Uncle Dave Macon

The Gayest Old Dude in Town

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This is a very nice German repackaging of material by old-time music hero Uncle Dave Macon, including a booklet with complete lyrics. The album combines the earliest recordings of Uncle Dave with what are represented to be his last sessions, although there are other releases of his material purporting to be from even 12 years later. Information is hazy in the booklet, and the listener will have to bring in an old-time music detective in order to identify which tracks feature the notorious Fruit Jar Drinkers and so forth. It is instructive, however, to be reminded that Uncle Dave did not begin performing professionally until the age of 48, after already achieving success in two careers, farmer and "haulage contractor." There are a lot of genres and approaches to old-time music, from ultra-serious to ultra-corny, with a separate section for ridiculous loudmouths armed with banjos, of which Uncle Dave has got to be the looniest. But he can also dim the lights and sit back and deliver a straight country tune, or a banjo instrumental that sounds like three other players, on the wrong speed to boot. A highlight of this program is the extended "Uncle Dave's Travels," featuring his bizarre spoken comments as well as singing and picking.

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