New Releases: March -> December, 2011
Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
Warner Mack  -> Tex Williiams





WARNER MACK Bear Family BCD 16525 Baby Squeeze Me - Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight ● CD $21.98
1-CD Digipac with 44-page booklet, 38 tracks. Playing time approx. 84 minutes. In this CD you'll find a 38 tracks recorded by this important artist during the classic era when rock 'n' roll met the Nashville Sound! Here are all 12 tracks from Warner Mack's six Decca singles issued during 1957 and 1958; 16 tracks not originally issued by Decca; and four tracks from singles issued on Scarlet and Top Rank in 1959 and 1960! Also here are Mack's two very first rockabilly recordings made at Delta Records of Jackson, Mississippi in 1957! Bonus tracks include three radio advertising spots Warner made for the Mary Carter paint company - and finally, a live radio recording from 1958 of Honky Tonk Song! It includes his two rock 'n' roll classics Is It Wrong (For Loving You) and Roc-A-Chicka. The accompanying booklet by Martin Hawkins tells the little-known story of Warner Mack and contains rare photographs!
WARNER MACK: Anything For You/ Baby Ain't Moving Me Anymore/ Baby Let's Play House/ Baby Squeeze Me/ Down By The Waterfalls/ Falling In Love/ First Chance I Get/ Going Away To School/ Honky Tonk Song/ I 've Found Love/ I Don't Know Why/ I Heard You Crying In Your Sleep/ I'll Run Back To You/ I'm Just Older And Wiser/ Is It Wrong (For Loving You)/ Just Living My Life/ Lonesome For You Now/ Mary Carter Paint-1/ Mary Carter Paint-2/ Mary Carter Paint-3/ My Ann/ My Love For You/ Now I'm Living/ Oh, You Better Be Careful/ Prison Of Love/ Roc-A-Chicka/ Say Those Love Words/ Since I Lost You/ Someone, Somewhere/ Suddenly/ Tell Me Darlin'/ That's My Heart's Desire/ Too Bashful/ Ubangi Stomp/ What A Feelin'/ Won't Do That No More/ Yes, There's A Reason/ Your Fool

J.E. MAINER & HIS MOUNTAINEERS Gusto 2206 Run Mountain - 30 Old Time Favorites ● CD $6.98
30 tracks, 78 mins, highly recommended
Great collection of bluegrass and proto-bluegrass music from country music pioneer J.E. Mainer drawn from three sessions held for King Records in 1946 and 1961. The earlier sessions feature J.E. on vocal and fiddle with sons Glenn and Curley on banjo and bass and an unidentified but superb mandolin player. Personnel on the later session is unknown but very fine. The music is mostly traditional songs and tunes along with some Mainer originals including Run Mountain/ Tears At The Altar/ Country Breakdown/ Take Hold Of My Hand/ Lonely Tombs/ Shoot The Turkey Buzzard/ Get Away Old Man, Get Away/ Don't Tease Me This Way/ Mainer's Jew's Harp/ John Henry and others. On Yodelin' Mountaineer, J.E. engages in some exceptional yodeling. Sound quality is decent though there is a bit too much echo on the early sides and on the 1961 session the string bass is overly prominent. Still the music is so good it doesn't matter too much. (FS)

GEORGE MCCORMICK & EARL AYCOCK Bear Family BCD 17121 Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight - Better Stop, Look & Listen ● CD $21.98
 29 high class 1950s sides made in Nashville featuring musicians ranging from Hank Williams's band to the A team! Contains all 6 original 78s by George McCormick and Earl Aycock and another 6 singles by George McCormick. Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes and If You Got Anything Good are often cited among the best country duet recordings of all time! Three of the songs were scheduled for Hank Williams to record before he died. George McCormick later led the Wagonmasters band for Porter Wagoner and was Dolly Parton's first duet partner on the Wagoner TV show. Earl Aycock later was a DJ in Texas and Louisiana. A 40-page booklet by Martin Hawkins featuring unpublished interviews with George McCormick.
GEORGE MCCORMICK & EARL AYCOCK: (All You've Given Me Is) Heartaches/ (If You) Got Anthing Good (You Better Save It)/ After All We've Been Through/ Better Stop, Look And Listen/ Can I/ Cry Baby Cry/ Don't Add An Ex To Your Name/ Don't Fix Up The Doghouse/ Don't, Don't, Don't (take 2)/ Don't, Don't, Don't (take 3)/ Don't, Don't, Don't (take 5)/ Done Gone/ Doubt/ Eleven Roses (And The Twelfth Is You)/ Fifty-Fifty Honky Tonkin'/ Flutter Bug/ Going Steady With The Blues/ Gold Wedding Band/ Hi There, Sweet Thing/ I Don't Know Nothing About Nothing/ I Guess You Don't Care/ I'll Keep Your Name On File/ I'm Just Passing Through/ Remember And Regret/ Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes/ Take A Look At My Darlin'/ The Blues Moved In This Morning/ The Sundown Train/ You're High Tone Ways

BUDDY MILLER New West 6188 Majestic Silver Strings ● CD $19.98
CD 13 tracks, 57 mins, DVD 2 tracks, 24 mins, very highly recommended
This album takes you on a journey, starting off with a lovely haunting version of Cattle Call like a lonesome ride through the countryside; then, by track two, the Rockabilly Blues of No Good Lover, you are downtown in the big city, and onward from there to places known and unknown. Buddy Miller isn't taking this trip alone; he's got some of the best players and singers around joining him. The nucleus of the Majestic Silver Strings are Miller, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, and Greg Leisz, they are joined by Shawn Colvin, Chocolate Genius, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Ann McCrary, Julie Miller, and Lee Ann Womack. The spirits of Eddy Arnold, Lefty Frizzell, Roger Miller, Mickey Baker also join them in their tasty selection of covers, whether it's in the high lonesome of Cattle Call, or the wild abandon of Dang Me. Marc Ribot provides beautiful, other worldly arrangements of traditional songs Barres De La Prison, and Bury Me Not On The Old Prairie as well as one original, Meds. Julie Miller and Bill Frisell also composed Gods Winged Horse, which serves as a perfect closer to this CD. Don't think any one artist dominates this album; the spirit of collaboration also hangs over this production making for a rich tapestry of sound. Does it sound like I love this CD? It should, because I do and could easily keep writing about its merits far longer than Frank will allow. So in a nutshell, this is one of the best Country albums in years. (JM)

