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Best of the Vetco Years
     

The Best of the Vetco Years

by Dave Evans & River Bend
 
Dave Evans fully inhabits every song he sings, to a point that's almost frightening. He burrows so deep into sad songs that they threaten to collapse in on themselves, like musical black holes. But plenty of energy escapes from these musical counterparts, thanks to the ineluctable power of Evans's deeply committed readings. He simply will not deny his listeners a

Overview

Dave Evans fully inhabits every song he sings, to a point that's almost frightening. He burrows so deep into sad songs that they threaten to collapse in on themselves, like musical black holes. But plenty of energy escapes from these musical counterparts, thanks to the ineluctable power of Evans's deeply committed readings. He simply will not deny his listeners a chance to experience the full range of life described in the turmoil and exultation of his narratives, whether it's the sorrow of a mother's death (the desultory "Sweeter Than the Flowers," with Jim Rigsby's raspy, "oh no!" tenor vocal on the chorus adding a double wallop to the unfolding tragedy), the inescapable horror of the violent deed that's landed him behind bars for a lifetime ("99 Years Is Almost a Life"), or the buoyant, unbridled certainty of better days ahead (as celebrated in a breakneck treatment of A.P. Carter's "Sun's Gonna Shine In My Back Door Someday"). Having acquired the tapes of Evans's first two albums, released in 1979 and 1989 on the long-defunct Cincinnati-based Vetco label, Rebel has repackaged a sampling of 15 cuts from those essential long players into one powerful single disc survey. But Evans doesn't do it by himself. His River Bend band-the basic lineup at this time was Evans on banjo (who speeds picks a positively jaw-dropping solo on "White House Blues"), Mike Hamilton on guitar, Danny Cady on fiddle and Art Wydner on bass -- is more than up to the task of putting the hurt on. Dave Evans has a lot more powerful music left in him, but as he moves forward it's always instructive to be reminded of how far he's traveled in finding his singular voice. The Best of the Vetco Years is an indispensable component of this vital history.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
In the late '70s, bluegrass singer/songwriter and banjo picker Dave Evans recorded two albums for Vetco, Dave Evans and River Bend and Call Me Long Gone. While Evans had honed his banjo chops and vocals with Larry Sparks and the Boys from Indiana, the 21 cuts he recorded for Vetco were his first work as a leader. Now Rebel, the label where Evans recorded most of his subsequent work, has attained these earlier tapes and issued 15 cuts on The Best of the Vetco Years. Evans work here is fresh, vital, and recorded well, and includes energetic cuts like "Highway 52" and the bluesy "99 Years Is Almost for Life" (the first two cuts). This body of work is interesting for a couple reasons. First, these tracks sparkle because of Evans' and company's first-rate performances, delivering classics like "Barbara Allen" and "White House Blues" as though they meant every word. Secondly, these tracks are deeply invested in tradition and, in the late '70s, ran counter to the active new grass scene that had developed in the 1970s. These recordings showed that the style coined by Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs had life in it yet. Smartly, these songs were recorded "straight" without much echo or other distracting studio additions, allowing Evans voice and the banjos, guitars, fiddles, and dobros to come to the forefront. Evans work on The Best of the Vetco Years will probably cause D.I.W. (dyed in the wool) bluegrass lovers and pickers to crank up the stereo to rock & roll levels.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/06/2008
Label:
Rebel Records
UPC:
0032511751928
catalogNumber:
7519
Rank:
70599

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