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CD Review: BOBBY DARREN - 500 Miles From Home

500 Miles From Home
500 Miles Away From Home - Jesus Take Ahold - Julie - Beneath Still Waters - Just You & I - White Lightin' - Just A Girl I Used To Know - Nobidy's Darlin' But Mine - Wham Bam - Soldier's Last Letter - World's Worst Loser - Mama's Hands
Bobby Darren is one of the very few remaining recording artists and performers that still keeps the 'ingredients' of 'real' country music alive and well in his presentations.  He also knows that in the studio he needs to use the very best musicians backing him as he records his classic country music.  Bobby Darren stands alone as a 'real' country artist in the upper Midwest.  Making his home in Wisconsin has not slowed him down in keeping the music alive and well, he takes it with him wherever he goes.  One of his staunch gigs is "Midwest Country" on RFD-TV, where he has taped a number of super good television shows.  This particular CD is chock full of that incredibly delightful 'real' country music we are so missing in today's music marketplace.  The opening song '500 Miles Away From Home' was Bobby Bare's biggest hit.  I've tried and tried to get Mr. Bare to communicate with me about getting him inducted into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.  No luck at all.  He's apparently not interested in 'real' rural folks opinions about what is and what isn't country music, but he still remains one of the most popular recording artists still alive today that still produces great 'real' country music. Bobby Darren's version of Bare's big hit is a super rendition of a great song.  This entire CD is chock full of just that, renditions of really great country songs, with backing as good or better than anything Nashville has to offer today.  I also really like the 'mix' of the final listening pleasure.  Not listed, I suspect Bobby had a close hand in making sure the vocals and instrumentals mixed clean, allowing the listener to understand every word Bobby is singing.  His selection of material is also very good, some of these songs were clearly number one country hits, and in the hands and voice of Bobby Darren they remain at the 'top of the list' in bringing back the memories of what country music should sound like, and so rarely does in today's country music charts.  I love the way Bobby threads a really nice fiddle in and out of his music, much like the super-stars of the past, he establishes his very own style and technique in everything he records.  The same holds true with his 'live' shows, even if it's just him and an acoustic guitar, he is able to bring that incredible sound to life, and hold it there.  His "Soldier's Last Letter" on this recording is a passionate rendition of this great song done in that beautiful acoustic sound.  The incredible 'fade-out' at the end couldn't be better.  I also really like how Bobby uses the right and left stereo channels to introduce each song.  Extremely well done. Interest remains high, love of a great artist at work is paramount, and his ability to bring the 'meaning' of a song instantly to the surface.  That's what a great vocalist-instrumentalist can do with 'music.'  In this case it's America's very own 'rural' music that is still the most American of all musical genre's in America today, bar none.  Bobby Darren is already under consideration by the Rural Roots Music Commission for a "CD of the Year" award, although they will not make those announcements until July, we are passionately looking forward to their decisions.  Bobby is already planning on being at the 42nd National Old Time Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa, Aug 28-Sept 3, as well as the Rural Roots Music Gathering in Fremont, Nebraska, October 6-7-8, so you can see he is a very in demand performer, recording artist, and strong 'real' country music promoter. Off this one goes to the Rural Roots folks, and I'll certainly be listening intently to their selections this year. 
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President National Traditional Country Music Assn., www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International

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