Customer Reviews


260 Reviews
5 star:
 (211)
4 star:
 (38)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


152 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew he could write this stuff?
Martin wrote 14 of the 15 songs on this album. If you like original banjo music, this is for you. Martin had help from Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, Dolly Parton, Mary Black, Tony Trischka, Tim O'Brien and Pete Wrenick. It was produced by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen, a high school friend of Martin's. You can get this as a download from Amazon, but you will miss...
Published on January 28, 2009 by D. Steiner

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok not great
Some of the performances on this CD are wonderful. Some songs are annoying. It's about 50/50 split. If buying this CD as an introduction to BlueGrass Music, I wouldn't. Buying it as an addition to my library, though, was not a bad choice, just not great.
Published 5 months ago by italianice


‹ Previous | 1 226 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

152 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew he could write this stuff?, January 28, 2009
By 
D. Steiner (Allenspark, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Martin wrote 14 of the 15 songs on this album. If you like original banjo music, this is for you. Martin had help from Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, Dolly Parton, Mary Black, Tony Trischka, Tim O'Brien and Pete Wrenick. It was produced by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen, a high school friend of Martin's. You can get this as a download from Amazon, but you will miss out on the 24 page book by Martin about the recording, the ensemble and his long relationship with the 5-string banjo. Forty-three minutes of great stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wild And Crazy Album, January 30, 2009
By 
Shell-Zee (Long Island, NY) - See all my reviews
Comedian, actor, novelist, playwright and all around fool Steve Martin takes off his rabbit ears, removes the arrow from his head and picks up his banjo and wails. Yes, move over John Hartford, John McEuen and Earl Scruggs. Steve can really play with the best of 'em. And he's smart enough to surround himself with some of the finest country and bluegrass musicians around; Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, John McEuen and Earl Scruggs to name just a few. Like comedian Woody Allen, showing off his Dixiland chops on clarinet, Steve Martin demonstrates his outstanding Bluegrass prowess on the five string banjo...A virtuoso indeed and equally impressive his songwriting is absolutely first rate.

Honestly, this collection could easily have been recorded by the late-great John Hartford. It's just that colorful, warm and humorous. Several compositions, "Tin Roof", "Words Unspoken" and "Wally On The Run" sound as if they were recorded during John's legendary "Aeroplane" sessions. And the lovely "Blue River Waltz" has that same haunting lilt as "Untangle Your Mind", an early John Hartford composition. OK, Steve you can put the arrow back on your head now, get into your happy feet routine and show off your wild and crazy persona. Just don't be a "JERK". Don't put the banjo down. You've got so much more to say with it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this music is so good, it deserves an honest week's pay for an honest day's work, February 3, 2009
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo showcases Steve Martin's exceptional ability to perform very fine, bluegrass music often with some rather complicated arrangements as he plays the banjo and sings his heart out. This album gives us some great numbers and the guest appearances on the CD only make it even better--not that Steve Martin needed backup but it sounds wonderful anyway. The quality of the sound is quite good and the artwork is excellent. I also like that it comes with an extremely informative and well written booklet; and the fact that Steve Martin wrote almost all of the songs on this CD impresses me very much.

"Daddy Played the Banjo" starts the CD very well; Steve's voice never sounded better and the melody is actually rather pretty. "Daddy Played the Banjo" is a strong start for this CD and that's grand. Earl Scruggs also plays on "Daddy Played The Piano." "Hoedown at Alice's" also boasts a catchy melody and Steve plays that banjo very well. He handles the tempo and key changes like a pro and "Hoedown at Alice's" is a highlight of this album. Listen also for "Late for School;" "Late for School" has Steve singing somewhat out of pace with the tempo of the music and so I really admire "Late for School."

"Words Unspoken" is yet another highlight of this excellent album; the music is very well done and the melody is again very pleasing to the ear. "Wally on the Run" has a rather fast tempo and it places Steve squarely front and center in the spotlight--right where he belongs! "Wally on the Run" is an excellent number.

