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Feed Your Babies Onions: Fat City Favorites

5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 27, 2015
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 27, 2015)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000003NP
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,568 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Submitted for your approval: it's the '70s, and you're an awkward teenager who has just been "initiated" into the little-known parallel universe known as the Old-Time Country Music Revival. In this dimension, the timeframe is permanently locked on the 1920s and '30s-- yet the Revival's festivals, called "FIDDLERS' CONVENTIONS," look like mini-Woodstocks and most of it's participants like Dead Heads... except they're clutching vintage fiddles, guitars, mandolins, upright basses, 5-string banjos and weird "banjoid" instruments, like banjo-ukeleles and banjo-mandolins. All over the given festival's campsite are jam sessions that go on for hours where old friends and new merrily swap obscure tunes learned from scratchy 78 rpm records and field recordings.
Then, you mosey on down to the main stage. Check it out-- there are four guys and one gal up there who look like you and your friends, except for one difference; they can play the grits out of this stuff on high-octane and they're having a blast doing it.
You've now entered the HIGHWOODS STRING BAND Zone.
Thanks to Rounder Records, you can recapture the magic of the Highwoods String Band on this reissue of recordings made from 1972 to 1978. Here you can hear the tight-- but fun-- band arrangements that helped define today's old-time string band sound. Taking the lead are Walt Koken's and Bob Potts' twin fiddling and Mac Benford's racous 5-string banjo, while the rhythm section, made up of Jenny Cleland' bass fiddle and Doug Dorschug's guitar, propels the band and gives it a driving back beat.
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If you can only listen to one old-timey pickin' album, this is it! The energy alone is downright incendiary, and the virtuosity is first rate. I can't count how many times I've listened to it, completely under its spell. The best!
If that's not high enough praise, let me tell you some of the other reasons I love it. First of all, the rendition of "Wild Bill Jones" is so far above any other I ever heard, that I consider this now to be THE Definitive version of that song. Even the subtle baritone harmonies behind the twangy lead voice give it a fullness and energy unheard elsewhere. And the instrumentals are downright breathtaking, for an overall transcendent listening experience. I'd buy the album just for that song.
But wait -- there's more. They don't let the sublime quality of their music interfere with the need to be plain old silly when they feel like it. In the song "Who Broke the Lock" (of the chicken coop), they have fun making whacky chicken sounds with the fiddle, and shucking and clucking in their lyrics. You'll feel like you're right there, joking around with them. And despite their mastery of instruments, the lyrics are always clear and easy to follow so you won't miss out on any of the fun.
I've shown this album to many friends. After they see the title, they look at me like I'm nuts; then they hear the music and ask if they can "borrow" it for a while. I just email them the Amazon link so they can buy their own. So there!
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Format: Audio CD
If you never had the chance to see and hear the Highwoods String Band live then you need to get this CD. It will be the closest you will ever get to true mountain music. You can feel the closeness Mac, Walt, Doug,Bob, and Jenny share and experience their love of the root of music as it must have been so many years ago. I'm not a writer, I'm a lover of music. I long for the days back in 1972 in Norfolk, Va. at the Old Dominion Folk Festival seeing this group in action. You owe it to yourself to own this piece of art. I want more!
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By A Customer on December 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you do not tap your feet, drum your fingers, or get up and dance - then you're dead.
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Format: Audio CD
Never in my wildest imagination did I think this CD would be such a HIT with my children! They BEG to listen to it, and have most of the songs with words memorized! I bought it because I have joined an old time fiddle group jam session, and it had some of the tunes on it that we play...but it is more than that...it is PURE fun to listen to! The rendition of Hawks and Eagles is unbelieveably GREAT!
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Still the best 'younger' stringband to my ears, but unlike other reviewers here I wasn't around to hear them live. Luckily there is a Live CD with them ('Mudthumper label', out of print, but I think not so hard to get secondhand). There is also a Documentary DVD in production called 'Touched With Fire' , which will include film clips of them playing live.

Now to this CD, it has interesting liner notes by Mac, Walt, John Cohen, Mike Seeger, Brad Leftwich and Kerry Blech, which gives a good hint at this band's impact on the scene then and afterwards.

The tunes are mostly well-chosen from the original LPs. Highlights are the two opening tracks, and most of the others, like 'Who Broke the Lock ?'. Mac who speaks in the beginning manages to alter the original dialogue and make it very funny in its own right.

Still I would have appreciated the inclusion of 'Sail Away Ladies' from their last album (No.3 Special), because it has so much enthusiasm & energy besides being a great arrangement. A few recordings has that little extra that is so hard to capture in studio.

It would also be nice if the last 2 LPs were reissued when this sampler gets out of print. Preferable with original liner notes (updated a bit regarding tunes).

Thankfully the first album, 'Fire on the Mountain' is now on CD, so if you can't get enough of this band, try that one out.
10 tracks on it are 'not' on this Sampler CD.

Other tunes not on CD are 'Mountaineer's Lovesong', Cotton-Eyed Joe, Cuffy, Betty Liken/ Kitchen Girl, Maggie Walker, Wagoner, but they would work better in the context of the albums, especially on the amazing 'No. 3 Special' - LP.
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