Rag. His playing even saves the cornball instrumental Doll Dance and I'm Crying, a variation on Blues Stay Away From Me sung by Jack Shook and Dottie Dillard. Two 1950's numbers come from a Garland session for the obscure Chic label of Thomasville, Georgia. The booklet boasts complete discographical data for the Decca sides and excellent notes by Garland authority Rich Kienzle. (AK)

 
FRANKLIN GEORGE County 2703 Traditional Music For Banjo, Fiddle & Bagpipes ● CD $15.98
21 tracks, 50 min; recommended West Virginia fiddler, banjo player, and piper Franklin George possesses an infectiously jaunty, melodic style both on fiddle and banjo, combined with a rhythmic feel that indicates that he played lots of music for dancing during his formative musical years. He's also an accomplished bagpiper, and is particularly well informed on the bagpipe origins of the many Irish and Scottish fiddle tunes that have made their way into the traditional Appalachian repertoire. There are two bagpipe medleys here, but the meat of this very enjoyable album, first recorded for the Kanawha label in 1967, is in the wonderful fiddle and banjo tunes documented here, including Old Molly Hare/ Salt River/ Soldier's Joy/ Fine Times At Our House/ Turkey In The Straw/ Grey Eagle/ Mississippi Sawyer, and more. Occasional accompaniments by John Summers on second fiddle or Pat Dunford on banjo or guitar. Wonderful listening all the way around. Good notes by George Balderose. (RP)

 
DON GIBSON B.A.C.M. 134 I Love No One But You - The early Years CD $14.98
24 tracks, highly recommended
A fascinating glimpse at the early years of this fine artist who was to achieve great success in the late 50s and 60s. This album features 24 sides recorded for Mercury, RCA & Columbia between 1949 and 1955 before Don's voice had matured to the distinctive one we are familiar from his big hits.The first side features the 4 sides recorded in 1949 with The Sons Of The Soil and are very western flavored - on two of them all four members sing in astyle very reminiscent of The Sons Of The Pioneers. The 8 songs from 1950 & 1951 are straight ahead mainstream country with warm but not terribly compelling vocals by Don and nice accompaniment by a small group with pleasing steel by Summie L. Hendrick. By the time he joined Columbia in 1952 we can hear his distinctive style beginning to take shape with excellent vocals and strong instrumental work. Decent sound and brief notes by Brian Golbey. (FS)
DON GIBSON: A Blue Million Tears/ Automatic Mama/ Carolina Breakdown (instr.)/ Cloudy Skies/ Dark Future/ I Just Love The Way You Tell A Lie/ I Lost My Love/ I Love No One But You/ Ice Cold Heart/ Just Let Me Love You/ Let Me Stay In Your Arms/ Many Times I‘ve Waited/ No Shoulder To Cry On/ Red Lips, White Lies & Blue Hours/ Roses Are Red/ Sample Kisses/ Selfish With Your Kisses/ Symptoms Of Love/ Waiting Down The Road/ Walking In The Moonlight/ We‘re Steppin‘ Out Tonight/ Why Am I So Lonely/ Wiggle Wag (instr.)/ You Cast Me Out Forever More

 
DON GIBSON Bear Family BCD 15401 A Legend In My Time ● CD $21.98
Once again, Bear Family demonstrates the RIGHT way to produce a CD with this incredible-sounding 26-track (over an hour and five minutes of playing time) of classic 1957-64 Gibson RCA material. One of country music's greatest songwriters, Gibson always epitomized the positive aspects of the late 50s "Nashville Sound." He and producer Chet Atkins (whose stinging lead guitar graces much of the material here) achieved a sound that flattered Gibson's voice without fiddles and steel. The Gibson standards are here, from Oh Lonesome Me / Blue, Blue Day / A Legend In My Time / Give Myself A Party / I Can't Stop Loving You / Sea Of Heartbreak and Sweet Dreams . Also included are rarities such as the hard-country pre-Nashville Sound Sittin' Here Cryin' and four 1964-5 sides issued for the first time. Musicians include: Atkins, Floyd Cramer or Pig Robbins (pno), Buddy Harman (dms), Junior Huskey or Bob Moore (bs), Hank Garland or Grady Martin (gtrs). The insert features complete discographical data and brief but enlightened notes from Charles Wolfe, whose companion book (below) complements this set perfectly. (RK)

