Northwestern fiddler Kerry Blech selected this 28-track compilation from the Rounder label's voluminous catalog of studio and field recordings of old-time music. The term "old-time" usually denotes a style of country music that is non-commercial and which predates bluegrass. The fiddle is often prominent, and while the five-string banjo is often involved, it is usually played in the older "clawhammer" style rather than the more ornate three-finger bluegrass or Scruggs style. But this album takes the listener far beyond the standard fiddle-guitar-and-banjo instrumentation, and even beyond the Appalachian region, to include unaccompanied singing (Almeda Riddle's "I'm a Long Time Traveling Here Below" is a gorgeous example), cowboy song (Glenn Ohrlin's hilarious "High Toned Dance"), and even one piano solo (Haywood Blevins' arrangement of the old-time standard "Old Molly Hare" that opens the program). There are also a couple of fine examples of the African-American banjo and fiddle traditions from Joe & Odell Thompson and Dink Roberts and, of course, plenty of the kind of old-time fiddling that most listeners will recognize as typical of the genre. Blech's annotations are extensive and insightful. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson