Rounder Bluegrass Guitar

Various Artists

(ROUN 11576)

Rounder Records
One Camp Street
Cambridge, MA 02140

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied

This is a bluegrass anthology put together from previous Rounder releases with an emphasis on bluegrass guitar work. This album should appeal to the bluegrass/oldtimey guitar pickers out there, as well as anyone who appreciates bluegrass. The album features 14 instrumental selections and 5 vocals pieces with strong instrumental backup. Some of the flatpicking superstars are here - Norman Blake, Dan Crary, Tony Rice, and some lesser known but still greats like David Grier, Wyatt Rice and Scott Nygaard. Throw in some classics like Don Reno and Clarence White and you have a hot album.

Looking at individual cuts:

1. Clarence White - Nine Pound Hammer (inst.) from a 1964 Kentucky Colonels album. Straight bluegrass with lead guitar breaks by Clarence.

2. Tony Rice - Eighth of January (inst.) from 1977 Tony Rice album. Not as compelling as some other Rice leads, but a good balance of guitar, mandolin and fiddle.

3. JD Crowe - Preaching, Praying, Singing (vocal) from 1989 Sweet Sunny South album. Usually known for his banjo work, JD provides some guitar licks between verses on this cut.

4. David Grier - Flop Eared Mule (inst.) David provides tasteful, if not powerful, guitar leads balanced by fiddle and mandolin.

5. David McLaughlin - Going Back to Old Virginia (vocal) from 1994 Going Back album with Jose Crowe, lead vocal. Some hot guitar work between verses.

6. Wyatt Rice - Fishers Hornpipe (inst.) from 1990 New Market Gap album. Guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin all share great leads on this traditional cut.

7. Blake, Rice, Watson - Salt Creek (inst) from 1990 Norman Blake & Tony Rice album. Three guitar flatpicking giants trade licks on an old fiddle tune.

8. Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin - Paul & Silas (vocal) from 1989 A song That Will Linger album with Stecher filling in guitar and mandolin between verses. Has an old timey sound.

9. Russ Barenberg - Gimmicks Ahoy (inst) from 1987 Halloween Rehearsal album. Jazz grass with electronic effects. Also features Tony Trischka on banjo.

10. Wyatt Rice - Shenondoah Breakdown (inst) from 1990 New Market Gap album. Good balance on guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin.

11. Livewire - Love Please Come Home (vocal) with Robert Hale on guitar. >From 1990 Wired! album. Breaks on guitar, banjo and mandolin between verses.

12. Dan Crary - Gray Eagle (inst) from 1977 Lady's Fancy album. Another flatpick legend with solid backup banjo, mandolin and fiddle.

13. Mark O'Conner - Black Berry Blossom (inst) from 1979 Markology album. Mark is mainly known for his fiddle but he was also a flatpicking champion in his early days.

14. David Grier - Smith Chapel" (inst) from 1995 Lone Soldier album. Showcasing some of David's more recent work with solid leads on the accompanying instruments.

15. Lauri Lewis/Peter McLaughlin - Swept Away (vocal) Progressive bluegrass with great vocal by Lewis.

16. Andy Statman - Avenue 'L' Breakdown (inst) from 1994 Andy's Ramble album. Driving bluegrass with Statman on mandolin and Jon Sholle on guitar.

17. Don Reno - Country Boy Rock 'n' Roll (vocal) from 1997 Family and Friends album. Traditional bluegrass with Reno on guitar breaks.

18. Scott Nygaard - Red Apple Rag (inst) from 1990 No Hurry album. Hot guitar, mandolin, fiddle.

19. Clarence White - Sally Goodin (inst) from 1976 The New Kentucky Colonels Live from Sweden album. The late guitar great on guitar with his brother Roland on mandolin. Great banjo by Alan Munde.

For those who don't have an extensive Rounder bluegrass library, this is a good sampler along the instrumental side. For anyone, this is an enjoyable and listenable album. The CD sound quality is overall very good considering the older vintage of some of the cuts. Highly recommended. Order from Rounder Records

Edited by Cynthia A. Harney

Copyright 1997, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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