Greg Brooks - Heroes & FriendsGREG BROOKS
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Greg Brooks is a North Georgia fiddler, who has managed to corral a large assortment of friends and cut this recording that’s dedicated to two of his fiddling heroes, Robert “Allen” Sisson and Tommy Magness. Magness might be the better known of the two fiddlers for most folks as he played with Roy Hall, Bill Monroe, and Roy Acuff and is known as one of the primary transitional fiddlers from old-time to the more bluesy and jazz-influenced bluegrass fiddlers. Sisson recorded “Katy Hill” in 1925.

Among all of these friends are the makings of several bands. The only constant is the fiddling of Greg Brooks. He fiddles with full band on the more bluegrass numbers, and on some of the older tunes associated with Sisson, he plays with just guitar backup. Brooks’ style relies heavily on saw strokes, but at times he erupts into hot triple fiddle passages that reveal his bluegrass strengths. Through this program of fifteen tunes and one song (“Molly And Tinbrooks [sic]”) Brooks plays some mighty satisfying fiddle.

Andy Ruff plays some fine resonator guitar especially on the duet “Lonesome Indian.” They do this again with “Katy Hill.” Eat your hearts out banjo pickers, the latter is one hot duet. The inclusion of the very fine “Rocky Road To Dublin” is an example of a tune that shares that name. There are eight tunes listed under that title on the Fiddler’s Companion Web site. Ruff’s resonator guitar work on this tune and the others is highly expressive and melodically accurate—no easy task.

There are extensive liner notes that tell the story of this recording project and of some of the accidents that should have, but did not, end Brooks’ fiddling days. There are photographs of many of the players, along with information about them.

This is a project of love and remembrance for two fiddlers now gone. The only tune that may have been included, but wasn’t, is “Polecat Blues,” a tune held in high esteem by many North Carolina fiddlers who have fond memories of Magness’ recording with Roy Hall. (Greg Brooks, 4233 Mineral Bluff Hwy., Mineral Bluff, GA 30559.) RCB