New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011
Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
Rosalie Allen  -> Lulubelle & Scotty + Books + DVD





COUNTRY MUSIC USA Third Revised Edition by Bill C. Malone & Jocelyn R. Neal ● BOOK $34.95
Paper, 664 pages, counts as eight CDs for shipping
Since its first publication in 1968, Country Music, U.S.A. has won universal acclaim as the definitive history of American country music. Starting with the music's folk roots in the rural South, it traces country music from the early days of radio through the first decade of the twenty-first century. Although this third edition is mostly unchanged from the 2002 edition this edition includes an extensive new chapter in which new co-author Jocelyn Neal tracks developments in country music in the post-9/11 world, exploring the relationship between the current scene and the traditions from which the music emerged. It also includes a new introduction by Malone where he discusses areas of country music that are in need of further study and discusses some of the other books published that complements his own work. As a performer, fan, and historian, Malone has a unique perspective on the ins and outs of country music in this groundbreaking tome.

BANJO ON THE MOUNTAIN Wade Mainer's First Hundred Years by Dick Spottswood ● BOOK $29.98
Paper, 134 pages, highly recommended
Written by the astute and insightful Dick Spottswood, this long overdue biography of the great Wade Mainer is as important of a Country music biography as has come out in recent years. Although it's not really a straight biography, it is part bio and part scrapbook, with extensive discography and a great read no matter how you stack it. In case you didn't know it, Wade Mainer is still alive and well, and is--at the time of this writing--103 years young, thus the "First Hundred Years" title. He was even still performing at the age of 101. From joining his brother J.E.'s band J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers in the early 1930's, to forming his own Sons of the Mountaineers who played for Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt at the White House, to getting a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from Reagan in 1987, to today, Wade Mainer has seen and made a lot of history and this book does a fantastic job of telling his story. Filled throughout with rare photos, important documents and paraphernalia from several decades of Country music performances. This was certainly a treat to read and I hope it gets a wide audience. (JM)

BLIND BUT NOW I SEE The Biography Of Music Legend Doc Watson by Kent Gustavson ● BOOK $14.95
Paperback, 331 pages, counts as five CDs for shipping
One of the most influential guitar players in folk/country music, Doc Watson has been hailed and recognized by his peers as well as Presidents Carter and Clinton. Kent Gustavson has written the first comprehensive biography on this amazing man, which features new interviews with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Tom Paxton, Peggy Seeger, Peter Rowan, Greg Brown, David Grisman, Jerry Douglas, Maria Muldaur, and more. Beautifully illustrated and annotated, the book also contains never before released details about the American guitar icon's life.



ROSCOE HOLCOMB Shanachie DVD 621 The Legacy Of Roscoe Holcomb ● DVD $18.98
100 minutes, very highly recommended
Many great traditional musicians were discovered in the late 50s and 60s but a few stand out above the rest - Roscoe Holcomb, discovered by John Cohen in Daisy, Kentucky in 1959, is just such a person. He was a superb singer, banjo player and guitarist with a high, intense vocal style that is drenched with emotion. His music was steeped in blues, traditional ballads and the Baptist church and carries an emotional charge that has few parallels. This DVD is an incredible collection of film footage of this magnificent musician. It includes two documentaries made by John Cohen - the superb "High Lonesome Sound" from 1962 which tells the story of Roscoe and his music and presents the hard lives of the people in the area of Kentucky he lives with music by Roscoe and others. "Roscoe Holcomb From Daisy, Kentucky" is a new documentary mostly drawn from outtakes of the former movie along with other footage shot in 1962 and 1972 - it's a bit fragmentary and disjointed but it's always nice to see and hear more of Roscoe and it features a moving Vietnam war song by Roscoe's nephew Odabe. There are 10 great filmed performances of Roscoe made between 1961 and 1966 doing songs and tunes like Pretty Fair Miss In The Garden/ Old Smoky/ Graveyard Blues/ Rocky Mountain and others and the disc is rounded out by some interesting outtakes from the new documentary. If you love old time music this is indispensible. (FS)



