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Baucom, Bibey, and BlueRidge - Come Along with Me

Come Along with Me

Baucom, Bibey,
and BlueRidge


Sugar Hill
POBox 55300
Durham NC 27717-5300

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Daniel Nestlerode

Two songs on this impeccable CD stand out, not because they're better than the rest. Indeed they're not. In fact, I couldn't tell you that any one song on this CD was better than any other, such is the way with Bluegrass. However, the fifth cut, Living It Up, and the thirteenth cut, The New John Henry Blues, stand out because of the arrangements and personnel.Junior Sisk, the band's guitar player is apparently a recent addition to the band, and he has drastically altered the sound and style of Baucom, Bibey, and BlueRidge. Sisk appears on eleven of the thirteen cuts, so one can assume that this is the sound that Baucom, Bibey, and BlueRidge is going to stick with.

It's a great sound: tight four part vocals with Terry Baucom, banjo, holding down the bottom end; bass player, Ed Biggerstaff, taking the tenor; Alan Bibey, mandolin, doing the close-to-the-melody baritone; and Junior Sisk singing the lead. The instrumentation is equally skilled, but leans heavily toward the tradional configuration with banjo and mandolin taking the vast majority of the solos that the fiddle player doesn't get.

Living It Up and The New John Henry Blues stand out because Junior Sisk is missing. Thus the lead vocals go to Alan Bibey and Ed Biggerstaff respectively, and Bibey does the guitar parts. Bibey's guitar playing is nearly as good as his mandolin playing and he able to infect these songs with a wonderful sense of drive (both in the leads and the rhythm) that Junior Sisk lacks. Where Sisk sticks to the middle of the beat and lets the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin push the emphasis around, as guitarist Bibey pushes the beat and plays with a more bluesy feeling.

Baucom, Bibey, and BlueRidge are an outstanding tradtional Bluegrass band. But that happened when they hired on Junior Sisk. Prior to Sisk's appearance, Baucom, Bibey, and Blueridge could have veered easily into "Newgrass," and they would have been great at that too.

Highlights of the CD (for this reviewer --yours may differ):

  • It's All My Fault, a Paul Humphries and Doyle Lawson tune that sets up the whole CD with aplomb, even though it's the second tune.
  • Vandiver, a mandolin intrumental by Alan Bibey that flies by so fast you'll need a second and third listen just to get the basic melody. And it's worth repeated listenings. It's one of those pieces that delights not only with speed but nuance and "humability."
  • Shifting Sands: Six of the thirteen songs are gospel and Harry Sisk's metaphor is both appropriate to the genre and clever. Too many Bluegrass Gospel tunes (too many Gospel tunes for that matter) are jejune and trite. This is also done acapella, and the harmonies are packed tighter than a small Baptist church on a Sunday afternoon in South Carolina.
  • Prayer Bells of Heaven repeats the tight vocal harmonies, but adds the instrumentation. Also a highlight.
  • Living It Up gets a nod because of Bibey's guitar playing.
  • He Broke the Chains goes minimalist: great harmonies with just guitar and mandolin.

Track List:

  • Gonna Travel On
  • It's All My Fault
  • Vandiver
  • Shifting Sands
  • Livin' It Up
  • Prayer Bells of heaven
  • The Fiddler
  • My Lord's Going to Set Me Free
  • Rock Hearts
  • Come Along with Me
  • I'll Still Write your Name in the Sand
  • He Broke the Chains
  • The New John Henry Blues

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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