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Various Artists
Can't You Hear Me Callin' - 80 Years Of American Music
Columbia Records


This is a daunting task, and one which I really don't know how to begin. When I received this set - 4 discs- I sat for hours, listening to this great bluegrass music. Drinking in recordings I had never heard before, bands I'd never dreamed existed. I thought I had been fairly well schooled in bluegrass by my grandfather, but come to find out, we were only scratching the surface. Over half of these 100+ songs are either songs, or versions, that I had never before been exposed to. Amazing.

The first thing to look at is the sheer magnitude of putting together a collection like this one. It would be simple (and has been done many times) to assemble a collection of bluegrass and include the major players: Roy Acuff, Flatt & Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe… but this collection goes far beyond that. There are songs from modern groups like The Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss And Union Station, as well as songs from fringe bluegrass players like Patty Loveless and The Byrds, and a healthy helping of the folks that actually developed this music nearly a century ago: Grandpa Jones, The Osborne Brothers, The Webster Brothers, as well as The Monroes and the other players that really mainstreamed the music.

The real treasures here are in the little known (or previously unknown) acts like Roy Hall And His Blue Ridge Entertainers (who do a ripping version of "Orange Blossom Special"), Molly O'Day And The Cumberland Mountain Folks, and my personal favorite, Gid Tanner And His Skillet Lickers (who kick off the entire compilation with a heartfelt downhome of "Soldiers Joy"). The tracks presented from these little known acts oftentimes have more merit than well-known versions of the same songs. Perhaps it is just the unfamiliarity with the particular versions, but many songs teem with more soul than I've ever heard before in recorded bluegrass.

But, as I said, the "new" music isn't the only great thing here. There are standout and essential tracks from The Carter Family, Jimmy Martin And The Sunny Mountain Boys (including a simply amazing version of "You Don't Know My Mind"), and tons of great music from Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanleys, and more. Each song is remarkably remastered, and the sound quality of even the earliest recorded works is astounding. Great care was taken not only in choosing excellent songs for this collection, but also in assuring that those tracks each sounded as good as they could be made to sound.

This collection is even more amazing when you look at the way that it is organized. The songs are presented from the beginning of disc one to the end of disc four in chronological order. So, the listener gets a real sense of the development of the genre. The 60-page booklet that accompanies the music is truly a work of art in its own right. Filled with archival photographs, anecdotes, and interesting historical facts, the book is nearly worth the price of the set alone.

So, if you are a die hard bluegrass fan, then I would highly recommend you pick up this amazing collection. You will undoubtedly discover some amazing music you were previously unfamiliar with. If you're new to the world of roots music, I can think of no better place to begin than with such a comprehensive look at the American bluegrass scene. This is timeless music, in an extraordinary package, and remarkably low priced. This is a must for just about everyone's music collection.

-Embo Blake

Tack Listing:

Disk 1
1) Soldier's Joy (Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers [1929]) (Traditional) 2:56
2) Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues (Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers [1925]) (Charlie Poole) 2:50
3) White House Blues (Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers [1926]) (Traditional) 3:25
4) Bill Mason (Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers [1929]) (Traditional) 2:59
5) Cannon Ball Blues (The Carter Family [1935]) (A. P. Carter) 2:52
6) D Blues (The Blue Ridge Ramblers [1935]) (Unknown) 2:48
7) Keep on the Sunny Side (The Carter Family [1935]) (A. P. Carter) 2:49
8) What Would You Give in Exchange (for Your Soul) (The Monroe Brothers [1936]) (J. H. Carr, F. J. Berry) 3:11
9) I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes (The Carter Family [1935]) (A. P. Carter) 2:52
10) Great Speckle Bird (Roy Acuff and his Crazy Tennesseeans [1936]) (Rev. G. Smith) 2:53
11) Orange Blossom Special (Roy Hall and his Blue Ridge Entertainers [1938]) (E. Rouse) 2:21
12) Ida Red (Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys [1939]) (Traditional) 2:47
13) Pretty Polly (The Coon Creek Girls [1938]) (Traditional) 2:48
14) Lonesome Old River Blues (Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys [1940]) (Traditional, arr. Roy Acuff) 2:42
15) Mule Skinner Blues (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1940]) (J. Rodgers, C. Vaughn) 2:43
16) Wreck on the Highway (Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys [1942]) (D. Dixon) 2:45
17) The Drunkard's Grave (The Bailes Brothers [1945]) (W. Bailes, J. Bailes) 2:39
18) Rocky Road Blues (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1945]) (Bill Monroe) 2:34
19) Searching for a Soldier's Grave (The Bailes Brothers [1945]) (Roy Acuff) 2:38
20) Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1946]) (Bill Monroe) 3:00
21) Dust on the Bible (The Bailes Brothers [1945]) (W. Bailes, J. Bailes) 2:52
22) I Heard My Mother Weeping (Molly O'Day and the Cumberland Mountain Folks [1947]) (C. Story, R. L. Blanchard) 2:41
23) Will You Be Loving Another Man? (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1946]) (Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt) 2:52
24) Blue Grass Breakdown (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1947]) (Bill Monroe) 2:40
25) It's Mighty Dark to Travel (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1947]) (Bill Monroe) 2:52
26) Molly and Tenbrooks (The Race Horse Song) (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1947]) (Bill Monroe)2:56
27) Black Mountain Rag (Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys [1949]) (Traditional) 2:56

