Classic Bluegrass from Smithsonian Folkways

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The 25 cuts on this exhilarating compilation speak well for Smithsonian's vision of mapping the genre's post-World War II evolution from traditional to progressive, and the persistence of tradition within the progressive framework. Bill Monroe is here, of course, with two standout cuts, including a chilling gospel song, "When He Reached Down His Hand for Me," one of the lesser-known tunes in the Monroe canon. A Monroe cut also closes out the festivities: the instrumental "Get Up John," featuring a jaw-dropping display of virtuosity in a performance recorded live in 1965 at the first Fincastle Bluegrass Festival, reputed to be the first of its kind. The Stanley Brothers ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The 25 cuts on this exhilarating compilation speak well for Smithsonian's vision of mapping the genre's post-World War II evolution from traditional to progressive, and the persistence of tradition within the progressive framework. Bill Monroe is here, of course, with two standout cuts, including a chilling gospel song, "When He Reached Down His Hand for Me," one of the lesser-known tunes in the Monroe canon. A Monroe cut also closes out the festivities: the instrumental "Get Up John," featuring a jaw-dropping display of virtuosity in a performance recorded live in 1965 at the first Fincastle Bluegrass Festival, reputed to be the first of its kind. The Stanley Brothers show up twice, and memorably so, particularly on the speed-picked humorous number "Rabbit in a Log," which also features the brothers cracking each other up on stage in the midst of their instrumental showdown. Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard offer up some keening mountain harmony on an emotional treatise from 1973, "Tiny Broken Heart." Doc Watson, playing solo acoustic, brings his impeccable flat-picking technique and earthy voice to a wry, sprightly breakup song, "The Train That Carried My Girl from Town," and is heard again supporting progressive banjo player Roger Sprung on 1963's "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise." "The first lady of banjo," Roni Stoneman, tears up the place with some hot pickin' on the instrumental "Lonesome Road Blues," and the New Lost City Ramblers, the Lonesome Strangers, the Johnson Mountain Boys, and the Country Gentlemen are among the other stalwart artists whose captivating performances justify this album's title.
All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
While bluegrass samplers are by no means rare, it's unusual to encounter one as well thought-out as this generous and mid-priced package from Smithsonian Folkways, the folk label known more for its ethnomusicological field recordings than its bluegrass albums. Cynics will point out that this collection comes hot on the heels of the success of the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and its soundtrack, but they miss the point: if bluegrass becomes trendy for a while and the result is fine albums like this one that wouldn't otherwise have an audience, then everyone benefits. The artists on Classic Bluegrass From Smithsonian Folkways range from the obvious Bill Monroe, the Country Gentlemen, Doc Watson, the Stanley Brothers through the influential but obscure Red Allen, the Lilly Brothers to the just plain obscure Smiley Hobbs, Hugh Moore, banjo innovator Roger Sprung, and the result is a thorough overview that offers as much musical satisfaction as scholarly edification. Many of the songs selected were recorded live, and those are among the best performances: the Johnson Mountain Boys deliver a bit of pitch-perfect high-lonesome heartbreak on "Our Last Goodbye," while the Friendly City Playboys kick things into high gear with the hard-edged "Teardrops in My Eyes." Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard illustrate an important thematic stream in bluegrass songwriting with their rendition of the horrifying "Tiny Broken Heart," and the Stanley Brothers reveal some of the roots of bluegrass with their performance of "Little Birdie" on which Ralph Stanley plays banjo in the older "clawhammer" style. Highly recommended, especially to anyone looking for an introduction to the genre.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/23/2002
