Sunday, July 22, 2007
Review: Blue Grass Country Featuring the Twin Country Accordions
Greetings once again Country Music Fans,
Can you fans remember when the accordion was a major part of the band for many country music acts in that earlier era? We can think of Doc Williams and his Border Riders and move right up to one in the Hall of Fame - Pee Wee King. Or even when the Moms and Dads captured the interest of the nation with their "Ranger's Waltz"?
This came in the mail box one day and well, Gran'pa got a bit curious as to how it would turn out. There's three fellows listed as the musicians on this release - Dan Yarnick on accordion; Eddie Liszewski on accordion and Lee Martin doing work on guitar, mandolin, bass and fiddle.
First comment - folks, some of the new generation of singers and musicians might want to give a listen to this one. They might learn that good music doesn't have to be coming out a decibel levels that would bust an eardrum in the next county. It was nicely mixed and balanced.
Second - the 'sound' that I heard reminded me of another easy style type of instrumental country I found a few years ago by a fellow named Joe Weed. This one is like that a bit - all instrumentals and as relaxing to listen to as sitting on your front porch on a summer afternoon with a pitcher of good iced tea.
Fans will recognize many of the tunes on this one. One of my favorites is the first tune, "When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again; Then there's "Little CAbin Home On The Hill", "Kentucky Waltz", "Red Wing" and "Wabash Cannonball".
There's even a couple of Bob Wills tunes on this one, "A Maiden's Prayer" and "Faded Love".
Ole Gran'pa enjoyed this one. The true test came when I put it in the car on those long drives just to ease the tensions of being in traffic. It's great to hear an instrumental album only once in a while, and the accordion sound is a nice treat, too. But ole Gran'pa wonders if they might be up to trying some Cajun stuff someday?
The record is on the Lee Records lable out of Creekside, Pennsylvania and can be purchased on the CD Baby web site.
Gran'pa H.M. Crittick
Review: The Stanley Brothers - The Definitive Collection (1947 - 1966)
Howdy Real Country Music Fans,
Time for Gran'pa to take a break from the summertime chores of mowing the lawn and tending to the vegetable garden. You know there's just something nice about planting some corn and beefsteak tomatoes and tending to them and knowing that in a few weeks, you'll savor those things just a tad bit more. The cucumbers are coming in just great, too!
Now where do you start when you start talking about such a group like the Stanley Brothers and listening to a 'definitive collection'. This set was released in April of 2007, on the 60th anniversary of their first studio recordings. Now the fact that someone thought there music was good enough for all you folks out there to hear their legendary music six decades later ought to tell you something. Good music lasts for generations and defies demographics.
Recently, we got to hear their tunes in that movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?". I just shake my head and chuckle though to think someone like a George Clooney is doing a movie with old time country music classics weaved into the story.
Now let's talk about the music in this collection. There's three CD's with a total of 60 recordings to enjoy. It was a lot of fun to listen to their original tunes Gran'pa had heard by other artists previously. Some I had never heard by the Stanley Brothers before. Remember Ricky Skaggs' versions of such tunes as "Don't Cheat in Our Home Town" or "If That's The Way You Feel"? You can then see the influence on Ricky I think in the way he handled those and included great harmonies on the choruses, not just voices singing together.
You get to hear the tune the Soggy Mountain Boys gave a rousing rendition to in the movie - "Man of Constant Sorrow". There's tunes associated with Hall of Famer, Bill Monroe as well - "Blue Moon of Kentucky", "Molly and Tenbrooks". I enjoyed tunes like "Orange Blossom Special" (never get tired of hearing how other folks add their touch to that tune); "Angel Band"; "Will You Be Loving Another Man" (I first enjoyed this tune when I discovered an old Lester Flatt and Mac Wiseman album on RCA when some ages ago I was getting a higher education of some sorts.); "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms" and "Rank Stranger".
Now if the music wasn't enough, they've included a great 40 page color booklet of biographical information and photos. I bow to the level of detail they include in the chronological history of this storied and revered group. The booklet includes the recording details of each tune.
Because ole Gran'pa's sidekick runs this hear hillbilly music web site, we have to include a quote attributed to Carter Stanley in describing their musical efforts as the term "bluegrass music" had not been invented back then.
" I think anytime that you play a good song, to me it's hillbilly music. The Carter Family played good hillbilly music and they're definitely not bluegrass, and J. E. Mainer played good hillbilly music and he's not bluegrass, and I don't figure we're bluegrass. We're the Stanley Brothers, that's the way I've always tried to work it... we have gotten out, I think, and developed a sound of our own."
Before I get to ramblin' on ole Gran'pa just wants to add another note. The dozens of tunes on this CD I found to be quite a treat. Every time I put one in the car to drive around town or going back and forth to work, playing them at random, it just felt like I'd discover another gem or treat to listen to and even repeat the song. Legends don't get to be known as legends for nothing - they earned and deserve their status.
Gran'pa H.M. Crittick