View Full Version : BestBluegrassflavoredalbum

Apr-15-2004, 10:20pm
Hello boys and girls. I'm wondering which instrumental Bluegrass album do YOU figure was the best of the whole last 60 years?I'm not going to tell you what my pick is 'cause I dont want to influence the outcome.... Kerry

Apr-16-2004, 5:34am
This is interesting. Can't wait to see the results. I'm not going to put my choice either as I don't want to influence the outcome.

Atlanta Mando Mike
Apr-16-2004, 12:43pm
If know one influences the outcome then this is a pointless thread-which i think is what tim-n-va is saying. I'll be the first.\

Bela Fleck DRIVE

Apr-16-2004, 12:58pm
Bela Fleck DRIVE

...but only because I was influenced by Atlanta Mando Mike's choice.

Apr-16-2004, 1:19pm

Atlanta Mando Mike
Apr-16-2004, 3:11pm
Wow, this thread is getting deep-what came first the chicken or the egg? #If it keeps going like this I may be able to say that right now, in 2004, my influence may make the album drive become a well known instrumental bluegrass album. #Maybe influence doesn't have a time boundary and it is my writing on this board that influenced so many people to like this album in the past. #MANDOLIN CAFE HAS FAR REACHING POWERS AND SHOULD HAVE #A WARNING LABEL BEFORE IT GETS SUED AND IS THOUGHT OF LIKE BIG TOBACCO OR THE FORD PINTO http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif #

Apr-16-2004, 3:19pm
Hey, Mike!

Here's the really cool part: You're influencing people who have never even heard the album!

That, my friend, is INFLUENCE!!

Bobbie Dier
Apr-16-2004, 3:24pm
I'm gonna say Bela Fleck Drive.Especially that swamp song or white water. I like Fiddlistics(Has ride the wild turkey on it) and Country Cooking or David Grier and Mike Compton's instrumental album. Can I only pick one? Naaaaa.

Apr-16-2004, 3:24pm
Strength In Numbers---Telluride Sessions is pretty darn good!

Apr-16-2004, 3:26pm
I generally don't like instrumental albums. #That is mostly because I put one in the cd player as I drive and after a few minutes I think "that first song is great" and it turns out I'm on song 6. #That is, there generally isn't enough variation and the songs start sounding alike.

With that perpective, my favorite is "Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganze" since its stated purpose is to highlight different unique styles.

I do like Wayne Benson's "Instrumental Anthology" also...

floyd floar
Apr-16-2004, 3:37pm
are we talking about straight 'grass, newgrass, or crabgrass instrumentals? chordially yrs., floyd??? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif Second marriage- The triumph of love over experience.-Bierce

Apr-16-2004, 3:43pm
Floyd - I'd tell you, but I don't want to influence the outcome...

floyd floar
Apr-16-2004, 3:46pm
Gary- You can't influence me- I'm completely uninfluential. Floyd

Apr-16-2004, 3:51pm

I had to close my eyes so as not to be influenced by somebody else (though I'm hearing little voices saying "Drive! Drive! You must vote Drive!).

But my choice is... "Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe".

Hope I don't accidently influence somebody else.

Apr-16-2004, 3:58pm
The Kentucky Colonels #"Appalachian Swing".

Clarence & Roland White!!!

A classic.

Apr-16-2004, 4:05pm
Hey All,

This is so easy! Cuz I only got one. But to make it more complicated - is it disc 1 or disc 2 of Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza? I'm not gonna say which tho cuz I don't wanna influence the outcome.:D

Take Care! -Ed-

Apr-16-2004, 4:09pm
Strength In Numbers---Telluride Sessions is pretty darn good!

It's HERESY, I tells ya!!

T H E R E I S O N L Y O N E A N S W E R !

Apr-16-2004, 4:24pm
You're all wrong!!

It's DRIVE, I tells ya!... D R I V E

... in fact, one o' these days I'm even gonna listen to that CD, jus' to prove it! Until then, Atlanta Mando Mike's word is good enuf fer me!!

