Another fine compilation from Document Records, Mississippi String Bands, Vol. 2 features four tracks from the Mississippi 'Possum Hunters, ten from the Ray Brothers, two from Mumford Bean and His Itawambians, four from Gene Clardy & Stan Clements, and two tracks from Milner & Curtis, all drawn from 78s issued in the late '20s and early '30s. The real highlights here are the ten sides from the Ray Brothers (fiddler Will Ray and guitarist Vardman Ray), which exhibit a wild and ragged bluesy feel, with Will Ray's fiddle lines careening around the turns like a rum runner about to fly off the road. The exuberant "Jake Leg Wobble" (named after a particularly potent moonshine that was said to bring partial paralysis to anyone who drank it) is a case in point, swaying into surprising stops and turns as it winds its way home. The waltzes by fiddler Gene Clardy and guitarist Stan Clements collected here are also a delight. Clardy, who is rumored to have mentored the great Willie Narmour on fiddle, met an untimely end shortly after these recordings were made. Packing up after a show, Clardy was urged by a patron to continue playing, and when he refused, was shot dead. Or so the story goes. ~ Steve Leggett
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