Various Artists- Best Loved Bluegrass   Leave a comment


Various Artists

Best Loved Bluegrass

Rebel Records

 

For almost fifty years, Rebel Records has captured some of the finest bluegrass music recorded. With few exceptions, most of the legends of the music- from Ralph Stanley to Ricky Skaggs- have passed through the Rebel roster.

 

Collecting twenty all-time favourites of bluegrass music in this hour-long volume, the Rebel archivists present as fine an entry point to the music as one could hope. However, even those with large collections of bluegrass music may find something new on this inexpensive but finely composed compilation.

 

From a haunting take of “Darling Corey” (The Seldom Scene) to the definitive rendition of “Bringing Mary Home” (The Country Gentlemen), there is no shortage of incredible bluegrass performances. All the jam standards are included- “Nine Pound Hammer”, “Fox on the Run”, “Pig in a Pen”, “Poor Ellen Smith”, “Footprints in the Snow”, and “Dream of a Miner’s Child”.

 

The artists comprise a Who’s Who of the bluegrass legends roll call with The Stanley Brothers, Del McCoury, J. D. Crowe, Lost & Found, Reno & Smiley, Whitley & Skaggs, Tony Rice and more represented.

 

What I especially love about this type of compilation is that it gives under-heard artists a chance to be ‘discovered’ by the greater bluegrass community. Dave Evans is one of the music’s finest voices but too few know his music; his reading of “Down in the Willow Garden” is timeless and is a perfect introduction to the man. Similarly, the Lilly Brothers & Don Stover, The Boys from Indiana, Ted Lundy, and Emerson & Waldron are not commonly known to many bluegrass fans.

 

With an emphasis on recordings made during the 60’s and 70’s, Best Loved Bluegrass captures a time when legendary performers shared the Rebel label with those who would go on to further define bluegrass. While many of the performances appear ‘traditional’ from a contemporary perspective, many of these artists were on the cutting edge of bluegrass at one time.

 

Enjoy.

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