The Tallboys would have you believe that the group's old-timey and traditional music is fiddle-driven and, technically, they would not be wrong, but traditional and old-timey music is more soul-driven than technical at times and these guys toss themselves into each song with proficiency and emotion in equal quantities.
And what that means is, these guys can play! And play, they do. Five musicians in a modern/traditional lineup (fiddle, guitar, bass, banjo and mandolin) playing music like old-timers.
Sixteen tunes inhabit Yeah Buddy and of those, no less than 11 are toe-tapping, foot-stomping classics, ready for square dancing or clogging at the drop of a hat.
Standouts for me are Cumberland Gap, Rainbow Sign (which is vaguely reminiscent of The Dillards on the old Andy Griffith TV shows, minus the hoke) and Martha Campbell, which could have given the old Grand Ole Opry Cloggers a workout and a half.
Three tunes are of the more traditional old-timey mold: less frantic but with that down-home feel. Of those three, Henry Lee caught my ear because of the duet vocal stylings similar to the Whitstein Brothers and the musical immortal Blue Sky Boys.
All songs are traditional with one exception, the Charlie Beck-penned Ida Mae. One might think it odd that an album of purely traditional songs contain an original, but one listen puts that to rest. Beck takes it back to the roots and the flow of the album does not skip a beat.
One aside: I grew up on traditional music but gave it up for rock until a handful of years ago when I discovered Hot Rize. Since then, I have followed Tim O'Brien, a major Hot Rize component, faithfully. When I heard Chilly Winds, track #2 of Yeah Buddy, I had to smile. It is straight out of O'Brien's old-timey mold and I don't know what it is, but I can't seem to get enough.
The CD package deserves a mention here. The info is stamped or printed on a fine plain cardboard jewel box, a perfect package for traditional music. Well done. And the thumb's up on the front says it all.
A downside? No CD is perfect, and this one is no exception. The vocals could have been recorded a little better. I don't know much about the technical side of recording, but the voices sound a little wanting, though plenty adequate. Let me tell you, though, that is nit-picking, especially considering that about half the tunes are instrumental.. These guys are players, my friends, and if you don't believe me, log on to their website and scope out a show. I plan to, next time I'm in Seattle, which might be a little sooner than I'd planned, now.
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