In an age of techno, worldbeat, rock & roll and hip-hop influenced pop music, groups like Hackensaw Boys are increasingly being regarded as aberrations. Opting to perform bluegrass and old-timey music in the spirit it was intended and with the instruments it was designed for, they have not lacked for intensity, energy, or a captive audience. There is nothing modern or programmed about their music, as this live recording will attest. In fact, aside from the Hackensaw Boys' 21st century retro, unkempt appearance, this band could have been unearthed 50 or 60 years ago. Relying on banjo, fiddle, string bass, harmonica, acoustic guitar, and multi-part vocal harmonies, this music is as true as it was decades prior when sequined-adorned, brightly colored coordinated suits were the operating norm for such groups. With a combination of bluegrass standards, gospel and folk songs, their repertoire is varied and potentially endless. Their renditions of "Look Where That Sun Done Gone," "Gospel Plow," "Colored Aristocracy/I'll Fly Away," and "We Are Many" rival those of anyone who has performed them in recent years. Give It Back is a rough-hewn yet fitting example of the Hackensaw Boys' charm and skill in both performing and reviving a neglected art form of yore.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Sleger