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COUNTRY, BLUEGRASS & OLD-TIMEY

Uncle Walt's Band  -> Redd Volkaert

UNCLE WALT'S BAND
JOE VAL & THE BLUEGRASS BOYS
LEROY VAN DYKE
RICKY VAN SHELTON
TOWNES VAN ZANDT
RHONDA VINCENT
THE VIRGINIA SQUIRES
REDD VOLKAERT
 

 

UNCLE WALT'S BAND Sugar Hill 1032 Girl On The Sunny Shore ● CD $15.98

 
UNCLE WALT'S BAND Sugar Hill 1034 American In Texas Revisited ● CD $15.98

 
JOE VAL & THE BLUEGRASS BOYS Rounder 0003 One Morning In May ● CD $15.98

 
LEROY VAN DYKE Bear Family BCD 15647 The Auctioneer ● CD $21.98
15 tracks, 31 min., good. Before he hit the big time on the pop charts with Walk On By, Van Dyke enjoyed a country hit on the Dot label with the title tune here in 1956. The demands of the time being what they were, however, Dot executives tried to groom him for a 50's country-pop crossover sound, either as a ballad singer or as a late-blooming rockabilly star. But the rather uncomfortable cover version here of Amos Milburn's Chicken Shack Boogie would suggest that the experiment was not entirely successful. The mixture of pop and country tracks includes as well I'm Movin' On/ One Heart a remake of Elvis Presley's Poor Boy/ Everytime I Ask My Heart, and Honky Tonk Song. Bear Family's typical level of quality in sound and package design. (DH)

 
LEROY VAN DYKE Bear Family BCD 15779 Walk On By ● CD $21.98
30 tracks, 70 min., recommended. Having already issued Van Dyke's earlier Dot recordings, Bear Family here offers his complete recordings for the Mercury label, including his biggest hit, Walk on By. These numbers still find the artist in the position of trying to find a path midway between the country and the pop music market. And sometimes the mix works pretty well, as it does with If a Woman Answers/ Happy to Be Unhappy and the previously unreleased Save Me the Moonlight. But, at other times, particularly on cover tunes such as Faded Love/ Loveletters in the Sand and Don't Forbid Me, the results are not so pleasing. Much of this is a matter of personal taste of course, and Van Dyke does have a pleasing baritone either way. Otherwise, Bear Family does its normal impeccable job here, with excellent sound quality, solid photos, and a lengthy booklet filled with biographical and discographical information. (DH)

 
RICKY VAN SHELTON Columbia CK 40602 Wild-Eyed Dream ● CD $9.98
Ricky Van Shelton, another truly incredible talent of new generation Nashville, is the Real Thing. I actually like him better than Dwight Yoakam, and his approach to rockabilly is real and his ballads are unreal. He cut every vocal here live and in one take, and it sounds it. Play it next to some of the best Sun stuff and you'll get tingles from both - no exaggeration. Crime Of Passion is as compelling as anything I've heard in years. Obviously the fans agreed since Crime Of Passion, Somebody Lied and Life Turned her That Way have been massive hits firmly establishing him as a major artist. (RK)

 
RICKY VAN SHELTON Columbia CK 44221 Loving Proof ● CD $9.98
Tremendous 1988 follow-up to his best-selling 1986 debut, mixing contemporary material with oldies. with a bit more emphasis on the latter. The newer numbers include Wayne Kemp's great I'll Leave This World Loving You, and Don't Send Me No Angels as well as Living Proof (NOT the Hank Williams, Jr. song). His version of the 1963 Ned Miller hit From A Jack To A King may well make this classic a hit again. There's also a note-for-note remake of one of my favorites, Little Jimmy Dickens' rockabilly anthem I Cut A Hole In My Pocket, The Wilburn Brothers' 1959 Somebody's Back In Town and a fantastic reworking of the old Patsy Cline hit She's Got You. Considering how disappointing Randy Travis's latest is, Van Shelton and producer Steve Buckingham clearly have a better grip on things. (RK)