ROSALIE ALLEN Jasmine 3598/9 The Versatile Rosalie Allen ● CD $18.98
2 CDs, 61 tracks, 159 min., very highly recommended
Known as the "Queen of the Yodelers," Rosalie Allen (born Julie Bedra) made quite a name for herself in New York in the 1940s and landed a recording contract with RCA and later with Waldorf Music Hall. This compilation features not just the yodelers such as I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart and He Taught Me How To Yodel, but forays into western swing, country, boogie, and elsewhere. She sings Hank Williams' Your Cheatin' Heart, the cleverly titled Believe Me I'll Be Leaving You/ Honky Tonk Angels/ My Dolly Has A Broken Heart/ Spanish Polka and more. (Don't let the postwar title Hitler Lives raise your blood pressure or eye brows; the chorus is on the order of "Hitler lives if we hurt our fellow men.") Hardcore fans will appreciate that Allen's earliest recordings with Denver Darling (the Tex Grande Band) have been included, as have both versions of Guitar Polka, one of which features the rising star named Chet Atkins. The overall sound is excellent, the sequencing is well thought out, the running time approaches the maximum possible, and the booklet notes are informative if somewhat lacking in session details. Best Rosalie Allen collection ever--a pleasure from start to end. (Inspirational line: "I would rather be spanked than practice my scales.") (JC)

ALLERTON & ALTON Bear Family BCD 16559 Black, White And Bluegrass ● CD $21.98
27 tracks, 71 mins, highly recommended
What made Allerton & Alton unique might also be what made them obscure to most music fans; a black and white duo is something that would still stand out a bit in Country and Bluegrass music of today, so think about what it must have been like to be playing "Mountain Music" music in the '40s and '50s with an African American as half of the act. Certainly one of histories lost greats, Allerton & Alton were a fine Country music act. These recordings, done for radio station WLAM out of Lewiston, Maine, were thought to be long lost, but were unearthed recently, and Bear Family gladly grabbed them up and put out this exceptional collection. Allerton (Al Hawkes) & Alton (Myers) met when both record collectors were out scouring the record store bins for rare Country & Bluegrass 78s, a friendship and musical partnership quickly blossomed. Soon they were playing on the radio in the style of their heroes like The Bales Brothers, Delmore Bothers, etc. The tracks here display their thorough knowledge of Country music with fine covers of The Carter Family, Flatt & Scuggs, Ernest Tubb, Jimmie Skinner and so on. This CD collects three of their radio shows in full with between-song banter and such, and then another 14 tracks from various sources. All in all, a fantastic historical document full of wonderful performances. (JM)

TEX ATCHISON B.A.C.M. 327 Natural Born Gamblin' Man ● CD $14.98
27 tracks, recommended
An enjoyable selection of tracks recorded between 1945 and '48 for a variety of label featuring fiddler/ singer Tex Atchison who got his start with The Prairie Ramblers. He is accompanied by such stellar musicians as Merle Travis, Jimmie Widener, Noel Boggs, Cliffie Stone and others. About half the tracks are fairly hot with strong vocals and instrumental work while the rest is not so haot with fairly soporific instrumental work and drab vocals including a couple of vocals by T. Texas Tyler who is one of my least favorite country singers. Includes excellent notes by Kevin Coffey. (FS)

THE BAILES BROTHERS Gusto 2169 20 Songs ● CD $8.98
20 tracks, recommended
The Bailes Brothers were one of the great brother groups - originally consisting of four brothers. They had a lengthy career performing in various combinations from the early 40s through the 70s and the set here is about 2/3 recordings made for King between 1947 and 1953 and the rest from a 1973 reunion of Johnnie and Homer. The earlier sides are more compelling with intense vocals accompanied by guitar, mandolin and the soaring steel guitar of Shot Jackson. The later sides features larger and more polished accompanying groups but are still rewarding - their 1973 version of Sweeter Than The Flowers is particularly nice. Their material is mostly gospel songs along with a handful of secular songs and includes Dust On The Bible/ An Empty Mansion/ He Will Set Your Fields On Fire/ Future Hold Nothing/ I Wanna Be Loved Only By You/ Somebody's Praying For You/ Down The Valley Of The Shadow, etc. Sound quality on the earlier sides is not the greatest but is quite listenable. (FS)

