Various Artists

Silver Meteor

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Silver Meteor is a 1980 compilation that has become a collector's item because it features the final work of the brilliant guitarist Clarence White (a veteran of the bluegrass band the Kentucky Colonels and the rock band the Byrds), who was killed by a drunk driver just weeks after the guitarist's four tracks here had been recorded for his first solo album. White's band includes his brother Roland White on mandolin, fiddler Byron Berline, guitarist Herb Pedersen, and bassist Roger Bush. White's take of Delaney Bramlett's "Never Ending Love" is upbeat, as is the bluegrass standard "Alabama Jubilee," which has a bit of a ragtime feel to it. The leader's mournful vocals and his great guitar playing are highlights of "Last Thing on My Mind" and "Why You Been Gone so Long." The remaining tracks are fairly obscure but have appeared elsewhere. Casey Kelly's "Silver Meteor" sounds like it could of been a vehicle for the Flying Burrito Brothers. Clarence White and fellow Byrds veteran Gene Parsons turn up on two tracks featuring the Everly Brothers, in which the guests' picking rival the Everlys' singing; "I'm on My Way Home Again" is a hidden treasure. Barbara Keith is heard performing her rather pedestrian composition "The Bramble and the Rose." Guitarists Levitt & McClure play a satisfying instrumental interpretation of "Living in the Country." The Blue Velvet Band, which blends bluegrass, rock, and country, features fiddler Richard Greene and pedal steel guitarist/tenor banjo player Bill Keith and folk musician Jim Rooney. "The Knight Upon the Road" is a storytelling ballad with some choice solos on viola by Greene. To sum up the value of this long unavailable 1980 LP, the presence of the four tracks led by Clarence White alone make it worth the investment.

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