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CD Review: RIVERPICKERS OF THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY Dulcimer Strings - And Other Things

Dulcimer Strings - And Other Things
Black Mountain Rag - Wildwood Flower - Nacogdoches Waltz - Angel Band - Susanna Gal, Angelina Baker, Camptown Races Medley - Midnight On The Water - Redwing - Life's Railway To Heaven - Hangman's Reel - Spanish Fandango - Flop-Eared Mule - Seneca Square Dance - Buttermilk Biscuits - Keel Row - Clinch Mountain Backstep - Sugar Hill - Columbus Stockade Blues - Soldiers Joy - Liza Jane, Bile them Cabbage, Old Joe Clark Medley
Somehow the makers of old-time music find a way to get their CD's to Bob Everhart, who they already know really likes old-time American rural music.  These songs will immediately tell any listener that they are the 'standards' in the early learning process of great old-time music.  I was totally surprised to hear such a good version of "Wildwood Flower" done so well with a penny whistle.  Extraordinary to say the least.  Lots and lots of instrumental music throughout this CD with no less than 19 players involved.  Singing first comes with "Angel Band" which is not the biggest 'plus' for the Riverpickers.  "Picking" is their most outstanding ability, and this done on plenty of dulcimers, of which 13 of the 19 instrument players are dulcimers.  Add to that the interesting addition of four guitars, two bass (one a washtub), one fiddle, two banjos (one of them a tenor banjo), two penny whistles,  one spoons player, one hammered dulcimer player, and one bodhran player.  So you can see, this is an exciting gathering of regular down-home folks doing with music what our ancestors did.  First and foremost, play as well as you can, and secondly play with enthusiasm and certainly, maybe the most important of all, have fun with our ancestor's music.  What a joy to hear this group of players doing 'their thing.'  It's totally entertaining and certainly totally enjoyable.  The Riverpickers Band is composed of members from the San Antonio Dulcimer Society, the Guadalupe Riverpickers, and the Boerne Jubilees.  The three organizations are non-professional musicians of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.  The clubs are designed to provide a venue for the promotion and preservation of acoustic music as played on the mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, and various other stringed instruments.  In the case of this delightful CD, we MUST include the very beautiful abilities of the penny whistle players.  It was also remarkable to me hear "Redwing" done on the hammered dulcimer.  This is the way I very first heard it in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri when I worked for Silver Dollar City in Branson.  What a nice memory jogger. I will obviously pass this along to the Rural Roots Music Commission, and if they should consider this CD for an annual award, I would make every effort to get all three clubs to make the trek to LeMars where each and every playing member would receive a separate award.  It could be an incredible outing for these folks, but even more interesting, to surprise our upper Midwest listeners with something they haven't heard in a long long time.  So, San Antonio Dulcimer Society, Guadalupe Riverpickers, and Boerne Jubilee, come be with us in LeMars, Iowa, the ice cream capital of the world, and see what happens.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - President National Traditional Music Association for Country Music News International

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