WILF CARTER (MONTANA SLIM) B.A.C.M. 316 Vol. 1 - Hillbilly Valley ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 74 mins, recommended
Initially influenced by America's Jimmie Rodgers, this Canadian western singer often recorded under the pseudonym Montana Slim. He began his recording career in 1933, adopting his hero's love of yodeling and became one of the finest yodelers in the business as this collection clearly shows. In his 55 year career he recorded over 500 songs and the first 25 years of his career has been documented in two large Bear Family box sets but this provides a more manageable introduction featuring a divese recordings made between 1935 and 1947. Most of the tracks are from 1935 through 1941 and these mostly feature Wilf alone with his guitar and yodel - the handful of tracks from '47 find him with small groups with fiddle and steel guitar. Tracks include My Lulu/ Two Gun Cowboy/ Just One More Ride/ Midnight Train/ Sundown Blues/ Sittin' By The Old Corral/ Hillbilly Valley/ When It's Twilight Over Texas, etc. (FS)
WILF CARTER: Call Of The Range/ Cowboy Blues/ Cowboy's Heavenly Dream/ Dusty Trails/ Hang The Key On The Bunkhouse Door/ Hillbilly Valley/ I'm Only A Dude In Cowboy Clothes/ Just One More Ride/ Midnight Train/ My Brown Eyed Prairie Rose/ My Lulu/ My Old Lasso Is Headed Straight For You/ My Rambling Days Are Through/ Returning To My Prairie Home/ Ridin' A Maverick/ Sittin' By The Old Corral/ Sundown Blues/ The Preacher And The Cowboy/ The Roundup In The Fall/ The Tramp's Mother/ Trail To Home Sweet Home/ Twilight On The Prairie/ Two Gun Cowboy/ When It's Twilight Over Texas

JOHNNY CASH Columbia 60051 Bootleg Vol. 2 - From Memphis To Hollywood ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 57 tracks, 124 mins, highly recommended
Johnny Cash certainly cast a long shadow in American Music history, so it's no surprise that, years after his passing, there are numerous CDs worth of quality recordings still being released. This collection includes early Memphis area radio appearances, demos, and rare recordings, b-sides and out-takes from about the first 15 years of Johnny Cash's career. Disk one focuses exclusively on the formative years of 1955 - 1958 and has the radio shows, a slew of demos and then some rare Sun records recordings. There are 17 demo recordings throughout the 2 CDs, most of them '58 or before, and they include the first recordings of such major songs as I Walk The Line/ Country Boy/ Get Rhythm/ Train Of Love/ Come Along And Ride This Train, etc. These fantastic demo versions would be enough for the price of admission for most Cash fans by themselves, but then you have 40 more great tracks besides. The early radio shows include Johnny Cash doing promotional spots for the Home Equipment Company; not the natural pitch-man that someone like Hank Williams was, but that makes these spots that much more endearing. Disk two focuses mostly on Cash's late '50s to '60s material and has such gems as All Over Again/ The Johnny Yuma Theme/ Five Minutes To Live/ Johnny Reb/ The Frozen Logger/ You Beat All I Ever Saw/ Foolish Questions, and so on. As with the first installment in this series, I consider this an essential for any Johnny Cash fans and at least highly recommended to everyone else (I'll definitely be buying this copy!) (JM)

THE DELMORE BROTHERS & FRIENDS Jasmine 3588 Blues Stay Away From Me ● CD $11.98
24 tracks, very highly recommended
Terrific collection of sides featuring the great Delmore Brothers and their frequent playing associates Wayne Raney & Lonnie Glosson. Although it includes a few of their best known titles like the title songs, Freight Train Boogie and Why Don't You Haul Off And Love most of the rest is appearing on CD for the first time. The majority of the tracks feature vocals by Glosson or Raney but all features the distinctive guitar accompaniments and occasional vocal harmonies of the Delmores. This CD features the tracks by Glosson and Raney moonlighting for London under the pseudonyms Hank Dalton and Lonesome Willie Evans as well as gospel songs by Glosson and The Delmores as The Hallelujah Trio. Among the highlights is the beautiful Harmonica Blues issued as by The Delmore Brothers but featuring the first vocal by Raney, the glorious Pan American Boogie with duet vocals and harmonicas by Glosson and Raney, the traditional sounding I Want You To Know That I Love You and more. Fabulous music with excellent sound and informative notes by Al Turner. (FS)

