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Best Of The Early Years

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Album Review

Jim & Jesse's signing to Capitol Records in 1952 marked their recording debut as a duo (they had previously cut some gospel material as part of the Virginian Trio), not to mention their first work for a large record company. This album combines the results of their first two recording sessions, on June 13, 1952, and March 16, 1953. (At the second session, Jesse McReynolds was on leave from the army.) Originally, the tracks were released as singles. They have since been gathered on occasional Capitol albums and by the German Bear Family reissue label, but this is the first time they have reappeared domestically in many years. Accompanied by bandmates Hoke Jenkins (banjo) and Curly Seckler (second guitar), plus session bass player Bob Moore and fiddler James Loden, Jim McReynolds on guitar and vocals and Jesse McReynolds on mandolin and vocals perform an excellent bluegrass repertoire that includes "Are You Missing Me," the frenetic "Air Mail Special," and "A Memory of You." They are more polished than many rural performers, but still rough enough to have an authentic sound, and they benefit from the professional recording facilities of Capitol, so that the tracks are fresh and clear, showing little of their age on this CD reissue. These vintage performances are a welcome return to the ranks of Jim & Jesse's in-print recordings, and they compare favorably with the contemporary work of Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs. The McReynolds brothers add new liner notes to the package.

Biography

Formed: 1945 in Coeburn, VA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the great bluegrass bands in history, brothers Jim (born 1927) and Jesse (born 1929) McReynolds and their Virginia Boys remained at the top by changing with the times. Starting as a traditional brothers duet, Jim on guitar and Jesse on mandolin showed their versatility by following country's changing tastes, moving to country/folk when necessary to keep a road band going. Whatever style they played (including Berry Pickin' in the Country, an album of bluegrass versions of Chuck Berry tunes),...
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Best Of The Early Years, Jim & Jesse
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