Disk 2
1) Can't You Hear Me Callin' (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1949]) (Bill Monroe) 3:16
2) Foggy Mountain Breakdown (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1949]) (Traditional, arr. by L. Davis & Molly O'Day) 2:39
3) Poor Ellen Smith (Molly O'Day and the Cumberland Mountain Folks [1949]) (Traditional) 2:38
4) The Driunkard's Hell (The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys [1949]) (Charles Stanley) 2:36
5) The Lonesome River (The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys [1950]) (Charles Stanley) 2:43
6) On the Banks of the River (Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper with their Clinch Mountain Clan [1949]) (D. Lewis) 2:45
7) The Fields Have Turned Brown (The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys [1949]) (Charles Stanley) 2:32
8) The White Dove (The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys [1949]) (Charles Stanley) 3:12
9) Sunny Side of the Mountain (Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper with their Clinch Mountain Clan [19511]) (H. McAulife, B. Gregory) 2:57
10) I'm a Man of Constant Sorrow (The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys [1950]) (Charles Stanley) 2:55
11) I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home (Mac Wiseman [1952]) (A. P. Carter, S. Carter, M. Carter) 2:50
12) Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys [1950]) (Bill Monroe) 2:44
13) Stoney, Are You Mad at Your Gal (Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper with their Clinch Mountain Clan [1951]) (Cousin Emmy) 2:54
14) When the Angels Rolled the Stone Away (Molly O'Day and Lynn Davis [1951]) (J. Moon) 2:50
15) Earl's Breakdown (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1951]) (Earl Scruggs) 2:59
16) Don't Get Above Your Raising (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1951]) (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs) 2:43
17) Are You Missing Me? (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1952]) (Ira Louvin, Charlie Louvin) 2:22
18) Why Did You Wander? (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1952]) (Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt) 2:44
19) Flint Hill Special (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1952]) (Lester Flatt) 2:45
20) I'll Go Stepping Too (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1953]) (T. James, J. Organ) 2:53
21) Love and Wealth (Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers [1953]) (Ira Louvin, Charlie Louvin) 2:45
22) 20/20 Vision (Jimmy Martin and the Osborne Brothers [1954]) (M. Estes, J. Allison) 2:41
23) My Lord Keeps a Record (Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers [1953]) (Carl Story, W. York) 2:16
24) I Love the Hymns They Sang at Mother's Grave (Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers [1954]) (Carl Story) 2:56
25) Reunion in Heaven (Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers [1955]) (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs) 2:54
26) Don't You Hear Jerusalem Mourn (Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers [1955]) (J. Martin) 2:48
27) Hitch Hiker's Blues (Jack Youngblood [1954]) (Jack Youngblood) 2:08

