Mike Auldridge & Old Dog

Mike Auldridge & Old Dog

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The Old Dog bluegrass band probably got a chance to release a Flying Fish record thanks to the presence in the band of dobro wizard Mike Auldridge, whose own recordings were some of the most popular in the progressive bluegrass genre of the time. When the group itself failed to make much of a splash, the recording was later reissued with the dobro picker's name added in front. While Old Dog makes a lie of its name with progressive intentions from time to time, the type of cutting-edge "newgrass" picking that Auldridge can be a master of is not really the theme here. This group mixes in a strong old-time and country feeling to much of its material, coming across less like a sterile, emotionless pack of technical bluegrass hotshots than a talented bar band whose members are benefiting from heavy eye contact with the folks in the front row. There are highlights such as the skidding "Sledd Ride," but a great deal of the material is just too ordinary. Auldridge recorded extensively during this period, so completists may even think twice about this acquisition -- that is, unless they happen to hear their hero's playing, which is as grand as usual. A sludgy atmosphere develops during covers of insipid folk-rock material by Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Croce, and the band even manages to fumble a few surefire passes such as "Steel Guitar Rag."