Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Reno & Smiley|
Don Reno & Red Smiley - 16 Greatest Gospel Hits
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Southern gospel bluegrass at its very best
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 10/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reno & Smiley were true pioneers that defined bluegrass in the 1950s, and the most impressive songs they recorded were their gospel songs, sixteen of which are assembled here on this album. You won't hear Don Reno plucking the strings as furiously as you might in the group's more standard bluegrass fare, but you'll still have plenty of reason to understand you are listening to a master banjo player at work. Red Smiley and company provide plenty of traditional guitar and fiddle work to make these songs true representatives of Southern bluegrass gospel. Smiley takes the lead on most songs, with Reno providing his unsurpassed high tenor vocal accompaniment to many a chorus. If you don't like bluegrass, you might think that Smiley often sounds like a cat howling at midnight, but fans of the genre cannot but appreciate his distinctive singing voice. The best thing about these sixteen songs, in my opinion, is the fact that they are not well-known, although a few may well be somewhat familiar to the listener. This isn't like sitting down and hearing Reno & Smiley perform the great songs you've grown up listening to in church and on the radio; this is a fresh and exciting album, or at least it is to these ears. Many of these tracks are upbeat, fast-paced, toe-tapping classics: e.g., He Will Set Your Fields On Fire, There's a Highway to Heaven, Tree of Life, New Jerusalem, Echoes From the Burning Bush. Several are more middle-of-the-road in pace and execution, with the best examples being the not unfamiliar I'm Using My Bible For a Roadmap and the follow-up Since I've Used My Bible For a Roadmap. Then there are a few slow tearjerker songs, and these are by far the most powerful and impressive songs on the album. My Mother's Bible and How I Miss My Darling Mother are profoundly sentimental offerings, but even they pale in comparison to the emotional Someone Will Love Me in Heaven, which opens with a child's parents being laid to rest and imparts the greatest of blessings through its words and music. If you haven't heard Reno & Smiley, you haven't heard bluegrass in its purest form, and you really have not heard Southern gospel bluegrass at its very best. For my money, Reno & Smiley are the best bluegrass performers to ever live and bless us with their recordings, and it is a great shame that their names are not as familiar as those of the great Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, and Earl Scruggs."
Wow... this is good!
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 02/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An outstanding bluegrass gospel album, which dips lightly into southern gospel terrain as well. Their gospel recordings on King/Gusto have always had a way of staying in print, or at least popping up with great regularity over the years. Which is just fine, since this is some of the best bluegrass gospel you're ever likely to hear. A very smooth, professional presentation, but also still soulful and heartfelt... These guys really knew their stuff. But, hey, don't just take my word for it: check it out for yourself! Even if you don't necessarily go for all the Jesus stuff, this is some mighty good mountain music!"