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Marvin Rainwater  -> The Tony Rice Unit


MARVIN RAINWATER Bear Family BCD 15600 Classic Records ● CD $99.98
The idiosyncratic quarter-Cherokee singer made his biggest splash in 1957 with "Gonna Find Me A Bluebird" before being forgotten in the U.S. . Yet he remains big in Europe, one reason for this comprehensive, 4 CD box. The 120 selections come from early demos (some later issued on the Crown label), his complete 1955-1960 MGM sides (save nine lost masters) and the Warwick and Star Dale sessions, a live 1962 WWVA Jamboree performance, the Brave sessions and his United Artists and Warner Brothers material. At MGM he ran the musical gamut, obvious on the witty "Tea Bag Romeo," the funky "Dem Low Down Blues," and rockabilly numbers "Hot and Cold" and "Mr. Blues." Based in Washington D.C., Rainwater's band featured guitarist Roy Clark, who long before Hee Haw, mediocrity and Vegas set in, was a hot guitarist ( he used some sort of early fuzztone on "Rovin' Gambler"). Rainwater's eclecticism was amazing. "My Brand Of Blues" reeks of the Johnny Cash sound while "The Majesty of Love" a duet with the then-obscure Connie Francis, features him crooning Perry Como-style. Ironically, many songs with Indian themes were penned not by Rainwater, but by Nashville writer John D. Loudermilk. This is a lot of Rainwater, considering that his later sides were often bizarre rockers like the echoey, distorted Sun Records imitation "Boo Hoo" and "Big Tom Cat," a parody of Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John." Though the live WWVA performance from 1962 with Patty is excellent, Most of the later stuff is awful, particularly the duets with Bill Guess. The final CD includes early demos and unissued sides but if you're interested, here it is. Booklet by Colin Escott with the usual rare photos. (RK)

MARVIN RAINWATER Bear Family BCD 16570 Rock Me - The Westwood Recordings ● CD $21.98
Due mid-May. Country/ rock 'n' roll performer Marvin Rainwater had a loyal following in England and this album features recordings made for the English Westwood label in 1975 and 1976 including a whole LPs worth of material that was never issued.

THE RANCH BOYS Cattle 208 Cowboy Harmony ● CD $18.98
21 rare sides by this western group recorded between 1934 and about 1941 - Ragtime Cowboy Joe/ The Strawberry Roan/ Ole Faithful/ The Old Spinning Wheel/ Empty Saddles/ There's A Home In Wyoming< etc.

WAYNE RANEY Ace CDCHD 857 That Red Hot Boogie Boy ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, 68 mins, essential
At last, an in depth look on CD at the recordings of this outstanding harmonica player, singer and composer recorded for King records between 1947 and 1953. Wayne sings in his unique nasal twang, combining elements of honky tonk, blues, country boogie, and old time balladry, forming his own very effective style. Nearly all the recordings find him accompanied on guitars by The Delmore Brothers who also provide vocal harmonies. On a couple of sessions they are joined by harmonica player Lonnie Glosson for a twin harmonica sound and some of the later sessions feature occasional electric guitar, steel, guitar, fiddle and piano. It includes his hits Lost John Boogie, Jack & Jill Boogie and the classic Why Don't You Haul Off And Love as well as lots of other great songs like Fox Chase (his only solo harmonica piece), the lovely Lonesome Wind Blues with fine mandolin from Mac Luna, the delightful novelty Pardon My Whiskers, an excellent cover of Lefty Frizzell's If You've Got The Money, I've Got The Time and lots more. Sound quality is superb (none of those horrible overdubs) and the 12 page booklet has extensive notes by Dave Sax plus photos and label shots. A winner all the way. (FS)

WAYNE RANEY King 588 Songs From The Hills ● CD $9.98
Exact reproduction of an album from 1958, this is probably the best single album by this artist that is readily available. This album has 16 excellent cuts by this outstanding and historically important harmonica player, vocalist, and composer. Included are his biggest hit, Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me plus Lost John Boogie/ Lonesome Wind Blues, the humorous Pardon My Whiskers/ Jack And Jill Boogie/ I Love My Little YoYo/ Adam/ Gone With The Wind This Morning, and seven more excellent cuts. Accompanied by such musicians as Jethro Burns, the Delmore Brothers, Henry Glover, and others, Wayne sings in his unique nasal twang, combining elements of honky tonk, country boogie, and old time balladry, forming his own very effective style. (RP)

OLE RASMUSSEN Bear Family BCD 16255 Sleepy Eyed John ● CD $21.98
28 tracks recorded for Capitol between 1950 and '52 by excellent and popular Westrn Swing band who performed very much in the Bob Wills style.

