Lloyd Green

Master of the Steel Strings: The Little Darlin' Sound of Lloyd Green

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Lloyd Green is best known as a session musician whose most noteworthy performances were as a steel guitarist on Johnny Paycheck's recordings for Little Darlin' in the '60s. Green also cut several sides for Little Darlin', which resulted in three albums: 1966's Day of Decision, 1967's Hit Sounds, and 1969's Green Country. None of these LPs ever reached CD, and there were no Green CDs until Koch released Master of the Steel Strings: The Little Darlin' Sound of Lloyd Green as part of their Little Darlin' reissue program in 2004. Spanning 20 tracks, the disc has good chunks of Hit Sounds and Green Country, but nothing from Day of Decision, even if it repeats the liner notes for that album, along with the notes from Hit Sounds, in their entirety in the booklet. There are no new notes to speak of, just these recycled original liner notes, which means there's precious little information about the specifics of when and where these recordings were made and released, although it is clear that they were all cut between 1966 and 1967. Certainly, all of the music here sounds of a piece, as of it could have been recorded at the same session, since it's 20 tracks of expertly performed, less than compelling instrumental country. Green is at the center stage, surrounded by Floyd Cramer-styled piano flourishes and propulsively twangy rhythm guitars, and his playing is excellent -- fluid, tasteful, and expressive. While this is a great showcase for his skills, all the music is quite similar, and it tends to blend together after a few tracks, turning into pleasant background music for anybody who isn't an aficionado of steel guitar. That's the audience that will find Master of the Steel Strings a worthy addition to their library, while most other listeners will be satisfied hearing his contributions on records by Paycheck, Bob Wills, and the Byrds, among his many other credits.

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