The Country Gentlemen

High Lonesome: Complete Starday Recordings

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Since the group's founding in 1957, the Country Gentlemen have had a more or less constantly revolving roster of members, some of whom (John Duffey, Tom Gray, Eddie Adcock) have gone on to significant fame on their own and in other bands, while others (John Hall, Ed Ferris) did not. The lineup shown on the cover -- guitarist and bandleader Charlie Waller, mandolinist John Duffey, banjo player Eddie Adcock, and bassist Tom Gray -- is generally considered the "classic" Country Gentlemen configuration; however, on these early recordings, the personnel rotates around that lineup more than it settles there. There are many tracks featuring the equally fine banjo player Bill Emerson, some early contributions from fiddlers John Hall and Carl Nelson, and a number of songs featuring dobro player Kenny Haddock. But the distinctive voices of Charlie Waller and John Duffey are the dominating flavors throughout, and on songs like "Nobody's Business," "Blue Man," and "Long Journey Home," the band's future sound is almost fully realized. This two-disc, 51-track set includes a number of previously unreleased songs and alternate takes (several of which, it must be said, were probably unissued because of terrible sound quality), and all in all it provides a unique and enjoyable window on the earliest days of one of bluegrass music's most influential ensembles. Recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
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51
blue highlight denotes track pick