Various Artists

Bluegrass Beginnings

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Any album that includes bluegrass luminaries such as Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, and Flatt and Scruggs looks promising. Add a few lesser-known performers like the the Lilly Brothers and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and the listener has Bluegrass Beginnings. Bluegrass has become more popular in recent years thanks to Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton, but to hardcore fans the first ten years -- the mid ‘40s to the mid ‘50s -- remain the golden era. Bluegrass Beginnings offers a blast from the mountain past for old-timers, a sixty-minute program packed with classics. To the recent convert, the album offers a chance to look at the roots of this overcharged folk music. There are several lovely tracks by the Stanley Brothers including "The White Dove" and "I Love No One But You," and good selections, "Down the Road" and "My Cabin in Caroline," by Flatt and Scruggs. Phebel Wright offers up a rousing instrumental, "Lint Head Stomp" ("lint head" was used as a derisive name for cotton mill workers), while the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers deliver the lively "Lonesome Sad and Blue." It would have been helpful to have the origin of each track on the liner notes so that a listener could search out similar material. However, the quality music should offer the proper inspiration to seek out other recordings by these artists. Bluegrass Beginnings succeeds by offering a pure and pleasing dose of the real thing.

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