 
DON GIBSON Bear Family BCD 15475 The Singer-Songwriter, 1954-60 ● CD $84.98
Some years ago, Bear Family issued several Don Gibson LPs that brought together all of his early recordings, beginning with his first four mediocre Mercury sides recorded at age 16 in 1949 as part of a quartet of his hometown North Carolina musicians known as the Sons of the Soil (Don sang lead on two numbers and played bass). This new set puts everything on these albums and everything else he cut onto four CDs including his first unsuccessful stint with RCA in 1950-1951 as leader of the King Cotton Kinfolks. At this point Don's potential as a vocalist was obvious, but the sides were much in the style of Hank Williams and any number of other vocalists and went nowhere. The 12 sides for Columbia from 1952 to 1954 were excellent vocal showpieces for him (except when he tried--unsuccessfully-- to sing like Hank Williams). These, too, went nowhere. Most of the songs he cut not only weren't very good, they weren't even his own compositions. With MGM in 1955 he did no better, being pushed to sing in a style that wasn't his, though he began cutting more of his own songs including his first hit--the original version of Sweet Dreams, which became Don's first hit song when Faron Young covered it. His writing career showed promise even though he had no more success on MGM. In 1957 he returned to RCA working with Chet Atkins, who had just taken over the label's country A & R duties. The first session stiffed. The second dropped the fiddles and steel, added the Jordanaires and produced Blue, Blue Day. The new, streamlined Gibson sound was the ticket, giving him a chance to such classics as Oh, Lonesome Me and I Can't Stop Loving You (which Gibson wrote in one afternoon). As it turned out, he, like Jim Reeves, became one artist whose work was enhanced by the "Nashville Sound" to counter rock and roll. This shows that sound at its best. The other hits, Look Who's Blue, Give Myself A Party and Who Cares are all here. 123 songs later, the set ends with a September 12, 1960 date that produced his second hit version of Sweet Dreams. The booklet is Charles Wolfe's previously-published "A Legend in His Own Time" which includes rare photos and a complete Gibson discography. This isn't all the excellent material Gibson recorded for RCA (another box would do it). This one, however, shows his evolution, a hidden strength of Bear Family box sets, and a reason to excuse the inevitable lousier songs. (RK)

 
DON GIBSON Bear Family BCD 15664 The Singer, The Songwriter, 1961-66 ● CD $99.98
4 CDs, 123 tracks, approx. 5 hours, good. This picks up where the first volume (BCD 15475) left off, with Gibson's second hit recording of his classic ballad Sweet Dreams. In the early sixties he still made outstanding records, produced by Chet Atkins, that epitomized the best of the Nashville Sound. Sea of Heartbreak, Lonesome Number One andI Can Mend Your Broken Heart all came during this time. In the spirit of experimentation he also recorded the strange LP "Girls, Guitars and Gibson". Backing came from the Anita Kerr singers and guitarists Hank Garland, Harold Bradley and jazz great Johnny Smith playing gutstring models. During this period Gibson also recorded the LP "I Wrote A Song", remakes of earlier Gibson hits along with the LPs "Some Favorites of Mine" and "God Walks These Hills". Nine tracks are issued for the first time. Mid-sixties performances faltered badly considerably as Gibson's booze and pill problems worsened, so along with the gems, there's much of dubious value. His recordings with the Brazilian guitar team Los Indios Tabajaras were particularly flat, never issued until Bear Family released them on LP some years ago. Dale Vinicur's well-written notes add little new to Charles Wolfe's original Gibson research. But she occasionally goes over the edge with pretentious pull quotes, from the Bible, one from Edgar Cayce and three from a book about Cayce, that come off as pure nonsense, not insight. Greil Marcus she's not. (RK)

 
DON GIBSON Collectables 5874 Oh Lonesome Me ● CD $14.98
Reissue of RCA 1743 from 1958 with 4 bonus cuts - Bad Bad Day/ I Can't Leave/ I Can't Stop Lovin' You/ Sweet, Sweet Girl/ Blue, Blue Day/ We Could/ Oh Lonesoem Me/ Give Myself A Party/ Sea Of Heartbreak, etc.

 
JIMMIE DALE GILMORE Hightone HCD 8011 Fair & Square ● CD $15.98
Texas musicians have long crossed stylistic barriers. In the 1930s, western swing merged old-time stringband harmonies with jazz-blues rhythms. In the 1970s, a similar fusion emerged variously tagged "country rock," "cosmic cowboy," or "progressive country." For a decade, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely, and friends -- in Lubbock and Austin -- have pushed themselves and fans onto inventive paths. Jimmie's current Hightone album of ten new songs is superb: reedy soulful vocals, tight instrumental backup, fresh restatements of timeless themes, imaginative poetry. Country rock remains vital: highly recommended. (AG)

 
JIMMIE DALE GILMORE Hightone HCD 8018 Jimmie Dale Gilmore ● CD $15.98
1989 release by Gilmore, recorded in Nashville. Honky Tonk Song/ Dallas/ Red Chevrolet/ Deep Eddy Blues/ That Hardwood Floor/ When The Nights Are Cold , etc.

 
JIMMIE DALE GILMORE Rounder 3173 One Endless Night ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 54 minutes, recommended Jimmie Dale's latest is a big improvement over his "Braver New World" release and probably his best in years. The disk offers a powerful argument that Gilmore's main claim to fame is as a song stylist. He only wrote 2 of the tunes here, the title song and Blue Shadows, but both are strong additions to his songbook. As for the other material, his instantly recognizable melancholy croon and phrasing puts his individual stamp on the material, be it long time collaborator Butch Hancock's Ramblin' Man, Walter Hyatt's Georgia Rose, or his unexpected cover of Mack the Knife. The arrangements are more consistently country and Buddy Miller's fine guitar playing is a definite asset all and all a solid effort. (DP)

 
TOMPALL GLASER Bear Family BCD 15596 The Rogue ● CD $21.98
The third unissued ABC album, "Unwanted Outlaw", is combined here with a more recent collection of classic pop and country. The oldies are excellent, combining vintage country like Red Foley's Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy with Eddy Arnold's I'll Hold You In My Heart, Gene Autry's Tears on My Pillow, Floyd Tillman's I Love You So Much It Hurts and Jimmie Davis's Shackles And Chains. The pop numbers include Cole Porter's True Love, the 1949 Russ Morgan pop hit Forever And Ever and the Kay Kyser hit Open Heart, Open Arms. Mixed with all this is the traditional number My Pretty Quadroon. "Unwanted Outlaw" was co-produced by Tompall and Jimmy Bowen of Garth Brooks fame. Fact is, this is far better than any of the sludge Bowen's produced on Brooks. Featured are Harlan Howard's Like An Old Country Song, Tompall's own Sad Country Songs and Bob McDill's brilliantly funny Don't Think You're Too Good For Country Music. Musically, it dovetails surprisingly well with the older material. (RK)

 
TOMPALL GLASER Bear Family BCD 15605 The Outlaw ● CD $21.98
Today, Tompall, one of the original Outlaws, seems barely remembered. During the Waylon-Willie era he had only a few minor chart hits despite the fact his Hillbilly Central studios in Nashville were the spiritual center of the movement. Glaser cut three LPs for ABC/Dot Records and this CD combines the two 1977 LPs: "Tompall And His Outlaw Band" and "The Wonder of It All". Though neither album sold, Glaser did some terrific work here that reflects his freewheeling eclecticism. He tackled everything from Mickey Newbury's How I Love Them Old Songs and a great version of Jessi Colter's Storms Never Last to the traditional Duncan And Brady, Jimmie Davis's Sweethearts Or Strangers and Release Me. Another indicator of his individualism is the Stax-Volt arrangement of Waylon's hit You Can Have Her. His voice alternates between raw and hoarse and a depth and texture hauntingly similar to that of his friend Marty Robbins. The backing is great, and I wish basic session personnel would have been identified on both sets. Blues guitarist Mel Brown was part of Tompall's band during this time. Perhaps Tompall was a bit too quirky to be as easily marketed as easily as Waylon and Willie, though he admits in the notes that drug use may not have helped the situation. These sides reveal what everyone else missed. (RK)

 
JOE GOLDMARK Lo-Ball 6 All Over The Road ● CD $15.98

 
JOE GOLDMARK Lo-Ball 7 The Goldmark Round-Up - Steelin' From His Past ● CD $15.98

 
DAVE GOODMAN Bear Family BCD 17009 Live '96 ● CD $21.98

 
CURTIS GORDON Bear Family BCD 16253 Play The Music Louder ● CD $21.98
34 tracks recorded for Mercury, RCA and Dollie between 1952 and 1957 and previously available on two Bear Family LPs. Curtis, from georgia, is an excellent and expressive vocalist and is accompanied by some superb musicians including steel guitarists Freddie Calhoun, Bud Isaacs or Jerry Byrd, fiddlers Charles Mitchell or Dale Potter, guitarists Chet Atkins and Eddie Hill and others. His material is a mixture of ballads, country boogies, rockabilly and some novelty items all given fine treatment though Gordon seems more comfortable with the uptempo items. (FS)

 

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