Disk 3
1) The Martha White Theme (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1962]) (Unknown) 1:36
2) Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1957]) (G. Stacey, W. Walker, G. Sherry, L. Certain) 2:13
3) Seven Year Blues (The Webster Brothers [1954]) (Ira louvin, Charles Louvin, E. Hill) 2:46
4) Get Down on Your Knees and Pray (Bill & Mary Reid and the Melody Mountaineers [1955]) (Bill Reid, Mary Reid) 2:39
5) Somebody Touched Me (Carl Butler and the Webster Brothers [1955]) (J. Reed) 2:12
6) Feudin' Banjos (Arthur Smith with Don Reno [1955]) (Arthur Smith) 1:56
7) Ruby, Are You Mad (The Osborne Brothers and Red Allen [1956]) (Cousin Emmy) 2:57
8) Knoxville Girl (The Louvin Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys [1956]) (Traditional, arr. by Charles Louvin, Ira Louvin) 3:47
9) Once More (The Osborne Brothers and Red Allen [1957]) (D. Owens) 2:40
10) Twin Banjo Special (Joe Maphis (King of the Strings) [1956]) (Joe Maphis) 2:11
11) Gosh, I Miss You All the Time (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1960]) (J. Long) 2:15
12) You Don't Know My Mind (Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys [1960]) (J. Skinner) 2:53
13) Rank Stranger (The Stanley Brothers [1960]) (A. E. Brumley) 3:08
14) My Empty Arms (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1961]) (R. Gosdin) 2:20
15) Foggy Mountain Top (Lester Flatta and Earl Scruggs, featuring Mother Maybelle Carter and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1961]) (A. P. Carter) 2:25
16) Beautiful Moon of Kentucky (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1961]) (Jim McReynolds, Jesse McReynolds) 2:10
17) Stoney Creek (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1962]) (Jim McReynolds, Jesse McReynolds) 1:54
18) She Left Me Standing on the Mountain (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1962]) (A. Delmore) 2:11
19) Sunny Side of the Mountain (Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys [1964]) (H. McAulife, B. Gregory) 2:32
20) Just Joshing (Arthur Smith [1963]) (J. Graves, J. Tullock) 2:02
21) (It's a Long, Long Way) To the Top of the World (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1964]) (Ira Louvin, Charlie Louvin) 2:33
22) Cotton Mill Man (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1964]) (J. Langston) 2:45
23) Since Wedding Bells Have Rung (Don Reno [1966]) (Don Reno) 2:32
24) Rosalie (Grandpa Jones [1963]) (J. Lair) 2:03
25) No More Goodbyes (Sara & Maybelle Carter [1964]) (A. P. Carter) 3:00
26) The Ballad of Jed Clampett (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys [1962]) (P. Henning) 2:03
27) Rabbit in the Log (Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys [1964]) (P. Kirby) 2:42
28) Rocky Top (The Osborne Brothers [1967]) (B. Bryant, F. Bryant) 2:34
29) Mountain Dew (Grandpa Jones [1969]) (B. J. Lunsford, S. Wiseman) 1:57
30) Dueling Banjos (Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell [1971]) (A. Smith) 2:18

Disk 4
1) Turn Your Radio On (Grandpa Jones [1965]) (A. Brumley) 2:57
2) Black Mountain Rag (Soldier's Joy) (The Byrds [1970]) (B. Berline, arr. by Clarence White, R. McGuinn) 1:11
3) Pretty Boy Floyd (The Byrds [1968]) (Woody Guthrie) 2:34
4) Bristol Steam Convention Blues (The Byrds [1971]) (Gram Parsons, Clarence White) 2:38
5) Farther Along (The Byrds [1971]) (Traditional, arr. by Clarence White) 2:57
6) Contentment (Don Reno, Bill Harrell & the Tennessee Cutups [1975]) (Don Reno) 2:44
7) Can't You Hear Me Callin' (Herb Pedersen [1976]) (Bill Monroe) 2:58
8) Cora Is Gone (Herb Pedersen [1976]) (D. McLeod) 3:49
9) Choking the Strings (Don Reno, Bill Harrell & the Tennessee Cutups [1975]) (Don Reno) 2:10
10) Uncle Pen (Ricky Skaggs [1983]) (Bill Monroe) 2:25
11) Till the End of the World Rolls Round (Earl Scruggs [1982]) (N. Thomas) 2:59
12) A Vision of Mother (Ricky Skaggs [1979]) (C. Stanley, R. Stanley) 3:21
13) Big Country (Edgar Meyer with Bela Fleck and Mike Marshall [1997]) (Bela Fleck) 4:00
14) If I Could Be There (The O'Kanes [1987]) (Jamie O'Hara, Kieran Kane) 3:19
15) So Long, So Wrong (Alison Krauss + Union Station [1996]) (P. Breyer, W. Dahl) 3:22
16) BP (Joshua Bell and Edgar Meyer with Sam Bush and Mike Marshall [1998]) (Edagr Meyer) 3:25
17) The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn (Alison Krauss + Union Station [2001]) (Traditional, arr. by P Brayer, Alison Krauss + Union Station) 4:39
18) Little Maggie (Bluegrass Reunion [1991]) (Traditional, arr. by R. Allen, Herb Pedersen, Dave Grisma) 3:00
19) Carrie Brown (Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band [1998]) (Steve Earle, Reckless Kelly) 4:18
20) Tortured, Tangled Hearts (The Dixie Chicks [2001]) (Natalie Mains, Martie Maguire, Marty Stuart) 3:39
21) Walls of Time (Ricky Skaggs [1998]) (Bill Monroe) 4:19
22) Is the Grass Any Bluer (Rhonda Vincent [2001]) (C. Batten, B. Moore, T. Seals) 2:44
23) Daniel Prayed (Patty Loveless [2001]) (Ralph Stanley) 2:45
24) Twelve Gates to the City (Ralph Stanley [2002]) (Traditional, arr. by Ralph Stanley) 1:55
25) Soldier's Joy (Mark O'Connor [1997]) (Traditional, arr. by Mark O'Connor) 4:05


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