The reigning king of bluegrass music's FIRST recordings as a band leader. Del McCoury, who initially rose to fame as the singer in Bill Monroe's band, recorded his high lonesome sound for Arhoolie Records with the legendary banjoist Bill Emerson and fiddler Billy Baker. This is bluegrass music at its finest!
“This fella called me at home and said he’d booked Monroe at festivals before,” he recalls. “His name was Chris Strachwitz. He had a small record label [Arhoolie] in Berkeley, California, and wanted to record me. When he told me he was from Berkeley, I thought we were looking at a long-term kind of thing. Turns out he said he wanted to do the session ‘tomorrow!’ He was two miles from my house.” He laughs. “We set up in my house and I had my brother sing with me. We hired Bill Emerson to play with us. We made that record in just a few days. It came out on his label.”
What followed began McCoury’s “solo” career, as he formed Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals.
(Terry Roland - No Depression)
Del McCoury ‚ vocals & guitar, Billy Baker ‚ fiddle & vocals, Bill Emerson ‚ banjo & vocals, Wayne Yates ‚ mandolin & vocals, Tommy Neal ‚ bass (December 9th), Dewey Renfro ‚ bass (December 10th). Recorded on December 9 & 10, 1967.
1. Hey Hey, Bartender
2. Willie Roy
3. Prisoner's Song
4. I'm Coming Back But I Don't Know When
5. I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
6. Fire On The Mountain
7. You're A Flower In The Wildwood
8. Used To Be
10. Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On
11. Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong
12. Roll In My Sweet Baby'sarms
13. Blue Yodel
14. A Beautiful Life
“Del McCoury is finally getting the recognition he deserves, due in large part to several outstanding recent albums. However, in 1967, when this session was recorded, McCoury's high tenor was already among the most satisfying sounds in bluegrass. His bluesy delivery is passionate, bright and technically accurate, yet touched with a haunting melancholy. The result is a voice that is both exhilarating and introspective, embodying the best of the tradition while remaining unique and easily recognizable. This CD includes two previously unreleased tracks, and the sound has been remixed to produce a more natural balance, further enhancing an already essential reissue.”
(David Duckman — Chicago Tribune)