View Full Version : Mandolin CDs

Feb-07-2004, 6:48pm
What are the best instrumental mandolin CDs? Which ones do you guys like the best? Bluegrass, Celtic, Classical, any style, I don’t care. I’d like to add to the old CD collection, and I’d like more Mandolin picking. It can be Solo, or several Mandolins, or Mandolin with other instruments, or anything.

Coy Wylie
Feb-07-2004, 7:00pm
Get the old Bill Monroe recordings from the 30's, 40's and 50's... the heart of bluegrass. I just picked up a box set of 4 CD's for about $25. As far as contemporary BG, Skagg's Live at the Charleston Music Hall and Bluegrass Rules! are great. I also enjoy almost anything by the Dell McCoury Band with Ronnie on mando. There are so many more but these would make a good start.

Feb-07-2004, 7:11pm
I listened to Mike Marshall and Chris Thile on the woodsongs site and it was great. A lot from their cd Into the Cauldron. Check that out.

Feb-07-2004, 7:55pm
Find some Dave Apollon, he is mind blowing. As well I really like the new Grisman/Bush album. John Reischman's first solo album, North of the Border is one of my favourites, a bit of bluegrass a bit of latin etc.

John Flynn
Feb-07-2004, 8:06pm
Best old-time/ragtime mando CD, IMHO: "Little River Stomp" by the Buckhannon Brothers. It is only available from this site:

It is not only great, entertaining, joyous music, but it will expand your horizons as to what a mandolin can do.

Karen Kay
Feb-07-2004, 8:11pm
Dave Peters, Jeff Midkiff, Johnny Staats, Don Stiernberg, Emory Lester. All necessary additions to your collection.

John Flynn
Feb-07-2004, 8:14pm
Oh, and two more recommendations:

Celtic: The Mando Cafe's own Dan Beimborn, "Shatter the Calm." Wonderful stuff!

Blues: "Yank Rachell and his Tennessee Jug Busters." A classic! Truly the real deal.

Feb-07-2004, 8:54pm
It's not only instrumental, but there is a wonderful CD by Johnny Staats project called "Wires & wood". He's not pure any music style, I'd say that he mixes bluegrass with other genres like jazz and European folk music. It's really neat, and has some great bluegrass songs on it.

Everything by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder at Skaggs Family Records contains very good mandolin picking.

Django Fret
Feb-07-2004, 9:23pm
Some great recommendations, and you should also check out this page that was put together by our very own Ted Eschliman (mandohack) for jazz mandolin music:


I also think that most anything by Butch Baldasarri would be very good listening. He is one of the most versatile mandolin players around, and his Web site is at:


Feb-07-2004, 11:24pm
The "Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza" put together by David Grisman and Ronnie McCoury with Sam Bush, Frank Wakefield and others is an amazing and entertaining 2CD set. I second the "Wires and Wood " CD by Johnny Staats, great stuff! I'll stop, but there's a fantastic amount of talent out there.

Michael Lewis
Feb-08-2004, 3:01am
John Moore, Andy Leftwich, Chris Thile, Peter Ostroushko, Norman Blake, etc.

Feb-08-2004, 3:48am
If you only buy one, get this: Emory Lester's "Pale Rider"

Karen Kay
Feb-08-2004, 10:44am
I know I already chimed in but Please consider the Jeff Midkiff CD, "Partners in Time". This guy is great. Listen to Etheria once and decide where he gets his gift.

Feb-08-2004, 12:38pm
Thanks guys, a LOT of good stuff. I wish I had the cash for ALL of it!

I do have a “the best of Bill Monroe” that man is God-like. I can only HOPE to be that fast one day! I checked out “Into the Cauldron” and is sounds awesome. “Wires and Wood” sounds really good, too, from the sample MP3s I heard. Several of you suggested Emory Lester, so he must be good, I will check him out, too.

It is to bad half the stuff you guys are talking about isn’t even on Amazon! They will sell cheap, no talent Female vocalists (no names, you know who I mean), but when it comes to true musical talent, they hardly cover the good stuff. So, where is another site to find all these guys at? My area (East Texas) isn't big on speciality music shops, so Online is my only choice.

I haven’t heard any Blues Mandolin, which of these CDs that you guys suggest should I start with?

Karen- Feel free to chime in as many times as you want :-)

I knew this topic would get some attention :-D

Feb-08-2004, 12:47pm
Someone suggested Sam Bush and David Grisman (mandogreek, I think) and while I was searching, I found "Hold on We're Strummin" with these guys. Is this CD worth it?

Feb-08-2004, 2:06pm
Mandogeek - I sure agree with you on bluegrass extravaganza. I received it for Christmas and really found it to be the best of the best. It is the only one in my collection that the Dh has not said "haven't we heard that enough, how about playing something else?"


