Homer & Jethro

Playing It Straight

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Homer & Jethro were pigeonholed as country musicians who specialized in humorous songs and parodies, though both men were very capable players in straight-ahead sessions when given the opportunity. Joined by bassist Bob Moore and drummer Buddy Harman for this recording, the duo stick primarily to standards and well-known pop tunes, with no vocals or chatter between them. Burns plays mandolin for the first half of the album, with Haynes' rhythm guitar suggesting the influence of the Gypsy swing pioneered by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli in the 1930s. Burns' influence upon mandolinist David Grisman will also be apparent to the latter's fans. For several songs on the second half of the disc, Burns switches to lead acoustic guitar and the duo are in a country setting. Burns returns to mandolin for an energetic take of the Latin favorite "Tico Tico" and a swinging take of "I Found a New Baby." Two of the songs are credited to Homer & Jethro plus producer Chet Atkins, with Harman briefly featured in "Homer and Jethro Boogie." If there is any gripe about this RCA Victor LP, it is the rather brief playing time, as most of the tracks hover around the two-minute mark and the album totals only 25 minutes.

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