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The Fun of Open Discussion

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Album Review

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.

Biography

Born: 17 March 1953 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s

Bob Carlin was one of the best old-time banjo pickers in country music, unique in that he played in the old clawhammer style with a few personalized twists. But Carlin was also a noted folk-music expert who coordinated numerous field recordings. He also wrote and produced respected documentary albums and radio programs...
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The Fun of Open Discussion, Bob Carlin
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