Dirty Linen - 6-7/94, p.53
"...two immensely enjoyable sets of classic music. Enthusiastically recommended..."
LIVE RECORDINGS (1956-1969)...VOL. 1 is a collection of 27 previously unreleased live tracks by Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys.
Personnel includes: Bill Monroe (vocals, mandolin); Mac Wiseman, Peter Rowan (vocals, guitar); Bill Keith (banjo); Richard Greene (fiddle); David Grisman (bass).
Includes liner notes by Ralph Rinzler.
Personnel: Bill Monroe (vocals, mandolin); Del McCoury, Yates Green, Peter Rowan (vocals, guitar); Edd Mayfield (guitar); Don Reno, Lamar Grier, Rudy Lyle, Bill Keith (banjo); Clarence "Tater" Tate, Bob "Barbecue Bob" Hicks , Joe Stuart, Kenny Baker , Richard Greene , Tex Logan (fiddle).
Recording information: Ash Grove, LA, CA (06/13/1956-07/03/1969); Finca (06/13/1956-07/03/1969); Gaslight Cafe, New York, NY (06/13/1956-07/03/1969); Jordan Hall, Boston, MA (06/13/1956-07/03/1969); New River Ranch, Rising Sun, MD (06/13/1956-07/03/1969); Nj (06/13/1956-07/03/1969).
Photographer: David Gahr.
The Smithsonian Folkways label is justly famous for the quality of its releases, and LIVE RECORDINGS is certainly among the most valuable of its '90s productions. The disc contains 27 previously unreleased recordings of Bill Monroe and his band during their peak period as both creative artists and performers. Drawn from various main stage performances, festival workshops, and jam sessions, LIVE RECORDINGS presents bluegrass' finest artist in the most favorable light possible: that is, in live performance.
Nearly half these tracks derive from two 1956 performances, both of which catch Monroe and his band in top form. Whether powering their way through "Blue Grass Stomp" or harmonizing sweetly on "I'm Working On a Building," Monroe and company play flawless, spirited music. Later performances are equally proficient, highlighted by both rarities ("True Life Blues," "I Live In the Past") and Monroe standards ("Wayfaring Stranger," "Get Up John," "White House Blues"). Peter Rowan, Del McCoury, and Don Reno, just a few of the notables who passed through Monroe's band during this period, all make their presence felt. Volume 2 of LIVE RECORDINGS features Monroe duets with Doc Watson and is even better than Volume 1!