Apr-16-2004, 4:41pm
Easily influenced?? Who... me??

Apr-16-2004, 4:59pm
Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe is one of my favorites, but don't forget Foggy Mountain Banjo.

Apr-16-2004, 5:29pm

Despite no banjer!


Scotti Adams
Apr-16-2004, 5:43pm

Despite no banjer!

..thats not an instrumental album....but I agree...its a great Lp....Im gonna have to lean towards "Drive".....The David Grisman "Rounder" Lp is a killer thing...even tho its not all instrumental...

Apr-16-2004, 6:33pm
Whoops, I didn't see the instrumental thing!

I love Bluegrass 96. I listen to it all the time!


jim simpson
Apr-16-2004, 7:40pm
What?, nobody mentioned the soundtrack to "Deliverence"!

Clyde Clevenger
Apr-16-2004, 8:15pm
Climbing the Walls, with Compton and Grier.

Bobbie Dier
Apr-16-2004, 8:35pm
They asked for bluegrass flavored. What flavor is bluegrass?

Apr-16-2004, 8:50pm
I leave you people alone for 5 minuts, and look what you've done to my beutiful thread! I had no idea you guys(?) would so overwelmingly choose MY FAVORITE ALLTIME ALBUM!Drive rocks! I had a dedicated Bluegrass radio show in Winnipeg for a few years ,( It is still called " Hit The Big Wide Strum Pal")and anytime I had to up the anty, Whitewater! Down in the swamp, man just about anything on there.

Apr-16-2004, 10:31pm
Hey All,

When I posted earlier about disc 1 or disc 2 of bluegrass mandolin extravaganza - well it was cuz I hadn't heard disc 2 yet. just got the cds today. Anyway the answer is IMO disc 1 by a hair!

Take Care! -Ed-

BTW Mandoholic hows everything in Salem? I graduated from Corvallis. Used to go to Salem alot - even ran around with a daughter of the owner of Ball Bros Chevy in Turner for a while.

Billy Mack
Apr-17-2004, 5:14am

Apr-17-2004, 12:01pm
I have to agree with the majority and say "Drive". I learned so much from that album and it should be considered essential learning for any instrument.

Apr-17-2004, 2:56pm
I'd have to go with Appalachian Swing or Kenny Baker plays Bill Monroe, I can't decide. They are both perfect.

floyd floar
Apr-17-2004, 5:23pm
Two of the greatest BG instrumental Lps were Big Mon's "Bluegrass Instrumentals" and F&S's "Strictly Instrumental" w\ Doc Watson. Chordially yrs., Floyd

Apr-17-2004, 7:19pm
Two more I absolutely love:

Jimmy Martin, Big and Country
Doyle Lawson, Tennessee Dream

Apr-17-2004, 10:58pm
Bela ,for those interested,is sitting 4 votes above all the others.I agree about not knowing which to pick if you have'nt heard it.If I was a millionare,I would buy 4 or 5 thousand copies, and give the out to anyone openminded about music,but does'nt know anything about The Bluegrass music.

Apr-17-2004, 11:40pm
I don't want to be influenced by anybody, so I have to decide for myself....I am going to buy "DRIVE" tomorrow, and make my opinion later, not to be influenced by this thread!

Apr-18-2004, 9:41am
App. Swing

Roland and Clarence forever!!!


Apr-18-2004, 12:12pm
Yonkle -

That's funny, I purchased DRIVE yesterday based on this thread. Typically, I shy away from anything branded with the label: bluegrass, but I have a couple of Bela's other recordings and he plays on a ton of other stuff. I also really like Jerry Douglas's new release (although not his older ones).

So, DRIVE is in my cd player at the moment.

I also picked up Sam's new one yesterday while I was at it.


Apr-18-2004, 1:35pm
I have to agree on Kenny Baker plays Bill Monroe

Apr-18-2004, 4:43pm
Garry R.S. ,Are you not a fan of The Bluegrass music? I'm just wondering why you would shy away from it? Also I'm interested , of the people who did not vote for Drive,have you heard it? Also (2) ,Did you know that the car on Drive is the SAME CAR as the one on Ricky Skaggs Bluegrass Rules?I blew up the pics of both cd s and the same blemish is on the car!

