32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Ur Music Everyone must have this,
This review is from: Complete Mercury Recordings (Audio CD)
I have had part or all of these recordings on combinations of Vinyl and tape since around 1963. Having it all together on CD is a blessing.
This is just as fundamental to bluegrass music, to general musical culture, as the original sides Lester and Earl cut with Bill Monroe. The new band, without Bill Monroe, cuts loose more musically, builds more openly on the devastingly powerful banjo of Earl Scruggs, the great bluesy, jazz, Western swing educated fiddling of Chubby Wise, and the elegant vocals of Lester Flatt.
Lester Flatt's guitar playing that came through on these records and the sides with Monroe, are the foundation of all modern bluegrass guitar and much that people now use for old timey music and contradance music.
Even though I have had some of these cuts for more than 40 years, I am still devasted every time I play this. The last time I played this, I just had to call a friend of mine who is a champion fiddler out in California just to talk to her about how brilliant Chubby Wise's work is here.
If you came to Lester and Earl from the great records they put out in the 1960s in response to the folk revival, you will find that these and other recordings of the 1940s and 1950s have more of a normal country repertoire with fewer traditional folk songs thrown in. There are more of Earl's original instrumentals, his various "Specials."
I also love the way Earl plays guitar on many of the spiritual tunes like Aren't Going to Go to Heaven Some time.
In the old days the banjo, the fiddle, and the mandolin were thought dangerous satanic and certainly Negroid, and not played on "sacred songs." Bill Monroe would put down his mandolin and pick up a guitar for a sacred song, as Earl here picks up his guitar and Chubby's fiddle is silent.
This is just plain good music that anyone likes. I think someone who seriously enjoys band music of any kind, and enjoys the good interplay between rhythm and lead, will lead much from listening to these records. Anyone who grooves on a great solist improvizing/composing will learn a lot from what Earl and Chubby Wise do here.