Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
Stole and Sold
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 01/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure why it took me so long to getting around to buying this disc. Southern Banjo Sounds is great. True Vine is great. This one is 10+ years older than both of them but I didn't get it until late in 2004. Yes it's a cliche but better late than never.
I think the original release date on the site is incorrect. There is no mention in the notes of this being a re-release. In fact Mike mentions the New Lost City Ramblers as clearly being in his past, and that this release is around the 30th anniversary of his quitting a real job and becoming a full-time musician. So, be thinking a '91 release, rather than a '62. Beyond that, it just doesn't sound like the early '60s.
Of the 3 solo Seeger albums I just mentioned, this is simultaneously the most uneven one and one of the best ones. Maybe not so much uneven, it's just that a few tunes on the first half of the disc aren't my preferred style. I tent to like the darker, more emotional, hard hitting old-timey music more than alot of the more lighthearted goofy stuff... thusly Tennessee Dog, Groundhog, etc... are lightly entertaining, but they aren't my bread and butter for the soul.
Although when I look at this album in terms of the big picture, I easily forgive the few tunes for which I don't much care. Why do I do that, you ask? Roustabout, Tucker's Barn, Wind and Rain, Fare You Well Green Fields, We're Stole and Sold from Africa, Rockbridge Holler, and Quill Ditty are the main reasons.
If you like autoharp, you need this disc. There are only two autoharp tracks here (Tucker's Barn and Wind and Rain), but they are both fantastic. Tucker's Barn is absolutely beautiful and quickly became one of my favorite autoharp tracks I've heard. Aside from Roustabout a few tracks earlier, to a certain extent Tucker's Barn is where this album truly begins for me. From here on out it is one of Mike's best albums so far. Then the lovely Wind and Rain with Mike singing and accompanying himself on autoharp... again, a sublime moment for the autoharp lover.
As with the True Vine album, we get a bunch of different styles and instruments here... gourd banjo, guitar, shakers, quills, mandola, harmonica, fiddle, etc...
If you're seeing the tracklist and wondering if We're Stole and Sold from Africa is as heavy and powerful as the title would suggest, don't worry. It is. Mike sings it and doubles the melody with fiddle and harmonica to semi-haunting, ominous effect. I love his music, but to this day I still don't really think of him as a great old-timey singer. He nails some things, and kinda sounds dopey on some things, but that is his style and that is as much a part of the old-timey tradition as anything... the individual styles. This was never a stagnant music where everyone sounds alike, and Mike is just carrying on with that. You use what gifts you were given, and Mike does that to the utmost. Do I think there are/were some other musicians whose voice could indeed lend even more devastating emotional power to the lyrics of We're Stole and Sold? Absolutely, but Mike's arrangement and playing, melding into and working with his voice do the trick just fine. This is one of the great songs and it's given a great performance here.
If you already like Mike then you know you're curious about this disc. I have no doubt that if you buy it, you'll feel that your curiosity is kindly rewarded.