THE RED CLAY RAMBLERS Sugarhill 3798 Rambler ● CD $16.98

THE RED CLAY RAMBLERS Sugar Hill 8502 Far North ● CD $11.98
Music from the Sam Shepard film of the same name. Far North/ Blue Duluth/ Roll On Buddy/ Train Through The Big Woods/ Night Harps , etc.

RED RIVER DAVE Bronco Buster 9050 Honky Tonkin' Thelma ● CD $18.98
Red River Dave McEnery was a popular and prolific performer who was particularly known for his topical ballads. This release features rare sides from the 40s.
RED RIVER DAVE: (Take Me Back To My) Boots And Saddle/ Cool Water/ Cotton Eyed Joe/ Heartaches/ Honky Tonkin' Thelma/ I Have Got My Back To The Wall/ I'll Be All Smiles Tonight/ I'll Never Be Ashamed Of You/ I'm A Married Man/ It Could Have Had A Different Ending/ Living A Lie/ My Home Is A Prison/ Over You/ Reeling Cowboy/ San Antonio Rose/ Shame On You/ Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)/ There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder/ Tumbling Tumbleweeds/ Where Is My Boy Tonight/ Why Should I Feel Sorry For You Now/ You Never Waited For Me/ ROY SMECK: Mexicali Rose.

JERRY REED Bear Family BCD 16306 Here I Am ● CD $21.98
Reissue of all 30 tracks Jerry recorded for Capitol between 1955 and 1958 long before he became a country star. A collection of rockabilly and country.

JERRY REED Collectables 2702 When You're Hot You're Hot/ Ko-Ko-Joe ● CD $16.98
Two LPs on one CD.

JERRY REED RCA 66592 The Essential Jerry Reed ● CD $11.98
20 tracks including Guitar Man/ Amos Moses/ When You're Hot, You're Hot/ Ko-Ko Joe/ The Uptown Poker Club/ Lord, Mr Ford/ East Bound And Down/ The Crude Oil Blues/ The Bird/ She Got The Goldmine (I Got The Shaft), etc.

GOEBEL REEVES Bear Family BCD 15680 Hobo's Lullaby ● CD $21.98
26 tracks, 1929-35 by country music pioneer.

JIM REEVES A Touch Of Magic DATOM 3 Live - I Love You More ● CD $17.98
21 tracks, 47 minutes, recommended. These transcription recordings were commissioned by the Armed Forces and were made by Reeves in front of a live audience early in his career. Reeves had one of the purest and most beautiful voices in country music, but was largely promoted as a pop artist, with lush orchestral backing. He was certainly capable of singing hard country, as many of his early recordings attest. These recordings are of the latter variety and are a real treat for those of us who like him best in that context. An occasional pop number intrudes, like Dear Hearts and Gentle People, but mostly this are beautiful country ballads with a few uptempo numbers. Reeves' singing is strong throughout and he sounds great on Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, Your Old Love Letters, Roly Poly, and many others. A highly enjoyable disk and a nice companion piece to the Live at the Opry recording released by the Country Music Foundation a few years back. (DP)

