The Maddox Brothers & Rose

The Maddox Brothers & Rose On the Air, Vol. 2

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Mixing bluegrass, Western swing, old-timey breakdowns, honky tonk, a bit of rockabilly, and spirituals, the Maddox Brothers & Rose gained fame in the late '40s and throughout the '50s while recording for the 4-Star and Columbia labels. At times backed by country veterans like Bob Duncan on lead guitar and Jean LeMaster on pedal steel, the group's trademark sound came from Fred Maddox's slapped bass playing and Rose Maddox's trailblazing honky tonk vocals (she is cited as a forerunner to the likes of Kitty Wells and Wanda Jackson, not to mention countless modern singers like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette). A nice compliment to several Columbia collections and Rose's '60s solo work on Capitol, Arhoolie's two volume collection of the band's radio broadcasts will be a treat for fans. This second volume includes the group's only Grand Ole Opry appearance ("Gathering Flowers for the Master's Banquet" and "I Couldn't Believe It Was True") and several cuts taken from various L.A. studio recordings and performances taped at KTRB in Modesto (the groups base in between growing up in Alabama and moving to L.A.). The sound quality can be rough at times, but the music is all top-notch. Highlights include "Too Old to Cut the Mustard," "Meanest Man in Town," "Breathless Love," and "Lost John Boogie." Topped off with a good dose of clowning, a handful of fine vocals by Fred Maddox, and ads for Regal Pale Beer, On the Air, Vol. 2 makes for a nice addition to the Maddox Brothers & Rose catalog.