These recordings show Cliff Carlisle to be more or less a contemporary of the great Jimmie Rodgers, albeit a far more obscure one. There are definite comparisons musically, however: Carlisle also used the yodel as part of his vocal repertoire, as well as bringing in lap steel -- more often than Rodgers, on the evidence presented, and playing it himself (a custom-built National Resophonic, for those who like exactitude). With 83 tracks recorded over a period of nine years, Carlisle was certainly prolific, and you have to wonder why he wasn't better known -- the man could certainly play and sing, even if some of the material wasn't always up to scratch. However, it's a set that reveals its joys, however mad they can be (listen to the falsetto chorus on "Shanghai Rooster Blues," for example). Like many country artists from this formative period, his music and lyrics easily straddle the amorphous border between country and blues, with Hawaiian touches coming in quite often (not surprising, given the fad for Hawaiian music at the time). It's an insight into one of country music lesser-known pioneers -- and one who deserves more credit.