The Delmore Brothers

Fifty Miles to Travel

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This great country duo was in its prime when the material on this 24-song compilation was recorded for King from the mid-'40s to the mid-'50s. This isn't the cream of that crop, as much of that was been collected on an earlier, superior Ace anthology, Freight Train Boogie. As a secondary collection, however, it presents some always respectable and often very good hillbilly music. It concentrates on sides that hadn't previously been reissued on CD, or reissued at all, including half a dozen outtakes and alternate takes that hadn't been released anywhere, and repeating little from the Freight Train Boogie compilation. While there's some hot country boogie here, there's a little bit more weight given to folky, more traditional-sounding songs such as "Midnite Special" and "Dis Train Am Bound for Glory" than there is on the best Delmore Brothers anthologies. It's often a little more sedate and less innovative than their best King stuff, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of exceptional harmonizing and bluesy guitar picking (as on the aptly titled "Fast Express"), occasionally embellished by the harmonica of Wayne Raney. Although most of these are from the less traveled corners of the duo's King output, the CD does have one of their most famous classics, "Blues Stay Away from Me," and -- of more interest to collectors -- a previously unissued alternate take of the song. There also unfortunate unflattering slang references to African-Americans in the otherwise stellar "Mississippi Shore," sung with a casual geniality suggesting such terminology was hardly out of the ordinary among the white Southern country audience when this single came out in 1947. The tracks are taken directly from the original acetates, resulting in a clear sound that's quite exceptional for reissues of country music from this period.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
2 2:59
3 2:41
4 2:35
5 2:57
6 2:57
7 2:56
9 2:53
13 3:25
14 2:45
15 2:54
16 2:50
17 2:45
18 2:56
19 2:48
20 2:44
21 2:52
22 2:39
23 2:40
24 2:48
blue highlight denotes track pick