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Darkness On the Delta

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Album Review

If placing two great fiddlers like Kenny Baker and Bobby Hicks together sounds like a great idea, that's because it is. Darkness on the Delta isn't just a fiddle fest, however. Hicks and Baker are joined by banjoist Allen Shelton, mandolinists Larry Sledge and Buck White, guitarist Benny Williams, and bassist Roy Husky Jr. on 11 country-bluegrass classics. The presence of a band provides a nice underpinning for the fiddles, but also gives the songs weight and substance. While there are plenty of fine solos on the title cut and "Faded Love," Hicks and Baker's specialty is playing in unison, which creates a lovely, flowing sound that harks back to Western swing. This approach works particularly well on waltzes — "McHattie's Waltz" and "Westphalia Waltz" — and classics like Bill Monroe's sprightly "Tallahassee" and exciting "Louisville Breakdown." Since this is a pure instrumental affair, there's plenty of time for solo work from the other players, too, but no one shows off. Instead, all of the music feels organic and falls together beautifully. Originally recorded in 1980, Darkness on the Delta is rather short at 30 minutes, but everything included works exceptionally well and fiddle fans will be happy County reissued the album in 2004. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., Rovi


Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Born in Newton, North Carolina, Hicks took up the fiddle after being dropped as the mandolin player in his brother's band. Self-taught, Hicks' perseverance paid off when he was brought into Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys in 1954, earning Monroe's deep respect. In 1960, he moved on from Monroe to join Porter Wagoner for three years, after which he settled in Las Vegas as the bandleader for the Judy Lynn show, a position that kept him occupied until 1970. On the road until 1975, Hicks finally chose...
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Darkness On the Delta, Bobby Hicks
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