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Festival Favorites Revisited

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Album Review

Alan Munde is one of those phenomenally talented banjo players who very quietly go around making other, more flamboyant characters look like mere showoffs. He can do that because he's possessed of both incredible chops and transcendent taste (a rare combination in banjoists). As he shows here, he can take bluegrass chestnuts like "Cripple Creek" and "Clinch Mountain Backstep" and reveal new depths of melodic content in them while simultaneously bringing out the best in his supporting musicians. In this case, those musicians include some of the best — the tracks on this album were culled from several LPs and feature performances by mandolinists Roland White and Sam Bush and dobroist Jerry Douglas, just to name a few. But unassuming as he may be, it's Munde's picking that takes center stage here; he plays with both the rock-hard intensity of Earl Scruggs and the melodic inventiveness of Tony Trischka (again, how many banjo players can do either of those things, let alone both?). Check out in particular his rendition of "Earl's Breakdown," a Scruggs classic. Highly recommended.


Born: 04 November 1946 in Norman, OK

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s

Alan Munde was an Oklahoman banjoist who first emerged in 1969 as a player with bluegrass guitarist Jimmy Martin's band. Munde remained with Martin until 1971, when he left to join Country Gazette with Roger Bush (bass), Kenny Wertz (guitar), and Byron Berline (fiddle). The combo released Traitor in Our Midst in 1972 through United Artists. Munde would remain the constant in Country Gazette over the next 20 or so years, even as its membership fluctuated around him. But he also found time to release...
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Festival Favorites Revisited, Alan Munde
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