Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Just check out the credentials of the guys at this session i
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 01/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Playing Time - 32:49 -- Recorded on two days in July, 1991 in Galax, Va., "Heart of the South" caught some bluegrass pioneers at an opportune time in a quality studio environment. Jim Eanes had a hand in writing four of the songs (Old Man Joe, Shop Worn Heart, Wide Wide Road, Home in the Southland), and Bobby Atkins penned a couple (Crimes of the Heart, DJ's Theme). Mike Swinson wrote two of the songs on this CD (Hide and Seek, Mr. Bell).
If you're not familiar with these bluegrass musicians, let me fill you in a bit. Vocalist Jim Eanes is from Martinsville, Virginia. He sings lead on six songs on "Heart of the South." Jim's given name is Homer, but he chose "Smilin' Jim Eanes" as his stage name in 1939. Eanes began his career in 1948 with Flatt & Scruggs, then Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Starting his solo career in 1949, he had hit record "Baby Blue Eyes" (Capitol Records); Early fifties, recorded "Missing in Action" (Blue Ridge Records) which reportedly sold more than 400,000 copies; 1952, had hits "I Cried Again" and "Just Suppose" (Decca). From 1955-1962, Eanes was leader/lead singer for The Shenandoah Valley Boys (which included banjo whiz Allen Shelton). In the late 60s, he recorded several albums backed by The Country Gentlemen. His songwriting credits include "Baby Blue Eyes", "Next Sunday Darling is My Birthday," and "I Wouldn't Change You If I Could." His songs have been recorded by Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Reno and Smiley, George Jones and Ricky Skaggs. He was a disc-jockey on several country radio stations. In 1988, Eanes was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame. He died in 1995, just four years after making this record.
Bobby Atkins is from Summerfield, North Carolina. He plays banjo and leads his band, "The Countrymen." In 1953, he worked with Jim Eanes. On three separate occasions (in 1953, 1958, 1961), he worked with Bill Monroe. In 1956, he worked with Charlie Monroe. An 18-year-old Tony Rice was in Atkins' band. In 1972, Bobby appeared in the movie "Preacher Man." Bobby's related to country legend Chet Atkins. (his grandfather and Chet's grandfather are brothers). On this album, the band also includes his sons Mark (mandolin, tenor vocals) and Matt (rhythm guitar). Bobby sings lead on six songs on "Heart of the South." Pete Lortz plays bass n this album.
This album features some other fine talent. Frank Poindexter, from Monroe, North Carolina, plays Dobro(tm) and is uncle to the Rice Brothers (Tony, Larry, Wyatt and Ron.) He's toured and recorded with the Larry Rice Band. He's also toured and recorded with Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers Band. He invented the "Dex Belt"- a belt for musicians with a leather buckle to prevent scratching of instruments.
From Kissimmee, Florida, Vassar Clements began playing the fiddle when he was five years old. In 1949, he began playing professionally with Bill Monroe at age 14 and stayed until 1956. From 1957-1961, he worked with Jim and Jesse. From 1962-68, he retired from music. But he came back in 1968 when offered job with Faron Young's band. He also worked with Jimmy Martin, John Hartford and the Earl Scruggs Revue before beginning his solo career in 1973. In 1971, Vassar performed on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" album, which won a Grammy award. In 1973, he was a member of "Old and In the Way" with Jerry Garcia, David Grisman & Peter Rowan. As a studio musician, he has played on more than 2000 records, including albums by The Grateful Dead, Paul McCartney and the Boston Pops Orchestra. In 2002, Vassar recorded and played dates with "Old and In the Gray" a reunion with Grisman and Rowan. He died in 2005.
In 1991, this was one of the first recording sessions that guitarist Clay Jones ever participated in. From North Carolina, he joined Lou Reid, Terry Baucom and Carolina as guitarist in 1995. In 1996, Clay played guitar on "Bluegrass '96" CD which won IBMA award for "Instrumental Album of the Year." In 1997, Clay worked with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. In 2000, he worked with the Schankman Twins (now Malibu Storm). In 2003, Clay joined Mountain Heart. In 2005, he released a solo project "Mountain Tradition" on the Rural Rhythm label.
This was a pretty special session based on the talent alone. There are some driving instrumentals like "Pike County Breakdown" and "DJ's Theme," and there are some fine Jim Eanes and Bobby Atkins songs that feature their singing. Nice to hear them both sharing lead vocals on "Shop Worn Heart" and "Poison Love." (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)