Bill Clifton

Are You From Dixie

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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne

Since both the artists involved in this collaboration are top-flight bluegrass musicians, the inevitable question concerning this recording is: Why it is so dull? Mandolinist Red Rector, known for hard-driving and technically intricate soloing, seems to be having a bad day in the studio, or else was attempting to see how many times he could use the same licks on one record, a musical contest that he neither invented nor should have participated in. A guitar and mandolin album could and should be a beautiful thing, as these lovely sounding instruments have the ability to create their own world in which a listener would not miss the other instruments in a bluegrass band, such as banjo or fiddle. But with Rector turning in such an uninspired performance, the onus is really on his partner to save the day, and again the Mighty Mouse outfit must have been at the dry cleaner's. Clifton drives the rhythm along nicely, and he better since his axe is the whole rhythm section here. But his vocals miss the mark completely, not technically problematic but lacking any sort of motivation. Sally Feldman said it best when she wrote in 1971 that "Clifton's voice is so bland that it could make a Sex Pistols song sound like a campfire favorite." This must have been the only time the name of this British band appeared in an old-time music journal, by the way, and how was the reviewer to know that by the year 2000, Sex Pistols songs would have actually become campfire favorites? The comment still applies, however. The best parts of the album are the instrumental numbers, which might lead a listener to surmise that it was the vocals that were wearing Rector down.

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