CLYDE MOODY B.A.C.M. 346 Vol. 2 - If You Need Me I'll Be Around ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, highly recommended
The second collection of songs from singer, guitarist, mandolinist and songwriter Clyde Moody is a real winner. It opens with four gorgeous sides from 1940 when he was a member of the proto bluegrass band The Happy Go Lucky Boys feature Clyde on lead vocal, mandolin and guitar, Steve Ledford on fiddle and Jay Hugh Hall on guitar and vocals. Lovely sides with fine harmonies. The story picks up in 1946 after he had left Bill Monroe's band and started his own career in the style we are more familiar with - fine honky tonk stylings, some with a swing flavor and in keeping with his nickname "Hillbilly Waltz King" half a dozen songs in waltz tempo. The recordings here include sides for Bullet, King, Decca and Renown, spanning the years from 1946 through 1958 with fine singing and playing throughout. On the gospel song Through The Pearly Gate he is joined by the Delmore Brothers on guitars and harmonies. Good sound and brief, informative notes from Martin Hawkins. (FS)
CLYDE MOODY: Beautiful Brown Eyes/ Come Back Sweetheart/ Darling I'm Still In Love With You/ Do You Ever Think Of Me/ Hard Hearted/ I Hope She's Satisfied/ I Love You Because/ I Waltz Alone/ If I Had My Life To Live Over/ If You Need Me I'll Be Around/ Lonely Broken Heart/ My Love/ No Letter In The Mail Today/ Our Heartbreaking Waltz/ Remember Me/ Rocking Alone In An Old Rocking Chair/ The Canadian Waltz/ The Spanish Waltz/ There's A Big Rock In The Road/ There's No Room In My Heart For The Blues/ Through The Pearly Gate/ Whatta Line/ When You Have No One To Love You/ Where The Old Red River Flows/ Why Don't You Come Back To Me/ You Care No More For Me

BUCK NATION B.A.C.M. 343 Western Range Ahead ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, recommended
Enjoyable and varied collection of mostly western flavored material from South Dakta born Rex Kelley or as he later called himself Buck Nation. The material here ranges from 1932 to the late 40s. The earliest sides are pretty standard fare with Buck accompanying himself on guitar. The recordings from the mid 30s usually find him accompanied by a fiddle and sometimes steel guitar or harmonica. These include a couple of interesting topical songs Bruno Hauptman's Fate and The End Of Public Enemy Number One - the latter about Al Capone. In complete contrast are half a dozen tracks from 1940/41 with Buck joined by a second guitarist and bas player doing close harmony renditions of mostly pop songs with nary a trace of country. The remaining tracks from the mid/ late 50s find Buck with a small group going back to Western music - some of it with a western swing flavor.
BUCK NATION: Bad Girl/ Blue Ridge Mountain Sweetheart/ Broncho Mustang/ Bruno Hauptmann's Fate/ Cowboy's Lament/ Daddy's Pal/ Don't Leave Now/ Grandad's Cuspidor/ I'll Try Not To Cry/ It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'/ New San Antonio Rose/ Newly Moulded Mound/ Remember My Darling/ South/ Susan Van Duzan/ The Church Bells Told/ The End Of Public Enemy Number One/ The Strawberry Roan/ The Wind Sings A Cowboy Song/ Twelve Cent Cotton Rollin' In Wealth/ Vine Covered Church/ Western Range Ahead/ You Are My Sunshine/ You Belong To Me

THE PALS OF THE GOLDEN WEST B.A.C.M. 339 Featuring Nora Lou Martin ● CD $14.98
30 tracks drawn from radio transcriptions made in 1939 and '47 by this western group from Oregon who never recorded commercially. The group is relatively undistinguished but unlike most groups included a female vocalist - Nora Lee Martin. She sings lead on half a dozen songs and does some fine yodeling. TRacks include Singing IN The Saddle/ As The Old Chuck Wagon Roll Along/ Prospector Pete/ Soft Winds/ I'm A Crafree Cowboy/ Give Me A Home In Texas/ Yodel Mountain/ Roundin' Up A Dream Tonight/ Smoke Smoke Smoke/ Wreck Of The Old 97, etc. Good sound and informative notes by Kevin Coffey.
PALS OF THE GOLDEN WEST: As The Old Chuck Wagon Rolls Along/ At The Drugstore Cowboys Ball/ Cool Water/ Give Me A Home In Texas/ Headin' Home/ I Love A Cowboy/ I Want To Be A Cowboy/ I'm A Carefree Cowboy/ I'm A Singin' Singin' Son-Of -A-Gun/ Just Hand Me A Pair Of Silver Spurs/ Lil Liza Jane/ Lorita/ Midnight Train/ My Arizona Sunkist Sweetheart/ My Little Bunkhouse Home/ Out In Califor-ni-a/ Pancho, The Gay Caballero/ Prospector Pete/ Red River Valley/ Roamin' The Hills Of Old Wyoming/ Roll, Chuck Wagon, Roll/ Roundin' Up A Dream Tonight/ Smoke Smoke Smoke/ Soft Winds/ Take Me Back To The Golden West/ Wand'rin Willie Ain't Wand'rin Anymore/ When Twilight Changes Sunset Into Silver/ Wreck Of The Old 97/ Yodel Mountain

ANDY PARKER & THE PLAINSMEN B.A.C.M. 329 Vol. 2 - The Coast Recordings ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, highly recommended
Superb collection of western songs and western swing from this fine group who are considered to be second only to The Sons Of The Pioneers. The fine harmonies include Parker, lead vocalist Charlie Morgan and Hank Caldwell and the group has exceptional instrumental accompaniment from steel guitarist Joaquin Murphey, accordionist George Bamby and various different fiddlers. The group get to show their instrumental chops on half a dozen fine instrumentals. Songs and tunes include White Cross In Okinawa/ Guitar Polka/ Vance Lane Special/ New San Antonio Rose/ Jack-O-Diamonds/ In The Hills Of Old Wyoming/ Here Today And Gone Tomorrow and more. Better than average sound for B.A.C.M. and high quality notes from Kevin Coffey. (FS)
ANDY PARKER & THE PLAINSMEN: Along The Rio Grande/ Blue Blue Eyes/ Colorado/ Down The Oregon Trail/ Guitar Polka (Instr.)/ Here Today And Gone Tomorrow/ Honeysuckle Rose (Instr.)/ I Learned To Love You Too Late/ I'm Gonna Gallup Into Gallup/ In The Hills Of Old Wyoming/ Jack-O-Diamonds/ My Home In Apple Valley/ New San Antonio Rose-1/ New San Antonio Rose-2/ Short Snort Polka (Instr.)/ South (Instr.)/ Sweet Georgia Brown (Instr.)/ The Aspen Trail/ The West Is As Wild As Ever/ Tumbleweed Trail/ Union Pacific/ Vance Lane Special (Instr.)/ Varsoviana (Instr.)/ Was The Cowboy Right Or Wrong/ West Of The Wasatch/ White Cross In Okinawa

LEON PAYNE B.A.C.M. 355 The Lang-Worth Transcriptions, Volume 2 ● CD $14.98
28 tracks, 76 mins, recommended
Complementing B.A.C.M. 295 this is another excellent selection of previously unissued radio transcriptions made for the Lang-Worth company in the late 40s and early 50s. Payne was a superb and prolific songwriter whose songs have recorded by numerous country and pop performers and some of his songs like I Love You Because and Lost Highway, have become country standards. About one third of the songs here are originals which he also recorded commercially including Lonely And Blue/ Teach Me To Forget/ It's Many A Mile Back Home, etc. The rest is fine covers of hits made famous by his contemporaries like Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Carl Butler, Lefty Frizzell and others. Payne is backed by his band of the time which included fine fiddle by Ernie Hunter or Earl Carruthers and steel by Frankie Juracek. Sound is fine. (FS)
LEON PAYNE: A Million Years Ago/ Always Late/ Bouquet Of Roses/ Crazy Heart/ Gentle Hands/ Girl Of My Dreams/ Give Me More/ Great American Eagle/ He Knows/ Hey Good Looking/ How Can I Help It/ How Long Will It Take (To Stop Loving You)/ I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You/ I Want You To Love Me/ I'm In A Crowd But So All Alone/ If Teardrops Were Pennies/ It's Many A Mile Back Home/ Jesus And The Atheist/ Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way/ Let You Conscience Be Your Guide/ Lonely And Blue/ Me And My Broken Heart/ Mom And Dad Waltz/ More Of Your Kisses/ Steal Away/ Sundown Sue/ Teach Me To Forget/ That Little Boy Of Mine/ The Last Round-Up

