View Full Version : old-time mandolin; recommended listening?

Jul-15-2006, 10:05pm
Hi All,

Just started playing old-time fiddle, and hope to get a mandolin soon as well. Have a bunch of fiddle cds, but nothing with mandolin on it (old-time I mean; I have bluegrass, classical, and yank rachell). Who should I be listening to?

Loren Bailey
Jul-15-2006, 11:37pm
Here's who I like

Clyde Curley and Oxymorons
Foghorn Stringband
Reeltime Travelers
Skip Gorman
Mike Compton and David Long
The Buchannon Brothers


Fred Keller
Jul-15-2006, 11:54pm
Check out Kenny Hall and the Sweets Mill String Band. Jody Stecher also plays some nice OT mandolin.

Oh yeah, Norman Blake ain't bad either.

Conversely, I like to listen to the fiddlers and see what I can absorb. There's a lot more of them and there are a lot more styles to sort through.

Have fun!

John Flynn
Jul-16-2006, 10:49am
I have to second the recommendations for Gorman, Curley and Buckhannon. They are the current "Big 3" of OT mando, IMHO, not that some of the others mentioned aren't great also.

BTW, if you can't get enough of Curtis Buckhannon playing with the Buckhannon Brothers, you can also catch him with the Ill-Mo Boys on thier current CD.

You should also check out Bruce Ling on the "Hawks and Owls" website. He does some great OT mando stuff, which can be found in the "download music" section. I really wish he would do a CD.

In addition, I recently found a gem of a recording that was done in 1973, but has only recently been released. It is called "Traditional Fiddle Tunes" and it is by Harry Liedstrand (fiddle), Cary Lung (mando) and David Green (guitar). All these guys used to play with Kenny Hall. The OT mando work is very good throughout. It can only be gotten directly from Harry Liedstrand. The email I used with him was: hdliedstrand@comcast.net, although the CD also has an address of: harry@mtwow.com. I highly recommend it.

Jul-17-2006, 7:08am
Don't forget to listen to other instruments, too. Mandolin is my main, but I play some other things; once, someone commented that they liked my old-time sound, "lots of drones and stuff, just like your clawhammer banjo playing."


Jul-17-2006, 9:55am
IMO THE mandolin (and mandola and mandocello) tour de force is Norman and Nancy's Natasha's Waltz:

http://www.rounder.com/index.p....id=5399 (http://www.rounder.com/index.php?id=album.php&musicalgroupid=915&catalog_id=5399)

I'd say Norman, Peter O., and Carl Jones (all on this record) are my mandolin "big three" (so check other recordings by them as well). If you haven't heard it, the record might blow you away (it does to me every time I put it on). However, the tunes are NOT simple, and I am just now (after a few years of mando) getting to where I can pick out some of the melodies.

Some of it is beautiful American parlor music, and some just plain rocks!

Have fun,

Jim Yates
Jul-17-2006, 10:40am
I like the New Lost City Ramblers and the Red Clay Ramblers in addition to many of the already mentioned players. Try some of the "brothers" duos.

Jul-17-2006, 11:34am
If you get a hold of the Indian Creek Delta Boys records, they have lots of mandolin by Chirps Smith before he switch to mostly playing fiddle these days.
Fiddle, Mandolin and Guitar. All instrumental.

Russ Jordan
Jul-17-2006, 11:38am
Bing Brothers from WVA. Mike Bing plays some great OT mandolin

Jul-17-2006, 8:28pm
Wow, thanks for all the replies everyone, I can't wait to check a bunch of these out. Maybe I'll end up playing fiddle tunes on my mandolin (when I get one) and mandolin tunes on my fiddle! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Adam Tracksler
Jul-19-2006, 4:21pm
Dont forget Carl Jones!! One of my personal faves ( and a heck of a guy!), if you ever get a chance to see him or meet him - do!