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • UPC: 093074009222
  • Catalog Number: 40092
  • Sales rank: 25,496

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 White House Blues - Earl Taylor (2:01)
  2. 2 Our Last Goodbye - The Johnson Mountain Boys (2:35)
  3. 3 When He Reached Down His Hand for Me - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys (2:48)
  4. 4 Tiny Broken Heart - Alice Gerrard (3:05)
  5. 5 New Camptown Races - The Kentuckians (2:34)
  6. 6 Suzanne - Mike Lilly (2:40)
  7. 7 I Heard My Mother Call My Name in Prayer - Nashville Grass (3:10)
  8. 8 Teardrops in My Eyes - The Friendly City Playboys (2:29)
  9. 9 Cumberland Gap - Snuffy Jenkins (1:33)
  10. 10 Live and Let Live - The Kentuckians (2:47)
  11. 11 The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise - Roger Sprung (2:40)
  12. 12 Hello City Limits - Hugh Moore (2:22)
  13. 13 (Legend of The) Brown Mountain Light - The Country Gentlemen (2:36)
  14. 14 Lonesome Road Blues - Roni Stoneman (1:14)
  15. 15 The Train That Carried My Girl from Town - Doc Watson (2:19)
  16. 16 The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake - The New Lost City Ramblers (3:31)
  17. 17 Little Birdie - The Stanley Brothers (2:40)
  18. 18 Rabbit in a Log - The Stanley Brothers (2:24)
  19. 19 Grey Eagle - David & Billie Ray Johnson (2:50)
  20. 20 Wayfaring Stranger - Cullen Gaylean (5:10)
  21. 21 Billy in the Lowground - Lonesome Strangers (1:03)
  22. 22 The Rebel Girl - Hazel Dickens (3:00)
  23. 23 Train - Smiley Hobbs (2:22)
  24. 24 'Neath a Cold Gray Tomb of Stone - Don Stover (3:06)
  25. 25 Get Up John - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys (2:36)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Eddie Adcock Banjo
The Country Gentlemen Track Performer
The Johnson Mountain Boys Track Performer
The Lilly Brothers Track Performer
Nashville Grass Track Performer
Peter Rowan Guitar
The Stanley Brothers Track Performer
Ralph Stanley Banjo, Vocals
Mac Wiseman Guitar, Vocals
Bill Keith Banjo
Benny Martin Fiddle, Vocals
Frank Wakefield Mandolin
Doc Watson Guitar, Vocals
Hazel Dickens Bass, Guitar, Vocals
The New Lost City Ramblers Track Performer
Mike Seeger Bass, Mandolin, Vocals
Lonesome Strangers Track Performer
Don Stover Banjo
Tom Adams Banjo, Vocals
Ron Mesing Dobro
Snuffy Jenkins Banjo
Roger Sprung Banjo
Don Reno Banjo, Vocals
Harley Allen Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Red Allen Guitar, Vocals
John Cohen Guitar
Dudley Connell Guitar, Vocals
Eugene Cox Guitar
Vernon Derrick Fiddle
Ira Dimmery Guitar
Alice Gerrard Track Performer
Lamar Grier Banjo
David Grisman Mandolin
Bobby Harrison Guitar, Vocals
John Herald Guitar
Smiley Hobbs Banjo
Sam Porky Hutchins Guitar, Vocals
Pete Kuykendall Mandolin
Everett Lilly Mandolin, Vocals
David McLaughlin Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals
Tracy Schwarz Fiddle, Vocals
Curly Seckler Guitar, Vocals
Carter Stanley Guitar, Vocals
Roni Stoneman Track Performer
Eddie Stubbs Fiddle, Vocals
Bob Thomas Drums
Tom Morgan Guitar
Charlie Waller Guitar, Vocals
John Warren Fiddle, Vocals
Marshall Wilborn Bass
Gene Wooten Dobro
Earl Yager Bass
Bob Yellin Banjo
Hugh Moore Banjo, Vocals
John Duffey Mandolin, Vocals
Herb Hooven Bass, Fiddle
David Johnson Fiddle, Steel Guitar
Bea Lilly Guitar
Billy Edwards Banjo
Walter Hensley Banjo, Vocals
Dale Lee Bass
Mike Lilly Banjo, Vocals
Kenny Ingram Banjo, Vocals
Dane Bowers Fiddle, Mandolin
Fred Weisz Bass
Scott Adams Mandolin, Vocals
Billy Baker Fiddle
Oliver Phillips Bass
Larry Nager Bass
Billie Ray Johnson Guitar
Vernon "Boatwhistle" McIntyre Bass
Warren Pinnix Bass, Vocals
Willis Spears Guitar, Vocals
Buddy Pendleton Fiddle
Greg Allen Banjo, Vocals
Curley Lambert Mandolin
Technical Credits
Bill Monroe Composer
Doc Watson Composer
John Cohen Cover Photo
Joe Hill Composer
Arthur Lee Composer
Jeff Place Producer, Liner Notes
Carter Stanley Composer
Gene Sullivan Composer
Wiley Walker Composer
Lee Michael Demsey Producer, Liner Notes
Traditional Composer
Wilbur Jones Composer
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