The Middle Spunk Creek Boys have been entertaining upper Midwest audiences with their special form of Bluegrass music since 1968.*
*(1968: Lyndon Johnson president, North Korea captures the USS Pueblo, Tet Offensive in Vietnam, Martin Lu-ther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy killed, Soviets invade Czechoslovakia, Middle Spunk Creek Boys form, Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In top TV show.)
For this album (originally released on vinyl), the Boys culled twelve of their best numbers recorded live at the Walker Art Center Auditorium on January 23rd, 1976, all prime examples of the drive, excitement, and warmth that they strive for on their live performances. On the evening of the concert, the atmosphere was so electric that at least two people fainted, but fortunately they revived before they had to play.
The selection of songs demonstrates the MSCB's original approach to bluegrass. Two songs, "Hattie Hale" and "Unending Songs," were written by fiddler Rudy Darling, whose songs keep the rhythms, harmonies and melodic structure of bluegrass, but avoid the cliches.
Many of the songs on this album have been taken from other types of music and rearranged to suit the group's style. Echoes of classical and rock music can be heard in the MSCB's complex arrangement of "Weave and Way," originally a Scottish fiddle tune. The influence of rock music can also be heard in "Midnight Moonlight" and "Henry"--but two other songs from the rock idiom, "Fox on the Run" and "Glendale Train," fit so smoothly into the Boys' bluegrass repertoire that they could almost pass for old standards. The rhythms of swing music underlie both "Faded Love" and "Sweet Georgia Brown," a bouncy arrangement in two keys that left the audience dribbling.
Even when they play straightforward bluegrass, like "Goin' Up," the MSCB's careful choice of material and skillful, energetic performance make every song thoroughly original - and thoroughly enjoyable.