Tall Grass & Cool Water

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Michael Martin Murphey began his series of Cowboy Songs albums way back in 1989 while he was still with Warner Bros; he began his Buckaroo Blue Grass series in 2009 on the Rural Rhythm imprint. Both concepts come together on Tall Grass & Cool Water: Cowboy Songs VI/Buckaroo Blue Grass III. Some of the material here is surprising in that it wasn't recorded earlier, namely classic tunes by Bob Nolan including "Cool Water," "Way Out There," and "Blue Prairie." Most of the rest are age-old story songs that have been in the public domain for decades; and though Murphey plainly states this in his liner notes, he nonetheless claims songwriting credits on virtually every one of ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Michael Martin Murphey began his series of Cowboy Songs albums way back in 1989 while he was still with Warner Bros; he began his Buckaroo Blue Grass series in 2009 on the Rural Rhythm imprint. Both concepts come together on Tall Grass & Cool Water: Cowboy Songs VI/Buckaroo Blue Grass III. Some of the material here is surprising in that it wasn't recorded earlier, namely classic tunes by Bob Nolan including "Cool Water," "Way Out There," and "Blue Prairie." Most of the rest are age-old story songs that have been in the public domain for decades; and though Murphey plainly states this in his liner notes, he nonetheless claims songwriting credits on virtually every one of them, including, "The Santa Fe Trail" and "Springtime in the Rockies!" He gets away with it by rearranging these tunes, some of them radically. A stand-out cut is opener "Texas Cowboy," the stellar bluegrass stomper set to a Celtic melody, with some serious mandolin playing by Sam Bush, whining dobro by Andy Hall, soaring fiddle by Andy Leftwich, and the careening banjo of Johnny Cushman.The album's true treasure is the James Gang trilogy, which begins with "The Ballad of Cole Younger" set loosely and bluesily to the melody of "Rolling Home to Dear Old England," also known as the Irish Republican anthem "Kevin Barry." It's followed by the familiar "Ballad of Jesse James." Murphey properly adopts "'Rally Round the Flag," as its melody, but performs the song at Bill Monroe's bluegrass breakdown tempo. The trilogy ends with the album's finest moment: the stolidly modern Americana tune "Frank James Farewell," co-written by contemporary Nashville songwriters Hal Ketchum and Gary Burr. It reflects the other, lonesome side of all the boasting and Wild West exploits in the songs of the James Brothers' infamous legacy, told in the first person as the sun sets on him for the last time. This song is almost worth the album's purchase price. It should have ended the record since the two songs proceeding from its inspired performance feel anti-climactic. The traditional songs on Tall Grass & Cool Water, no matter their new arrangements, are respectful. That said, that's almost a fault because they can come off feeling stilted or overly nostalgic. It's likely appeal is only to those who've been fans of Murphey's preservationist, romantic look at the American West.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/28/2011
  • Label: Rural Rhythm
  • UPC: 732351107724
  • Catalog Number: 1077
  • Sales rank: 253,378

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Michael Martin Murphey Primary Artist, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Sam Bush Fiddle, Mandolin
Pat Flynn Acoustic Guitar, Guitar
Ronnie McCoury Mandolin
Charlie Cushman Banjo
Ryan Murphey Mandolin, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals
Andy Leftwich Fiddle, Mandolin
Troy Engle Banjo, Fiddle
Andy Hall Dobro
Carin Mari Vocals, Background Vocals
Craig Nelson Acoustic Bass
Mike Bubb Upright Bass
Technical Credits
Hal Ketchum Composer
Michael Martin Murphey Composer, Executive Producer
Gary Burr Composer
Keith Compton Engineer, Mastering
Pat Flynn Producer
Jim Taft Composer
Bob Nolan Composer
Ryan Murphey Producer
Vern Spencer Composer
Markus Stadler Engineer
Carin Mari Duet
Charles Engel Artwork
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2011

    ...and 1/2...A musical tribute to the culture, history, intrigue & stories of the west

    Now in his 60s, country singer Michael Martin Murphey may be best known for his song hits from the 1970s, "Wildfire" and "Carolina in the Pines," as well as his well-received 1987 album, "River of Time." From Texas, Murphey's also been active with Native American causes and environmental issues. Nearly everything he does celebrates the Golden West. I believe his first album project entitled "Cowboy Songs" appeared on the Warner label in 1990 with old favorites like "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and "Happy Trails." Within the last few years, he's also released a couple CDs with bluegrass themes.

    "Tall Grass & Cool Water" is very appropriately named as it presents a mixture of both bluegrass and cowboy music..his sixth volume of "Cowboy Songs" and his third of "Buckaroo Blue Grass." It's a nice approach that works well, although some of the songs sound a bit overdone with a few too many tracks of instrumentation and vocals in the final mix of some of the up-tempo offerings like "Texas Cowboy." I guess I'm just used to hearing cowboy music with a little leaner, rawboned sound. While his voice has aged a tad over the decades, Murphey's at his best with a slower, more evocative number from his own pen like "Partner to the Wind" or a cowboy ballad he got from Harry McClintock, "Trusty Lariat." Every good cowboy is a storyteller, and Murphey is no exception with ballads about the outlaws Cole Younger, Jesse James and Frank James. We have occasionally heard classic cowboy numbers covered by bluegrass bands, and it's hard not to like those favorites from the Sons of the Pioneers like "Cool Water" and "Way Out There" with Carin Mari's fine yodeling. She also sings on "Cool Water" and "Springtime in the Rockies." I particularly liked Murphey's cover of "Blue Prairie," one of Bob Nolan's most poignant songs of loneliness, sadness and regret. The CD's session musicians include Pat Flynn (guitar), Andy Hall (Dobro), Charlie Cushman (banjo), Andy Leftwich (mandolin, fiddle), Sam Bush (mandolin, fiddle), Craig Nelson (bass), Ryan Murphey (guitar, mandolin), Troy Engle (fiddle, banjo), and Mike Bubb (bass).

    "Tall Grass & Cool Water" is a musical tribute to the culture, history, intrigue and stories of the west. Every buckaroo with some nostalgia for the prairie needs to corral a copy of this album. The bluegrass instrumentation is as blue and big as the Texas sky, and the cowboy songs are perfect for listening to around the campfire after a long day on the trail. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, Oregon)

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