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Tom Adams and Michael Cleveland - Live - At the Ragged Edge

Tom Adams and Michael Cleveland
Live - At the Ragged Edge

Tom Adams & Michael Cleveland

ROUNDER 82161-0539-2

Rounder Records Corp.
One Camp St
Cambridge, Ma 02140
info@rounder.com

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied
(banjoz@aol.com)

Mixing fiddle with banjo can be dangerous. Mixing them without backup bass and guitar can lead to fireworks. Michael's torrid fiddle is interwoven with Tom's driving banjo to make a great listing adventure. Traditional and bluegrass tunes never had it so good. There's enough power and energy here that there is no need for more accompanists.

This live recording of Tom Adams and Michael Cleveland was done at a coffeehouse. The setting is warm and casual. Not the precise but stiff feel of a studio recording. Tom adds a few vocals with his guitar as backup and Michael uses a mandolin here and there, but this is mainly a fiddle/banjo experience. Being in a live setting also makes possible interesting moments of improvisation and maybe a line or two forgotten. Michael's playing is reminiscent of Benny Martin on some of the cuts. He usually finds an interesting twist by the second or third repetition. Tom has a good singing voice even if he can remember the words, "Bla, Bla, Bla".

The album has twenty-two selections. Most of the tunes are traditional favorites. The play list is as follows:
  • The Fiddle and the Banjo
  • Dear Old Dixie
  • Dance Around Molly
  • Box Elder Beetles
  • Cripple Creek
  • Liberty
  • Shady Grove (w/vocal)
  • Fire Ball Mail
  • Back Up and Push
  • John Hardy
  • Sitting on Top of the World (w/vocal)
  • North Carolina Breakdown
  • Ginny Whitt's
  • Whistling Rufus
  • Funky Mountain Special
  • John Henry
  • Ricestrow
  • Going Down the Road Feeling Bad (w/vocal)
  • I Saw the Light/I'll Fly Away
  • Little Maggie
  • Sally Goodin
  • Black Mountain Rag

Well performed and lively, this is a great album from Adams and Cleveland. Evidently, International Bluegrass Music Association also though so - well enough to name it Bluegrass Instrumental Album of The Year 2004.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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