CHARLIE PHILLIPS Bear Family BCD 16840 Sugartime ● CD $24.98
35 tracks, 86 mins, recommended
Texan Charlie Phillips' song Sugartime is among the most-covered and biggest selling songs of the 20th century. His first recording of the song was recorded at Norman Petty's studios in 1957 with Buddy Holly on guitar and issued on Coral without any success until it was covered by The McGuire Sisters and became a big pop hit. This collection features all his issued songs to 1967 including his 1962/63 hits for Columbia I Guess I'll Never Learn and This Is The House. It also includes the best of his later songs as well as several demos including his original 1956 demo of Sugartime and a demo of the fine rockabilly number Faker. Backing musicians include Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Glen Campbell, Al Casey and the cream of Nashville's session men. With his 4-octave range, Charlie Phillips was a fine and soulful, if somewhat mainstream, country singer. Also includes a studio master of You're My LSD which needs to be heard to be believed and a concert medley of Whole Lotta Shakin' / Johnny Be Goode / The Twist / Rock Around The Clock & Sugartime backed by several members of the Texas Playboys. Almost all the tracks on this collection are making their first appearance on CD. Includes copiously illustrated 68 page booklet with extensive notes by John Ingman written in collaboration with Charlie and full discographical info. (FS)

RILEY PUCKETT JSP JSPCD 77138 Country Music Pioneer - Selected Cuts ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 100 tracks, very highly recommended
Another superb JSP box devoted to an important and great country music pioneer - this time to blind singer and guitarist Riley Puckett from Georgia. Puckett is probably best known as the guitarist who underpinned the music of Gid Tanner & Skillet Lickers but he recorded prolifically between 1924 and 1941 under his own name and this collection is only a selection of his vast output. Unlike the rough hewn vocals of Tanner, Puckett had a smoother baritone voice and recorded a very diverse selection of music including string band breakdowns, blues, traditional songs, western songs and a fair number of popular and sentimental songs - depending on your taste, the latter can be tough going but are important to include to present a full picture of Puckett's talent and there's plenty of the real stuff here to more than compensate. About half the tracks feature Riley just with own guitar and the rest feature varied accompaniment by fiddle, mandolin and banjo often by fellow Skillet Lickers Gid Tanner, Ted Hawkins or Clayton McMichen. A couple of tracks feature a very effective accordion, which is not listed in the discography accompanying this set or even in Tony Russel's discography, including a great rendition of Frankie And Johnny. Most of the tracks are vocals but there are a couple of superb solo instrumentals including the gorgeous slide guitar piece Darkey's Wail and the ragtimey Fuzzy Rag. The set includes Puckett's original recordings of Ragged But Right which has since become a country standard. Compiled and remastered by Chris King, the sound quality is superb and there are informative, but too brief, notes by Pat Harrison. (FS)

WAYNE RANEY Gusto 2229 20 Old-Time Gospel Favorites ● CD $8.98
20 tracks, highly recommended
With his beautiful sincere vocals and delicious harmonica work Wayne Raney has been a personal favorite for many years. This collection is split between classic early sides from the 40s and early 50s with The Delmore Brothers and sides from the late 50s and early 60s with The Raney Family. The early sides are particularly fine and moving though, unfortunately, Gusto has used electronic stereo masters which takes away some of the intimacy of the performances. The later sides with The Raney Family are very nice though a little more pop flavored with occasional piano and drums. Still, a most worthwhile release, at a low price. Songs include his classic We Need A Lot More Jesus (And A Lot Less Rock 'n' Roll plus Book Of Revelations/ He Will Come And Answer Prayers/ Jesus Has Saved My Soul/ When Jesus Says Come Unto Me/ You're Crucifying Jesus and more. (FS)

KERAY REGAN B.A.C.M. 359 & The Peace River Rangers ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, recommended
Fine collection of Canadian country music recorded in the 40s for the pioneering Aragon label in Vancouver by singer/ songwriter Oscar Melvin Frederickson aka Keray Regan. Regan is a fine singer, obviously influenced by Canada's leading artist Hank Snow, but singing his own material. He is accompanied by his band The Peace River Rangers with electric and steel guitar and fiddle and occasional accordion. In the 1950s Regan was joined by his brother Bob on vocals and guitar and Bob does five fine vocals - three of them with female vocalist Fern and plays some hot electric guitar on the instrumental Teen-Age Boogie. One song She Don't Trust Me Anymore is a duet with Keray and 15 year old Lucille Starr. Lucille later married Keray's brother Bob and turned out some fine rock 'n' roll records in the mid/ late 50s as Bob & Lucille. (FS)
KERAY REGAN: Cobwebs On Your Picture/ Flying Saucers/ Hey Cousin/ High Wind On The Prairie/ How Are You Feeling Right Now/ I Can't Wait Forever For You/ I Don't Care If You Go A Little Further/ I Wanna Be With You/ I Will Never Hold Another/ If The Moon Would Shine/ Lena Was A Shy Girl/ Little White House On The Hill/ My Dream And I/ My Home By The Fraser/ My Peace River Home/ Olga From Norway/ Picking Flowers/ Pioneer Girls/ She Don't Trust Me Anymore/ Teenage Boogie/ There's A Room Reserved In My Heart/ Those Beautiful Big Brown Eyes/ When You Can't Have The One You Want/ Whispering Pines/ You'll Never Miss Your Daddy

DON RENO King 5115 The Golden Guitar Of Don Reno ● CD $5.98
15 tracks, 35 min., highly recommended
Sure, Don Reno flat picked his way to become one of the greatest bluegrass banjo players to ever to walk upright, and removing the adjective "bluegrass" doesn't change the truth of the assertion. For evidence, listen to just about anything by Reno And Smiley. As for the guitar, golden or otherwise, who knew Reno could even play? Perhaps unsurprisingly, he's not only impressive on the six strings, his fingers appear to be on amphetamines. Recorded in 1972 in Nashville for King Records, these instrumental tracks originally featured Reno accompanied only by Bill Harrell on rhythm guitar and Buck Ryan on fiddle. The session was never released. Then in 1998 the tapes were resurrected and overdubbed with Ronnie, Duke, and Don Wayne Reno backing their dad, if only sonically. The result (including Peacock Rag/ Gray Eagle/ Turkey In The Straw/ Dixie Medely/ Ranger's Waltz, and the curiously titled Lady Hamlet) is an unusual but satisfying addition to the Reno catalogue of musical wonders. (JC)

RENO & SMILEY/ RENO & HARRELL Gusto 2176 1963-1972 Complete King & Starday Recordings ● CD $24.98
Ffour CD set with 95 tracks of classic bluegrass. The first two CDs complete the reissue of the great bluegrass duo Reno & Smiley's King recordings begun on Gusto 0959 (Four CDs - $24.98) and Gusto 0955 (Four CDs - $24.98). They feature 46 songs recorded in 1963 and '64. After Red Smiley retired in 1964 due to poor health REno worked with several groups and in 1967 teamed up with singer/ guitarist Bill Harrell and the duo worked together for about ten years recording for a number of different labels. The second two discs features recordings the duo made for King and Starday between 1967 and 1972.

CHARLIE RICH Raven 326 A Rich Anthology, 1960-1978 ● CD $21.98
27 track, 75 mins, highly recommended
As far as I can tell, this is the first collection released for the great Charlie Rich that covers his entire hit-making years. You get a selection of his best earliest recordings for Sun, like Lonely Weekends/ Who Will The Next Fool Be/ Break Up, plus one more; then his Groove/ RCA/ Smash/ Mercury mid period recordings Big Boss Man/ The Ways Of A Woman In Love/ She Called Me Baby/ Mohair Sam/ I Washed My Hands Ion Muddy Water, etc.; then on to his chart busting hits from the 1970's Behind Closed Doors/ The Most Beautiful Girl, and so on. You could certainly say this is lacking in its coverage of the Sun recordings, but those tracks have been released and re-released a bunch and it is nice to have the best of Rich's '60s - '70s work all in one place. Charlie Rich had such a great voice and could handle a range of material, which this set illustrates well. Raven records have also done a great job with the sound, notes, etc., making for pretty excellent CD. (JM)
CHARLIE RICH: A Very Special Love Song/ All Over Me/ Behind Closed Doors/ Big Boss Man/ Break Up/ Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High)/ Have a Heart/ I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore/ I Love My Friend/ I Take It on Home/ I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water/ Life's Little Ups and Downs/ Lonely Weekends/ Mohair Sam/ My Elusive Dreams/ On My Knees/ River, Stay 'Way from My Door/ Rollin' with the Flow/ She Called Me Baby/ She Loved Everybody But Me/ Since I Fell for You/ Sittin' and Thinkin'/ The Most Beautiful Girl/ The Ways of a Woman in Love/ There Won't Be Anymore/ Who Will the Next Fool Be?/ Woman Left Lonely

JERRY RIVERS Gusto 2190 Stories And Great Fiddle Music ● CD $7.98
29 tracks, 50 min., recommended
A 19-year-old Rivers joined Hank Williams' band in 1949 shortly after Lovesick Blues made it to the top of the charts, and he stayed until Williams' premature death in 1953. So Mr. Rivers is no slouch of a fiddle player. These tracks were cut for Starday in the early 1960s and saw their original release under the title "Fantastic Fiddlin' And Tall Tales." Between each performance, Rivers has children (his own?) asking questions about fiddling and fiddles and fiddle-related issues, which Rivers answers and then plays a song by way of example. And sometimes Rivers just says stuff sans offspring. The good news is that while only half the tracks are musical performances, they occupy the vast majority of the time. So pick this up if you want your small children to learn about American history and fiddles or if you want to hear Skip To My Lou or Fire On The Mountain or Red River Valley and the like. Or put on a Hank Williams album. (JC)

CARSON ROBISON B.A.C.M. 331 Long Long Ways From Home - Featuring The Pioneers ● CD $14.98
22 tracks, highly recommended
With a recording career that spanned from Edison cylinders to a rock-and-roll single, Carson Robison was country music's first professional songsmith. His ear finely tuned to mainstream Midwestern values, this Kansas native penned hundreds of clever, melodic songs from his New York office: topical ballads for Vernon Dalhart; sagas of rubes taken in by big city ways; cowboy and rural nostalgia; and peppy gospel numbers. This fine collection of sides features recordings made between 1929 and 1942 for nine different labels including seven sides recorded in England when he toured there in 1932 and 1939. Arrangements are varied, usually a small group with instrumentation including fiddle, accordion, bass clarinet, jew's harp and more - often played by multi-instrumentalist Frank Novak. There are topical songs (What Are You Squawking About / Ohio Prison Fire/ PLain Talk, etc), humorous songs (Jack Of All Trades/ How To Make Love/ Don't You Believe It, etc.) and sentimental songs (There's A Ranch In The Rockies/ The Candle Light In The Window/ Little Mother Of The Hills, etc. - the latter benefiting from the fine harmonies of The Pioneers (John, Bill & Pearl Mitchell). Fine sound and informative notes from Tony Russell. (FS/ DS)

RUSTY & RED B.A.C.M. 344 The Early Recordings Of Rusty Draper ● CD $14.98
32 tracks, highly recommended
Singer/ guitarist Rusty Draper was a very popular artist in the 50s and 60s who performed in a range of styles. This collection devoted to his earlier recordings from the 30s and 40s finds him mostly doing country music. The earliest 12 sides from 1939 feature him as a member of the string band The Sons Of The Ozarks who perform a mixture of western, sentimental and novelty songs along with a couple of nice bluesy instrumentals. In 1944 he recorded with a trio as Rusty Draper & The Dreamers exhibiting his skills as an impersonator doing four pop songs in the style of the Ink Spots with Rusty impersonating Ink Spots leader Bill Kenney. There are eight tracks from live radio transcriptions from 1946/ 47 including several dispensible vocals but several hot guitar instrumentals from Rusty. Four sides from the early 50s session with fine fiddler Ozark Red and a small group find Rusty doing a hot guitar solo on Red's Boogie and George Cerruruti doing some amazing accordion playing on China Boy and the disc is rounded out by four home recordings from the late 40s - two of them hot guitar solos and another featuring fiddler Ozark Red taking the lead. Fine music with excellent notes by Kevin Coffey. (FS)
RUSTY DRAPER: Black Mountain Rag/ Blue Dawn/ Bluin' In E Minor/ China Boy/ Columbus Stockade Blues/ Cripple Creek/ Drifting Sands/ Guitar Boogie/ I Guess I'll Get The Papers And Go Home/ I Held You In A Dream One Night/ I Must Have All Or Nothing/ I'll Keep You In My Heart/ I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles/ I'm From Missouri/ Jambalaya/ Little Pony, Travel On To Arizona/ Lone Star Pony/ Maple Leaf Rag/ Mountain Mother Of Mine/ My Sweet Irene From Illinois/ Oh, Lady Be Good/ Ozark Kitchen Sweat/ Ozark Melody/ Plantation Blues/ Red's Boogie/ Someone's Rockin' My Dreamboat/ Stumbling/ Tennessee Saturday Night/ The Ghost Song/ The Story Of The Websters And The McGuires/ Turkey In The Straw/ When Beulah Did The Hula In Missoula

JEAN SHEPARD Jasmine 3593 Beautiful Lies - The Early Years ● CD $11.98
32 tracks, 80 min., very highly recommended
Out a while but not listed before. Discovered by Hank Thompson and credited with releasing the first concept album in country music -- "Songs Of A Love Affair" in 1956 -- Shepard spent the 1950s releasing impressive single after impressive single for Capital Records. The hits (e.g., A Satisfied Mind and Beautiful Lies) eventually stopped coming but not the fine honky-tonked songs of broken hearts and homes. This fine release collects the songs from the "Love Affair" LP and adds 20, for a generous total of 32. Most have been out of print for a while, so it's nice to have such indispensable country music available again. Too bad the booklet doesn't offer any session information, dates, labels, or anything other than a brief biographical sketch of Shepard. Absolute first rate music, though. (JC)
JEAN SHEPARD: A Passing Love Affair/ A Satisfied Mind/ A Thief In The Night/ Act Like A Married Man/ Beautiful Lies/ Crying Steel Guitar/ Did I Turn Down A Better Deal/ Girls In Disgrace/ Hello Old Broken Heart/ I Learned It All From You/ I Love You Because/ I Married You For Love/ I'd Rather Die Young/ I'll Thank You All My Life/ It's Hard To Tell The Married From The Free/ Memory/ My Wedding Ring/ Over And Over/ Sad Singin' And Slow Ridin'/ Shadows On The Wall/ Sweet Temptation/ Tell Me What I Want To Hear/ The Mysteries Of Life/ The Other Woman/ The Weak And The Strong/ Two Whoops And A Holler/ Under Suspicion/ Why Did You Wait?/ You Can't Break The Chains Of Love/ You Win Again/ You'd Better Go/ You're Calling Me Sweetheart Again

JEAN SHEPARD Righteous 23:55 Lonesome Love/ This Is Jean Shepard ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, highly recommended
Superb collection of honky tonk country from this powerful and expressive singer combining two LPs from 1958 and '59. "Lonesome Love" (Capitol T-1126) is a dozen fine versions of other peoples' songs. Included here are Eddie Arnold's I'll Hold You In My Heart, Merle Travis's Sweet Temptation (a hot version with some decidedly unTravislike lead guitar), Hank Williams' You Win Again, Kay Starr's I'll Never Be Free, Leon Payne's I Love You Because and You Can't Break The Chains Of Love by Jimmy Wakely with songs by lesser-known composers. Production is no-frills country with vocal choruses used tastefully and minimally. The wonderfully expressive steel guitarist is probably Speedy West. "This Is Jean Shepard" (Capitol T-1253) features some of the great singles released by Jean between 1952 and '56 including her first single Crying Steel Guitar and two of her big hits A Satisfied Mind and Beautiful Lies and other great songs. (FS)
JEAN SHEPARD: A Satisfied Mind/ A Thief In The Night/ Act Like A Married Man/ Beautiful Lies/ Crying Steel Guitar/ I Hate Myself/ I Learned It All From You/ I Love You Because/ I'd Rather Die Young/ I'll Hold You In My Heart/ I'll Never Be Free/ Memory/ My Wedding Ring/ Sweet Temptation/ The Other Woman/ The Weak And The Strong/ Twho whoops And A Holler/ Under Suspicion/ Why Did You Wait/ You Can't Break The Chains Of Love/ You Win Again/ You'd Better Go/ You're Calling Me Sweetheart Again/ You're Telling Me Sweet Lies Again

CAL SHRUM B.A.C.M. 336 Vol. 2 - Rodeo Rhythm ● CD $14.98
30 tracks, highly recommended
Complementing BACM 169 this is another fine collection of mostly western swing flavored sides featuring various groups led by vocalist/ bandleader. The earliest sides from 1938 feature a band which included Spade Cooley on fiddle and the amazing 13 year old accordionist. There seven cuts from 1940 with a very different group featuring the superb jazzy acoustic and electric guitar work of Cene Haas whose playing is alone almost worth the price of admission. Three of these cuts are from the soundtrack of the film "Rollin' Home To Texas" - two of them with vocals by Eddie Dean. Cooley rejoins the group for a couple of cuts recorded in 1942 including the hot instrumental Spade's Reel. After three years in the army Shrum returned to recording in 1945 and formed a new group and the rest of the disc features sides cuts between 1945 and '53 - many for his own Westernaire label and are a fine selection of western flavored items with vocals by Shrum, Don Weston, Stan Bornsen and others. A varied and entertaining selection with notes by Kevin Coffey. (FS)
CAL SHRUM: Apple Blossom Waltz/ At The Rainbow’s End/ Cowboy Swing/ Desert Moonlight/ Hot Strings/ I Can't Help The Way You Feel/ If You'll Believe In Me/ I’m Human Same As You/ I’ve Got Nuggets In My Pocket/ Kitty Wells/ Lorena/ Meet Me In Dallas Sweetheart/ Oh! Good Gracious Katy/ Old Joe Clark/ Rangers Boogie/ Rhythm Rag/ Rhythm Rangers Blues/ Rhythm Rangers Waltz/ Rodeo Rhythm/ Rollin’ Home/ She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain/ Shut The Door/ Sky Ball Paint/ Spade's Reel/ Star Dust Melody/ Tellin’ My Troubles To My Old Guitar/ The Parting Of The Ways/ When Does Friendship End/ Who's Lonesome Now/ Zeb Turney's Gal

ARTHUR "GUITAR BOOGIE" SMITH B.A.C.M. 341 With The Crackerjacks Also Featuring Don Reno ● CD $14.98
27 track collection of sides featuring this great and influential country guitarist - most of them appearing on CD for the first time. About half of the cuts feature vocals and these performances are not terribly exciting. The instrumental cuts are much more interesting featuring Arthur brilliant playing. Several cuts feature Don Reno on banjo including their classic duet Feudin' Banjos which was reworked as Duelling Banjos for the movie "Deliverance" resulting in a lawsuit.
ARTHUR "GUITAR BOOGIE" SMITH: Alabama Jubilee (instr.)/ Banjo Buster (instr.)/ Blue Rock (Instr.)/ Buzz Saw (instr.)/ Cotton Patch Rag (instr.)/ Feudin' Banjos (instr.)/ Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue (instr.)/ Freeze It Boogie (instr.)/ Guitar Bustin' (instr.)/ Half Moon (instr.)/ I Thought It Couldn't Happen To Me/ I'm Richer Than You/ If You Love Me Let Me Know It/ Lonesome/ More Foolish Questions/ Oh Baby Mine I Get So Lonely/ Outboard (instr.)/ Rockin' The News/ Stamps/ Texas Hop (instr.)/ The Gal With The Yaller Shoes/ The Honeymoon Is Over/ The Red Headed Stranger/ Three D Boogie (instr.)/ Truck Stop Grill/ Two Stamps Calypso (instr.)/ You're Off Limits

HANK SNOW Omni 148 Songs Of Tragedy ● CD $17.98
25 tracks, 79 mins, highly recommended
Hank Snow, the "Singing Ranger," sang a lot of great songs, but there was always a little something extra special in his songs of woe and trouble. This fine collection gets right to the heart of the matter. Hank Snow certainly had a long and successful career, and the recordings featured here were made during one of the many high points of his career, right at the heels of I've Been Everywhere, probably his biggest hit ever. These recordings come from sessions helmed by Chet Atkins and features such players as Hargis "Pig" Robbins on piano, and Harold Bradley on guitar. This CD compiles the original 1964 album "Songs Of Tragedy" and the 1958 album "When Tragedy Struck" in their entirety, as well as two mid '60s tracks. Highlights include The Prisoner's Song/ Walking The Last Mile/ Your Little Band Of Gold/ A Drunkard's Child/ The Convict and the Rose/ There's A Little Box Of Pine on the 7:29, and more. If you have been following the Country music releases that Omni records have been putting out, you will know what to expect; they definitely like to feature Country artists' more experimental and dramatic outings. (JM)

