FAME Review: Ivan Rosenberg & the Foggy Hogtown Boys - The Hogtown Sessions
Ivan Rosenberg & the Foggy Hogtown Boys - The Hogtown Sessions

The Hogtown Sessions

Ivan Rosenberg &
the Foggy Hogtown Boys

Vote-a-tone Records - 002

Available from Ivan Rosenberg's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Whew!, it's a good thing I swore off benzedrine and methamphetamine long ago in the 70s, cause I'd'a had a coronary as Ivan Rosenberg & the Foggy Hogtown Boys opened this CD with an adrenaline-charged kick. Rosenberg's a connoisseur of vintage bluegrass, searches high and low for 60s and 70s vinyl, but is also well known as a master of the bluegrass dobro and a rather awesome authentician who nonetheless manages to put a glistening new edge on whatever he does. Here, that means taking what was already superb and pushing it up yet one more notch, welding past and present to create a bellwether for the future.

To say precisely where the gloss and glory of the originals leaves off and Rosenberg's craftings begin is well nigh impossible, but as you listen, riveted by pristine renditions from all concerned (and these guys are righteous whizbangs), you also slowly become aware that there are sizable ingredients that never occurred back in the day, modernisms slyly linking smoothly into the joie de vivre of the Appalachian spirit and hot meadow byways. The group puts such a fresh aspect to decades-old gems and then Rosenberg trots out a mellifluously decorous self-penned gem like Ishler's Waltz, reversing the formula, putting great age into a brand new piece. One is left dazzled by it all.

So doff that damn Brooks Bros. suit, Jeremiah, put on a pair o' these patched denim britches, and let's mosey on down to the moonshine shed back of Bairnson's Hollow to lift a jug 'r two with the folk from Hogtown. Cain't hardly think of a better way to pass an summer's eve, 'cause all this cellophane newfangled silicon music on the radio jes' gets up in mah grill 'n we all needs us some roothawggin' git-down, I do declare! From the lightnin' charged heel-kickin' of the cain't-control-my-feets shindigs to the lonesome ridgetop crooning of five slickered-up gents pinin' fer Ellie Mae 'n Sweet Marie as the moon holds water, ya ain't a-gonna find a better disc of the ol' time than The Hogtown Sessions.

Track List:

  • Lost (Busby / Davis)
  • New York Town (Guthrie)
  • Reno Bound (Harlow / Harrell)
  • Ishler's Waltz (Rosenberg)
  • Cold Creek (Coole)
  • Busted (Howard)
  • Low and Lonesome Sea (traditional)
  • River Underground (Smith / Stanley)
  • Up this Hill and Down (Staedtler)
  • Day Dreamin' (Cantrell / Claunch / Deckleman)
  • Honey Buckets (Rosenberg)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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