The Fun of Open Discussion
Bob Carlin & John Hartford
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Bob Carlin plays banjo in the old-timey clawhammer style, and John Hartford has a scratchy, laconic fiddle technique that sounds like it was formed on the humid, mossy banks of the Mississippi River that he loves so much. The disc's title is apt: This album is the musical equivalent of two guys chatting over a beer. There are no rip-roaring displays of virtuosity in this collection; instead, Carlin and Hartford linger lovingly over a set of midtempo numbers, mostly traditional but some composed by Hartford and one an Irish tune by Turlough O'Carolan. Chestnuts like "Shortenin' Bread" and "Dry and Dusty" nestle next to such obscure fare as "Lantern in the Ditch" and "Bull at the Wagon." Carlin's playing is not quite as down-home traditional as you might expect — his strict melodic style is an old-sounding modern innovation. Banjo players who covet his licks will wish the banjo were more clearly recorded, but that's the only flaw on this wonderful record.
Born: 17 March 1953 in New York, NY
Years Active: '90s