The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers

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The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers' sole album is decent, straightforward bluegrass, all of them traditional tunes with arrangements by the band. There's no hint of the folk-rock of the group mandolinist Chris Hillman would join soon afterward, the Byrds; it's the straight stuff, albeit sometimes played so fast that it sounds like they're racing against the clock. Both vocal harmony-oriented numbers and virtuosic instrumental workouts are included, with the one-two-three punch of "Three Finger Breakdown," "Cripple Creek," and "Crown Junction Breakdown" rushing by so fast -- in a total of four-and-a-half minutes -- that it's done before you've even downed half your coffee. In fact the album itself, even though it has ten songs, is finished almost before you know it, the running time adding up to a mere 18 minutes and 43 seconds. It does prove that Hillman (and the lesser-known Larry Murray, on dobro) could have no doubt carved lifelong careers for themselves as pure bluegrass musicians should they have chosen that path. Note that future Eagles member Bernie Leadon does not appear on the album; he did play in the band for a time, but didn't join until after it was recorded. The 2003 reissue on Big Beat adds lengthy historical liner notes.

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