Apr-18-2004, 6:54pm
krishna - I have never really enjoyed the frantic banjo and homesick harmonies of bluegrass. I like instrumental stuff and always enjoy a virtuoso player - but some of the songs completely turn me off.

Apr-18-2004, 7:17pm
i was going to say strength in numbers too (sam is the man), but now had to change to "drive" because i was influenced darn it!

Apr-18-2004, 10:03pm
I've heard Drive. Have you heard the other albums discussed? Frankly I find this belief that Drive somehow destroys all other bluegrass albums weird. There are lots of good bluegrass albums, the more you enjoy the better. This is not "My Dad can beat up your Dad."

Atlanta Mando Mike
Apr-18-2004, 10:15pm
Alot of people have brought up Strength in numbers. To me, the difference between strength in numbers and drive is soul and just playing in a musical way. Strength in numbers, to me, is a album about some virtuosic playing, but it is missing the living, breathing, natural feel of drive. It sounds contrived to me somwhat. Also, Alot of the musicians were angry with each other during that recording process. Some people at that time were getting paid triple union scale while others weren't. Some seriuos ego's were bumping and i think it turned into somewhat of a pissing contest. I think Mark O'conner was in the rucuc and may have been the cause of it.

Atlanta Mando Mike
Apr-18-2004, 10:19pm
By the way Strenght in Numbers isStill a great album though, and this is just my opinion not meant to influence anyone not to buy this record. #It still is one of the best and a must have for any seriuos student of newgrass. #Mark O's mandolin playing on Macedonia has to be the most fluid mando break I have heard on any Recording pre thile. #It just wouldn't be a desert island disc for me.

Apr-18-2004, 11:12pm
Sam Bush-Glamour & Grits
Ricky Skaggs-Bluegrass Rules, and Ancient Tones
Skaggs & Rice-The bluegrass album
Doc Watson-Doc Watson on stage w/ Merle watson
Mandolin Extravaganza for strictly instrumental

Apr-19-2004, 8:27am
It's a tough call. #I'd have to go 50/50 with either:

A) Bela Fleck - Drive.....very progressive stuff and very tasty.

B) #Team Flathead CD - This is the Steve Huber Demo CD recently recorded by Ron Stewart. #It is simply some of the BEST in your face Bluegrass that you'll EVER hear, by monster pickers. #If you hadn't heard of it before, it started out as a Demo CD for potential Huber buyers to hear the different models of Hubers. #It grew into a recording session that took all of two days to complete with Ron Stewart, Sammy Shelor, John Lawless, Steve Huber and Jim Mills all playing different Huber model Banjos (on different tracks). #Each banjo player is featured on at least two tracks. #Andy Todd (Bass), Alan Bibey (Mando), Kenny Smith (Guitar) and Ron Stewart (Fiddle) make up the rest of the band. #Some of the Best Grass Instrumental stuff I've ever heard. #For $13 (and that includes shipping), you can hardly go wrong. #Bibey and Smith along with Ron Stewart's fiddle work is amamzing. #Pick it up!!

Apr-19-2004, 9:00am
Garrett, you are right about it not being a ,my dad ,your dad thing.I actually started this thread because ,well I had no idea what would be picked.Drive, for me represents all that is good and true about The Bluegrass music. This album,by itself, I think could even convert some of the hardcore classical musicians in the world.There are a huge number of them that figure that every other type of music in the world just does'nt matter. This album,these musicians,the not quite over the top playing, would definetly intrest them. Bluegrass needs all the respect it can get after some of the antics by the 'pros'during the last century.I could probably listen to it 2 or 3 times a week till the end of my life and not get tired of it.And I understand your attitude about this thread.Personally, I plan on buying ALL these albums. What's your vote? And Jdart,is there an e mail address for the flathead thing? People,do you realize that this also might be just a mandolin player thing,considering the site we are on...