THE STANLEY BROTHERS Starday 7000 The Early Starday King Years 1958-1961 ● CD $27.98
4 CD's, 109 tracks, 4 hrs., 33 min., essential
Back in stock at a lower price. This is the one we Stanley Brothers fans have been waiting for. Although the Stanleys had been recording for twelve years and had recorded many classic sides for Columbia and Mercury by 1958, many feel that the recordings for King and Starday represent their finest work. There is no denying the wealth of great performances, including the eerie Rank Strangers and such bluegrass standards as Love Me Darling/ Just Tonight/ How Mountain Girls Can Love/ Clinch Mountain Backstep/ Another Night/ The Memory Of Your Smile and many others. The quality of the material remains high throughout the period, with the Starday sessions remaining more faithful to the traditional set-up of guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and bass. King Records boss Syd Nathan hated bluegrass fiddle; at his insistence the two guitar sound, often featuring the fancy crosspicking of Bill Napier and then George Shuffler, became more prominent. Napier's hot, punchy mandolin is also featured on the sides for Starday and the early King sessions, along with the great Chubby Anthony on fiddle. The inimitable elements of the classic Stanley Bros. sound abound on this collection, from the sorrowful lead vocals and wonderful original songs of brother Carter to the bright banjo and quavering, intense singing of brother Ralph, whose voice epitomizes their timeless quality. Box includes a well researched, informative 20-page booklet and discography by Gary Reid, and the sound is fine, certainly better than on the myriad reissue LPs issued in the 70s. (RP)
THE STANLEY BROTHERS: A Few More Seasons/ A Little At A TIme/ Another Night/ Are You Afraid To Die/ Are You Tired Of Me, Darling/ Beneath The Maple/ Big Tilda/ Carolina Mountain Home/ Choo Choo Comin'/ Christmas Is Near/ Clinch Mountain Backstep/ Come All Ye Tenderhearted/ Daybreak In Dixie (Overdubbed Version)/ Daybreak In Dixie (Undubbed Version)/ Don't Go Out Tonight/ Finger Poppin' Time (Overdubbed Version)/ Finger Poppin' Time (Undubbed Version)/ Four Books In The Bible/ From The Manger To The Cross/ Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet/ God Gave You To Me/ Gonna Paint The Town/ Handsome Molly/ He Said If I Be Lifted Up/ Heaven Seemed So Near/ Hey, Hey, Hey/ Highway Of Regret/ Holiday Pickin'/ How Can We Thank Him For What He Has Done/ How Far To Little Rock/ How Mountain Girls Can Love/ I Saw The Light/ I'd Worship You/ I'll Just Go Away/ I'll Meet You In Church Sunday Morning/ I'll Not Be A Stranger/ I'll Take The Blame/ I'm A Man Of Constant Sorrow/ I'm Ready To Go/ If I Lose/ In Heaven We'll Never Grow Old/ It's Raining Here This Morning/ Jacob's Vision/ Jenny Lynn/ Jordan/ Just Dreamin'/ Keep A Memory/ Let Me Love You One More Time/ Let Me Rest/ Let The Church Roll On/ Little Bennie/ Little Joe/ Little Maggie/ Little Willie/ Lonely Tombs/ Love Me, Darling, Just Tonight/ Lover's Quarrel/ Mastertone March/ Midnight Ramble/ Mother Left Me Her Bible/ Mother No Longer Awaits Me At Home/ Mother's Footsteps Guide Me On/ Mountain Dew/ My Lord's Gonna Set Me Free/ My Main Trial Is Yet To Come/ Next Sunday, Darling, Is My Birthday/ Old Daniel Prayed/ Old Love Letters/ Old Rattler/ Over In The Glory Land/ Pass Me Not/ Purple Robe/ Rank Stranger/ Rank Stranger (Previously Unreleased)/ Ridin' That Midnight Train/ Rock Of Ages/ Shackles And Chains/ She's More To Be Pitied/ Shenandoah Waltz/ Steel Guitar Rag (Previously Unissued)/ Sunny Side Of The Mountain/ Suwanee River Hoedown/ Sweet Thing/ Sweeter Than The Flowers/ That Happy Night/ That Home Far Away/ The Angel Of Death/ The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn/ The Drunken Driver/ The Memory Of Your Smile/ The Story Of The Lawson Family/ The White Dove/ The Wild Side Of Life/ The Window Up Above/ Think Of What You've Done/ This Wicked Path Of Sin/ Tragic Romance/ Train 45/ Trust Each Other/ Weeping Willow/ What A Friend/ What About You/ When Jesus Beckons Me Home/ Where We'll Never Die/ Wild Bill Jones/ Wildwood Flower/ Wings Of Angels/ You're Still To Blame/ Your Selfish Heart

DAVE STOGNER B.A.C.M. 356 Western Swing Time ● CD $14.98
28 tracks, highly recommended
Terrific collection of western swing recorded between 1951 and '57 by Texan Dave Stogner. Stogner started playing in western swing bands in 1937 and moved to Fresno, California in the early 40s where he started working with his own bands. He modeled his style on that of his idol Milton Brown & His Brownies and he liked Brown so much that he recorded several Brown numbers and took composer credits for himself! His first recordings made for the obscure Morgan label in 1951 features some great stripped down performances with Stogner's fine vocals accompanied by lead guitar, rhythm guitar and steel and the guitar and steel players get a chance to really shine on these songs. Subsequent recordings - mostly for small local labels find him adding piano and then fiddle to the mix. This set also includes a couple of tracks with Stogner's band accompanying nondescript honky tonk vocalist Al Brumley. In 1957 he was signed by Decca and cut an album in their highly regarded "Dance-O-Rama" series and this fine LP is included io it's entirety here. For this session Stogner's band was joined by the brilliant ex-Bob Wills fiddler Fiddling Joe Holley and there are five instrumentals which provide a showcase for Holley's dazzling technique. The disc ends with two cuts recorded for the Chief label (not the Chicago label) where the performances show the influence of rock 'n' roll. An exemplary release with excellent sound and high quality notes by Kevin Coffey. (FS)
DAVE STOGNER: (You're As) Pretty As A Picture/ Bandera Polka (instr.)/ Big Yellow Moon/ Black Cat Stomp (instr.)/ C-Jam Blues (instr.)/ Cattle Call (instr.)/ Everything Happens To Me/ Father Pillow Rag (instr.)/ Hard Top Race/ Hard Top Race (Stock Car Boogie)/ I Dream Of An Old Love Affair/ Juke Box Love/ Juke Box Love (2)/ Oh Sweet Mama/ Star Dust (instr.)/ Stepping Stones/ Sugar Coated Sweetheart/ T-For-Texas/ Tennessee Sweetheart (instr.)/ Texas Hambone Blues/ The Star (instr.)/ Tulsa Baby/ Walkin' On Easy Street/ When My Dream Boat Comes Home/ Woodchopper's Ball (instr.)/ Yes Sir/ Yes Sir (2)/ You've Got Me Cryin'

