FROM THE LINER NOTES OF OB-710:
This exciting collection of banjo tunes provides a view of the expanse of musical expression available on the 5-string banjo. Recordings ranging from 1958 to 2012 allow us to hear the consistency and change in traditional banjo music. About a half century ago, a great musical awakening took place in the United States. A few young people in a society running headlong away from an agrarian lifestyle into an increasingly technological world looked back saw that some cultural treasures were persisting in the avalanche of change. There was a wealth of tradition that was lingering among the older folks in the more rural areas that dated way back in time. So far back in fact, that quite little was really known about it. These folks produced a music on instruments played in archaic styles that possessed a beauty that was all its own. These recordings serve to bridge the gap from those first field recordings to the music as it flourishes today. Today the music flourishes not only among the descendents of those older rural folks, but also among younger urban and suburban dwellers who have since taken the music for their own. Those earlier field recordings were discovered by folks looking for a more real, a more substantive musical expression than what was being peddled by the mainstream music industry. These folks have made this music, their music and a viable expression of their generation. Here we have the unique opportunity to hear versions of traditional tunes separated by time and played side by side.
The tunes, tunings and musicians were selected with three goals in mind.. One is to document the range of versions that exist in the tradition using side-by-side comparisons of the same and similar tunes. The second is to make the listener aware of some of the many artists working in the old time genre. The third is to reveal how the tradition persists and grows through the years. As with any art, the beauty of these pieces takes on more clarity with continued listening. For the budding musician there is exposure to a level of performance that sets a bar for future goals of performance. For those who love old time music this is an opportunity to hear more great music from a wide range of musicians. As with all great art, continued listening exposes more of the subtleties of this music, revealing the depth of riches contained in these performances.
Donald Nitchie, Banjo Newsletter, January 2013
“Banjo Classics: From the Vaults of County Records & Old Blue Records” is a treasure-trove of 32 cuts recorded between 1958 and 2012, featuring selections by Oscar Wright, Fred Cockerham, Kyle Creed, Lily May Ledford, Wade Ward, Fleming Brown, Gaither Carlton, along with cuts by contemporary players like Kevin Fore, Seth Boyd, Mac Traynham, Andy Edmonds and more. Recorded by Charlie Faurot, Will Faurot and Rich Nevins, the album notes identify sources and including tuning and style notes (designations of clawhammer, North Carolina up-picking, three-finger, or double-thumbing starting with thumb). The CD includes multiple versions. Bob Buckingham writes that the anthology has “several purposes: One, to document the range of versions, using side-by-side comparisons. The second, to make the listener aware of the many great artists in old-time. Third, to reveal how the tradition persists and grows…”