Curly Seckler

That Old Book of Mine

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Trucker and bluegrass singer Curly Seckler isn't one of those names that pop into the mind of the average bluegrass fan the way Ralph Stanley does. Still, Seckler played an important role in a number of first generation bluegrass bands, including a long stretch with Flatt & Scruggs in the 1950s. With time out for his day job, trucking, Seckler waited until 1971 to make his first album for County. If there's a flaw in the compilation of Seckler's work on That Old Book of Mine, it's that County supplemented Curly Seckler Sings Again with five songs from Curly Seckler and Willis Spears from their Tribute to Lester Flatt. These five songs are more interesting than most of what passes for bluegrass in the post-millennium, but these tracks -- recorded in 1989 (with too much echo) -- pale beside the earlier ones -- recorded in 1971. The wonderful 11 tracks from the first session, however, are reason enough to own this CD, and if the other five tracks don't float the purist's boat, then it's easy enough to program around them. What makes theses recordings so special? The simple fact that the album, style-wise, could've been made as early as the late '40s. In other words, it's pure, traditional bluegrass featuring Seckler's emotive country tenor and a top-notch band that includes fiddler Tater Tate. That Old Book of Mine is a lovely straight-ahead recording that successfully captures a bit of mountain soul between grooves (aka bytes).

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