Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
John Deere Tractor
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Listen to Samples
On a great high mountain
Jerome Clark | Canby, Minnesota | 11/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To some critics and fans (I am one), Larry Sparks's John Deere Tractor, originally issued in 1980 and available now in CD for the first time, is among the greatest bluegrass albums ever recorded. Hearing it again for the first time in a long while, I am struck anew by its grace and beauty. Sparks has done many worthy recordings since, but none to match this one.The music is superb, but never flashy, the emphasis always on Sparks's voice -- sort of like Carter Stanley's but with a pronounced blues edge -- and on the perfectly selected songs and instrumentals. The title track, a Lawrence Hammond composition telling yet again the eternal tale of the homesick country boy trapped in the big city, takes on an almost epic quality in Sparks's deceptively laconic reading. Through restraint and understatement he manages to speak to the authentic pain behind a real experience -- the real world is full of homesick country boys -- that, in less capable hands, would sound sappy and cliched. Beyond this opening track, Sparks explores sorrow and hope moving comfortably through gospel, country, and folk, always within an assured, distinctive bluegrass sensibility. "Great High Mountain" sounds like an ancient Appalachian hymn but was actually written by a very young Keith Whitley. "Making Believe," the country heart song memorably covered by Buck Owens and, later, Emmylou Harris, here gets a near-definitive reading. "Carter's Blues," a haunting Anglo-American folk song from the Carter Family repertoire, is reimagined as a spare, contemplative instrumental, with Sparks displaying his extraordinary guitar-picking skills without ever showing off. The air is sweet and pure on this great high mountain."