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CD Review: The Ramblin' Riversiders Skiffle Group - The Red Magnolia Washboard

The Red Magnolia Washboard
The Red Magnolia Washboard - Maybelle - Living In the Buckeye - Don't She Rock Daddy-O - Down By The Riverside - 

I remember the Ramblin' Riversiders really well, they came to the National Old Time Music Festival when it was in Avoca, or maybe it was Missouri Valley, or maybe it was both.  "Skiffle' is an interesting 'nomenclature' adapted to an English musical genre we might call 'old-time country.'  The energy and dedication of this group is incredible, much like the Hoosier Hotshots of long ago.  This particular CD is a short-version of their own songwriting abilities.  Harold Dearden is kind of the mover and shaker among this group, and wrote the first and last song on this very well done demo.  Eddie Holden, the guitarist and banjo picker wrote "Maybelle."  Not sure if Eddie is right or not, but he wrote the song about Mother Maybelle Carter's Gibson guitar.  Apparently, according to the story, a collector bought Maybelle's Gibson and then had it locked up in a bank vault.  According to Eddie 'The equivalent of locking a Nightingale in a cage.' The song is an incredibly good 'story' about Maybelle's guitar being sold to a bank.  Can't get much better than that.  The other two songs, by Harold Dearden are also classic 'story' songs, the way country music used to be.  The 'Red Magnolia Washboard' is typical of washboard bands.  According to Dearden, since 1895 this wonderfully evocative percussion instrument (whose real purpose is for home laundry) has been manufactured across the Atlantic at the Columbus Washboard Company in Ohio.  He went on to emphasize the fact that Maid-Rite still manufactures, in Ohio, the washboard they use in their band.  This entire CD is a great 'Disc Jockey' sampling of what the Ramblin' Riversiders do with an incredibly happy and good-time musical art form.  The Riversiders are actually a six-member band.  Dearden on ukulele and vocals; George Pitchard on washboard and vocals; Neil Farnworth on guitar and vocals; Eddie Holden on guitar, banjo, and vocals; Pat Flood on double (acoustic) bass; Ronnie Westhead on slide guitar and vocals. The Rambler's also seem to 'ramble' a bit on the songs they do, some of them not even listed on the CD insert.  It's a bit of a surprise to hear additional songs not listed on the cover. Another great song, a kind of railroad song (no title listed) has an absolutely great keyboard player on it, along with an accordion that almost makes it Zydeco style.  Next song, unlisted, opens with an electric guitar demonstrating early 'echo' abilities. Then another well written 'train' song, then a 'ramblin' song (includes the state of Iowa) with a great harmonica lead on it. Much more in this old-timey early 'beat' music. Another railroad song, and it just keeps going on.  I believe this might be a 'collectors' version of a whole ton of songs that the Ramblin' Riversiders recorded in England.  If I'm not mistaken, Jerry Hughes from West Virginia gave this CD to me out in Mesa, Arizona.  It's a good listen Jerry, even though I'm probably not supposed to, I'm sending it along to the Rural Roots Musi Commission, mostly on the basis of the first three 'original' songs.
www.music-savers.com - RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, Pres., National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

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