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Bluegrass Unlimited - The Old Time Bluegrass Singers - Plastic Heart

The Old Time Bluegrass Singers - Plastic Heart

Open Road Records OR-017

The Old Time Bluegrass Singers are bluegrass pioneer Herb Applin on mandolin, Lillian Fraker on bass, Terry McGill on banjo, Dick Bowden on guitar, and Robert Fraker on guitar. All contribute vocals. Applin was designated a pioneer by the IBMM (International Bluegrass Music Museum) for his work with the Lilly Brothers, Don Stover, and Joe Val, all strong roots of bluegrass in New England.

This band grows from those roots and moves in its own direction. One song each come from Joe Val (“Meet Me By My Old Kentucky Home”) and Don Stover (“I’ll Be Myself Again”). The remainder are from a wide range of sources ranging from The Louvins’ “From Mother’s Arms To Korea” to Ramona Jones’ “Banjo Am The Instrument For Me.” They like clever lyrics, vocal duets and trios, and good songs. The title cut was a favorite of Joe Val’s. They also like hardcore traditional bluegrass such as the Stanley Brothers’ “I’m Only Human.” There are three gospel numbers, “They Can Only Fill One Grave,” “I Know My Lord’s Gonna Lead Me Out,” and “Stone Was Rolled Away.” The one instrumental is a fine and inventive banjo rendition of “Casey Jones.” While this is not material original to this band, these are also not songs commonly heard in bluegrass, though these arrangements demonstrate that they can and should be.

I recommend this CD for excellent singing, great playing, and tight band arrangements which are faithful both to traditional bluegrass and song presentation. Take note. This is how it should be done.(Open Road Records, P.O. Box 271, Lanesboro, MA 01237, e-mail: otbgsingers@gmail.com.) SAG