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The Best of the Vetco Years

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Album Review

In the late '70s, bluegrass singer/songwriter and banjo picker Dave Evans recorded two albums for Vetco, Dave Evans and River Bend and Call Me Long Gone. While Evans had honed his banjo chops and vocals with Larry Sparks and the Boys from Indiana, the 21 cuts he recorded for Vetco were his first work as a leader. Now Rebel, the label where Evans recorded most of his subsequent work, has attained these earlier tapes and issued 15 cuts on The Best of the Vetco Years. Evans work here is fresh, vital, and recorded well, and includes energetic cuts like "Highway 52" and the bluesy "99 Years Is Almost for Life" (the first two cuts). This body of work is interesting for a couple reasons. First, these tracks sparkle because of Evans' and company's first-rate performances, delivering classics like "Barbara Allen" and "White House Blues" as though they meant every word. Secondly, these tracks are deeply invested in tradition and, in the late '70s, ran counter to the active new grass scene that had developed in the 1970s. These recordings showed that the style coined by Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs had life in it yet. Smartly, these songs were recorded "straight" without much echo or other distracting studio additions, allowing Evans voice and the banjos, guitars, fiddles, and dobros to come to the forefront. Evans work on The Best of the Vetco Years will probably cause D.I.W. (dyed in the wool) bluegrass lovers and pickers to crank up the stereo to rock & roll levels. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

Dave Evans is one of a select group of bluegrass banjo pickers whose careers have primarily involved leading their own bands. He is not to be confused with a stream of other Dave Evanses, such as the British guitar fingerpicker from the '70s or U2's guitarist the Edge, whose real name is Dave Evans. Even a charming story of how the banjoist became interested in bluegrass is fraught with the danger of mistaken identity: Evans' mother bought a banjo for his father, whose name was Bill Evans but this...
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The Best of the Vetco Years, Dave Evans
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