Apr-19-2004, 11:09am
Team Flathead (Huber Demo) CD (http://www.huberbanjos.com/c_team_flathead.htm)

If you pop into the computer, there is a 20 minute DVD about Steve Huber and his process/theory plus stripped down versions of every track (Huber Banjo ONLY). Several candid photos of the Recording session too. It's worth it just to buy and see what they did to the Bass player....poor fellow.

Stick it in your CD player and you get the full band versions of CLASSIC Bluegrass Instrumental by TOP FLIGHT pickers.

Apr-19-2004, 4:57pm
That site just froze my computer!aaaaahhh CRAP

Apr-20-2004, 6:47pm
I dug out my copy of "Drive" and played it while running errands today. #I'll keep my vote for "Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza". #Of course, that is probably me just rebeling against the influence early in the thread.

Apr-20-2004, 11:03pm
Yeah, I went and listened to "Drive" again, and without further influence, I'll go with Mr. Bill's "Master of Bluegrass" because they recorded it in 6 hours...

Apr-20-2004, 11:49pm
Oh Crap! Now I'm really confused, guess I will get them all. Does Grisman play on bluegrass extravaganza or is it just under his lable?? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Apr-21-2004, 9:40am
Oh, he plays! Check out Roanoke.


Apr-21-2004, 12:00pm
Add one more for "Drive". I can't get enough of that one, especially Slipstream, Natchez Trace, and Down in the Swamp. Whitewater is quite a barnburner.

Apr-21-2004, 12:06pm
Although the instrumentation is proper for bluegrass, I don't really see Strength in Numbers as a Bluegrass flavored album, as the the tunes are rock, jazz, reggae, pop, and classical flavored. If that fits into the catagory, then I also have to cast a vote for Thile's "Not All Who Wander Are Lost". His composing and arranging is brilliant.

Apr-22-2004, 11:13pm
Well you guys talked me into it. I went and bought "Drive" today. Awesome! I also got Bill Monroe "Anthology" well worth the money.

Apr-25-2004, 3:49pm
Well. I went a got Drive today! My wife actually loved it! She usually hates this type of music! So I have to say that it ranks pretty high. Anything instrumental with Sam on it is usually pretty darn good!

But, The Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza is hard to beat. And I still can't get enough of Bluegrass '96!


Apr-25-2004, 4:27pm
chiropractic< thanks! I seem to be preaching to the choir on this one.Just last month I heard something on the album I had'nt heard before, and it was a shock! A number of years ago, (Late 90s) I was a soundperson #at a club in Winnipeg. On a daily basis, I got to the club an hour or two before anyone else. I had two albums I listened to everyday on that 8000 watt monster.(I'm an acoustic musician, and I never played music at the club at excessive volumes. just REALY LOUD!) One album was 'money for nothing' #and the other was Drive. We had no niebors(?) near the club so I could do what I wanted! Fun times...I realy miss that PA system sometimes...

Dan Cole
Apr-26-2004, 3:37pm
I just got Drive after reading about it here. Its great. What others have I missed?

Apr-26-2004, 4:45pm
While it's not quite Bluegrass - I can't get enough of the DGQ's first album - DGQ. Especially Dawg's Rag!


Apr-29-2004, 12:45am
If DGQ counts, then I'd have to give my vote that way... I'm not usually one for instrumentals... I enjoy the painful lonesome lyrics. Though I own and enjoy both Drive and Extravaganza... DGQ gets the cake. Otherwise, I'll vote for Doc's instrumental album.

Apr-29-2004, 7:24am
Anxiously awaiting some other opinions of the Team Flathead CD from the Steve Huber Site. If that's not an award winning, list topper for Bluegrass flavored instrumental album of the year, I don't know what is.

It's in my top 3 all time favorites already!!

May-04-2004, 6:21am
I must mention Bryan Sutton's #Bluegrass Guitar CD. #Great oldtime songs and tremendous picking from Tim O'Brien on that disc.

Andrew Reckhart
May-05-2004, 7:43am
Didn't Jerry Douglas put out a hell of an instrumental album (or nearly all instrumental album) a couple of years ago?

