Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947

Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947

by Ricky SkaggsRicky Skaggs

CD

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Overview

In an interesting juxtaposition to the super-progressive bluegrass of Chris Thile's Punch Brothers, Ricky Skaggs offers a vibrant look back at the music's deepest roots with this tribute to Bill Monroe and his pioneering group featuring Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise, and Howard Watts. The dozen tunes are culled from a trove of previously unheard live recordings of Monroe and his classic ensemble dating from the pivotal 1946-1947 timeframe when Monroe and company crafted the definitive model of bluegrass. Vowing "to honor the original tempos, intros, and even some of the solos," Skaggs and his formidable Kentucky Thunder are doubly formidable here, playing with gripping conviction and scary virtuosity, with the album sequenced to have only the slightest of pauses between tracks so that the whole enterprise feels like a ride on a runaway train. Respites are provided only rarely, notably with a heartfelt lament to a mother's passing, "Mother's Only Sleeping," which features a piercing tenor vocal from Paul Brewster, but also a lead vocal from Skaggs in which he channels Mr. Bill in an uncanny replication of the latter's vocal timbre and swooping phrasing; and the timeless "Little Cabin On The Hill," loping along at a graceful, midtempo gait, with fiddler Andy Leftwich adding tart, crying laments to bolster a tender Skaggs vocal, beautifully harmonized by Brewster. The album breaks fast at the outset with a strutting, speed-picked beauty, "Goin' Back to Old Kentucky," featuring eager flurries of rolling notes courtesy none other than special guest Earl Scruggs. And who better than Del McCoury to add a signature high lonesome tenor to the dire shadows foretold in the closing gospel entreaty, "The Old Crossroad"? All in all, bluegrass, and Mr. Bill, could hardly have asked for better than this.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/25/2008
Label: Skaggs Family
UPC: 0669890100827
catalogNumber: 901008
Rank: 60128

Tracks

  1. Goin' Back to Old Kentucky
  2. When You're Lonely
  3. Toy Heart
  4. It's Mighty Dark to Travel
  5. Mother's Only Sleeping
  6. Bluegrass Breakdown
  7. Little Cabin Home on the Hill
  8. Mansions for Me
  9. Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong
  10. Why Did You Wander
  11. Remember the Cross
  12. The Old Crossroad

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