 
RICKY VAN SHELTON Columbia CK 45250 RVS III ● CD $9.98
Shelton's third from 1990 is unbalanced and ballad heavy, though it has its moments including his hit revival of the 1969 Jack Greene hit Statue Of A Fool and a new version of the minor 1966 Jerry Wallace hit Not That I Care. Both songs become Shelton's the minute he begins to sing. Other numbers aren't so strong, like his pointless remake of Roy Orbison's Oh, Pretty Woman and the Vegas style rockabilly number Love Is Burnin'. Yet they left off the terrific version of Ernest Tubb's Thanks A Lot he's been doing onstage lately. Despite some strong moments, this one's a bit of a letdown. (RK)

 
RICKY VAN SHELTON Columbia CK 46854 Don't Overlook Salvation ● CD $9.98
New recordings of spirituals like I Shall Not Be Moved/ Family Bible/ The Old Rugged Cross/ I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy - 11 in all.

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Rhino-Tomato 71241 Our Mother The Mountain ● CD $11.98
Originally released as Tomato 7015 in 1978, "Mountain" is a fine choice for reissue in terms of accessibility. It's both lyrically and melodically rich and the imagery is not as stark as evidenced on Delta Momma Blues or Townes Van Zandt . There is some orchestration scattered here and there with incidental piano thrown in. His writing and singing is characterized by a feeling of something ominous, dark and foreboding lurking around the next corner. But his music isn't depressing. A definite trace of blues sentiments and textures are part of Townes's plaintive vocal style. Jack Clement's production values are a real bonus, he surrounds each song with just the right amount of accompaniment. (SG)

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Rhino-Tomato 71242 The Late Great Townes Van Zandt ● CD $11.98
Reissue of Tomato LP.

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Sugar Hill 1020 At My Window ● CD $15.98

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Sugar Hill 1042 Roadsongs ● CD $15.98

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Sugar Hill 1046 No Deeper Blue ● CD $15.98
From 1995 his first studio album in eight years features all new songs.

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Sugar Hill 1054 Rear View Mirror ● CD $15.98

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Sugar Hill 1056 The Highway Kind ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 49 min., recommended. Van Zandt passed away as 1997 began, so, barring any treasure trove of unissued numbers, the few stark songs here are likely his last musical testament. Most are live recordings made during recent US and European tours where he is accompanied only by his own guitar. And, appropriately enough for the rather downbeat material chosen, in his performances here he sounds pretty tired and worn. Selections include Still Lookin' for You, Lost Highway, (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle, Blaze’s Blues, Darcy Farrow, Wreck on the Highway, and Ira Hayes. A forlorn closing statement by one of the most reclusive and highly-thought-of country/folk songwriters of the last few decades. (DH)

 
RHONDA VINCENT Rebel 1665 New Dreams & Sunshine ● CD $15.98
Familiar to bluegrass fans as the standout member of the Sally Mountain Show, a Missouri family band, Rhonda is a talented singer, fiddler, and mandolinist. On this solo album, her talent steps to the forefront. The instrumentation is bluegrass, but the arrangements and material, lean toward commercial country, albeit nicely done. Particularly nice are Rhonda's versions of Dolly Parton's "My Blue Tears" and Eddy Raven's "Country Rain". On "New Dreams and Sunshine", she's joined by Charlie Louvin, and David Parmley sings harmony on "We Belong Together". All in all, an auspicious debut solo album. (RP)

 
RHONDA VINCENT Rebel 1682 Dream Come True ● CD $15.98

 
RHONDA VINCENT Rebel 1692 Bound For Gloryland ● CD $15.98
Rhonda Vincent is a young fiddler, mandolin player and singer with Barbara Mandrell looks and a singing style that Alison Krauss freely acknowledges as her major influence. In a just world, Rhonda would be a major country star, and perhaps it will still happen for her. She is best known, however, in bluegrass circles as a member of The Sally Mountain Show, with her father Johnny on banjo, mother Carolyn on bass, and brothers Darrin and Brian on various instruments and vocals. The twelve cuts here are mostly gospel, with the exception of the Harlan Howard's sentimental weeper Deepening Snow. For a closer look at Rhonda's talent, check out her two solo albums on Rebel. This album shows a family band at work, with glimpses of a major talent every once in a while. Rhonda's harmony singing on the Roy Acuff classic Precious Jewel, for instance, is hair-raising. (RP)

