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Smithsonian Folkways (SFWCD40206)

This is a newly recorded set of traditional old-time string-band country tunes, but you'd never guess it just by listening. There are absolutely no concessions whatsoever in the music to the modern world and, if it wasn't for the sleeve notes and the fantastic 36 page booklet, I'd swear this was recorded high in the Appalachian mountains no later than the 1930s.

This observation is meant of course as a compliment. This whole album has an honesty, integrity and commitment that few other bands can touch. How much of this is down to the band themselves and how much to the influence of special guest, John Cohen, is hard to tell.

Cohen's credentials are of course impeccable. Founder member of The New Lost City Ramblers and last known of (around these parts anyway) as the film maker of the massively impressive Roscoe Holcomb DVD on Shanachie (SHANDV621) which we reviewed when it first came out a couple of years ago. Whatever his influence, the band themselves clearly have a singular vision of the music they are trying to represent and the historical tradition that they come from. This shines through with the care and attention to detail that the band has put into both the music and the booklet.

Among the 20 tracks included here are tunes of Fiddlin' Bob Larkin, Al Hopkins And His Buckle Busters, Luke Highknight And His Ozark Strutters, Theo And Gus Clark, The Georgia Crackers and more - and if these names don't mean very much to you yet, buy this CD now and start to catch up.


Review Date: October 2012

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