AL DEXTER B.A.C.M. 322 High Price For Love ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 69 mins, recommended
26 tracks by this fine Texas country vocalist who is best known for his composition Pistol Packing Mama (included here) which he first recorded in 1942 and has since become a country standard. In spite of the title, the last session here is actually from 1941. The material here ranges from 1937 through 1947 including fine early swinging sides with small groups featuring some nice electric and steel guitar from Bob Symons. Later sides feature larger groups, often with the distinctive trumpet of Holly Hollinger. In addition to his fine vocals and band work, Dexter was a talented songwriter and almost all the songs were written or co-written by him. Apart from Pistol Packin' Mama most of the other tracks are lesser known and most are appearing on CD for the first time. Includes My baby Loves Me/ Gypsy Swing/ Come Back To Me My Darling/ You Will Always Be My Darling/ Just take A Little Time/ Barrel House Pola, etc.
AL DEXTER: At The End Of Each Day/ Bar Hotel/ Barrel House Boogie/ Barrel House Polka/ Calamity Jane/ Calico Rag/ Can This Love Be Real/ Come Back To Me My Darling/ Each Night I Cry Over Your Picture/ Gypsy Swing/ High Price For Love/ Honky Tonk Baby/ I Cry When I'm Blue/ It's Too Late To Say You're Sorry Now/ Just Take A Little Time/ Meet Me Down In Honky Tonk Town/ New Guitar Polka/ New Pistol Packin' Mama/ New Soldier's Farewell/ One More Day In Prison/ Pistol Packin' Mama/ She's The Sunshine Of Moonshine Valley/ The Texas Waltz/ Two Broken Hearts/ You Will Always Be My Darling

JOHNNY DOE Cactus JD 1 The Johnny Cash Sound Of Johnny Doe aka Stan Farlow ● CD $15.98
30 tracks, 79 mins, recommended
The huge popularity of Johnny Cash inspired a lot of great musicians; it also inspired a lot of copycats, rip off artist and an artist named Johnny Doe (sometimes Stan Farlow) a dead ringer J.C. impersonator, that made a bit of a career for himself back in the '60s and '70s. Instead of sticking to clubs in Vegas and the like, knowing his place like a good Elvis impersonator would, ole Johnny Doe went out and made a whole bunch of his own records. Not only does Doe/ Farlow perform dead on covers of Cash favorites like The Man In Black/ Folsom Prison Blues/ Hey Porter, etc., he also does a number of quite good songs in the Cash style like Hot Wheels/ Devil River, and Cab Drivin Man. It's really uncanny how much these sound like Johnny Cash records, owing also to the great musicians backing him up and solid production quality throughout. Some of these original singles actually came out on respectable labels like Checker/ Chess! Johnny Cash fans will either totally love this, or be totally pissed off about it; personally, I think it's a lot of fun, a bit like discovering a bunch of lost Johnny Cash recordings from the '60s and early 70's. (JM)

ROY DRUSKY B.A.C.M. 332 Swing Wide Your Gates Of Love ● CD $14.98
30 tracks, recommended
30 tracks recorded between 1955 and 1960 by this artist who had many hits in the the 60s and early 70s but is pretty much forgotten today. Drusky had a smooth but expressive style and wrote some very appealing songs but a lot of his recordings feature backup vocal choruses that were so prevalent at the the time and take away me of the impact of the performances - at least to my ears. It includes three of his early hits - Another/ Anymore/ I'd Rather LOan You Out and Three Hearts In A Tangle along with Come On Back And LOve Me/ God PLanned It That Way/ I Walk To Heaven/ Three Blines Mice (yes, a country version of the old nursery rhyme!)/ Wait And See/ Our Church, Your Wedding/ I'm So Helpless/ I've Got Some/Swing Wide Your Gate Of Love/ Almost Can't, etc. More than half the songs were written or cowritten by DRusky. (FS)

