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Darkness on the Delta

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fans of solid twin fiddling will rejoice that this album is out on CD

    Playing Time – 30:28 Originally released as County LP-782 in September, 1980, this reissue of eleven tunes on compact disc is a welcome treat. Fiddlers Kenny Baker and Bobby Hicks team up with Allen Shelton (banjo), Larry Sledge (mandolin), Buck White (mandolin on five tracks), Benny Williams (guitar), and Roy Husky, Jr. (bass). The fairly short set has a distinct bluegrass flavor with four tunes written by Bill Monroe (Roanoke, Louisville Breakdown, Tallahassee, Panhandle Country). Baker, a longtime fiddler with the Father of Bluegrass, penned McHattie’s Waltz and Chuck-A-Luck. Besides having plenty of bluegrass sensibility, both Bobby Hicks and Kenny Baker have a great affinity for and proficiency in western swing too. Tunes like Darkness on the Delta, Faded Love, Westphalia Waltz, Farewell Blues, and Silver Bells give the overall half-hour project an eclectic presentation with much to appeal to all listeners. Kenny Baker, from Jenkins, Kentucky, started as a professional musician with Don Gibson in 1953. Baker was fiddler with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys on four different occasions between 1957-84..His longest stint was nearly 18 years from 1967-84. Bill Monroe called Baker “the greatest bluegrass fiddler in the world.” From 1990-91, Kenny recorded and toured with a group called “The Masters” (with Josh Graves, Byron Berline and Eddie Adcock). He’s worked with dobro player Josh Graves, and Baker was inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Honor in 1999. Bobby Hicks hails from Newton, North Carolina but now lives in Nashville. He began fiddling at age nine. From 1954-1960, he played various instruments as one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. He’s also worked and toured with Porter Wagoner, Mel Tillis, and other country acts. Hicks even had his own dance band. From 1963-1970, he lived and worked in Las Vegas, performing with singer Judy Lynn. A member of the Bluegrass Album Band and Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder, Hicks has been on a number of highly-acclaimed recording projects. He released his first solo project “Texas Crapshooter” in 1978. This fiddle duet album with Kenny Baker followed a couple years later. In 1998, Hicks’ second solo project “Fiddle Patch” won the IBMA award for “Instrumental Album of the Year.” Fans of solid twin fiddling will rejoice that this album is out on CD. The accompanists do a particularly nice job of backing up Hicks and Baker, and they step up to the plate for some proficient breaks and fills when necessary. Listening to this CD reminds me of some great times experienced and music heard at the National Old-Time Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, Idaho. (Joe Ross. staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

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