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Bluegrass Holiday

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Album Review

Any late-'60s band that included banjoist J.D. Crowe, singer Red Allen, and mandolinist Doyle Lawson would have to be looked at as a crossroads of sort, a meeting of bluegrass past and bluegrass future, a foray into tradition and a portent of things to come. Red Allen was an old-school vocalist who infused his singing with mountain soul that drew on tradition as laid down by innovators like Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe. Both Lawson (in the Country Gentlemen) and Crowe, on the other hand, would come to the forefront in the '70s, both delving into a more progressive style while retaining a traditional base. The group's selections and style stick close to tradition on Bluegrass Holiday, with Allen singing lead and both Crowe and Lawson adding to the vocal blend. An upbeat, instrumental cut of "Train 45" is simply fabulous, with banjos and mandolins blazing. Bobby Slone's bass work keeps the band grounded, and he adds his fiddle skills to "Orange Blossom Special." Fans will be pleased that four bonus tracks, "Black Jack," "You're Not Easy to Forget," "Pike County Breakdown," and "We'll Meet Again Sweetheart," have been added. The recording quality is somewhat rough, and the vocals often sound distant, as though too much echo has been added. Fans, however, will be happy that Bluegrass Holiday is available again. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Born: 27 August 1937 in Lexington, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Banjoist J.D. Crowe was one of the most influential progressive bluegrass musicians of the '70s. Initially influenced by Earl Scruggs, as well as rock & roll and the blues, Crowe worked his way through several bands during the '60s, developing a distinctive instrumental style that melded country, bluegrass, rock, and blues. Crowe didn't receive national exposure until the early '70s when he formed the New South, but after the release of the band's eponymous debut in 1972 he became a fixture on the...
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Bluegrass Holiday, J.D. Crowe
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