The sorely undervalued Blue Sky Boys finally get their due on Bear Family's spectacular 2003 boxed set The Sunny Side of Life. Encompassing their complete recordings for Bluebird and RCA Victor from 1936-1950, this five-disc set (packaged with an exhaustive hardbound book) demonstrates in sharp detail that Earl and Bill Bolick were ostensibly the template for the high harmony acts (Jim & Jesse, the Louvin Brothers, and even the Everly Brothers) who would echo their sweet, keening harmonies in the decades that followed. While the Bolick brothers' song selections never drift too far from their religious upbringing and the traditional songs they were raised on, their gorgeous harmonies give life to the dusty old songs about love, death, and being S-A-V-E-D in the eyes of the Lord. While their stories of broken-hearted lovers and particularly their murder ballads (gangsta rap has nothin' on old-timey music as far as the sheer number of deaths and graves are concerned, whether they be dear old Mother or "the girl I loved so much I had to kill her") are grisly and grim in the academic sense, the quiet beauty of their voices intertwined and the pure simplicity of their instrumentation (primarily an acoustic guitar and mandolin throughout all 123 tracks) never feel depressing. On the contrary, the Blue Sky Boys' passion for their subjects and unique vocal abilities infuse light into the dark corners of these songs, turning eerie tales of the hidden side of man into lessons on redemption and beauty. In the manner Bear Family has become known for, the packaging is well-crafted and informative, with a complete history of the group, studio notes, and a thorough track by track account of the histories of each of the songs. Even if the CDs were printed without labels and handed out in a paper sack, the music alone would be worth the price, especially since documentation of the group has been nearly nonexistent in the CD age. Alternately chilling and life-affirming, these recordings of the Blue Sky Boys' most productive era are finally available in a handsome package with fine sound quality. Hallelujah!