Remembrance Of Things To Come


aec.fowy31035.2 5/30/12 New
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    Remembrance Of Things To Come Smithsonian Records

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Review Text This was the one album by the New Lost City Ramblers to be bartered into an arrangement between Verve and Folkways in the mid-'60s, when one of the United States' reoccurring folk music revivals was in full swing. This meant that, at least for a time, entertainment conglomerate MGM was actually pressing the records of this group. How members such as Mike Seeger felt about having their platters touched by the same machinery that was pressing records by Herman's Hermits may not be known, but the big label made absolutely no changes to the production, that's for sure. Other than using a different cover photo, the two albums are completely identical, even to the point of having catalog numbers that are within a few digits of each other. The collection of pieces is mixed in quality due to the incredible range these three musicians go for. It is difficult enough to create the magic of an old-time performance in a ragtime or Appalachian mode without turning around and trying to sound authentic on a Cajun number. Some of the vocalizing the group does together comes across as flat and even bored-sounding, as if they felt a step removed from what was going on or didn't want to lose their composure through excessive involvement. On the other hand, the players have their instrumental chops down cold and have wonderful ways of combining different instruments within the band. The opening "Soldier's Joy" makes great use of harmonica, played adeptly by Seeger, while manic instrumental numbers such as "Black Bottom Strut" or "New Lost Hometown Blues" are done with great flair, Tracy Schwarz breaking out the spoons for the former and providing a historically early example of thrash guitar on the latter. There are also tracks with great dual fiddling and superior banjo playing in several styles, both solo and in duo. Songs that are highlights from the pure fun perspective include "Cat's Got the Measles and the Dog's Got the Whooping Cough" and "Rock About My Saro Jone." ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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