BOB DUNN Origin Jazz Library 1004 Master Of The Electric Steel Guitar, 1935-1950 ● CD $33.98
Two CDS, 53 tracks, essential
Pioneering electric steel guitarist Bob Dunn may not be a household name but he was one of the more important figures in the development of western swing in particular and modern country music in general. Dunn's "take-off" style incorporated blues, Hawaiian guitar & the trombone of Jack Teagarden and was an influence on many steel guitarists to follow including Leon McAuliffe. Perhaps the reason for his comparative obscurity is that most of his work was done as an accompanying performer and only recorded a dozen titles under his own name with his band The Vagabonds. Origin Jazz Library have rectified that situation with this lovingly compiled package featuring all twelve titles issued under his own name along with stellar work with Milton Brown & His Brownies, Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers, Floyd Tillman, Bill Mounce & Sons Of The South, Modern Mountaineers, Harry Choates and others. Throughout, Dunn's playing is dazzling and imaginative. This set is beautifully packaged in a 5"x7" book form with a 44 page booklet with four essays on Dunn's career, life, technique and the influence of the trombone on his music. There are loads of great photos, many previously unpublished and full discographical data. Sound quality is superb. This magnificent release will help establish Dunn's credentials as the major performer he was. (FS)

HUGH & KARL FARR Country Routes RFDCD 11 Texas Stomp 1934-40 ● CD $16.98
26 tracks, essential
Repressed by popular demand! To put it simply, this is an amazing find - 26 transcriptions by Hugh & Karl Farr, Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers), Bob Nolan and other Sons Of The Pioneers, doing some of the instrumentals they used as filler on early radio shows. No Cool Water here, and no filler, for that matter - this is all hot jazz and blues-based swing in the style of the famed Eddie Lang - Joe Venuti string duos; a style popularized around this time by Django Reinhardt and Co. The disc begins with three 1935 guitar duets from the Farr Bros., then on to Bluebird Rhythm, a showcase for Hugh's flashy fiddling. Next comes a 1940 quartet in the Hot Club mode, then the earliest track here (1934), the standard Milneburg Joys complete with breakneck tempo and solo breaks. The chronology is jumbled, but no matter - every track is a gem, from the delicate swing of Heart To Heart/ I Said Goodbye to the many torrid workouts for fiddle and guitar. Farr and Rogers' St. Louis Blues is a perfect lazy blues with wild violin flourishes, and Texas Stomp is the hottest of the hot, featuring Karl in 1940 on electric guitar! This year was also marked by imaginative quartet arrangements, as on Comin' Thru The Rye/ Memories In Blue/ Dark Eyes. The musicianship is just astounding, making this an essential for fans of string jazz or hot country picking. A wonderful slice of unheard history. (MB)

TERRY FELL/ LEODIE JACKSON B.A.C.M. 333 Ramblin' Oakie ● CD $14.98
28 tracks, 77 mins, recommended
Fine collection of 28 sides from the mid/ late 40s featuring vocalist Terry Fell and Western swing steel guitarist Leodie Jackson, often working together. They are featured on a varied selections of mostly original compositions by Fell or Jackson recorded for small West Coast labels like Fargo and Courtney as well as the more significant independent 4 Star. Unlike his later material which was heavilly loaded with novelty songs most of this is pretty much straight ahead honky tonk - sometimes with a Western Swing flavor. Apart from Jackson the personell varies from session to session and some of the 4 Star sides feature the great guitarist Porky Freeman. An enjoyable collection with decent sound quality though, curiously, there is an insert apologizing for the sound quality on some cuts but I didn't find them any worse than other B.A.C.M. CDs so don't be put off by that. Includes quality notes by Kevin Coffey. (FS)
TERRY FELL & LEODIE JACKSON: Double Crossing Mama-1/ Double Crossing Mama-2/ Down And Out Blues/ Guess I'm Better Off Without You/ I Love You Too Much To Care/ I'm Sorry We Have To Part/ Jackson Stomp/ Little By Little/ My Pretty Little Japanese/ Napanee/ Paper Heart/ Please My Darling Think Of Me/ Please Tell Me Why/ Ramblin' Oakie/ Snow Deer/ Steel Guitar Melody/ Steeling The Blues (instro)/ Stop Your Flirting Little Girl/ Texas A La Mode (instro)/ That Naggin' Wife Of Mine-1/ That Naggin' Wife On Mine-2/ Waiting For A Love Untrue/ Why Should I Feel So Blue/ Will There Still Be A Light In Your Window/ With Another In Your Heart/ You Are My Sunshine/ You Didn't Want Me Anymore/ You're Tearing My Poor Paper Heart

