Here he comes once more, Mr. Jack Dumery, one of the finest connoisseurs in Country music of our time. Jack is often in correspondance with artists, and he has the knack to find the more obscure, although the best talented ones.
Nuff said, here is his turn.
Over the years Charlie Thompson has always been known for the high quality of his live performances all over Europe as well as for his first-class recordings.
Recorded in Pasadena, California, Charlie is strongly supported by top-notch musicians. We find here TK.SMITH (lead-guitar), JERRY WAKEFIELD (steel-guitar), WALLY HERSON (string-bass and also producer of the sessions), DAVE STUCKEY (drums), BOBBY FURGO (fiddle) and CARL SONNY LEYLAND (piano), a dream band if any.
“The automobile song“ download
“A blue million tears“download
Charlie has selected 12 songs in the 50’s Hillbilly repertoire, every track a real gem whether strong boppers like « The Automobile Song » (Luke McDaniels), or « Boogie Blues » (Earl Peterson) or beautiful weepers like « A Blue Million Tears » (Carl Butler) and « I Miss You Already » (Marvin Rainwater/Faron Young). Charlie put his own touch and sensibility to the songs while every single note from the musicians is a perfect delight for the ears of the listeners. « THE FOOTHILL SESSIONS » is probably one of the best releases for 2015.
“I miss you already“download
CHARLIE THOMPSON won « Best Honky Tonk Male Singer » at the Ameripolitan Music Awards 2016 » in Austin, Texas, on February 16, 2016, being the first European to win.
Flatt & Scruggs, along with Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers or Jimmy Martin were among the pioneers of traditional Bluegrass music. After playing along side Bill Monroe, Lester and Earl started their own band, The Foggy Mountain Boys, in 1948. Josh Graves joined the outfit in 1955, first as a bass player but soon switched to dobro which was then to become a defining feature of the Bluegrass sound.
Jerry Douglas, acknowledged to be the finest dobro player around these days, has put together a handful of super pickers, known as the Earls of Leicester, to pay homage to the sound of Flatt & Scruggs : SHAWN CAMP (famous singer/songwriter in Nashville), CHARLIE CUSHMAN (banjo), TIM O’BRIEN (mandolin), JOHNNY WARREN (fiddle) is himself the son of Paul Warren, a member of the Foggy Mountain Boys and BARRY POSS (string-bass).
We return to the roots of Bluegrass music with 14 classics from the Flatt & Scruggs songbook like « I’ll Go Stepping Too », « On My Mind », « Dim Lights, Thick Smoke », « You’re Not a Drop In The Bucket ».
“I’ll go stepping too“download
“On my mind“download
“Dim lights, thick smoke“download
“You’re not a drop in the bucket“download
Some might argue that we have here only imitation of the original style but The Earls of the Leicester infuse new freshness and thrilling musicianship into the songs. With their sound and very popular live performances they are in the right position to open new young audiences to the sound of traditional Bluegrass music.
Jim Dickerson is a Memphis singer/guitarist well known for his work with the North Mississippi All Stars and the South Memphis String Band. The Wandering is his latest project for which he has assembled the talents of four female mid-south vocalists/instrumentalists. SHANNON McNALLY (voice/guitar), VALERIE JUNE (vocal/banjo/guitar), AMY LA VERE (vocal/string bass) and SHARDE THOMAS (vocal/fife/drums). DICKERSON plays various guitars and sing harmonies on this recording.
“Sittin’ on top of the world“download
“Lovin’ him was easier than anything I’ll ever do again“download
The song selection, ’Sittin’ On Top Of The World’, opens with a quite unusual fife part played by Sharde who is probably one of the last fife players in the vanishing fife and drum tradition. Her vocal on this all-time Blues (and also Country) classic shines and she also leads an excellent version of the Gospel « Glory, Glory » with harmonies from her partners. Amy La Vere turns the Byrd’s classic « Mr Spaceman » into a jug band number full with a kazoo break, slapped string bass, Shannon’s duet vocal and Valerie’s harmonies. Shannon McNally gives a real cowboy ballad with «Outlaw » including yodel and sweet melody. Her version of «Lovin’ Him Was The Easier Thing » is without doubt the best version ever heard with a true country sound. Valerie June handles classics such as « Old Joe Clark », « You Are My Sunshine » and « In The Pines ».
“Old Joe Clark“download
“If I had possession over judgment day“download
« If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day » comes from the repertoire of Blues giant Robert Johnson and Valerie gives a new life to the song. The work of all those talents, vocally and instrumentally, in the Folk, Blues or Rock fields is a true success and a second volume would be much welcome.
Hear Mr Dickinson ?
Michael Hurtt’s first CD ‘Come Back to Louisiana’ was released in 2006 on the Allons label from New Orleans. Now it’s time to bring more Hurtt music to sink your teeth into. Hurtt moved to Detroit, Michigan, after hurricane Katrina hit south Louisiana in 2005. He was followed by JD Mark (lead/baritone guitars) leaving other members of the band spread around.
“Searching for shadows“download
Early 2013 original members of the Haunted Hearts met again in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to record this new project. Michael (vocal/guitar), JD Mark (guitars), Mitch Palmer (electric/steel guitars), John Trahey (string bass) with the addition of Detroit Lonely Charles (drums). The sessions led to a perfect selection of Rockabilly and Honky-Tonk material including original songs mostly written by Michael, from the opening track « Searching For Shadows » which gives the color of the whole CD with hot vocal and lead-guitar to « This Heart is Haunted », a Louisiana colored ballad.
In between, « Rambler’s Blues » with its tribute to Jimmie Skinner, superb rockabilly; « I’ll Put The Finger On You » on which recording engineer Erik Alderink shows he can handle the lead-guitar as a true master. « You Don’t Have To Tell Me The Night Is Long » with its shadow of the Johnny Cash sound, and another Louisiana type ballad « This Heart Is Haunted ».
Covers include « Breaking Hearts » (Bill Browning), the obscure « I’ll Move Along » (Red Lewis), « My Hamtrack Baby » (Ray Taylor) and, last but not least, one of the best Rockabillies ever «Teardrops Valley » (The Lonesome Drifter). Unfortunately, JD Mark passed away in July 11, 2013, a few months after these sessions were held in Ann Arbor (RIP).
“I’ll put the finger on you“download
“This heart is haunted“download