Traditional Bluegrass

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
Bluegrass played by contemporary musicians but embodying a classic feel is a rare commodity these days. Slickness, pop crossover tendencies, and a reliance on technical virtuosity seem to be the order of the day, instead of authentic expression. Vern Williams and his band, on the other hand, are the real thing. This album of vibrant live recordings captures the legendary mandolinist, singer, and bandleader in prime form, ripping into bluegrass standards with passion and from-the-gut exuberance. Featuring an edition of his tightly knit ensemble from the 1980s, Traditional Bluegrass displays a vocal and instrumental mesh that epitomizes the spirit of the music at its ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
Bluegrass played by contemporary musicians but embodying a classic feel is a rare commodity these days. Slickness, pop crossover tendencies, and a reliance on technical virtuosity seem to be the order of the day, instead of authentic expression. Vern Williams and his band, on the other hand, are the real thing. This album of vibrant live recordings captures the legendary mandolinist, singer, and bandleader in prime form, ripping into bluegrass standards with passion and from-the-gut exuberance. Featuring an edition of his tightly knit ensemble from the 1980s, Traditional Bluegrass displays a vocal and instrumental mesh that epitomizes the spirit of the music at its best. Williams has been recorded so infrequently during his career that each album is truly a gift. In this case, a very joyful gift.
All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Although one can usually take a title like "Traditional Bluegrass" with a grain of salt, Vern Williams means what he says. Amazingly, most of the tracks included on Traditional Bluegrass were recorded live at bluegrass festivals and live on the radio in 1982 and 1984. Amazing, because tracks like "Bald Knob, Arkansas" and "I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home" sound like they could've been recorded in 1952 and 1954. Williams and his cohorts -- guitarist Del Williams, banjoist Keith Little, fiddler Ed Neff, and bassist Kevin Thompson -- tackle several Bill Monroe songs and another by Ralph Stanley, showing where the origins of their music lie. While calling a piece like "When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall" rough around the edges may sound like an insult, it's a compliment. This band isn't interested in ironing all of the mountain soul out of the music. Instead, their versions of "Can't You Hear Me Calling" and "Traveling the Highway Home" are filled with raw energy and emotion and hit the listener right in the gut. Few of these songs even make it to the three-minute mark, meaning the band is more interested in delivering the song than in showing off its instrumental dexterity. For anyone who appreciates undiluted mountain music, Vern Williams' Traditional Bluegrass will more than satisfy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/10/2004
  • Label: Arhoolie Records
  • UPC: 096297051429
  • Catalog Number: 514
  • Sales rank: 267,151

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Vern Williams Primary Artist, Mandolin, Vocals, Interviewee
Ed Neff Fiddle
Kevin Thompson Bass, Bass Guitar
Delbert Williams Guitar, Vocals
Mike Eisler Fiddle
Keith Little Banjo, Vocals
Del WIlliams Guitar, Vocals
Technical Credits
Bill Monroe Composer
Ralph Stanley Composer
Ray Park Composer
Jack Guthrie Composer
Vern Williams Composer
Tom Diamant Producer, Interviewer
Ira Louvin Composer
Charlie Louvin Composer
Chris Stachwitz Cover Photo
Walter Bailes Composer
Gene Sullivan Composer
Wiley Walker Composer
Doyle Wilburn Composer
Frankie Bailes Composer
Albert Prince Composer
Morgan K. Dodge Graphic Design
Ruby Rakes Composer
Little Robert Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Treasure trove of down-home tradition with vengeance

    Time - 44:48 -- Anyone who ever attended the California Bluegrass Association’s bluegrass festivals in Grass Valley, Ca. back in the 1980s will recall that hard-driving traditional band that always got the crowd listening with rapt attentiveness. With half of these sixteen cuts recorded at that festival on June 19, 1982, we are treated to charged-up presentations that capture the energy of the festival moment with The Vern Williams Band playing old Wilburn Brothers, Bill Monroe, Vern & Ray, Ruby Rakes, Bailes Brothers and public domain tunes. The other eight cuts come from 1984 and 1988 recordings in Vancouver, B.C., Berkeley and Grass Valley, Ca. The band includes Vern Williams (mandolin, vocals), Del Williams (guitar, vocals), Keith Little (banjo, vocals), Ed Neff (fiddle), and Kevin Thompson (bass). The Sawtooth Mountain Boys’ Mike Eisler plays a twin fiddle with Neff on track two, Bill Monroe’s “Close By” which recreates that classic multiple fiddle sound that Gordon Terry, Red Taylor and Charlie Cline did back in 1954. Many bluegrass fans have decried the recent slick, contemporary bluegrass products being produced with “wart-less” studio sounds and top session musician accompaniment. For a treasure trove of down-home tradition with vengeance, I would recommend this album that has been assembled from various historic two-track tapes. This is the kind of spine-tingling bluegrass that has remarkably powerful spirit and endurance. Originally from Newton County, Arkansas, bluegrass legend Vern Williams moved to California nthe 1950s. He may be best known for his historic 1960s Starday recordings with Ray Parks. Their Stockton, Ca.-based duo featured Vern Williams (mandolin) and Ray Park (guitar, fiddle). After meeting in Stockton in 1959, Very and Ray formed a band called the Carroll County Country Boys. They recorded several singles. Herb Pederson played banjo with them. After they broke up in 1974., Vern formed The Vern Williams Band. Ray Park worked with numerous west coast bluegrass and country bands, recorded a solo fiddle album called “Fiddletown” in 1982, and died on May 15, 2002. The Vern Williams Band made a big splash in the 1980s, and their “Bluegrass from the Gold Country” album (Rounder CD-131) is a classic collector’s item. The band also backed Rose Maddox on two other albums. Any true blue hardcore fan of the classic bluegrass sound will jump with joy after hearing this album, “Traditional Bluegrass” released by Arhoolie Records. It’s a wholly absorbing project, as well as fascinating documentation of some great traditional bluegrass music performed in California in the 1980s. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

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