Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|The Osborne Brothers|
Own a piece of history
Mark J. Fowler | Okinawa, Japan | 11/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sticker price on this set may make you choke up a voice-box, but the truth is that this comprehensive set includes 8 albums worth of music, and it's all goooooood. I don't mean a little bit good, I mean REAL goooooood.
If you have to ask "who are the Osborne Brothers" this set is maybe not for you, but here's a bit of history. Sonny and Bobby Osborne grew up in Bluegrass country. When tenor singing, mandolin playing Bobby went off to the Korean war Sonny was hired as a teenager to play banjo with none other than the master tenor-singing mandolin player: Bill Monroe. When Bobby returned he and Sonny formed a partnership that has made them Bluegrass Royalty over the last 40 + years. The format of the band has changed little. There are a few devastatingly effective essential components of the OB sound: Bobby sings a wonderfully clear tenor with a Pavorotti-like range (who knows how many "high B's" he's sung since the late 60s with only their Zillion performances of their mega-hit "Rocky Top". Bobby also plays competent mandolin. Sonny sings the harmony part beneath Bobby and over these decades has played some of the most innovative (and always appropriate....) banjo ever heard. The vocals are always rounded out by a guitarist with a fine voice, and over the years that person has included legends like Mac Wiseman, Red Allen, Jimmy Martin then in later years sidemen of remarkable ability like Dale Sledd and Paul Brewster (currently singing that wonderful high harmony to Ricky Skaggs.)
Besides the required bass playing the Osborne's have experimented over the years with things like "plugged in" instruments and percussion. (Anathema to bluegrass purists.) Their recordings have been augmented with piano, steel guitar and fiddle.
All that being said: These recordings are Bluegrass History 101. Classics like Molly and Tenbrooks are mixed in with innovative tunes like "Fastest Grass Alive". Crowd favorites like "Ruby" are here too. You can read the cuts yourself, but it's worth noting that the albums represented are presented in chronologic order - it would be like putting 8 or 9 CDs on in a row.
Essential for the OB collector, but if there were no other place to acquire it - I'd have bought it just to get their wonderful recording of "Midnight Flyer"."