THE STONEMANS Omni 151 All In The Family ● CD $17.98
34 tracks, 79 mins, highly recommended
The Stoneman Family legacy goes right back to pretty much the beginning of recorded Country music. The Stonemans were second only to the Carter Family in original popularity and longevity. Through twists of fate and luck, The Stoneman's legacy has dimmed over the years. Thankfully record labels like Omni are doing well to let current music fans know about all the great music that the family did. The main part of this CD collection is a re-issue of the Stoneman's 1968 album "All In The Family," and, although one of their poppier outings, there is still plenty of good old Country music to be found. Pops Stoneman is still playing and singing with the group at this point and his talent rings out strong throughout. Starting off with a rousing version of Cripple Creek, and featuring such roots gems as Mule Skinner Blues/ Shady Grove, and Katie Klein, alongside Country pop nuggets like The Three Cent Opera/ Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog, etc, this comes with the full compliment of liner notes and esoteric info that we have come to expect with these fine Omni releases. (JM)

CARL STORY & HIS RAMBLIN MOUNTAINEERS Bear Family BCD 16839 rs A Life In Rural Music ● CD $135.98
 4-CD boxed set (LP-size) with 112-page hardcover book. 134 tracks. Playing time approx. 5 hrs 29 mins. The last major bluegrass star from the music's early days to be reissued! This is the first time most of this music has been reissued since the LP era! Includes Story's complete recordings from 1947-1959 plus ultra-rare radio and home recordings from 1942! Including 25 previously unissued songs and alternate takes. Carl Story truly was a bluegrass pioneer, and his Ramblin' Mountaineers included Red Rector, Tater Tate, Claude Boone, Bobby Thompson, and Bud and Willie Brewster, all of them heard on this collection. Carl Story began his career in the flourishing Knoxville scene and carved out a nich, as the "Father of Bluegrass Gospel." He made either the first or best recordings of Light At The River/ Family Reunion/ I've Found A Hiding Place/ Keep On The Firing Line/ My Lord Keeps A Record/ He Will Set Your Fields On Fire/ Gone Home/ Angels Rock Me To Sleep and Hank Williams' Are You Walking And Talking For The Lord. This set includes every recording that Carl Story made for Mercury, Starday, and Columbia together with all of his Starday recordings from 1958 and '59, plus some ultra-rare demos recorded before World War II. The 4-CD set also includes a full-length book with Colin Escott's biography of Carl Story and Neil Rosenberg's and Eddie Stubbs' comprehensive discography.

THE SWEET VIOLET BOYS B.A.C.M. 353 AKA The Prairie Ramblers - Jim's Windy Mule ● CD $14.98
23 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
The Prairie Ramblers were one of the top string bands of the 30s and 40s performing old time songs, gospel, western songs and the like and there are three fine CDs on BACM of this material (B.A.C.M. 048, 149 and 319 - $14.98). But the group had another side where they performed more rambunctious, jazzy and often bawdy songs and for the recordings made in this style they adopted the pseudonym The Sweet Violet Boys and this collection features many of their recordings of this material. Some of the risque songs get a little tiresome - particularly the three versions of the hoary (that's hoary) old bawdy song Sweet Violets which is about 2 1/2 versions too many but there's lots of fine music here including Jim's Windy Mule/ Gee But It's Great To Meet A Friend From Your Home Town/ I Haven't Got A Pot To Cook In/ Put On Your Old Gret/ Round And Round Yas Yas Yas and others. Sound i generally fine and Kevin Coffey's notes puts it all into perspective. (FS)
THE SWEET VIOLET BOYS: Back Yard Stomp/ Down By The Old Mill Stream/ Down On The Farm/ Gee But It's Great To Meet A Friend From Your Home Town/ Hinky Dinky Parley Voo, Pt 1/ Hinky Dinky Parley Voo, Pt 2/ Hop Picking Time In Happy Valley/ I Give In So Easy/ I Haven't Got A Pot To Cook In/ Jim's Windy Mule/ Let's All Get Good And Drunk/ Lulu From Honolulu/ Medley Of Bar Room Sings/ My Head Went Round And Round/ Put On Your Old Gret Bonnet/ Round And Round Yas Yas Yas/ She Came Rolling Down The Mountain/ Sweet Violets, Pt 1/ Sweet Violets, Pt 2/ Sweet Violets, Pt 3/ They're Burning Down The House I Was Brung Up In/ Walking In My Sleep/ You're A Dog

KITTY WELLS Righteous PSALM 2356 A Sides, 1949-1957 ● CD $16.98
28 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
Here's a wonderful collection of the greatest recordings by one of the all time queens of Country music, Kitty Wells, who at the time of this writing is, thankfully, still going strong at 92 years old. Wells sang a lot about married people and their relationships, on which time has shown her an expert, with she and her husband celebrating their 70th anniversary a couple years back! Enough hyperbole over Mrs. Wells, though; here's the facts for this collection: you get classic recordings of her biggest and best songs, like Death At The Bar/ It Wasn't God That Made Honky Tonk Angels/ How Far Is Heaven/ A Wedding Ring Ago/ Paying for that Back Street Affair/ Hey Joe/ Repenting, etc. as well as great duets like One By One and As Long as I Live with Red Foley, Goodbye Mr. Brown with Roy Acuff, and Oh! So Many Years with Webb Pierce. Overall, a great production with fantastic sound, and some brief, but interesting, liner notes provided by Mojo magazine's Dave Henderson. Hopefully this is just volume one, you could easily put together another great collection covering the next ten years as well. (JM)

HENRY WHITTER B.A.C.M. 348 Early Country Singer: Recorded, 1923-1928 ● CD $14.98
23 tracks, very highly recommended
Wonderful collection of old time country music recorded between 1923 and 1928 by Virginia singer, guitarist and harmonica player Henry Whitter. Though perhaps best known for his collaborations with blind fiddler G.B. Grayson, Whitter made some wonderful recordings under his own name and this is the first CD devoted exclusively to his recordings. Whitter was among th earliest country artists to record and many of his recordings feature playing both guitar and harmonica and was one of the first to use a harmonica rack enabling to play both instruments at the same time. His first session in 1923 yielded the first recording of Wreck Of The The Southern Old 97 which was covered by Vernon Dalhart who recorded numerous versions of this songs which has become an all time standard. A year later Henry made the first recording of the oft recorded She's Coming Round The Mountain. He recorded a couple of traditional ballads with origins in the British Isles - Butcher Boy and George Collins along with other fine songs like Round Town Girl/ Nellie Gray/ The Drunkards Child/ I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again/ Go Bury Me Beneath The Willow and others. Several tracks feature added fiddle by John Sutphin and there are four fine bluesy harmonica solos. Sound quality is generally fine though some track have excessive digital noise reduction. Includes brief notes by Brian Chalker. A splendid and important release. (FS)
HENRY WHITTER: Black Eyed Susan/ Butcher Boy/ Chicken You'd Better Go Behind The Barn/ Double Headed Train (h.solo)/ Geo. Collins/ Go Bury Me Beneath The Willow/ I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again/ It's A Rough Road To Georgia/ Jenny Lind Polka/ Little Brown Jug/ Nellie Gray/ Poor Lost Boy (h.solo)/ Put My Little Shoes Away/ Rabbit Race (h.solo)/ Round Town Girl/ She's Coming Round The Mountain/ The Drunkard's Child/ The Explosion At Eccles West Virginia/ The Long Tongued Woman/ The Lost Girl Of West Virginia (h.solo)/ The Old Gray Mare/ The Snow Storm/ Wreck Of The Southern Old 97

