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Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tribute to an influential band & inimitable fiddler, August 10, 2003
This review is from: Live in L.A. (Audio CD)
Total Playing Time - 55:47 -- Pick up this 14-track CD and relive the excitement of the Kentucky Colonels in 1965 as they play two Hollywood, Ca. venues, The Cobblestone Club and Ash Grove. While the group originally started in the early fifties (as "The Country Boys") after the four White kids (Roland, Clarence, Eric and Joann) moved from Maine to Los Angeles, it was in the early sixties that the band reached the pinnacle of its career. A 1964 trip back east found them playing at the Newport Folk Festival and Martha's Vineyard. By 1965, the Kentucky Colonels featured Clarence White (guitar), Roland White (mandolin), Bill Ray Lathum (banjo), Roger Bush (bass), and Scott Stoneman (who had just joined the band on fiddle after Bobby Slone left the group). Stoneman was a catalyst that supercharged the other pickers, like throwing dry tinder on a bluegrass wildfire. The players challenged each other to greater musical heights. The result was some of the most exciting music to be heard for quite some time. The Colonels eventually broke up in 1965 when it proved impossible to make a living as bluegrass musicians in California. An attempt to reform in 1966 as The White Brothers and Kentucky Colonels was unsuccessful.
Calvin "Scotty" Stoneman was born in Galax, Virginia on August 4, 1932, one of 23 children of Ernest "Pop" Stoneman. Scotty was a five-time national fiddle contest champion when he died, on March 4, 1973 from overuse of a medication (librium) taken to avoid alcohol. Scotty's first professional experience had been with Mac Wiseman in the early fifties, and as a member of The Blue Grass Champs after winning the fiddle category in Connie B. Gay's "National Hillbilly Music Contest" in Warrenton, Va. Scotty also helped The Stoneman Family win the 1957 Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts Show. In 1992, Everett Lilly once commented, "I've had a lot of fiddlers with me and I've played with what they call the 'best fiddlers'...but I don't know nobody [like Scotty Stoneman] that could carry his case when it come to playin' the fiddle on the stage. And I'm speaking the truth! I have never seen his match and probably never will."
Tape recordings, made under noisy and less than desirable conditions, captured the Kentucky Colonels' legendary sound for albums like this one from Rural Rhythm Records. This CD is special because of its spotlight on Scotty Stoneman, with ten instrumentals, as well as four vocal numbers sung by Stoneman. Besides some of the best fiddled novelty numbers of all time (Lee Highway Blues, Listen to the Mockingbird, Cacklin' Hen, and Orange Blossom Special), I especially enjoyed hearing Scotty sing his original "Any Damn Thing" and B. Johnson's "A Wound Time Can't Erase." Other numbers include Oklahoma Stomp, Once A Day, Eighth of January, Down Yonder, Sally Goodin, Shuckin' the Corn, Cherokee Waltz, and Goodnight Irene.
Liner notes include a conversation with Richard Greene and Peter Rowan who both knew Scotty. The Kentucky Colonels were a very influential band, and their intensity was nonpareil. The inimitable Scotty Stoneman is the featured artist on this album, a great tribute to the Colonels and their fabulous fiddler. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)
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Review Details

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Reviewer

J. Ross
(REAL NAME)   

Location: Roseburg, OR USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 20,680