JIMMY MARTIN, JR.
A TRIBUTE TO MY DAD
Given the size of his father’s catalog and the number of songs that fall in the “greatest hits” category, choosing which 11 songs to include here was probably difficult and it most likely boiled down to which songs meant the most to Martin, Jr.
The songs chosen create a balanced mix of roughly five fast, three medium, and three slow songs. Two of the tracks, “Big Country” and “Sweet Dixie,” are instrumentals. All three of the slow songs are in threequarter time. The selections are representative of the elder Martin’s golden age, spanning from his 1958 single “Ocean Of Diamonds” to “Future On Ice” recorded in 1970. Included are covers of “Sunnyside Of The Mountain,” “Hold Whatcha Got,” “Freeborn Man,” and “You Don’t Know My Mind.” Two songs, “Little Maggie” and “Doin’ My Time” (both arguably less associated with Martin, Sr.), are also covered.
All tunes are performed in ’60s era Sunny Mountain Boy style with evenhanded and crisp banjo from Derek Dillman, Monroe style mandolin from Ronnie Prevette, and classic fiddle lines from Ward Stout and Brian Arrowood. Hints of the originals appear here and there, most notably the rolling banjo and mandolin figure that opens “Hold Whatcha Got,” but there is little or no direct re-creation.
Vocally, the two Martins are quite different, both in timbre and phrasing. Where Martin, Sr., had a pointed tenor quality and a somewhat frantic attack, Martin, Jr., chooses his punctuations more sparingly. He tends to drop to lower pitches where his father would have soared, and he has a thicker, more resonant sound. He sings well throughout, but is at his best on the slow tunes and really hits his stride on “It Takes One To Know One.” The Martin mood is captured here; exactly what a tribute should do. (Jimmy Martin, Jr., 4531 Chandler Rd., Hermitage TN 37076.) BW