JIM REEVES Bear Family BCD 15656 Welcome To My World ● CD $269.98
16 CDs, 447 tracks, recommended
30 years passed in 1994 since the day Jim Reeves's plane slammed into the countryside outside Nashville. Bear Family marked that occasion by assembling literally every single song Reeves commercially recorded plus dozens of demo recordings. Admittedly, this is a lot of Reeves for all but the die-hard fan (in some areas of Europe, he's practically a god) but for those who qualify, this is the Holy Grail. It starts with his first four sides for the tiny Macy's label. All the complete Abbott recordings, including his first hit, Mexican Joe and a number of alternate takes and the complete RCA Victors. 26 of the RCA recordings are included again with the overdubbed accompaniment used to try and make them sound contemporary, a joint effort between RCA and Jim's widow Mary Reeves. This sort of thing wasn't bad at first, though it eventually got tacky, starting with his ghostly hit duet of Don't Let Me Cross Over with Deborah Allen. Even worse were the tasteless 1980 "duets" of Have You Ever Been Lonely and I Fall to Pieces that electronically paired Jim with the equally dead Patsy Cline. Discs 15 and 16 feature dozens of previously unheard demo recordings beginning with voice and guitar recordings made at KGRI radio in Henderson, Texas, where Reeves worked as an announcer. Three 1952 live recordings feature him live with a band at Longview, Texas' legendary Reo Palm Isle honkytonk. Among the oddities are four selections from a 1959 recording session with his band the Blue Boys for Mary Carter Paints. Colin Escott's 124 page booklet features detailed notes, a discography and what appears to be every Jim Reeves photo ever taken. Only the true Reeves fanatic may want this, but for those who do, you won't get through this one in a month (or even six) of listening. (RK)

JIM REEVES & FRIENDS Bear Family BCD 16274 Radio Days, Vol. 1 ● CD $99.98
4 CD set with book featuring 117 previously unissued recordings drawn from late 1950s and early 60s radio transcriptions made by Jim for Country Music Time. Accompanied by his Blue Boys he sings many of his hits as well as songs he hadn't recorded elsewhere. In addition to his own performances he introduces performances by fellow Nashville stars like Chet Atkins, Jean Shepard, Del Wood, The Louvin Brothers, Carl Butler and others.

JIM REEVES & FRIENDS Bear Family BCD 16282 Radio Days, Vol. 2 ● CD $99.98
Second collection of previously unissued sides drawn from radio transcriptions Jim made in the late 50s and early 60s for Country Style USA, Leatherneck Jamboree & Country Hoedown. Four CD box set with book features 117 tracks.

DICK REINHART Cattle 212 Hot Rod Baby ● CD $19.98
Enjoyable collection of 20 tracks recorded between 1940 and '47 by this engaging West Coast based singer - Baby Be On Your Way/ Don't Make Me Wait Too Long/ Hot Rod Baby/ I Know What You're Thinking/ Mean Old Muddy Water/ No One To Kiss Me Goodnight, etc.

DON RENO & RED SMILEY Copper Creek 127 On Stage ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, 38 min; highly recommended
These wonderful live recordings feature music from concerts at Sunset Park in 1958 and New River Ranch in 1957, at a time when such country music parks played a major role in keeping bluegrass alive. In addition to banjo legend, songwriter, tenor singer extraordinaire and great lead bluegrass guitarist Don Reno and his partner lead singer and rhythm guitarist Red Smiley, The Tennessee Cut-Ups of the time included bassist John Palmer and the fabulous fiddler Mack Magaha. The excitement of a live concert is palpable on these recordings, and the repertoire features no fewer than nine songs and tunes never commercially recorded by the band, including outstanding versions of Don't Stop Now/ Springtime In Glory/ I Can't Stop Loving You/ Gone Home/ Grey Eagle, and others, along with band staples like Your Love Is Dying/ Sawing On The Strings/ Banjo Signal, and others. Wonderful notes by Jack Tottle. An endearing peek at a time in bluegrass history long since past. (RP)

DON RENO & RED SMILEY Copper Creek 128 On The Air ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, 37 min; recommended
Another privileged glimpse into the history of bluegrass, this time via recordings from four different radio shows featuring Reno & Smiley from 1957 to 1960. Less satisfying musically than the concert recordings reviewed above because of time constraints, long intros and too much palaver in general, this CD nonetheless offers a fascinating look at local bluegrass programming of the day. The Tennessee Cut-ups are augmented here on some numbers by ten year old mandolinist Ronnie Reno, including a vocal on a number called Lasses. Other numbers include It's A Little More Like Heaven/ I'll Stay Around/ There's More Pretty Girls Than One/ Sweethearts In Heaven/ Family Bible and others. Extremely learned, knowing notes by Johnson Mtn. Boys fiddler Eddie Stubbs. (RP)