FREDDY FENDER Golden Stars 5298 The Hits And More ● CD $19.98
3 CDs, 42 tracks, 125 mins, recommended
The great Freddy Fender's catalog is criminally neglected. This three CD collection does the bare minimum to help correct that. This is a cheap set with no notes, info, pictures, etc., just the music, which thankfully there is a lot of fantastic music here. Disk one features most of his best-known recordings in their classic versions. His most well known numbers Before The Next Teardrop Falls, and Wasted Days and Wasted Nights, along with some of his best Tex-Mex cover versions, like Ivory Joe Hunter's Since I Met You Baby, Merle Haggard's Silver Wings, and Lloyd Price's Just Because, all fantastic, makes you feel like you are back in the '70s listening to A.M. radio crying a tear into your Billy Beer. Disk two is a mix of Fender's originals - The Girl Who Waits On Tables/ A Man Can Cry, etc., covers of classic Rhythm & Blues and Country like You'll Lose A Good Thing, and Jambalaya, and traditional Mexican numbers like No Me Quieres Ver, all good, but the best track on disk two would have been Fender's take on Kris Kristofferson's For The Good Times, if it was his beautiful studio version, as it is we get an o.k. live version, an opportunity lost for sure. Disk three is almost entirely live, seemingly recorded at a number of different dates and for the most part, the performances are really good. The standout studio track on the disk the Doo-Wop esque "Como Quieres" ends up being the best track on the disk. So all in all, a mixed bag, but about the best we fans have available right now. (JM)

FREDDY FENDER Pegasus 181 The Best Of Freddy Fender ● CD $8.98
20 tracks, 54 mins, highly recommended
Do you have a Freddy Fender compilation? Well you need one; he was a great and much under-appreciated artist. This is a fine collection to start with, featuring a fine mix of his big hits that he wrote and a whole bunch of the great cover songs that he did over the years. Most famous for his big hits Wasted Days and Wasted Nights and Before The Next Teardrop Falls, which are both here, Fender also really shined on his covers of early Rock 'N' Roll, Doo Wop, and Country Music classics. On this you get his fantastic versions of Your Cheating Heart/ Wild Side Of Life/ Since I Met You Baby/ Let The Good Times Roll, and many more. There's even a great nod to his close friend Doug Sahm, with a rollicking version of She's About A Mover. Not much in the way of liner notes or anything (I have yet to see a Freddy Fender collection that has really been done well, with extensive notes and all), but the sound is good and the track selection is the best I have seen on a F.F. collection, so this is basically the best "Best Of" so far. (JM)

HANK FERGUSON Folk Legacy 13 Behind These Walls ● CD $16.98
18 tracks, very highly recommended
Tennessee singer Hank Ferguson deserved to become a country star - he was a beautiful singer with a disarming honky tonk honesty to his voice. With only his own acoustic guitar accompaniment his performances bring to mind some of those great Hank Williams acoustic demos. Not that I'm suggesting that this Hank was in the same league but there is an undelying honesty to the performnces that really brings up goosebumps. Ferguson was found by folklorist Bruce Jackson when he visited the Indiana State Penitentiary in Michigan City, Indiana where Hank was serving a year for an undisclosed crime and Folk Legacy made these recordings shortly after Hank was released in 1963. The first half a dozen songs deal with crime and prison life including three written by Hank himself including the powerful I'm Not Living, I'm Just Lasting/ One Life's As Long As Any Man Can Live and Trouble Just Got In My Way. The rest of the material is country standards and traditional songs and includes truly moving versions of Harlan Howard's Busted ,Long Black Veil and others. This guy was so good it's a shame he wasn't picked up by a commercial label. But, as it stands, this is a release to treasure. (FS)