Karen Kay
Feb-08-2004, 5:05pm
All of our picks have websites
http://www.jeffmidkiff.com/ for example
Check them out and buy direct from the artist if you can!

Feb-08-2004, 5:55pm
I really like Matt Flinner's stuff. The View From Here and Latitude are both really cool.

Any Mike Marshall stuff, David Grisman of course, and you can't leave out Chris Thile. All of them are phenomenal.

Feb-08-2004, 7:02pm
Hey Tibby! I have "Hold On We're Strumming" it's definitely worth it. They are really great!

Feb-08-2004, 7:46pm
Charlie Provenza's Giant Tarantella CD is fantastic.

Giant Tarantella (http://www.midcontinentmusic.com/detail.cfm?Catalogid=1446)

Feb-08-2004, 8:05pm
Another great one in the italian vein is Traversata by Carlo Aonzo, BeppeGambetta and The Dawg.

Feb-08-2004, 11:33pm
Someone suggested Sam Bush and David Grisman (mandogreek, I think) and while I was searching, I found "Hold on We're Strummin" with these guys. Is this CD worth it?
In a word: yes. great CD.

Feb-09-2004, 4:03pm
Thanks guys. I will no doubt get around to buying most all of the CDs you have suggested. As I keep saying, from the short samples I've heard, they're great.

mandobsessed, Italian, eh? Sounds interesting. I will have to check those out.

If anyone thinks of something else, feel free to post it or PM/e-mail me.

mad dawg
Feb-09-2004, 4:21pm
Some that I've been playing a lot lately include: Shooglenifty's "Arms Dealer's Daughter" (modern Scottish with traditional influence), Dave Grisman's "Hot Dawg", Dixie Chick's "Home" (though it's a vocal-oriented album, there are some solid performances from several well known guest mandolinists on it), Grisman, et. al., on Bluegrass Mandolin Extravanganza. Also frequently in my rotation are MC'ers DanB's "Shattering the Calm", and Kevin MacLeod's "Springwell", and I'm looking forward to receiving Dagger Gordon's latest as well.

Feb-09-2004, 9:34pm
Just out of curiosity, are there and Improv Mandolin CDs out? Like Jam bands of nothing but Mandolins, or that have major mando influance?

Bluegrass Mandolin Extravanganza is now offically on order, along with a few other CDs. I think Wires & wood is with it. and Into the Cauldron. You buys are going to break me http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif I'm still looking into which Blue CDs to buy, and it looks like all the Italian ones are imports (But I'm sure they are worth the extra few buchs) I can't wait to get them in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Feb-09-2004, 11:40pm
Yes, "Hold on We're Struming" is WELL worth it. One that hasn't made it to the list yet is Jethro Burns - "Bye Bye Blues" & "Sing Low Sweet Mandolin". I love that stuff.

Feb-10-2004, 1:30pm
What, no classical (other than occasional excursions on Traversata)? As an excellent demonstration of how rich a solo mandolin can sound without any accompaniment whatsoever in the context of "art" music, you really should see if you can find:

Gertrud Tröster/Troester. 1995. The Romantic Mandolin: 10 unaccompanied preludes of Raffaele Calace. Thorofon, 2211.

Absolutely inhuman! You may have to listen a few times to convince yourself that there are no overdubs.

Feb-10-2004, 7:32pm
Just checked out "the Romantic Mandolin." Awsome stuff!

I seem to say that about everything you guys suggest. Lets face it, the Madnolin is just awsome, peroid!

Feb-12-2004, 7:42pm
Jazz Mandolin Project. "Jungle Tango" is their newest album. Its quite a long way off from bluegrass, but its one of my favorite albums to listen to lately. Drums, Bass, mandolin. Oh and some acordion and piano.

Feb-12-2004, 8:44pm
Thanks, I'll check it out. Don't want my collect to get TO MUCH blue grass, after all.

Feb-12-2004, 11:55pm
Then you might consider the Creaking Tree String Quartet--its its own thing. New acousitc with a chamber music feel. Really innovative stuff, and now up for a Juno!

Feb-15-2004, 5:57pm
Always looking for new tunes, so I copied down some of these suggestions and just got back from picking up a few.

I'm only two tracks into "Jungle Tango" and I'm hoping that somewhere in the remaining tracks a mandolin emerges... The first two tracks sound more like WEATHER REPORT than say: INTO THE CAULDRON (which I don't view as "bluegrass")

On the jazz side of the spectrum I tend to lean more towards Benny Goodman with Charlie Christian than Jaco Pastorius.

I really like INTO THE CAULDRON a lot (more so than other Thile and Nickel Creek stuff).

I also picked up HOLD ON WE'RE STRUMMIN' by Sam and Dave...

Feb-15-2004, 6:11pm
I don't have any cd's, but got a few mp3's from this site of Harmonious Wail and I really like the mandolin picking in that group.