HANK WILLIAMS Time Life 25567 The Complete Mother's Best Recordings .. Plus ● CD $199.98
15 CD + DVD, 222 musical performances, worth selling your soul for
After only being available directly from Time Life this monumental set is finally available through regular dealers like Roots & Rhythm. This is the Holy Grail of country music - 145 unissued songs from the greatest country music singer and songwriter of all time including 45 songs he never recorded anywhere else and another 35 that were never recorded commercially - many of them previously only available as acoustic demos. In 1951 Hank recorded a series of 72 15 minute radio shows with his Drifting Cowboys sponsored by Mother's Best Flour. These recordings were almost lost but a couple of sets of the original 16" acetates used for the shows survived and have been embroiled in legal entanglements for many years though copies of these shows have circulated underground among Williams collectors. Time LIfe previously issued a couple of three CD sets featuring mostly just songs by Hank but this set is complete with each 15 minute show which usually consisted of a song by Hank, an instrumental by The Drifting Cowboys and a gospel number - usually sung in close harmony with the Cowboys. On about 20 of the shows the Cowboys instrumental is replaced by a vocal by Hank's wife Audrey. In between we hear Hank chatting and joking with announcer Louis Buck and members of the band and while the sadness of many of Hank's songs might incline one to think of him as morose individual he comes over here as warm and witty and, obviously, having a great time. Although only one of the never before released songs is a Hank original his performances of other artists songs redefine that song for all time. In addition to covers of other artists' hits there are traditional gospel songs and obscure old songs that indicate the depth of Hank's musical knowledge.
Every performance is a gem so it's impossible to really pick out highlights but I'll mention a few titles of particular interest. On Top Of Old Smokey is familiar to everyone as a jolly campfire song but Hank sings it as it was originally written as a slow tragic love ballad and the result is simply spine chilling as is his performance of another old warhorse Cool Water which features one of his most intense performances. Of course he does many of his MGM favorites but often with differing arrangements and it's a real treat to hear Hank sing Cold Cold Heart on one of the shows just a few days he wrote it. Backing is, of course, by The Drifting Cowboys featuring sensitive accompaniments from Jerry Rivers on fiddle, Don Helms on steel, Sammy Pruett on guitar and Cedric Rainwater on bass who are also featured on a great selection of instrumentals. As to the songs by Hank's wide Audrey - as one wag involved in the production of this set pointed out "that's why God created the "skip" button." And talking about the skip button the shows have been programmed so if you just want to hear the songs you can use the skip button to take you to the next song and, certainly, after a while the endless plugs for Mother's Best flour, farm feed and corn meal get a bit repetitive. The Mother's Best shows are featured on the first 14 discs with the 15th featuring an Aunt Jemima audition show plus a remarkable short play about Venereal Disease featuring Hank singing part of it. The DVD features a conversation between Hank's daughter Jett, two members of Hank's band - Don Helms and Big Bill Lister and former WSM engineer Glenn Snoddy. The sound quality, thanks to mastering engineer Joe Palmaccio is incredible and, in many cases, sound better than the MGM studio recordings of the same songs! Set comes packaged in a simulated old time radio which makes storing it a bit of challenge but does look very cool and it includes a 108 page hard cover book with extensive notes and great photos. Easily the best and most important release of 2011 and I don't think anything will come close to equaling its significance for a very, very long time. (FS)

HANK WILLIAMS Time Life 26414 The Legend Begins - Rare And Unreleased Recordings ● CD $39.98
Three CDs, 71 tracks, 125 mins, essential
Nothing can top the monumental release of Hank's complete Mother's Best Radio Shows (Time Life ) but this is another indispensible collection of rare, live and unissued recordings by the greatest country singer of them all. The first two CDs features all eight of the Health & Happiness Shows recorded by Hank in October, 1949 - a series of shows underwritten the Hadacol patent medicine company. Each show has two or three songs by Hank - one a gospel song along with instrumentals from the bands great fiddler Jerry Rivers and a guitar instrumental from Bob McNett. There are also a couple of songs featuring Audrey. Unlike the Mother's Best shows we don't get any commercial breaks or any of the repartee between Hank and other others but the performances are stellar. Most of the songs are drawn from his Stirling and MGM recordings (Lovesick Blues/ You're Gonna Change/ I'm A LOng Gone Daddy/ I'll Have A New Life/ A Mansion On The Hill, etc) plus the only recording of his composition Tramp On The Street - a stunning and heartfelt performance. The Health & Happiness Shows have been reissued before but many previous issues have dubbed additional instrumentation or applause. Newly remastered with transfers by Alan Stoker and remastering by Joe Palmaccio these sound like they were recorded yesterday! The third disc gets into some real rarities including his never before heard first recordings from a 1938 radio show when Hank was 15. Even at this young age his version of the blues song Fan It and the pop song Alexander's Ragtime Band show a very promising. There are four tracks from 1940 (two previously unissued) and the two years shows a significant maturity in his singing on songs like Freight Train Blues and new San Antonio Rose. Sound quality on these very early sides are rough but well worth hearing. Finally there is a complete March Of Dimes show from December 1950 featuring three songs by Hank, one by Audrey and duet of Hank and Audrey. They were there to support the cause of helping treat victims of infantile paralysis. Hank's appeal for public support are truly heartfelt and sincere. Another invaluable addition to any Hank Williams collection. (FS)

TEX WILLIAMS B.A.C.M. 334 Vol. 3 - Badman's Country ● CD $14.98
The third volume devoted to this deep voiced western singer. Most of the 26 tracks here were recorded between 1955 and 1960 including a number of tracks with a fairly large band with vocal choruses which works surprisingly well. There are also a couple of stabs at the new fangled rock 'n' roll along with a couple of fine honky tonk numbers, cowboy songs and half a dozen instrumentals - some with a western swing flavor.
TEX WILLIAMS: Badman's Country/ Be Sure You're Right And Then Go Ahead/ Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel) (instr)/ Big Big Lie/ Bummin' Around/ Dancin' At The Rancho (instr)/ Danny Boy Of San Angelo/ Elmer's Tune (instr)/ Every Night/ False Face/ He'll Have To Go/ I've Got Texas In My Soul/ Keeper Of Boot Hill/ Killer/ Old Betsy/ One Eyed Sam/ Pauline/ Rancho Boogie (instr)/ Reno Town Of Broken Hearts/ Shotgun Boogie/ Start Even/ Talkin' To The Blues/ Thunder Road/ Williams Rag (instr)/ You're Cold So Sold


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