"Clawhammer Medley" is also very good; and I especially like "Banana Banjo." "Banana Banjo" strikes me with its fine melody and the banjo sounds great along with the string work in the musical arrangement. The CD even ends strong with "The Crow;" this is a memorable tune and it leaves you wanting more.

With all this fine music I can't help but admit that I wish the CD lasted a bit longer; but quality is what you get on this album if bluegrass music is your thing. Who knew Steve Martin could play the banjo so well? Again, I'm very impressed. Of course, Steve gets great help from Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Mary Black, actor Eugene Levy and, as I noted above, Earl Scruggs--just to name a few!

I highly recommend this for bluegrass fans; and maybe fans of country and even other types of music will appreciate this CD as well. I truly hope that Steve Martin releases another album like this one very soon.

Thank you, Steve!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The most expensive banjo album in the history of the universe", September 9, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo (Audio CD)
I owe a great debt to Steve Martin's banjo playing. When I was 11 I heard his first comedy album, "Let's Get Small" and its tantalizing banjo tidbits -- like his impression of a banjo-playing Richard Nixon performing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on the tarmac after arriving in China. I was so impressed that I asked my parents for a banjo for Christmas. In later years I started playing guitar and ukulele, as well. I can quite literally say that Steve Martin put the gift of music in my life -- thank you, Steve!

Despite my permanent soft spot for Steve Martin's banjo playing, however, I can still say objectively that this is a really good record. It is also, Martin insists in the liner notes, "the most expensive banjo album in the history of the universe." That should count for something!

The record makes it perfectly clear that he can not only play the banjo -- he can write music as well. The quality of the tunes would do most professional bluegrass musicians very proud indeed.

Still, I held off on buying this record for a long time, because I was concerned some material might be recycled from his earlier LP The Steve Martin Brothers. Side 1 (of the original vinyl LP) featured Steve Martin the wild-and-crazy standup comedian, while Side 2 was by Steve Martin the denim-clad hippie-freak banjo warrior.

Many of the tunes on this CD were indeed included on that earlier album, but the versions here are new, with completely different recordings. Where the earlier album had some pretty wild, outside-the-box bluegrass arrangements for banjo and flute, this new CD is usually more traditional in instrumentation -- lots of guitar and mandolin breaks, for example.

One cool exception is "Saga of the Old West", which Martin says was inspired in part by Ravi Shankar. The middle break really does push the envelope with a sitar-style banjo groove, with tablas and Indian-sounding woodwinds coming in for the end. Pretty far-out thinking that betrays Steve Martin's 1960s roots.

I have only two gripes about the record. First, it is too short -- total CD run time 43:26! I know this is longer than Flatt & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Banjo, but come on, Steve. Second, the tracks featuring vocals (four of them, out of 15 total) work less well for me than the instrumental tracks.

Also, I would recommend the CD instead of the MP3 download because you get a very cool 24-page booklet written by Steve Martin and explaining fun facts about each of the tracks. It's great all around!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Steve, Why Did You Wait So Long?, May 25, 2009
By 
kjenfan (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo (Audio CD)
Steve Martin's banjo playing was always one of my favorite parts of his comedy routines. You could tell he was really good at it, but of course, the laughs always overshadowed the banjo playing.

Looks like that little 'glitch' has been corrected at last. With "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo" Martin wows us with one fine piece of strumming after another. The music is joyous, infectious, emotional -- a pure pleasure to listen to.

The CD starts out strong with Tim O'Brien's fine vocals on "Daddy Played the Banjo". But it's the sentiment that Martin and the legendary Earl Scruggs put into the banjo playing that makes this song shine. And then, a jaw-droppingly fast "Pitkin County Turnaround" gets everybody's toes a-tappin'. One great song after another. "Hoedown at Alice's" takes me back to a simpler era in time. You can't help but break out into a grin while listening to this.

And of course, there is the beautiful "Pretty Flowers". Having Vince Gill and Dolly Parton as vocalists on your album can never hurt! This is lovely. Another very pleasant surprise is the inclusion of Irish legend Mary Black (and one of my all-time favorite singers) on "Calico Train".

