Classic Roland White reissue in June

Tompkins Square is set to re-release a classic album from Roland White on June 1.

I Wasn’t Born To Rock’n Roll was initially released by Ridge Runner Records in 1976, while Roland was working as a member of Country Gazette, who provide accompaniment throughout. Kenny Werz is on guitar, Roger Bush on bass, Alan Munde on banjo (and some guitar), and Dave Ferguson on fiddle. Roland plays mandolin and sings all the leads.

This record showcased Roland’s trademark mandolin and vocal styles – both immediately recognizable for their laid back, laconic approach. It was also among the last recordings of the early Gazette sound, with Roger Bush singing a high baritone vocal on most of the tracks.

Apart from three John Hadley compositions, the songs on I Wasn’t Born To Rock’n Roll will be familiar to serious bluegrass fans, with many coming from the Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs repertoire. A real standout is a track called Marathon, and seven-and-a-half minute medley that includes bits of Love Please Come Home, Nine Pound Hammer, Shackles and Chains, Live And Let Live, Doin’ My Time and Sittin’ On Top Of The World. It’s a little like the Energizer Bunny – it just keeps going, and going…

Roland shared a few remembrances about the recording of this album 34 years ago.

“The album was recorded in 1976 with the members of Country Gazette – Alan Munde, Roger Bush, Kenny Wertz and me. We were traveling and playing a lot in those years.

Slim Richey owner of Ridge Runner Records in Fort Worth, TX was recording many artists/groups along with the Gazette. We were going to be in the Fort Worth/Dallas area for a couple weeks, and he asked if I would be interested in doing an album while we were there.

We thought about it a bit thinking we could do the material that we were performing on our live shows. We were well rehearsed on these, except one, The Storms Are On The Ocean. That was a perfect song for Alan’s finger style guitar playing. The album was fun to do.

The Marathon was a lot longer than I meant for it to be.  I just kept on singing and we kept on playing. I think we just did one pass at it. We listened to it and other than a couple of quick fixes Slim Richey said it was just right.

I was told by some DJs that they liked the album especially the Marathon because it gave them a chance to use the rest room, or get a soda pop or coffee. Sometimes I wonder if that was the only tune that got any air play!”

I Wasn’t Born To Rock’n Roll is available for pre-order now at The reissue includes original liner notes by Gene Parsons, new reflections from Roland, and one previously unreleased song.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.