Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
20 Gospel Favorites
Genres: Country, Pop, Christian, Gospel
Listen to Samples
One of bluegrass music's most tasteful & soulful low-key bar
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 01/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Playing Time - 38:37 -- With over 50 years in business, Rural Rhythm Records has built a catalog that connects many dots from past to present. Since its 1955 creation, Rural Rhythm has released hundreds of classic performances by many legendary bluegrass and old-time musicians such as J.E. Mainer, Don Reno, Red Smiley, Mac Wiseman, Vassar Clements, Hylo Brown, Bill Harrell, Jim Eanes, and many others. This album is part of that archival catalog. The label owes its Arcadia, California start to Uncle Jim O'Neal whose vision was to release the music of many top bluegrass and old-time musicians in the 1950-70s, seeking success where Starday had failed by producing records of limited appeal by lesser known, albeit talented, musicians. Early ads for records released by Uncle Jim O'Neal stated that the LPs sold for only $3.50 apiece. The self-professed "Little Cotton Picker," O'Neal also took an approach of releasing 20 songs on each 33 1/3 RPM album. These would have been great bargains in the mid-1960s when major label monaural records (with only about a dozen songs) were selling for $3.98 and stereophonic records were $4.98.
Guitarist/vocalist Frank "Hylo" Brown was a star on Capitol Records in the 1950s, before joining Flatt & Scruggs' show. To stay financially secure, Brown had transitioned his music into both bluegrass and country. He did seven albums for Rural Rhythm (as well as a session for Vetco, and a gospel album on the Newland label). I would say that his "Hylo Brown and the Timberliners" (RR-168) and "Country Gospel Songs" (RR-187) were among his very best records, while his later releases for Rural Rhythm ("Sings the Blues" RR-200 and "America's Favorite Balladeer" RR-204) experienced some problems with either extreme brevity of the selections, or lack of arrangement. After Hylo parted company with Rural Rhythm, he became increasingly inactive until his death in 2003 stilled one of bluegrass music's most tasteful and soulful low-key baritone voices. Roy Ross and his Blue Ridge Mountain Boys' record (RR-207) was an unqualified success for its polished music, varied arrangements and close harmony reminiscent of Jim & Jesse. Although considered just an Ohio "local" band, they also backed Hylo Brown on three of his albums for Uncle Jim O'Neal.
Produced by Lee Sutton (also a visionary who helped Uncle Jim capture the music), "20 Gospel Favorites" was originally entitled "Country Gospel Songs" when it was put out in 1967. Accompanying Hylo are Jack Casey (lead guitar), Dan Milhon (Dobro), Ross Branhan (banjo), Dick Brickles (bass), and John Maultbay (fiddle). It's unclear who sings harmonies on songs like "Workin' on a Building." Liner notes are provided by Barry Willis, author of "America's Music: Bluegrass."
Songcarriers and musicologists would be particularly interested in this type of archival material. It's an immeasurably wealthy body of familiar and not-so-familiar tunes, many of which are still played today by bands on stage and bluegrass musicians in jam sessions. Don't expect to hear elaborate arrangements or the same level of clarion studio recording quality we hear today. Rather, just enjoy and relive a classic bluegrass sound of yesteryear. Most of the cuts span about 2 minutes apiece. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)