Truck Driver's Queen - Jimmy Brown, The Newsboy - I'm Too Young To Marry - Wreck Of The Number Nine - Little Whitewashed Chimney - Razorback Steak - Legend Of The Rebel Soldier - Waterbound - The Widders Of Bowling Green - My Dixie Darling - Little Boxes - I Got Stripes - Oh, Florie - Handsome Molly - Life Gets Tee-Jus Don't It - Tennessee Stud - Wildwood Flower - The Road To Chalamette
You might not be familiar with the name Bryan Chalker. Probably because he makes his home in England. I never got to actually meet Bryan, but I sure did listen to him when I was traveling Europe on tour, sometimes two or three a year when I started recording for Moses Asch. Bryan was a disc jockey in Britain, one of the most popular ones working, mostly because he had no stringent 'play the charts only' disposition. He wanted to play what he liked, and what he thought his listeners liked. This of course led to some disagreements with those who 'call the shots.' Bryan wound up on pirate radio, maybe you remember 'Radio Caroline' which was broadcasting from a boat three miles off shore from England making it a legal broadcasting station. What I heard back in those days was this very music that Bryan has now recorded himself. America's traditional music at its very best. There are no less than six songs on this album written by my good friend Jimmy Driftwood. Driftwood and I go back quite a long ways, and it is a real treat for me to hear his music still being recorded and played. Bryan has a very interesting bass-baritone voice that captivates not only the listener, but the very song itself as he presents it the way he likes to hear it. He has some incredibly good old-timey musicians working with him, acoustic guitars, mandolin, jew's harp, fiddle, autoharp, upright bass, piano, Dobro, banjo, and harmonica, in very many different groupings and lead playing. I also like the 'mix' on this CD because it allows me to hear every word Bryan is singing, therefore able to 'understand' the stories in the songs without having to bend over backwords trying to 'hear' what is going on, a definite problem with country music coming from Nashville these days. It's amazing how Bryan is keeping this music so very 'alive' and so very 'well done.' It's rapidly disappearing from America's radio stations, with those dedicated to it existing mostly in the east, or at least in the Appalachian Mountain area. I listened to every song, sometimes twice, and am quite impressed with how well Bryan has put this album together. His voice is very distinctive and 'fits' the mood and mode of all of these songs. Many of them are survivors from an era long past, but Bryan keeps those 'history lessons' right on track, and they sound great. I was impressed that although he didn't do Driftwood's 'Battle of New Orleans," he did record "The Road To Chalamette" which is the same battle, but told through the eyes and viewpoint of the British, who Andrew Jackson defeated that day at the place called Chalmette. This entire CD is a wonderful work of art. How can I say that? Because art is in the eye, and in this case the ear, of the beholder. What a neat job Bryan Chalker has done in keeping some of America's most famous historical events alive and well. Thank you Mr. Chalker. This CD goes promptly to the Rural Roots Music Commission, and Lord only knows how Bryan Chalker is going to find his way to America if they give him a CD of the Year award.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - President NTCMA - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine