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Whiskey Before Breakfast

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Album Review

Blake's best album, and one of the finest bluegrass albums of the '70s. "Church St. Blues" and "Slow Train Through Georgia" are great originals that demonstrate Blake's natural ease with a sung ballad, while the fabulous medleys "Sleepy Eyed Joe/Indian Creek" and "Fiddler's Dram/Whiskey Before Breakfast" show off the graceful flat-picking that made him famous. All told, there have been many albums in the folk idiom featuring many a guitar virtuoso, but very few achieve such a mix of relaxed subtlety and eye-popping virtuosity, and Whiskey Before Breakfast will perhaps stand as the greatest achievement by this master picker.

Customer Reviews

Flatpickin' Perfection

A friend of mine put this on cassette for me years ago, it served as one of my first introductions to the bluegrass/flatpicking world of music. I'll leave it to someone else to describe the technique of Norman Blake's guitar virtuosity. Simply put, this album will make you want to put away all electronic devices (save, perhaps the iPod on which you're hearing it!) and relax in a hammock, or perhaps pick up your own guitar. Timeless, touching, human music.

Never grow tired

This album, along with Will the Circle Be Unbroken, was my intro to folk/bluegrass. I have worn out the vinyl listening to the rich, deep tones of Norman's guitar. It has the perfect blend of instrumental and vocal selections. Favorite? "The Girl I Left Behind", with Slow Train Through Georgia a close second. I never get tired of listening to this album.

Happy to find this!

This was one of the albums that got me inspired to play guitar back in the 1980s. The vinyl's been retired and I can't find the cassette. Hearing it all again brings the good times back! I'll never get tired of these songs.


Born: March 10, 1938 in Chattanooga, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although he is proficient with a variety of stringed instruments, Norman Blake is famous for his acoustic guitar skills — he was one of the major bluegrass guitarists of the '70s. Blake came into view in the late '60s, when he began performing as a sideman with artists as diverse as June Carter and Bob Dylan. During the '70s, he began a solo career that quickly became one of the most popular and musically adventurous within bluegrass. He continued recording and performing — occasionally...
Full Bio