FAME Review: The Gentlemen of Bluegrass - Carolina Memories
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The Gentlemen of Bluegrass - Carolina Memories

Carolina Memories

The Gentlemen of Bluegrass

Pinecastle Records - PRC1188

Available from CD Universe.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

Straight from the very first cut, this CD nestles right into the ear, making a warm and familiar home. First of all, Carolina Memories is on the Pinecastle label, guarantor of quality and fidelity in genre staples delivered par excellence, and, secondly, the quintet is well steeped in tradition, attentive to detail, nuance, and spirit. The four-part vocals (lead, bass, baritone, and tenor) are letter perfect with the instrumentation sweet and melodic, perky and jumpin' on the giddy-up, wistful and melancholy when warm winds blow across the prairie bringing back bittersweet memories (Keep Me from Blowing Away).

Well I spent my whole lifetime
In a world where the sunshine
Finds excuses for not hangin' 'round.
I squandered emotions
On the slightest of notions
And the first easy loving I found.
But soon all the good times,
The gay times and play times,
Like colors run together and fade.
Oh Lord, if you hear me,
Touch me and hold me,
And keep me from blowing away.

Brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it? Christian, Jew, Muslim, agnostic, or atheist, we all know that searing awakening at one time or another. When Linda Ronstadt covered the song on her Heart Like a Wheel LP, she took things up into the sky and clouds, as is her wont, and The Grascals honky-tonked the classic slowly in a barroom lament a la Hank Williams, but The Gentlemen take everything down to the soil, more Willie than Hank, folk-centered, mournful, and hopeful simultaneously.

I have an especial affection for Will Roses Bloom, as it's pure-dee bluegrass with undiminishable Appalachian accents and high-strung grasshopper mandolin. Producer Lorraine Jordan not only spotlessly produced the entire release but sits in on rhythm mando there and in many places, backing up Julian Rowland's lead role on the instrument, making the staple twice as sweet. And if you feel like playing the title cut athwart Marshal Tucker's Carolina Dreams LP, go right ahead and do so,'cause that's precisely what I did.

Track List:

  • Carolina Memories (Lorraine Jordan)
  • Blue Birds Calling (Mac Wiseman)
  • Waltz of the Angels (Eynolds / Rhodes)
  • Traveling Kind (Clifford Fleetwood)
  • Amazing Grace (traditional)
  • This Morning At Nine (Sidney Campbell)
  • Keep Me From Blowing Away (Paul Craft)
  • God's Country (Danny Fred Stanley)
  • Father's Table Grace (Jones Sowell)
  • Will the Roses Bloom (Flatt & Scruggs)
  • Old Old House (Bynum/ Jones)
  • Tribute To John Duffey (Danny Fred Stanley)
  • It's a Long Lonesome Road (BIll Nettles)

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

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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