What has always set Doyle Lawson's groups apart from other progressive bluegrass outfits is their equal focus on both vocal and instrumental virtuosity. Where colleagues like the Country Gentlemen, the Seldom Scene, and the New Grass Revival tended to emphasize unusual repertoire and instrumental pyrotechnics, Lawson's band, even with its kaleidoscopically shifting membership, has always maintained a consistent dual focus on fiery playing and tight, rich, gospel-flavored harmonies. The Original Band compiles the first two albums (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Quicksilver Rides Again) that Lawson made with his own group after leaving the Country Gentlemen in 1979, and it will probably stand as the definitive document of his early work as a bandleader. There are blistering versions of Bill Monroe's "On and On" and the traditional "Shady Grove," the forward-looking "A Touch of Pennsylvania," and several absolutely stunning gospel numbers, including the standard "He Put a Rainbow in the Clouds for Me" and "Calm the Storm." If you had to limit your bluegrass collection to only 20 discs, this would have to be one of them.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson