One Camp Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied
Wild Hog in the Red Bush is a collection of fiddle tunes performed by John Hartford. There are 19 selections on the album, none of which include vocals. This album is unique because many of the tunes are obscure. This will be good news to those who are tired of hearing the same cuts on album after album. In addition to the fresh material, the fiddling is well performed and the accompaniment is tasteful and unobtrusive.
John Hartford is a multi-talented musician. He plays banjo, guitar, fiddle, and even taps out rhythm on a piece of plywood while he plays. Although John's musical talents include singing, this album highlights his fiddle playing. There is no doubt in my mind that he is at his best on this album.
Besides the title cut, some of my favorite tunes include Squirrel Hunters, Lady of the Lake, and Natchez Under-the-Hill. Squirrel Hunters is a fast-paced tune with an unforgettable, driving melody. Lady of the Lake is a good contra dance tune with interesting minor chords. "Natchez Under-the- Hill" reminds me of the place by that name. It's a historic site along the Mississippi River that was a hot spot for riverboat gambling. Other tunes on the album that fiddle fans will recognize include Old Virginia Reel, Bostony, West Fork Gals, and Portsmouth Airs.
Wild Hog in the Red Bush has a front porch sound rather than the usual produced-in-a-studio feel. John calls out the name of each tune in a sing-song fashion before he plays it, just like you might hear at a jam session. The recordings are informal, but they're very enjoyable. This is a great fiddle album and I highly recommend it!
This album can be ordered from Rounder Records at
Edited by Michele Scherneck