LESTER FLATT & EARL SCRUGGS T-Bird 035 Folk Songs Of Our Land/ Hard Travelin' .. Ballad Of Jed Clampett ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, recommended
Two early 60s albums from the great Flatt & Scruggs with their superb band The Foggy Mountain Boys (Buck Graves/ Dobro, Curly Seckler/ mandolin, Paul Warren/ fiddle, etc.). "Folk Songs Of Our Land" features folk oriented songs including traditional songs (with Flatt & Scruggs composer credits), songs in a traditional vein and songs from Woody Guthrie and Merle Travis. Includes The Legend Of The Johnson Boys/ Good Times Are Past And Gone/ This Land Is Your Land/ Nine Pound Hammer, etc. "Hard Travelin'" features a similar repertoire, including three songs from The Carter Family, and also includes their original Ballad Of Jed Clampett which became the theme song of the TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies" and became the first bluegrass song to top the country charts. Also includes Dixie Home/ Drowned In The Deep Blue Sea/ My Native Home/ I'm Bound To Ride, etc. The CD includes a booklet with the original notes which on "Travelin" was by the brilliant Pete Welding who offers great insight into the group's music. (FS)

DALLAS FRAZIER Raven 262 The R&B Sessions: Elvira/ Tell It Like It Is ● CD $19.98
27 tracks, 66 min, highly recommended
Reissuing for the first time on CD Frazier's mid-sixties LPs Elvira and Tell It Like It Is, this release finds the author of Alley Oop and Elvira pushing aside his country credentials in favor of his blue-eyed soul side with success to spare. Sure, a couple of songs start out with the Alley Oop beat, but they quickly move into their own territory, and fertile land it is. Best known as a song writer, Frazier has a fine voice and expressive phrasing on such tracks as Ain't Nothin' Shakin' (But The Leaves)/ Baby, Ain't That Fine/ Just A Little Bit Of You/ Done Made Up My Mind, and more. Fans of Delbert McClinton and Eddie Hinton should find much to admire here. Includes three bonus tracks (Tennessee Sue/ King Of The Jungle/ Make Believe You're here With Me) not on the original LPs. A find! (JC)

VERN GOSDIN Sims 306 Late & Great - The Voice ● CD $9.98
10 tracks, highly recommended
Vern Gosdin, who died in 2009, was one of the greatest honky tonk singers of the 70s, 80s and 90s with an aching, yearning quality that, at times, brings to mind George Jones in his Epic period. This man puts so much feeling into a song it will raise the hair on your arms. This is a posthumous release of previously unissued material. The origin of these recordings is unclear but it sounds as though it was recorded in the mid 90s featuring Vern in great voice and he is accompanied by a superb band with no extraneous strings or vocal choruses. Six of the ten songs were written by Vern and are a fine selection of heart rending ballads and mid tempo songs. To be perfectly objective, there' not a whole lot of variety in Vern's music, but the man sang with so much soul that objectivity doesn't enter into it! (FS)

BILLY GRAMMER B.A.C.M. 325 A Thousand Miles Away ● CD $14.98
29 tracks, recommended, but ...
In 1959 Billy Grammer had big crossover hit with pop-country-folk song Gotta Travel On - he then went on to repeat the formula over the next couple of years with little variation on a bunch of singles and LP. As enjoyable as Travel a little more variety in his later work would be most welcome. However this disc also features six early sides by Grammer - four from around 1949/ 50 and two from an unknown date (probably mid 50s) and these are much more rewarding. The four earliest sides are fine pre-honky tonk country including a terrific cover of Ivory Joe Hunter's R&B hit I Almost Lost My Mind, complete with yodeling that is worth the price of admission. The two mysterious cuts are fine rockin' country performances with excellent guitar work (probably Grammer himself who was a top notch picker) including a fine rendition of Wabash Cannonball. So I'm in two minds about this CD which has a few very fine sides, an enjoyable hit and a bunch of what is, to me, pretty forgettable material. (FS)