RENO & SMILEY King KSCD 5105 Classic Bluegrass ● CD $9.98
10 tracks, recommended Short but sweet collection of love songs drawn from this great duo's recordings for King. Most from the late 50s and early 60s it also includes the great I'm Gone, Long Gone from their first King session in 1952 plus other fine tracks like Love Please Come Home/ Lonesome Wind Blues/ Another Day/ Ain'y Nobody Gonna Miss Me/ Greenback Dollar, etc. terrific singing and instrumental work with lots of fine banjo picking from Reno. (FS)

RENO & SMILEY King KMCD 6105 Tribute To Mother ● CD $9.98
12 gospel songs with a mother theme by this suprerb bluegrass group - Always Be Kind To Your Mother/ I'm Building A Mansion in the Sky/ My Mother's Bible/ Mother's Only Sleeping/ A Brighter Mansion Over There/ A Rose On God's Shore, etc.

BUDDY REYNOLDS Bronco Buster 9028 A Canadian Country Music Pioneer ● CD $19.98
BUDDY REYNOLDS: A Stranger's Kiss/ Angel in Disguise/ Blue Okanagan./ Centipede/ Exile/ Golden Eagle Rag/ I Want to Be Your Valentine/ I Was Only Foolin'/ Little Shoes/ Make-believe Castle/ Ogopogo/ Roly Poly Heart/ Seeing Is Believing/ Tundra/ Your Love Has Changed to Jealousy/ over an Ocean of Golden Dreams

SLIM RHODES Gee-Dee 270132 Gonna Romp And Stomp ● CD $19.98
Mostly country and a bit of rock 'n roll including his 9 Sun recordings and a radio show from 1966.

RHUBARB RED Bronco Buster 9023 Les Paul's Country Roots ● CD $18.98
22 tracks, 47 mins, good
Any fan of Les Paul's knows that before Mary Ford, multitracked recordings and so forth, he had the persona of Rhubarb Red, and in the 1930s, worked extensively on WJJD's Suppertime Frolics under that name. Years later, after he'd retired the Rhubarb Red persona and formed his Les Paul Trio, who appeared on Fred Waring's NBC radio show. Apparently in the 1940s, he was convinced to revive Rhubarb Red for a series of MacGregor Transcriptions, issued on Orthotone Transcriptions in Canada. Details behind these transcriptions aren't clear. They could have been recorded with the Trio, or possibly in Los Angeles after the Trio disbanded, since he's featured singing with only guitar, bass and fiddle accompaniment. Don't expect much hot playing, except for Les's own original instrumental Firecracker Rag. The songs are standard-issue traditional country and mountain fare, everything from Barbara Allen and Bully of the Town to In the Blue Hills of Virginia, all sung straight. When he sings a pop tune like I Never See Maggie Alone or Bill Bailey, there's nary a lick of jazz. Even the very competent fiddler never gives into the temptation to let fly with some swing licks. Les would burrow even deeper into jazz and pop playing, not to mention guitar and amp technology. This set, however, gives a pretty good survey of his ability with straight, no frills country fare. He would, however, work with hillbilly music again, albeit in an uncredited capacity on some of Red Ingle's material. (RK)

TONY RICE Rounder 0092 Manzanita ● CD $16.98

TONY RICE Rounder 0167 Backwaters ● CD $16.98

TONY RICE Rounder 0183 Cold On The Shoulder ● CD $16.98
This is the first all vocal solo album by this talented performer and an excellent album it is too - a nice mixture of traditional and contemporary songs by writers like Godon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, Rodney Crowell and others - excellent singing and guitar by Tony with Jerry Douglas/ dobro, Todd Phillips/ bass, Vassar Clements/ fiddle, Sam Bush/ mandolin & others