May-05-2004, 8:40am
You may be talking about Jerry Douglas' "Slide Rule". Had Maura O'connel, Tim O'brien, and another or two singing on it. Maybe 3 vocal tracks, but it was a great "instrumental" Album.

Andrew Reckhart
May-05-2004, 12:32pm
That's it!
Awesome recording. He is absolutely amazing!

Bobbie Dier
May-05-2004, 3:18pm
Another good one is Scott Nygaard "Dreamer's Waltz" Great instrumental CD. It has one vocal tune with Tim O'Brien singing. There are some good old time sounding tunes on there too. Mike Marshall and John Reischman play mando on a few cuts. My favorite has to be Crockett's Honeymoon. Have ya heard this one?? There are a lot of GREAT pickers on it.

May-08-2004, 8:14pm
Drive! By far the best instrumental bluegrass album ever! Bela rocks!!! And no-one can tell me it's not bluegrass. When that mando, fiddle and Bela's banjo winds up, add that thumpin' bass and away they gooooo!

Peter Hackman
May-25-2004, 8:49am
Everybody mentions Drive; I forget why I didn't keep it.
I much prefer Acoustic Planet, the
BG sessions.

Now there's the question of labels again. Strength In Numbers is
a great CD, but is it BG?

One instrumental CD that is unquestionably BG is the
Monroe collection on County, American Traveler.
It has some very representative stuff and some less memorable
numbers. Can't think of a pure BG instrumental collection
that beats it.

However, my vote for the best acoustic, at least partly folk-based,
instrumental CD of all times goes to Mark O'Connor's
30 Year Retrospective, which also has lots of mandolin,
more mandolin per time unit than any other album
I've heard.

And it all makes musical sense! What a wonderful sense of
form and dynamics these four musicians possess!

May-25-2004, 9:32am
Well, I certainly don't want to influence the outcome, but I think there are four titles that are missing from this list........

The Old Style Mandolin - Skip Gorman: Recently re-released on CD, a must have for the Monroe fan!

Man-O-Mandolin - Katsuyuki Miyazaki: Could be the best Japanese mandolin player you've never heard of.

The Great Dobro Sessions - Produced by Jerry Douglas and Tut Taylor: I think this one won a grammy and while it's not a mandolin recording there's enough of Ronnie McCoury to satisfy anyone.

Short Trip Home - Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall & Sam Bush: This one won a grammy too and with a lineup like this it's easy to see why.

Peter Hackman
May-26-2004, 6:18am
Well, I certainly don't want to influence the outcome, but I think there are four titles that are missing from this list........

The Old Style Mandolin - Skip Gorman: Recently re-released on CD, a must have for the Monroe fan!

Short Trip Home - Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall & Sam Bush: This one won a grammy too and with a lineup like this it's easy to see why.
Short Trip Home belongs in any list of influential
newacoustic albums, but then you can add just about ANY
CD with Edgar Meyer, e.g. the Appalachian albums,
the Barenberg-Douglas collaboration, even his
classic stuff, except the Bach cello sonatas which for
some reason didn't work at all. Bluegrass? I don't
care, really, maybe we are giving the right answers to the wrong question.

My list may grow longer. Today I received Dawg 90
and Fleck-Meyer (as well as Skip Gorman, for roots)
in the mail. I keep buying this stuff.
10 or 15 years ago it seemed that "progressive grass"
or "newgrass", or whatever, was a lot about fingers, very clinical;
today the concept has matured into some kind of
classical music, classic in form and dynamics,
but with the spontaneity and intimacy of the best in jazz,
or grass, for that matter. For some years
recently I felt
I could only enjoy music, not be moved by it,
but some of these cats have changed that for me.

May-26-2004, 8:08am
...but then you can add just about ANY CD with Edgar Meyer
How could I have overlooked this one:

Skip, Hop and Wobble - Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer and Russ Barenburg: Several of the most influential pickers in the "new acoustic" genre, absolutely fantastic!