Recorded in December 1974 at a small but popular club in Washington DC, the eclectic collection was one of the earliest live bluegrass albums to be issued.
Starting off with Jimmie Skinner’s Doing My Time, Phil Rosenthal’s Muddy Waters, a couple from the pen of band member John Starling – C and O Canal and He Rode All the Way to Texas; Bob Dylan’s Baby Blue; an arrangement of a pop song from Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent – Small Exception of Me; a couple of Bill Monroe instrumentals and his (My Little) Georgia Rose; White Line from Canadian folk-music singer Willie P. Bennett; Carter Stanley’s The Fields Have Turned Brown; Jimmy Martin’s Hit Parade of Love; an early 20th century love song Old Gray Bonnet; a modest 1969 country music chart success for Dallas Frazier – California Cottonfields; Tim Hardin’s If I Were a Carpenter and Steve Goodman’s City Of New Orleans.
The good news is, for those who love banjo artistry, Grandfather’s Clock, which was omitted from the first CD release, has been re-instated for the 2019 version.
It features the classic original band in its prime; John Starling – guitar, vocals; John Duffey – mandolin, vocals; Ben Eldridge – banjo, guitar, vocals; Mike Auldridge – Dobro, guitar, vocals; and Tom Gray – bass, vocals.
Accompanied by a 12-page booklet with notes by bluegrass music DJ and close friend of the group, Katy Daley, and previously unpublished photos of the band, it all adds up to a welcome opportunity to enjoy what is one of the key recordings in the history of contemporary bluegrass music.
At the same time Rebel Records has released a re-mastered and re-packaged version of another Seldom Scene record, The New Seldom Scene Album.
The “New” Seldom Scene album was the group’s sixth release and the last with the original band members.
Like its predecessors, the album was another smooth collection of interesting material, well arranged, with John Duffey and John Starling alternating on the lead vocals (Linda Ronstadt guests on harmony vocal on California Earthquake, which, along with Song For Life was written by Rodney Crowell).
Duffey is magnificent on I Haven’t Got the Right to Love You from Mac Wiseman’s Dot catalogue, and Rebels ‘Ye Rest, penned by singer and guitarist Pauline Beauchamp of the Ontario-based bluegrass band, The Country Rebels, and the group shines on all the cuts, which include lovely treatments of Herb Pederson’s Easy Ride From Good Times to the Blues, Paradise Valley and Pictures From Life’s Other Side, primarily associated with country music singer Hank Williams, who recorded it using the name Luke the Drifter.
A couple of other cuts worthy of mention are the John Starling penned Answer Your Call, and the Carter and Ralph Stanley classic, If That’s the Way You Feel.
Gary B Reid wrote the notes for the booklet that accompanies the CD.
Here’s a reminder of the all the tracks on the two new releases –
Live at The Cellar Door (Rebel CD 1103 (2019))
Doing My Time, California Cottonfields, Band Introductions, Panhandle Country, Muddy Waters, Rawhide, Baby Blue, City Of New Orleans, Grandfather’s Clock, The Fields Have Turned Brown, Hit Parade of Love, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Pickaway, Dark Hollow, Small Exception of Me, If I Were a Carpenter, Old Gray Bonnet, C And O Canal, Georgia Rose, Colorado Turnaround, He Rode All the Way to Texas, White Line and Rider.
The New Seldom Scene Album (Rebel CD 1561 (2019))
Big Rig, If That’s the Way You Feel, Easy Ride From Good Times To The Blues, Paradise Valley, California Earthquake, Railroad Man, Answer Your Call, I Know I Haven’t Got the Right to Love You, Song For Life, Rebels Ye Rest and Pictures From Life’s Other Side.
Both are available on CD directly from Rebel, and digitally wherever you stream or download music online.