If a consumer bought an album by John Lennon, and the cover pictured him with two other former Beatles, would it be disappointing to find out the latter two lads don't actually appear on the record? Such is the case with the foolish decision to put a photo of Fiddlin' Arthur Smith with the McGee Brothers on the front of this album. The McGees did play in the Dixieliners, sure, and the combination of those three talents made up for an old-time music supergroup easily comparable with the Fab Four in terms of influence, if not worldwide popularity. But the McGees do not play on this record, nor the second volume in this series, so be warned. Using their picture is just plain stupid, yet it hardly can cast a shadow over the music which is first rate. Smith is one of the most influential fiddlers of all time; indeed it would be difficult for a country fiddler to play a piece without doing something that Smith thought up, or passed on from his years of travel and interaction with other country players. The wonderful Delmore Brothers are on hand, making up for the non-McGee factor with aplomb. Other fine players here include fiddler Tommy Magness, bold and brave enough to lock horns with Smith on the fine "K.C. Stomp," and guitarist Billy Byrd, known for his work with Ernest Tubb. A booklet jam-packed with historical material and great old photos accompanies both volumes.
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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne