THE HOMESTEAD PICKERS
Porch Sittin' Songs
Howdy Neighbor Howdy - Big Tom - Build Me A Cabin - Uncle Jesse - Mama Ain't Dead - Get Up Mule - Nail That Catfish To The Tree - Far Side Banks of Jordan - I'm My Own Grandpa - P.I.G. - Three Men On A Mountain - Grandpa's Easy Chair
When I visited Branson recently, on my trip to Silver Dollar City where I worked for some 25 years, I was fortunate enough to hear the Homestead Pickers on the main stage Gazebo, and what it treat it was. I bought two of their CD's, this being the second one I'm reviewing, mostly because of one song they did 'live' that day I was there. I was fascinated with the introduction, and the song itself, entitled "Mama Ain't Dead." When they sang it, it also had the additional 'She's Only Playing Possum" to the title. As you can see, this CD is obviously a 'funny' one, it's full of comedy songs, and they are super good. This same 'art-form' is rapidly disappearing from our television screens and our radio stations. We rarely hear anything coming close to this at all. This particular CD by the Homestead Pickers is over five years old, so perhaps some of the members have changed, but to make sure, you need to know that Greg Bailey was not only the engineer, he also plays fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, keyboards, and vocals. Greg Becker is on the harmonica, bass, hammered dulcimer and vocals. Dwight Murdy is on guitar, bass, and vocals, and the front man for the group Danny Eakin plays the mountain banjo, guitar, and excels on the vocals. This entire listening experience is a delight, funny, down-to-earth, original, and certainly entertaining. It's old-time mountain music and comedy at its best, the very beginning of what Branson once was, way back when the Shepherd of the Hills actually roamed those small mountains. The Homestead Pickers have been nominated for induction into America's Old Time Country Music Hall and we're sure hoping that may come to pass. Their complete originality and resourcefulness has made them one of the top old-time bands performing in Branson. If this CD has anything going for it, it certainly is a huge amount, and that huge amount is total entertaining. Every song is completely well done, funny, sad, introspective. I especially enjoyed listening to these mountain folk singing "Far Side Banks of Jordan" written by my very good friend Terry Smith. I remember so well the last 'show' I got to do at Silver Dollar City was when I brought Terry Smith and Claude Gray (Family Bible) to participate in an 'outside' production which also included SPBGMA a bluegrass association. It was totally fun for us, and my return after so many years makes me want to believe that the Homestead Pickers may have heard Terry singing his song that day, and they in turn recorded it. Wonders never cease at Silver Dollar City!
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International