Larry Sparks’ Vintage

Vintage - Larry SparksEnquiries about a Larry Sparks album from any era is certain to be met with a response indicating that it is certainly of very good vintage.

Now Sparks has released on his own Sparks label an album entitled Vintage, a 10 song collection from a recording session in Chicago, Illinois, way back in 1981. Vintage by name and vintage by nature.

Sparks shared the story behind the album …

Larry Sparks circa 1981“The Acoustic label, [a] small independent label that just never got it together, released a small pressing and was never promoted properly. [As] the years went by it was laying around in Chicago.

One day a couple years ago [I] thought I would check it out. Found out it was going to be sold to the first buyer that would take it. So, me having my own label, I bought my own master, keeping it out of the wrong hands and going through another few years with nothing done with the recording. If it was released, I would probably never receive any royalty from it.

So I own it now. I wanted to make this CD available to my fans if they wanted it. This needed to be released. I felt it was a good performance and should be out on CD.

When I recorded this project we agreed to do just an album with older traditional songs. I didn’t want to put a lot of time in new material for this label not knowing how it would be promoted.

[Nevertheless], these were good songs I thought for the album, not really over recorded by anyone else.”

The track listing is as follows …

Your Love is like a Flower / I Don’t Care / These Blues They Got Me / Ramblin’ Letters / Revelation / I’ll Get Over You Someday / I Wonder How the Old Folks are at Home / Walkin’ the Dog / Cotton-Eyed Joe / Tragic Romance

In the studio with Sparks, who sang lead on all songs, played guitar and some mandolin, were Lonesome Ramblers Tom Boyd – Dobro; Wendell Bartley – tenor vocal; Scott Vestal – banjo and baritone vocal; and Ralph Joe Meadows – Fiddle. Buck Bellow, who Sparks describes as a “studio guy”, played some mandolin.

Adding the bass tracks recently was Larry D Sparks.

Vintage is available from

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.