Got to thinking about the recordings/CDs/record albums that feature a lot of mandolin and realized that it would be really interesting to know which three recordings/CDs/record albums each of us listens to over and over again and somehow changes us musically and why. Here are mine:
"Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe." A great fiddler – Kenny Baker and Bill Monroe on mandolin playing all Monroe instrumentals. They sound like they are in your living room and it made me realize what a bluegrass instrumental could be.
"I Wasn't Born To Rock And Roll." Roland White putting down a bunch of good mandolin licks. This album really helped me figure out how to play backup.
"Intimo." Hamilton De Holanda. When I heard this recording it just turned me on my ear. Solo mandolin? It's time to expand my vision of what a mandolin can do.
Of course there are many more recordings/CDs/record albums to choose from, but these three always seem new and fresh no matter how many times I hear them.
What are your favorites? Remember: 1) lots of mandolin, 2) you never get tired of hearing them and 3) what did it do to you as a mandolin player?
OK, Here are my three:
1) Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe - Kenny Baker ~ Kenny Baker and Bill Monroe at their best. How could you not like this. This is what it's all about.
2) That Was Now, This Is Then - Frank Wakefield ~ I'm a big fan of Frank Wakefield and I love his style of playing. Besides Bill Monroe my all time favorite mandolin player is Frank Wakefield. I just love his style of playing.
3) Stomp - Mike Compton & David Long ~ One listen to this CD and your hooked. Mike Compton is as close to Bill Monroe as you can get. I'm working on learning every tune on this CD.
These three CD's get constant play on my ipod. I have several more but these are my top three.
Stuche, you read my mind. I was just about to start the same thread. I don't really have any mandolin recordings and wanted some input for stocking stuffer requests.
Here's two that I was going to ask for. If anyone's heard them, I'd love to know what you thought of them.
Skip Gorman's Mandolin in the Cow Camp
Butch Baldassari's Music of O'Carolan
Jamman, those all sound excellent. I'll put them on the list.
Marcelyn, you'll love Mandolin in the Cow Camp--very old timey with tasty playing. And anything by Butch will be top notch. I hope Santa brings you those 2 and Baker Plays Monroe too.
this might sound terribly snooty and seem out of place but vivaldi's concerto for 2 mandolins is a favorite of mine - with james tyler and robin jeffries (mandolin) - a real toe-tapper:
... close your eyes and it's not too hard to imagine a bunch of be-wigged venetian swells, juking and jiving around to this.
Vivaldi is never out of place...few composers took the mandolin seriously, but he certainly did. "Venetian swells, juking and jiving..." Got to get that image out of my head.
I only have one that fits your criteria: David Grisman's "Hot Dawg"
"What are your favorites? Remember:
1) lots of mandolin, yep plenty of that
2) you never get tired of hearing them I've been listening to it since 1978
3) what did it do to you as a mandolin player? "It made me a bass player.
I couldn't pick three, there is so much music out there it's impossible, but the ones that influence me are Rags, Reels & Airs by Dave Swarbrick, Winter With Mandolins by Simon Mayor, An Evening With by Dando Shaft, Wire Works by Joel McDermott, Mando Lore by Brian Taheny & Andrew Collins, Polblain To Oranmore by Kevin MacLeod, Act One by the Seldom Scene, anything by Blue Highway, anything by Chesapeake, the two Dan Beimborn albums, anything by Don Stiernberg, Don Julin, Andy Statman....I could go on and on but it's pointless, there's so many!!!!!
A lot of my faves have been mentioned above, but not this one:
"Original Underground Music From The Mysterious South" by Norman Blake, now available on CD as "Natasha's Waltz." Mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, guitar, cello, and fiddle play on this fabulous album.
Meeting on Southern Soil - Norman Blake and Peter Ostroushko: I'm pretty much of the belief that Norman Blake has only put out great albums. Theres a real warmth in his playing that is just pervasive, theres a homely tone on his albums that just makes me play them in relay, one after another in day long Norman Blake sessions. Meeting on Southern Soil is perhaps my favorite of the lot, probably because of its higher than usual mandolin content.
