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Del and the Boys

25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 10, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Del and the Boys finds the man himself still firmly in charge, and his inhuman tenor all sharp yips and long, high howls, as yet unaffected by advancing age. Its lineup constant since 1993, Del's band cuts as smart as the crease in his best suit pants, and here the quintet's sound is crisply captured by his son Ronnie, who for the first time handles production duties by himself. Ronnie also adds mandolin and vocal color; his brother Rob the nimble banjo rolls. Mike Bub's bass patrols the beat, Jason Carter's fiddle shivers and cries, and both men contribute baritone harmonies. The album's dozen songs include a few McCoury originals, a couple of blues and a gospel tune, plus one rock cover: Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" here gets the treatment that was previously applied to the likes of Tom Petty and John Sebastian. All of the foregoing is entirely unsurprising to anyone familiar with the McCoury Band, who prove yet again their utter mastery of traditional bluegrass despite their unwillingness to take much creative risk. --Anders Smith-Lindall

1. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
2. Learnin' The Blues
3. Count Me Out
4. All Aboard
5. The Bluegrass Country
6. Recovering Pharisee
7. Goldbrickin'
8. Gone But Not Forgotten
9. The King's Shilling
10. Unequal Love
11. A Good Man Like Me
12. Travelin' Teardrop Blues

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ceili Music
  • ASIN: B00005LZSE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,450 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Bluegrass Boy on November 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
If none of the other reviews for this album have sold you yet, then you just don't like bluegrass music. If you could only buy one bluegrass album this should be your choice. As my review title indicates, this album is a "greatest hits" album all on its own. I bought this album and then saw Del and the Boys live in Lexington, VA. I just cannot say enough about the songs; they are all outstanding. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning is so good I listened to it back-to-back about 5 or 6 times before I listened to the next song. Its story reminds the listener of Bonnie and Clyde and the song combines the bitter sweet lyrics of Richard Thompson with Del's wonderfully distinctive voice. Listen to the sound of each individual instrument all the way through. Every member - Ronnie and Rob McCoury, Jason Carter, Mike Bub - play as if its the last, best song they will ever play. Each deserves player of the year for their respective instrument. And that's just the first song on the album! Goldbrickin', Gone But Not Forgotten . . . I can't say enough. This is by far the very best bluegrass album I have ever heard.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Flint Weiss on September 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was exposed to Del and crew first on the Ricky Scaggs PBS bluegrass special and then on Austin City Limit with Patty Lovelace. Del's high-tenor struck me the first time I heard it and has grown on me each time thereafter. I don't seem to hear much high-tenor in today's bluegrass.
Del and his band are tight and right on the money the whole way through both musically and vocally. Members of the band have written about half the songs on the disc which is refreshing (although more would be better).
The first cut is Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning: ("Red hair and black leather are my favorite color scheme"). The treatment is so good that I probably won't like the original.
"All Aboard" is a "traveling is about the trip, not the destination" allegory full of minor chords and the classic mystical stranger.
"Gone but not forgotten" is nostalgic pop (bluegrass) that harkens back to good days of old that include Cowboys, Hobos, Heroes ("Heroes... Good Guys. White Hats. Fist Fights. Take that! Heroes...") and Daddys ("Strong back. Rough hands. Soft heart. Good man.")
On the whole it's a new album of "classic" bluegrass, in tune, in key, and on fire. This disc has long term repeatability and you'll be singing the songs to yourself in no time at all.
This is a must have purchase. Buy one for yourself and a couple for your friends. Whether they already are bluegrass fans or not, they'll love this disc.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album is definitely the best bluegrass album of the year, and quite possibly the best album of any genre. The DMB's handling of Richard Thompson's "52 Vincent..." has in my opinion created one of the all time best American story songs, and is a must hear. Plus, hearing Del's voice howl on that Sinatra song, "Learning the Blues", is guaranteed to make you cry, or least want to. The guys take up a rockin' pace with greats such as "All Aboard", "Bluegrass Country", "Gone But Not Forgotten", and my favorite, "Travelin Teardrop Blues", but don't miss the excellent Del original, "A Good Man". This is a great song and I think I read, that it hasn't been available on anything since an old Del album circa the early to late seventys? Of course, those who know of Del's son Ronnie, would probably buy the album just for the instrumental he wrote called "Goldbricken". However, that's not all this CD has to offer, "Count Me Out" really showcases the band's ability to harmonize, "King's Schilling" again exemplifies the range and intracacies of Del's voice and is a great story song too, and "Recovering Pharisee" is a "true life" gospel song, not the kind you'll get in church, and should not be missed. Then there is the other Del originial, "Unequal Love", which tells of a love for another that is not returned, it's a feeling we've all had, and a song to be appreciated.
This album is great, and with all due respect, I disagree with the previous review.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Aaron K. Harris on January 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The Del McCoury Band is the most awarded group in the history of bluegrass and one listen to "Del and the Boys" is enough to tell you why. Del served as Bill Monroe's duet partner and guitarist for a short time in the early sixties, and since then he has developed into one of the finest singers and songwriters of the genre. His always-smiling face belies his keening voice and the bluesy material he writes and covers.

The "boys" are Del's sons Ronnie (mandolin and producer) and Rob (banjo), fiddler Jason Carter, and bassist Mike Bub.

"Del and the Boys" contains sincere gospel ("Recovering Pharisee"), longing for home ("The Bluegrass Country"), a soaring instrumental number ("Goldbrickin'") and laments for love gone wrong ("A Good Man", "Count Me Out") - all the elements of a good bluegrass album. Ricky Skaggs (vocals) and Stuart Duncan (fiddle) also make cameo appearances.

But what makes this a great bluegrass album are tracks like "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" - Richard Thompson's ballad of motorcycles and redheaded women recast here as an epic redemption song - and "Learnin' the Blues" - a performance whose vocal and instrumental dynamics no other acoustic band can hope to exceed. "Del and the Boys" is sure to lengthen their string of awards. No wonder Del is always smiling.
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