Johnnie Whisnant

Johnnie Whisnant

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There is a strange race of creatures that will want, indeed must have, this album. They are called banjo players. They probably know by now that Johnnie Whisnant was one of the world's greatest banjo players, and the sign of how little credit he has gotten is the slim heft of his discography. With the exception of recordings done in the '30s and appearances as a sideman, this well produced session is just about it. Bluegrass fans will have to decide whether they want their music delivered with a bit fewer rough edges in the vocal department, but fans of Whisnant and his band will insist that this is the real thing, clams and all. It certainly sounds awesome, the leader's banjo possessing the same kind of gargantuan sonic presence as a Link Wray or Jimi Hendrix. A former car mechanic, he invented his own tuning peg "cheater" hardware and uses it to pull off great instrumentals. Bandmates including Whisnant's wife June work steadily with the leader, and there are sterling solos from fiddle player Leroy Mumma and mandolinist Charlie Taylor.

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