Various Artists

Rounder Old-Time Music

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Rounder Records has long been a home for some of the finest folk, old-time, and bluegrass artists on the scene, and this 26-track sampler makes a wonderfully sequenced introduction to the label and what it has to offer. There are countless high points, including Ola Bell Reed's driving clawhammer banjo rhythm on her "You Led Me to the Wrong," Alva Greene and Francis Gillum's brief instrumental "Hunky Dory," which is as scratchy as an old door hinge but endlessly melodic and infectious, and George Peagram's craggy version of "Johnson's Old Grey Mule," which reminds listeners how much basic humor is a key ingredient in old-time music, as Peagram's banjo flies along at almost bluegrass speed. The great Doc Watson, his brother, Arnold Watson, and his father-in-law, Gaither Carlton, do a great version of "Reuben's Train," which twists and turns with a wonderfully wild and archaic grace. This is a fine sampler, and more than that, it's a great album.

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