The fact that fiddler Art Stamper records on County -- as opposed to its sister label Rebel -- lets one know that he's the real McCoy. His fiddling style, in the first decade of the 21st century, harks back to the first decade of the 20th or even the 19th century. Stamper's joined on Wake Up Darlin' Corey by two other old-timers, banjoist Harry Bickel and guitarist Doc Hamilton, on both familiar and lesser-known classics like "Old Arkansas," "Moonshiner," and the title track. If one only considered these elements, traditional musicians, songs, and styles, one would have no problem calling Wake Up Darlin' Corey old-timey music. But Stamper and County have added one extra element to spice up the package. Vocalist Tim O' Brien joins the group on a number of tracks, bringing a touch of sex appeal to the project. While the idea seems sound enough, traditionalists will rightly point out that O'Brien's vocals -- no matter how good of a singer he is -- aren't in the old style, and thus, are at odds with the project. Nonetheless, O'Brien's presence will probably bring new fans to old-timey musicians like Stamper, and that can't be a bad thing. Finally Wake Up Darlin' Corey, with its combination of old and new styles, shows how the folk process moves forward without losing the past.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.