The album consists mostly acoustic duets, though sometimes they are joined by Nancy Blake on cello. I'll admit right now a bias for small group playing as i like to hear the interaction between the players, but this album has a nice twist on that, as both Blake and Ostrousko are multi-instrumentalists, and this allows access to guitar, fiddle, mandolin, mandola, which coupled with a mix of song and instrumentals really helps to vary the proceedings. What i really appreciate about this album is that its all relayed in such a relaxed and simple fashion, there is no competition and no showboating, everything goes in to serve the music. This has long been an ideal of mine, i'm not a fan of speed or blatant showy technicity, so when i listen to an album where two players who could otherwise play the scales off a fish but choose not to i find it a joy.
Wildhog in a Redbrush - John Hartford: Well, theres a string of albums Mr. Hartford did with Mike Compton on mandolin that i love but this one just about wins out as overall favorite. Theres a real enthusiastic verve there that gets me grinning and the tunes are cracking good. All in all this album really did spark an enthusiasm that led me to explore oldtime fiddle music, and old time mandolin players in greater detail.
Concerning Mr. Compton's playing, well at the time it was a revelation for me, he manages to roll out both a full bodied chorded tones and heavy melody, its just such a charged sound, looser than Monroe, but with a similar drive. It was just what i needed to hear at a time where i was casting about for mandolin playing that did not simply rely on whippet quick licks and clever stringy runs to get its kicks. Also, Mr. Compton's playing also pushed me to go back and really listen to Mr. Monroe's work which opened up new aspects of that for me.
A Splendid Notion - Luke Plumb: Admittedly this is a newer album to the listening treasure trove but it is undoubtedly a gem.
One of the problems i have found with mandolin recordings is that there often seems to be a tendency to fill out the sound with the inclusion of other instruments, a friendly fiddle or a big brother bouzouki for instance. Now, i appreciate plenty of albums like this but i really hungered for an album that allowed a mandolin the space to sound without the acoustic padding.
A Splendid Notion gets around this compromise in a rather nifty manner where by Plumb is accompanied only by percussion from James Mackintosh. The percussion certainly does support the mandolin playing but it does so without coddling to mandolin the way other instruments have a tendency to do. This really puts it up to Mr. Plumb to deliver the goods on the mandolin and deliver he does, driving melody, enough swing to make Django blush, the playing is charged yet without gimmick, lighting the tunes up, reminding you, that, yes, they are for dancing.
I'll mention a couple of others that haven't been yet.
1) Chris Thile- Not all Who Wander Are Lost Amazing mandolin picking of course and a stellar cast of pickers including Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Bryan Sutton, Byron House. Most of the songs were written by Thile or collaborated with one of the above mentioned. Very technical stuff. I never get tired of hearing most of the stuff on there.
2) Matt Flinner Trio- Music Du Jour. This album is another that I can't get tired of. All the songs on here were written by the 3 band members (Matt Flinner-mandolin, Ross Martin-Guitar, Eric Thorin-bass) with an interesting twist. They did a couple of tours where each band member wrote new songs every day and they had to perform them that night as a group with only an hour or 2 of rehearsal. The music is really varied from jazzy stuff, to bluegrass to some rockin' stuff but all with very developed melody and feel and great improvisation. Awesome stuff. Flinner plays a really nice sounding Gil.
3) Hot Rize- So Long of a Journey. Tim Obrien has always been one of my favorite mandolin players, especially after getting this album. His playing is just so different- sounding from anybody else. One of the most best mandolin players along with all the other instruments he plays AND songwriter...... Anyways.... this album solidifies the above statements. Frank's Blues, anybody? Hot Rize.
M. Marmot I actually have the Luke Plumb album and it is REALLY GOOD. Highly recommended. Mandolin and percussion; that's it. Luke is one of the best.
Another one that is really a must-have is the Bill Monroe Doc Watson live recordings. No need to explain why.
Yes, more than 3...sorry! There's too many....
I am not familiar with much mando music. But I love David & Jerry, Norman Blake & Peter Ostrushko sp? Bobby Hortons stuff too.