 
RHONDA VINCENT Rebel 1697 Timeless And True Love ● CD $15.98
One of the best kept secrets in bluegrass, Rhonda is a fine fiddler, mandolinist, and has a voice to die for. Although the instrumentation here is, for the most part, bluegrass Rhonda's vocal style owes more to Dolly Parton than to Delia Bell and the repertoire here is decidedly country, including two Whitey Shafer numbers and I'm Not That Lonely Yet, a great weeper that was a hit for Reba McIntire. Alison Krauss sings harmony on Artificial Tears and Rhonda's influence on Alison is readily evident. Other singers and players include Bela Fleck, Allison Brown, Darrin and Johnny Vincent, David Parmley, and Pig Robbins. RP

 
RHONDA VINCENT Rounder 0460 Back Home Again ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 36 minutes, recommended Vincent's latest album represents a return to the bluegrass sound with which she has been most closely associated, prior to a decade long struggle to establish herself as a country artist. While that work resulted in some substantial material (mostly on the Giant label), it's nice to hear her emphasizing bluegrass arrangements again. Here she is supported by younger brother Darrin on bass, Jerry Kennedy on dobro, guitarist Bryant Sutton, and her own mandolin playing. Uptempo bluegrass numbers like You're in my Heart, Jimmy Martin's Pretending I Don't Care, and The Passing of the Train are interspersed with country numbers including When I Close My Eyes and two songs associated with the Louvin Brothers, You're Running Wild and Out of Hand. Vincent is in excellent voice and the accompaniment is fine. I found the material a little uneven (did we really need another cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene) and this reduced my enjoyment of the album somewhat, but overall this is a solid effort sure to be appreciated by Vincent's fans. (DP)

 
THE VIRGINIA SQUIRES Rebel 1669 Variations ● CD $15.98
These guys are talented singers and players (particularly Rickie Simkins on violin and mandolin - incredibly hot!), but they owe more to the Oak Ridge Boys and Alabama than Bill Monroe in terms of their overall sound. The vocal harmonies are very well done, but their "modern" approach tends to overshadow even the harmonies on traditionally oriented material. Nice versions, though, of " I've Just Seen the Rock of Ages" and " I'll Be Going to Heaven Sometime." I just wish they were a little less slick, although this is only a personal preference. They're very popular and successful in the Southeast. (RP)

 
REDD VOLKAERT Hightone 8129 No Stranger To A Tele ● CD $15.98
New album from current lead guitarist with Merle Haggard's band is another fine blend of top notch instrumentals (mostly originals) and songs (mostly covers of songs from Wynn Stewart, Merle Haggard and others). With Norman Hamlet/ steel guitar, Floyd Domino/ piano and others.

 
REDD VOLKAERT HMG 3002 Telewacker ● CD $15.98
Recommended This one caught me by surprise. Redd's a Canadian transplanted to Nashville & works as Merle Haggard's guitarist. This set is full of country, honky tonk, western swing, divided between instrumentals & vocals with Redd's pleasing baritone. The Band's an unusual quartet of guitar, bass, drums & Jim Murphy on pedal steel with some doubling on sax. Most tunes are Valkaert originals with titles such as Telewacker/ Tube'n/ Breakneck/ Redd White & Blue, with a few choice covers as Bob Will's Home In San Antone, Bobby "Blue" Bland's Dann Penn penned I Hate You & George Jones's You're Still On My Mind & Hag's classic Strangers. (GM)
REDD VOLKAERT: Breakneck/ Home In San Antone/ I Hate You/ It's A Minor Thing/ Redd, White & Blue/ Reed My Tele/ She Loves Anything That Swings/ Strangers/ Stumbling/ Telewacker/ That Girl Who Waits On Tables/ The Buck Stops Here/ Tube'n/ You're Still On My Mind

 

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