Sunday, April 26, 2015

CD: THE HASKEW FAMILY - Songs From the Fiery Gizzard

Songs From the Fiery Gizzard
Disc One - Fiery Gizzard Blues - I Wish I Were A Babe - Ring A Tiny Bell - My Rockabye - A Woman Like you - Little Ol' Aimsley Jane - You Broke My Heart - Blessed Baby Child - If I Only Had A Tail - The Waffle House Blues - The Wonderful One-Eyed Beau Dog - A Lion Named Sam - Song For A Drifter  /  Disc Two - Songbird - On My Way To You - Drive-In Movie Picture Show - The Lady Of The Highlands - Wintertime - The Old Ball Glove - The Love Story Of The Ages - Take Our Country Back Again - Forever - Bless Us Oh Indeed
No doubt about it, it took some time to listen to all 23 songs on this incredibly well done 'tribute' album.  I say tribute, because that word stands out several times in dealing with this project.  It's a 'tribute' to the parents of  both Jerre Haskew and his wife Barbara Lucile Short.  I found that not only refreshing, but a definite indication of how this family holds high their musical pursuits.  If you weren't aware, Jerre Haskew is the founder of the Cumberland Trio, one of America's fondest folk groups.  They won the National Collegiate Folk Festival 1st prize, appeared on ABC-TV's "Hootenanny" and recorded for RCA in Nashville under the guidance of Chet Atkins.  The 'roots' had already been safely ensconced in the mind and musical talent of Jerre Haskew.  After the 60's when folk music began to fade away, he took up work at a bank eventually becoming the CEO before acquiring the Guild Guitar Corporation, and then later co-founded "Sport Talk" but as time went by, wife Barbara wrote a children's book "A Lion Named Sam," and suggested a revival of the Cumberland Trio music.  This led to more time passing, children raising, retiring from business and education, and today this  incredible project that leads me to the second 'tribute' definition....leading back to the Cumberland Trio and all the terrific music they made.  This carefully executed 2-disc release is a wonder to behold.  Holly Haskew Tambling, Jerre and Barbara's daughter does major lead vocal chores on the first disc.  The beginning song, a down to earth rural sounding blues song is super.  She carries her lovely voice through on all of the succeeding songs.  Most of the songs on disc-2 presents Jerre himself as the lead vocalist, as well as a major contributor in the musical instrument department.  What a wonderful idea this whole project is.  And the songs!  What about the songs, where could they possibly find this many terrifically well written songs to record?  Songs that reflect another time of course, but songs that have consistently over the years been an American tradition to tell stories, truthfully, honestly, sometimes simply, in the older folk-song tradition.  For me, it's simply beautiful.  Add to this the gifted musicians that bring the full force of how really well written and interpreted these songs are.  And who wrote the songs?  Both Jerre and Barbara hold them in their own hands and hearts.  Memories, actual experiences, heart break, protest, discrimination, remembrances, blessedness, patriotism, exactly what the folk tradition in America has been over the years, though absent from main-stream radio in recent years, it's back again in full force with this incredible undertaking.  The many musicians that lend their talent to this 23-song escapade are also at their very best.  Mike Headrick might be the most influential providing licks on lead guitar, harmonica (extremely well done on the first song), steel guitar, mandolin, bass and more.  Bob Wilkerson on bass, Lou Wamp on Dobro, Gene Norman on piano, and the list goes on.  Disc-2 features an old personal friend of mine, Johnny Bellar on Dobro.  Jerre Haskew contributes many different instruments throughout the entire project.  In totality, it's an incredible 'family' gathering of super terrific acoustic musicians, creating a 'modern' look back at what was once real, and is again thanks to this beautiful offering. It's hard to pick a 'favorite' out of such a beautiful list of options, but forgive me Jerre, the one I really like is "Drive-In Movie Picture Show" which reveals a little slice of American life now long gone. BUT, for words expressing 'real' feelings, I have to put #1 on another song "The Love Story Of The Ages." Well ok, there's three I like best.  "Take Our Country Back Again" is written in the pattern of Guthrie, and holds the union together once again.  Whew, good stuff here all the way around.  Can't wait to see what happens when it hits those radio stations that still present 'honest' music.  You know, if you want to hear this yourself, you can go to I-tunes, or Amazon, or CDBaby and you'll find it there.  I will be sending it along to the Rural Roots Music Commission, and have a pretty good idea what they are going to do after they listen to this incredible undertaking.
for Country Music News International 
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