Family & Friends: Rambling Boy

Family & Friends: Rambling Boy

3.5 6
by Charlie Haden
     
 

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Saying that Charlie Haden's Rambling Boy is a personal album is an understatement. In essence, this album is a tribute to his mother and father whose own vocal group -- made up of Haden and his siblings -- performed on radio programs in both Shenandoah, IA and Springfield, MO, where they hosted the live variety show Korn's-A-Krackin (sic), which was…  See more details below

Overview

Saying that Charlie Haden's Rambling Boy is a personal album is an understatement. In essence, this album is a tribute to his mother and father whose own vocal group -- made up of Haden and his siblings -- performed on radio programs in both Shenandoah, IA and Springfield, MO, where they hosted the live variety show Korn's-A-Krackin (sic), which was modeled on the Grand Ole Opry. Haden began his musical career at the age of two, singing live on the radio; he was fortunate enough to have Mother Maybelle Carter play in his living room, and to have met the rest of the Carters, Porter Wagoner, Chet Atkins, and numerous others on their way through town to play the show. This 19-song set features all the members of his immediate family -- daughters Petra, Rachel, and Tanya, as well as son Josh. The players and vocalists are numerous but they include guitarist Pat Metheny, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Bruce Hornsby, Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, the Whites, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Costello, and Russ Barenberg, among others. Despite the wide range of players here, this album can only be called Americana in the strictest sense of the term as its selections are new readings of mostly traditional folk and country songs. There are numerous connections interwoven here too: highlights include Cash's moving and plaintive reading of "Wildwood Flower," a song that has roots in her own family -- via Mother Maybelle -- and Haden's, as well, as his mother had it in her repertoire. Metheny's and John Leventhal's guitars are devastatingly beautiful here. Another stellar moment is Josh's reading of his own song "Spiritual." Johnny Cash previously recorded it, as did Charlie and Metheny on the Grammy-winning Beyond the Missouri Sky. Josh's voice has none of the earth-shaking, end-of-the-world authority of Cash's, but it doesn't need to. In his voice the song is a prayer that exposes the most vulnerable of emotions: loneliness, fear, and remorse. When underscored by Douglas' dobro, Duncan's fiddle, and Barenberg's poignant guitar, it is a devastatingly powerful -- if gentle -- tune. Petra's version of "The Fields of Athenry," with the dual guitars of Metheny and Barenberg, and Hornsby's piano, is a real showstopper as well, but for different reasons. The song unfolds in a plaintive vocal as a story from time immemorial. Yet the instrumental accompaniment (which also includes a smoking dobro solo by Douglas) transforms it into something that extends far into the future. The Louvin Brothers' "Seven Year Blues" is sung in innovative three-part harmony by the Haden girls (triplets), and Rachel's read of "Tramp on the Street" could have been written for her by Grady and Hazel M. Cole; it possesses all the weariness and conviction of a Clinch Mountain church song. Jack Black (he's married to Tanya) does a humorous yet very effective take on the traditional "Old Joe Clark" yet it is utterly convincing. Metheny's instrumental "Is This America (Katrina 2005)," reminds us why he's such an iconic musician -- it's not for his flash, which he possesses in abundance, but his subtlety and melodic elegance. Costello, with his jazzy phrasing, does a very modern take on Hank Williams' "You Win Again," bringing it into the present. Haden sings "Oh Shenandoah," in his reedy, wispy, 71-year-old voice and bass as Metheny, Duncan, Douglas, and Barenberg accompany him; he nearly whispers this beautifully idiosyncratic set to a close, leaving the intertwined circles of bloodlines and musical heritage unbroken.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/11/2008
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0602517871281
catalogNumber:
001218601

Tracks

  1. Single Girl, Married Girl  - Tanya Haden
  2. Rambling Boy
  3. 20/20 Vision
  4. Wildwood Flower
  5. Spiritual  - Josh Haden
  6. Oh, Take Me Back  - Tanya Haden
  7. You Win Again
  8. The Fields of Athenry  - Petra Haden
  9. Ocean of Diamonds  - Dan Tyminski
  10. He's Gone Away  - Tanya Haden
  11. A Voice from on High  - Tanya Haden
  12. Down by the Salley Gardens
  13. Road of Broken Hearts
  14. Is This America? (Katrina 2005)
  15. A Tramp on the Street  - Rachel Haden
  16. Old Joe Clark
  17. Seven Year Blues  - Tanya Haden
  18. Old Haden Family Show  - Cowboy Charlie
  19. Oh Shenandoah

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charlie Haden   Primary Artist,Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals,Soloist
Russ Barenberg   Guitar,Mandolin
Jerry Douglas   Dobro,Soloist
Ricky Skaggs   Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Fretless Banjo
Sam Bush   Mandolin,Soloist
Rosanne Cash   Vocals
Elvis Costello   Vocals
Bruce Hornsby   Piano,Vocals,Soloist
Pat Metheny   Guitar,Soloist
Buck White   Piano
Buddy Greene   Harmonica,Soloist
Jack Black   Vocals
Ruth Cameron   Vocals
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle,Soloist
Béla Fleck   Banjo
Vince Gill   Vocals
Rachel Haden   Vocals,Background Vocals
John Leventhal   Guitar
Dan Tyminski   Mandolin,Vocals,Background Vocals
Cheryl White   Vocals
Sharon White   Vocals
Petra Haden   Vocals,Background Vocals
Bryan Sutton   Guitar,Soloist
Bryan Stuart   Guitar
Josh Haden   Vocals
Tanya Haden   Cello,Vocals,Background Vocals
Carl Haden   Guitar
Mary Elizabeth Haden   Mandolin
Bryan Stuart   Guitar

Technical Credits

Bruce Hornsby   Arranger
Pat Metheny   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Craig Bishop   Executive Manager
Ruth Cameron   Producer,Audio Production
Charlie Haden   Arranger,Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Steve Rodby   Audio Production
Bil VornDick   Engineer
RIck DePofi   Engineer
Mark Fain   Producer,Audio Production

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Customer Reviews

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Rambling Boy 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am always surprised when I enjoy the majority of tracks on an album. too often I have ended up spending money to have just one song that i consider enjoyable and that is a big waste of money. Of the nineteen tracks on this cd only three were not to my liking, and not because they werent good they just didnt fit what i was looking for. The Fields of Athenry is a lovely song plaintive and evocative but the lyrics did not at all match the jazz tinged music. I felt it was an odd and ungainly juxtaposition of styles. Oceans and Hes Gone Away were also odd picks for this album not fitting in with the rest of the songs. the other sixteen tracks were terrific with Charlie Haden's rendering of one of my all time favorite songs, Shenandoah, capturing the sweet sadness of the lyrics perfectly. this album is at its best when it stays within the traditional boundaries of bluegrass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this CD. The music is wonderfully arranged and you just feel good listening to each song. I have no complaints at all.
Daddyhaps923 More than 1 year ago
I saw the album at Barnes & Noble and listened to it because of its interesting concept. I own several Haden albums and I figured it would be quality material. I think it is one of his best recordings to date. A major piece in my collection.
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