Two reissue sets due from Rebel

Rebel Records has announced the release in early May of two new collections of music from their archives.

Dave Evans compilationThe first of these is The Best Of The Vetco Years from Dave Evans & River Bend (REB-7519) drawn from the LP’s-worth of material Evans recorded for the Cincinnati-based Vetco label. The first, Dave Evans and Riverbend (Vetco LP 3033)- sometimes referred to by the title of the first track on that LP and this CD, Highway 52 – was released in 1979 while the second, Call Me Long Gone (Vetco LP 3036), came during the following year.

Among the songs that Evans recorded for Vetco are Short Life Of Troubles, Barbara Allen, 90 Years – Tis Almost For Life, Dark As A Night, Is It Too Late Now?, Sweeter Than The Flowers, Whitehouse Blues, Legend Of The Johnson Boys and Little Joe, 21 songs in all. The new Dave Evans CD contains 15 of those songs, all 11 tracks from his first LP and four tracks from the second.

Rebel recently acquired the master tapes for the two albums in question from Crosscut Records, who had issued separate CD versions of both titles at one time, but only one of them (Call Me Long Gone) is still currently available. With this acquisition, Rebel Records now controls the masters to all of Dave’s recordings. The CD has been digitally re-mastered and features liner notes from bluegrass biographer and long-time friend of Dave’s, Frank Godbey and the latter’s wife, Marty.

Apropos of nothing really related to this CD, Frank Godbey shares this brief anecdote …..

“I played a couple of shows with Dave in the early 1980s… an interesting thing for a (then-) slender chap to do– ie. stand between Dave and Tommy Cordell… about like a Mini Cooper running between two 18-wheel semi-tractor-trailers on the Autobahn! Well, I exaggerate for emphasis, but they both outweighed me by 75 or 80 pounds or more. They called each other ‘Big ‘un.’ “

Larry Sparks compilationThe second CD is Larry Sparks’ The Best Of Larry Sparks: Bound To Ride (REB-7522).

The Sparks compilation is produced by David Freeman, while the notes were written by Jon Hartley Fox. Mark Freeman, production co-ordinator at Rebel Records, says this of the new Sparks reissue:

“It is basically that; a best of. Just about all of Larry’s most popular songs are represented (John Deere Tractor, Tennessee 1949 and You Could Have Called, among others). The selections are drawn from a pair of albums he recorded for the King Bluegrass label in the mid-1970s as well as five different Rebel recordings that stretch over three decades. In addition, there are three songs available on CD for the first time: Blue Ridge Cabin Home (from the 1975 King Bluegrass release Sparklin’ Bluegrass), Bound to Ride (off the 1976 King Bluegrass LP You Could Have Called) and Imitation of the Blues (from the 1983 Blue Sparks album).”

With these songs renowned stylist Larry Sparks has carved a niche for himself, creating bluegrass standards in abundance. These 14 recordings epitomise Sparks’s no-frills style, his soulful singing and bluesy approach to his music. In the vernacular, “There is only one Larry Sparks.”

These two sets are scheduled for release on May 6.

Share this:

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.