Jul-20-2006, 6:41am
Yep, Carl Jones. I mentioned him in my post above. A great guy and one heck of a player. Makes a guit, banjo, fiddle, and uke sound great too! I'm fortunate to be taking a few lessons from him recently.

Aug-13-2006, 6:09pm
I agree with what everyone has said,especially about Carl Jones,he is a great musician and a great guy plays some mean OT mandolin on his 1924 Gibson A4.

He has toured the UK three times with Beverly Smith and I have been lucky to see him six times.He is back in September at the Didmartin bluegrass festival he is going to take part in the mandolin workshop.Carl out of interest played on Natasha's Waltz.

Apr-10-2010, 10:14pm
Bing Brothers from WVA. Mike Bing plays some great OT mandolin

Man, I'd have to heartily agree. I had the pleasure of seeing these guys at a relatively small private party tonight, and Mike did an awesome job. Super nice guy, too, as are his brothers. I had a blast listening to them, but they also warmly tolerated me sitting outside the circle and trying to keep up (I couldn't, by the way, but had a blast).

Found this thread on a google search, btw, hence the 4 year gap...

Apr-10-2010, 11:54pm
Maybe I'll end up playing fiddle tunes on my mandolin (when I get one) and mandolin tunes on my fiddle! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Its all good.

Apr-13-2010, 10:19am
Of course, of course.

Apr-13-2010, 12:00pm
I did a search here the other day for "old-time" since I was looking for some recommended listening. I read for hours through many great threads and wrote down many of the bands/artists I found. I'll save some folks here a bit of time and list what I found:

The Carter Family
Carl Jones & Beverly Smith
Peter Sutherland
Foghorn Stringband
Curtis Buckhannon (who came up time and again)
The Compton/Long collaborations
Skip Gorman (Mandolin In The Cow Camp gets rave reviews here)
Kenny Hall with the Sweets Mill String Band
Clyde Curley
Blue Sky Boys
The Louvin Brothers
John Hartford (The CD Speed of the Long Bow was mentioned a lot)
Coley Jones and the Dallas String Band
The Dickel Brothers
The Allen Brothers
Three Stripped Gears
Red Fox Chasers
Prairie Ramblers
The New Lost City Ramblers (a lot seem to enoy this band!)
Camp Creek Boys
County Camp Creek Boys (might be the same guys; I'm not sure?)
The Hunger Mountain Boys
Smokey Valley Boys
Mike Seeger & Jody Stecher collaborations (or anything by Mike Seeger)
The Skillet Lickers
The Rising Fawn String Ensemble
Toast String Stretchers

And these are just what I wrote down. There were more, but these seemed of interest to me; hopefully this list will help others on the journey of discovering great old-time music.

Steve Baker
Apr-13-2010, 12:56pm
Uncle Earl!


Apr-13-2010, 1:48pm
I like the New Lost City Ramblers and the Red Clay Ramblers in addition to many of the already mentioned players.

Ditto on the Red Clay Ramblers, they kind of mixed OT and bluegrass together. I recently jammed with Jim Watson, still going strong on that old F-4 of his.

Greg Stec
Apr-19-2010, 4:00pm
Check these out. From Old Hat Records.
Good for what ails ya'. http://www.oldhatrecords.com/cd1005.html
Down in the Basement. http://www.oldhatrecords.com/cd1004.html
In the pines. http://www.oldhatrecords.com/cd1006.html
He sure do pull some bow. http://www.oldhatrecords.com/cd1003.html
Violin, sing the blues for me. http://www.oldhatrecords.com/cd1002.html

The last two are fiddle but would work very well for mando, IMO.
I love stuff on 78s

Apr-19-2010, 9:51pm
Try some Old Crow Medicine Show; IE: Wagon Wheel
And: Anything by Done Gone String Band.


Greg Stec
May-04-2010, 12:11pm
This video may be of some inspiration.

Jean Fugal
Dec-26-2010, 8:46am
Some Yank Rachell stuff here:

Blues Mandolin Man

Too Hot For The Devil