"Clawhammer Medley" lets the listener experience the depth of Martin's talent as he shows his mastery of a five-finger playing style known as clawhammer. Great tune.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Considering how few people seem to have been aware that he is an exceptionally talented banjo player, I'd say the last laugh is on Steve.

FANTASTIC album. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Just... wow!!!!, March 2, 2009
By 
datadame (TN United States) - See all my reviews
I *love* a well-played banjo and was (am) a huge fan of John Hartford. When he died, I thought that might well be the end of fresh new banjo music that still retained a "classic" bluegrass sound. Thank you, Steve Martin and ensemble, for keeping it very VERY much alive, perhaps even rejuvenating it.

Most people who watched Steve Martin since his early stand-up career know he can play the banjo, but until you hear him perform real music, you don't realize how well he can PLAY the thing. And don't overlook the fact that he also WRITES this stuff.

The liner notes are also clearly Martin's, fun to read and, although they're also often self-effacing, c'mon -- if he weren't damn good (and he IS damn good), would he have bluegrass luminaries like Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, and others in the studio with him?

If you like the banjo and/or bluegrass, do something good for yourself and buy this CD! This isn't one of those albums with two or three good tracks and the rest filler -- far from it. This is a collection of 15 flat-out winners.

Do it again, Steve! Do it again!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That banjo player who never had a kid, June 22, 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo (Audio CD)
Here we have an album of banjo music by Steve Martin. Some may think that this is his first music album, but The Steve Martin Brothers was half bluegrass music. In fact, five of the songs from this album originally appeared on that album (in different versions). Martin wrote or co-wrote all the songs here, with the exception of one medley of traditional songs. He plays the banjo really well, although he himself would never admit it. The songs are very good, and Steve is ably assited by his professional musician friends. A very entertaining album.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Crow To Eat Here, February 12, 2009
By 
David M. Garrett (San Antonio, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I came home from a miserable day of work to find my copy of "The Crow" in the mail. Playing Steve Martin's album immediately reversed my melancholy. In his old stand-up routine, as he notes in a superb booklet that accompanies the CD, Martin would say, "You just can't play a sad song on the banjo." Later admiting "high, lonesome sounds" are indeed possible, you will find none in "The Crow". Thoughtful (Daddy Played the Banjo), uplifing (the title song), nostalgic (Saga of the Old West), whimiscal (Late for School), traditional (Pitkin County Turnaround; Blue River Waltz), there is something here for anyone seeking a contemporary take honoring traditional bluegrass banjo. Mostly instrumentals, Martin plays the 5-string on all the tracks (with the master, Earl Scruggs featured on 1 and 7). The banjo is frequently accompanied by guitar, mandolin, fiddle, etc. as appropriate. Daddy Played..., Late..., Pretty Flowers, and Calico Train feature the vocals of Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Mary Black or Martin.

In the 24-page notes Martin describes the creative inspiration behind each of his compositions. It may come as a delightful surprise to some that Martin - one of our more entertaining, intelligent comedians, actors and authors - can pick it with the best. Fly with "The Crow" and let it lift your spirits!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok not great, March 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo (Audio CD)
Some of the performances on this CD are wonderful. Some songs are annoying. It's about 50/50 split. If buying this CD as an introduction to BlueGrass Music, I wouldn't. Buying it as an addition to my library, though, was not a bad choice, just not great.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crow, June 3, 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo (Audio CD)
Steve Martin's first bluegrass album. This is such a great sounding collection of songs. A lot of traditional bluegrass sounds and terrific banjo technique demonstrated by Mr. Martin. He has truly become a master of the five-string banjo! You have to be good to attract the likes of the late, great Earl Scruggs to play on your album! Other notable names lending their talents include, Mary Black, Dolly Parton & Vince Gill, along with others! This is a very well produced effort by a real musical talent! You'll want to own this one along with the other Steve Martin greats!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 226 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo
The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo by Steve Martin (Audio CD - 2009)
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.