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CLASSIC SIDES 1937-1941 (4 CD box set)


JSP (JSP77124 )

We like JE Mainer here at Red Lick so, after the success of ‘JE Mainer 1935-39' (another JSP 4CD box set), we're thrilled that Classic Sides 1937-41 has made its appearance.

The one hundred tracks on these 4 CDs follow JE's musical transition from old timey to the country bounce sound that was to lay the foundation for early bluegrass groups of the forties.

In this four year period JE, his brother Ward and their talented friends who made up the core of their various interchangeable outfits, powered their way through a diverse range of country ballads, fiddle breakdowns, train songs, blues ramblings, gospel shouts, parlour ballads and mountain songs that were recorded onto shellac and bought in the thousands by Southern music fans. They not only wrote truck loads of new material, they rediscovered long lost ballads and revitalised old songs by, among others, Blind Alfred Reed, The Carter Family and Grayson & Whitter.

The line-up in the band may have changed but the musicians were always top notch with names like Jay Hugh Hall, brother of early bluegrass innovator Roy Hall, Clyde Moody, the mandolin player who later found fame as an original member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, the legendary fiddler Steve Ledford, who was recording albums for Rounder as late as 1971 and Snuffy Jenkins, the banjo picker who influenced both Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley. Whatever the name, all of the musicians played with vitality, enthusiasm and plain good spirit through material as diverse as a pious religious number to a belted-out-at-eighty-miles-an-hour breakdown about some drunk with hiccoughs and then, with consummate ease, they could slide from a simple catchy dance tune to some intricate piece of blues picking.

JE Mainer and the various bands he led and performed with between 1937 and 1941 are all represented in this wonderful box set of honest to goodness old time music.

If you loved the first volume (JSP77118), you're going to love this one too.

Review Date: March 2010

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