Gary Brewer & The Kentucky Ramblers
by Mississippi Chris Sharp
Gary Brewer has released an all-star extravaganza of all original songs with his Gary Brewer & The Kentucky Ramblers 40th Anniversary Celebration. No doubt many of the songs, if not all, have appeared on some Brewer’s previous fifty releases, but they were all new to me. The song list is as follows:
Going up Shell Creek
Johnson City Blues
Daddy and the Old Oak Tree
The Rain is Coming Down
Blues Down in Kentucky
I Don’t Know What’s Become of Me
Down Home Memories
Home Ain’t the Way it Used to Be
Girl from the Mountain
Money to Ride the Train
Love in the Mountains
I Can’t Run off with You Darling
This is all straight ahead Bluegrass. My favorites songs are Johnson City Blues, Daddy and the Old Oak Tree (with Dale Ann Bradley), The Rain is Coming Down, Home Ain’t the Way it Used to Be, Money to Ride the Train (with T. Graham Brown), I Can’t Run off with You Darling, Big Train, and Sally-O: some driving Bluegrass, some poignant and reflective, and some just downright fun, like Sally-O. All done just right. All are Bluegrass in the Pocket.
The lineup other than the regular Kentucky Ramblers is Ron Stewart, Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter, Dale Ann Bradley, Russell Moore, Sam Bush, Ashton Sheperd, T. Graham Brown, Ralph Stanley II, and Doug Phelps. Gary Brewer shares the lead vocal duties with several of his guest artists. Money to Ride the Train was reminiscent of the Louvin’s Cash on the Barrel-head, which is a good thing. The train doesn’t run for free, which is a good life lesson.
I enjoyed this from start to finish: the music, the songs themselves, the artwork, and the liner notes. I tip my hat to Gary Brewer’s original music, to all the The Kentucky Ramblers, and am anxious to hear more.