TONY RICE Rounder 0201 Me & My Guitar ● CD $16.98
Tony concentrates on singer-songwriter material for the most part on this one (5 songs by Gordon Lightfoot, 1 each by James Taylor, Ian Tyson, Norman Blake, Bob Franke and Bob Dylan, along with 2 instrumentals) and it's a very nice record, partly because Tony's easy baritone singing voice lends itself to these songs and partly because of some well conceived bluegrass arrangements and great accompanists (Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Mark Schatz, Vassar Clements, et al). Particularly nice is Tony's sardonic reading of Dylan's Sweetheart Like You. (RP)

TONY RICE Rounder 0248 Native American ● CD $16.98
Another contemporary folk kind of record from Tony, much like his Me And My Guitar of a while back. On this one, he does two Gordon Lightfoot compositions, one James Taylor, one John Mayall, one Mickey Newbury, one Joni Mitchell, an Ian Tyson, one Mary Chapin Carpenter and one Phil Ochs, among others. The instrumentation is bluegrass provided by Tony on guitar and his current band of Mark Schatz, Wyatt Rice and Jimmy Gandreau, along with occasional help from Jerry Douglas, Vassar Clements, Jonathan Edwards and others. Newbury's Why You Been Gone So Long is the closest thing to bluegrass but that's OK if you're not expecting a bluegrass record. Tony's obvious fondness for these songs, his great singing and guitar playing and imaginative arrangements do generally show the songs in their best light. (RP)

TONY RICE Rounder 0253 Plays & Sings Bluegrass ● CD $16.98

TONY RICE Sugar Hill 3732 Church Street Blues ● CD $16.98

THE RICE BROTHERS GANG B.A.C.M. 117 King Cotton Stomp ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, 70 minutes, highly recommended
During the 1920s, Atlanta's fertile old-time music community was divided into two camps. At one end: the older, tradition-minded John Carson and the Tanner Brothers. At the other: Clayton McMichen, Lowe Stokes and Hoke Rice, who could play the old tunes but were more captivated by blues, jazz and popular music. Veteran country record producers initially ignored the younger musicians' progressive repertoire, though the mid-'30s juke box revolution changed all that. The opening tracks by Hoke Rice's Hoky-Poky Boys from 1930 sound like a black hokum ensemble. In 1937 Hoke and his younger brother Paul formed The Rice Brothers Gang, a versatile showband with outstanding musicianship. Like the Hoosier Hot Shots, Rice Brothers Gang weren't really country nor jazz. Unlike that popular Midwestern act, they eschewed novelties and were definitely Southern. Hoke played electric guitar (one of the earliest in country music), with Clinton Collins on swing fiddle, Warren Sykes on hot harmonica and Ted Lewis/Johnny Hodges disciple Johnny Gorman on reeds. The personnel shifted during the next five years, but its sound remained consistent until the end; fiddler Cliff Bruner sat in on one 1941 date. Highly recommended to hot string band aficionados. (DS)
THE RICE BROTHERS GANG: Brown Mule Slide/ Down Yonder (instr.)/ Georgia Jubilee/ Girl Of My Dreams/ I Won‘t Have Any Troubles Anymore/ I‘ll Always Love You/ King Cotton Stomp (instr.)/ Linda May Polka/ Little Girl I‘m So Blue Without You/ Lovelight In The Starlight/ Mary Lou/ Nagasaki (instr.)/ Oh Susannah/ On The Sunny Side Of The Street/ Please Don‘t Stay Away/ Ridin‘ Down The Canyon/ Sally Do You Love Me/ Sugar Blues/ Sweet Someone/ Sweetheart Wait For Me/ They Cut Down The Old Pine Tree/ When It‘s Blossom Time In Old Caroline/ You Don‘t Love Me Anymore (little Darlin‘)/ You‘ve Got That Thing/ You‘ve Gotta See Your Daddy Every Night

THE TONY RICE UNIT Rounder 11531 Devlin ● CD $16.98
CD-only selection of tunes from Tony's Mar West and Still Inside albums, 15 tunes.


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