Tag Archives: CDs

Back in May of this year, I had a special birthday. I turned 70! No one was more surprised that I was—not surprised that I’d made it that far (although I am extremely grateful for each of those years)—but surprised that I was SEVENTY! It seems so old, yet I feel so young! (At times!)

Son Christopher made this birthday extry-spatial (quoting Lester Flatt there; meaning extra special!) by surprising me with a CD he had conceived and recorded with 25 women who were prominent bluegrass musicians playing and singing 23 songs that I had written over the last 40 years! He did this completely on the sly, with Casey and Red and all of my sisters plus all of the musicians in on the surprise, and no one letting a thing slip for over three months!

He presented me with the CD the weekend before my birthday, when he and Red and I (with Marshall Wilborn) had a gig at the B Chord Brewery in nearby Round Hill, Va. He had an elaborate presentation all mapped out, but naturally, it didn’t go as planned!

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Red HenryYou may recall that most of my recent posts were all about driving down to Florida and back, to play at the Florida Folk Festival and record with Dale Crider. Yes, it's a long way from here to there-- about 14 hours each way! So what was I listening to on the car? Some mighty entertaining CDs (these are not listed in any particular order):

Donna Green Townsend, "Train Wreck II": This second CD from the Train Wreck group features a wide variety of songs ranging from first-generation bluegrass (the Stanleys' "I'm Going Back to the Old Home") to "Faded Coat of Blue" and "Hot Buttered Rum". My own favorite, as Donna knew it would be, is her "Hold Back the Waters" montage, which features many different singers performing Will McLean's masterpiece, including Will himself. Of historical interest is an interpolation of one done by the Red and Murphy & Co. band, from a recording made by Donna herself at Winfield, Kansas in 1982. Ah, nostalgia...

Chris Henry, "Monroe Approved": This assemblage of Mighty Fine mandolin playing was well-produced in Nashville, and is some of my favorite listening. My favorite cuts include "James River", "Indians are Coming", and "Red's Zeppelin".

Carrie Hamby, "Stand Up Eight": (The title comes, I understand, from a Japanese proverb, "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." Carrie's an excellent singer-songwriter from Florida, and this disc features mostly original music including (my favorites) "Black Berry" and "Solidago." Carrie included a nice version of "Little Annie", too.

Ron and Mary, "My Florida". This new release showcases Ron Johnson and Mary Mathews singing a very enjoyable set of mostly-original material. My personal favorites were the title song and also "Rescue Train", Ron's composition about a dramatic and tragic true incident during a hurricane in the Florida Keys. Other numbers standing out include the leadoff track, "Times is Hard", and also, particularly, the "Rave-on" by Raven-Stands-Alone", which you have GOT to hear.

Dale Crider, "Wild Wood Swamp": We (Murphy, Casey, Chris, and myself, plus Tuck Tucker on Dobro) recorded this CD with Dale on Thanksgiving Weekend, 1999. It features some never-before-released numbers such as "Wood Photons of Light" and "Waltz of the Dirt Road Sport", along with re-cuts of several of Dale's older songs like "Conservation Notion" and "St. Johns Saving Time", as well as some excellent material from other writers, especially Don Grooms's "Vitachucco" and Will's "Tate's Hell" and "Dance of the Sand Hill Crane". All still fun to listen to, and still available from Dale, I expect!

Live recording, "Bill Monroe, Seattle, Washington, Nov. 1982":  Bill presented an assortment of old and new tunes, backed up as usual by the Blue Grass Boys. Good stuff to listen to while traveling to play bluegrass!

Live recording, Gamble Rogers, Radio broadcast from club in Athens, Ga., in the Early 1980s: When I hear Gamble working his magic for a live audience, it all comes back in a rush. This recording, only about 45 minutes long, includes several of Gamble's songs plus a wonderful version of his story about the Airstream Trailer Orgy. Gamble's presentation and vocabulary really shine in this live performance.

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Well, as you can see, I had a lot of things to listen to while driving to Florida and back! I confess that this list is just a selection, but I wanted you to get the idea. Will I work up a few of these songs? Maybe so. Can't let good music get away...

Sea of Mystery coverAnnouncing: a brand new CD, just barely out in time for Christmas, from Christopher Henry. Sea of Mystery -- A Solo Bluegrass Exploration features 30, count them thirty, hand-crafted songs and tunes from the pen of Chris Henry. Played entirely by Chris himself, on guitar and mandolin, these tunes demonstrate the unique talent that he brings to the instruments, as well as to the craft of songwriting. Be among the first to hear these brand new tunes. Order one today!