Reissue Country Gentlemen CD not precisely what it seems

This post comes from our semi-regular correspondent, Richard F. Thompson. He writes from England, where he is also a longstanding contributor to British Bluegrass News, a quarterly print publication where he also briefly served as editor.

The Country Gentlemen - Going Back To The Blue Ridge MountainsSmithsonian Folkways has released Going Back To The Blue Ridge Mountains (SFW 40175) on CD, a collection of 16 songs recorded by the Country Gentlemen and originally released in 1973.

This set comprises Going Back To The Blue Ridge Mountains, Going To The Races, Azzuro Campana (Blue Belle), Dark As A Dungeon, Copper Kettle, Billy In The Low Ground, I Saw The Light, Tom Dooley #2, Brown Mountain Light, Electricity, Daybreak In Dixie, Mary Dear, Sad And Lonesome Day, Cripple Creek, Don’t This Road Look Rough And Rocky, and Muleskinner Blues.

Like its 2001 predecessor, The Country Gentlemen On The Road (And More) (SFW 40133) album, this new CD consists of live recordings. However, while the notes indicate otherwise, these performances are from later shows than those on the earlier collection and do not actually feature the ‘classic’ Country Gentlemen. They were recorded in 1964 after Ed Ferris replaced Tom Gray on bass.

Tom Gray says in a light-hearted tone, “I should be grateful for the good press, but honestly it’s not deserved.”

The most recent Newsletter from Martha and Eddie Adcock makes reference to there being “some unfortunate issues with the content of the booklet.” However, Eddie adds, “just get this CD, give it a spin, and enjoy the fabulous music!”

A biased plea maybe, but not having heard these recordings, I cannot give a dispassionate comment.

The liner notes, including song notes, in the accompanying 25 page booklet were written by Jon Hartley Fox, and the mastering was by Pete Reiniger.

Editor’s note: If any of our readers have a copy of the original 1973 LP release, we would be curious to know what those liner notes say about the composition of the band on the live recording.