In their ongoing effort to keep their back catalog alive online, Rebel/County Records has reissued two more classic LPs as download-only releases.
The Blue Sky Boys are such well-established icons in early country music that even those with little or no familiarity with their music will cite them as exemplars of the brother duet sound. Bill and Earl Bolick had a string of well over 100 recordings starting in the 1930s, and were among the most popular entertainers on radio in the southern US until they retired in 1951 rather than change their old time style to fit evolving modern tastes.
They were coaxed out of retirement during the 1960s when young American audiences warmed to folk and traditional music once again, and recorded a number of albums for various labels. It was during this time that this set was released on the County label, one that Bill Bolick is said to have remembered as one of their most satisfying records. There are 10 tracks, including Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes, Don’t Let Your Sweet Love Die, I Never Will Marry and 7 others.
Amazingly, Joe Greene’s Fiddle Album on County Records in 1969 was his sole solo project, his only other instrumental album being the 1968 classic High Country twin fiddle recording with Kenny Baker. As the story goes, Greene, a well-respected fiddler from North Carolina, met Kenny Baker at the 2nd Bluegrass Festival in Fincastle, VA in 1966, launching a friendship and collaboration that brought Greene to Nashville, where he established a career as a side man working with Roy Acuff and Little Jimmy Dickens.
Joe Greene’s Fiddle Album is a stellar example of his fiddle work, and will be a wonderful discovery for those not already familiar with his playing. J.D. Crowe is on banjo, and Chubby Wise on guitar for a 12 track romp through some fiddle workouts. To my ears, this project is as essential to any fiddle music library as the many great Baker recordings of the late 60s and ’70s. I bought the download while preparing this piece.
Greene offers versions of Katy Hill, Money Musk, Paddy On The Turnpike, Grey Eagle and Salt River – all as much a part of the old time as bluegrass fiddle repertoire – and his version of Daley’s Reel in B flat is one that will turn many a modern fiddler’s head. The banjo/fiddle duet on Turkey Buzzard shows Crowe’s mastery of this idiom several years before his 1975 New South LP brought it to a wider audience.