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+ 1/2 stars: Final Album with Merle,
This review is from: Riding the Midnight Train (Audio CD)
Doc's son Merle was tragically killed in a farming accident just prior to this album's release in 1986. This makes RIDING THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN unique in two ways. First, it was to be the final album with Merle's involvement (and Doc even considered retiring from music for a time). Secondly, this was Doc's first all-bluegrass album.
As such, Doc surrounded himself with some of the best bluegrass musicians of the era: Sam Bush on mandolin, Mark O'Connor on fiddle, Bela Fleck on banjo, and Alan O'Bryant on guitar. In addition Merle plays guitar and clawhammer banjo and longtime bassist T. Michael Coleman is also on board.
The entire album is a delight from start to finish. Personal favorites include the Flatt & Scruggs chestnut "We'll Meet Again Sweetheart," the melancholy "What does the Deep Blue Say" and the rousing Ralph Carter title track. The only instrumental track on the album is "Stone's Rag," a song not included on the original vinyl release.
The album won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 1987. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED [Running Time - 39:07]