STONEWALL JACKSON Omni 141 Life Of A Poor Boy ● CD $16.98
30 tracks, 76 mins, highly recommended
A country star of the late 50's and on into the 60's, Jackson is somewhat forgotten today; and yet, he racked up thirty-five Top 40 country hits between 1958 and 1971. This collection of hits and lesser known album cuts seeks to remind people that Jackson was and is (he's still very much alive) an honorable member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jackson's honky-tonkin' is savored on hits like I Washed My Hand in Muddy Water (probably his best known song), Trouble and Me/ Blues Plus Booze (Means I Lose), and Help Stamp Out Loneliness, and all are featured here. Omni have done a beautiful job of putting the compilation together-the songs are remastered from Columbia's original master tapes and the booklet contains exclusive liner notes and rare photos. This country music at its most pure, heartfelt, and down-home-most presented for the first time on CD-and deserves your attention. (GMC)

JERRY LEE LEWIS Bear Family BCD 16685 Old Time Religion ● CD $21.98
Just arrived. Amazing collection of 20 gospel songs recorded live by Jerry Lee and his band at Brother Davis's Church in Memphis in December 1970 and previously unissued. These recordings were made three days after he renounced worldly music - a situation that didn't last very long! In addition to the songs Jerry Lee does some preaching and testifying and flogs his latest LP to the congregation.
JERRY LEE LEWIS: Amazing Grace/ Down The Sawdust Trail/ I Know That Jesus Will Be There/ I Won't Have To Cross Jordan Alone/ I'll Fly Away/ I'm In The Gloryland Way/ I'm Longing For Home/ If We Never Meet Again-I'm Gonna Meet You In Heaven/ It Will Be Worth It All When We See Jesus/ Keep On The Firing Line/ Life's Railway To Heaven/ Looking For A City/ My God Is Real/ On The Jericho Road/ Precious Memories/ Someone To Care/ The Old Rugged Cross/ There'll Be Peace In The Valley/ Tomorrow May Mean Goodbye/ When Jesus Beckons Me Home

LITTLE ROY LEWIS & THE LEWIS FAMILY Gusto 2161 Gospel Train ● CD $4.98
Reissue of 1968 Starday LP. 8 of the tracks are instrumental versions of bluegrass gospel favorites like Gospel Train/ Where The Soul Of Man Never Dies/ Power In The Blood and others performed by Little Roy Lewis of The Lewis Family ("The First Family Of Bluegrass Gospel Music") accompanied by a bluegrass with occasional unnecessary drums. There are also two vocals from the Lewis Family - Rank Strangers and Brighten The Corner Where You Are.

THE LOUVIN BROTHERS Righteous PSALM 23:49 The Church Of Louvin ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, essential
The great Louvin Brothers recorded a lot of gospel and this CD reissues their first two all gospel LPs - "Nearer My God To Thee" (Capitol 825, 1957) and "The Family Who Prays" (Capitol 1061, 1958). Both features that distinctive Louvin sound blending their acoustic guitar and mandolin with electric guitar (usually Chet Atkins or Paul Yandell) and discreet bass and drums. The first LP is a mix of Louvin originals like I Can't Say Now, Thankful and I Steal Away And Pray balanced with better known traditional tunes as This Little Light Of Mine/ Nearer My God To Thee and the old Southern gospel favorite Are You Washed In The Blood along with Hazel Houser's Praying and Wait A Little Longer, Please Jesus. The second LP is almost all Louvin originals and includes some great songs like the title song plus Satan Lied To Me/ Preach The Gospel/ Pray For Me/ Make Him A Soldier and others. These have been reissued on CD a couple of times before but if you don't already have them then this is an indispensible collection of country gospel at its very finest. (FS)

LULU BELLE & SCOTTY B.A.C.M. 330 The Sweethearts Of Country Music ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 68 mins, recommended
18 of the tracks are from commercial recordings made in the late 40s/ early 50s for several different labels and they do songs like That's Only Half Of It/ My Heart Cries For You/ New Love Waltz/ Precious Memories/ Spearmint On The Bedpost (the original of the song that became a 1961 hit for Lonnie Donegan as Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor Overnight)/You Don't Love Me Like You Used To/ Beyond The Starry Sky and others. It also includes their second recording of Have I Told You Lately That I Love You - a Scotty Wiseman composition that has become a country and pop standard. There are six tracks from late 40s Republic transcriptions where they are backed by The Prairie Ramblers and the set ends with two live recordings from the WLS National Barn Dance program which they were featured on for many years. Sound quality is decent and notes gives us a potted biography of the duo but no information about the recordings here. (FS)


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