Rebel Records is continuing their laudable efforts to get classic LPs released on CD, and/or for digital download. Many serious bluegrass fans had feared that much of the recorded legacy of bluegrass music might become unavailable when digital media took the lead some years ago, but thankfully, the opposite has been the case.
Due on April 3 from Rebel is one great re-issue, and two compilations that will be welcome additions to many bluegrass CD libraries.
Bluegrass Holiday from JD Crowe was first released on LP by Lemco in 1969, was re-released on King Bluegrass in 1973, and yet again on rebel in 1981. The band featured Red Allen on guitar and lead vocals, Doyle lawson on mandolin and tenor vocal, Bobby Slone on bass and fiddl and Crowe on banjo and baritone vocals.
Recorded in just two days in December 1968, this record introduced Crowe and his Kentucky Mountain Boys to a bluegrass audience outside of Lexington, KY where they had a successful regular club show at a Holiday Inn – hence the album’s name.
Material on this debut release was taken from their Holiday Inn set list, and included a number of bluegrass standards (My Little Girl In Tennessee, Before I Met You, Orange Blossom Special, Train 45) plus some of their arrangements of songs like Philadelphia Lawyer and Will You Be satisfied That Way.
The Rebel CD re-issue also contains four bonus tracks, previously released as 45 RPM singles from King, and not found on the original LPs, including the original Crowe recording of Black Jack.
Fans of Ralph Stanley’s Gospel music have much to rejoice with the release of Mountain Preacher’s Child. This anthology includes 14 tracks from his 1980s Rebel LPs, all available for the first time on CD. They are taken from previous Stanley records I’ll Wear A White Robe, Snow Covered Mound and I Can tell You The Time.
This is the plaintive, almost primitive vocal sound that has drawn so many fans to Dr. Ralph in recent years, here featuring one of his stronger singing groups. Charlie Sizemore sings the lead on most of these tracks, joined by Jack Cooke on baritone and Stanley on top.
There is also one track, Looking For The Stone, which features Keith Whitley, taken from Stanley’s 1975 release, Let Me Rest On A Peaceful Mountain.
Different Road is a budget “best of compilation” from three Rebel LPs by The Seldom Scene. All 3 (Act Two, Old Train and The New Seldom Scene Album) are available as individual CD releases, so this repackaged release could serve as an introduction to the band’s earlier work for newer listeners, or a chance for more casual Scene fans to get some of their more requested numbers on a single CD.
Wait A Minute, Old Train, Last Train From Poor Valley, Pan American and Pictures From Life’s Other Side are here, along with nine other songs selected by Rebel’s Dave Freeman. These are peformed by the band’s original lineup of John Starling, John Duffey, Ben Eldridge, Mike Auldridge and Tom Gray.
Rebel also has two classic LPs just out for download-only release. Del McCoury’s Take Me To The Mountains (originally on Leather Records) and Charlie Moore’s The Original Rebel Soldier are now for sale digitally.
Kudos to Rebel for continuing to make these gems available for the iPod generation.