Uncle Dave Macon

Early Recordings

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Yes, this is the real deal, a dozen monumental tracks lifted off the original 78 slabs that comprised the early-recording career of this eccentric and almost endlessly amusing old-time country star. Practically every track is some kind of classic, all of them driven by a banjo sound that has enough energy to plow the back 40 and whip up biscuits when that's done. Sound, of course, is not high-tech, but if the listener can ignore original scratches, which were, of course, placed there on the 78s with love by the original owner, the primitive recording quality doesn't even come close to obscuring all the wonderful things about the music. Banjo playing is, of course, overwhelming, but not enough can be said about his entertaining vocal style. On one great track entitled "Worthy of Estimation" he sounds something like an auctioneer who's been given a snootfull of laughing gas. Half the tracks feature backup from the immortal Fruit Jar Drinkers, whose hotshot picker Sam McGee also joins Uncle Dave for a couple of terrific duets. The Delmore Brothers also have a cameo, showing up for a finale gospel number.

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