And, just to show you that I don't have anything against nice, pleasant music (so long as it's done well and not too sappy), here's some fine heart-warming strings and things. Usually the separating question is: have they gone deep enough into the traditional music to understand its subtle depth, or have they merely skimmed its harmonious overtones? In McCutcheon's case, I believe the former is true. Even when making children's music, he stands apart from the crowd in making music that doesn't belittle the innate intelligence of children. But these two albums come before his childrens phase, when he was just making lovely glistening bits of folk.
John McCutcheon - Fine Times at our House
Review by Steve Leggett
John McCutcheon's love for traditional Appalachian music is apparent on all of his many albums, but Fine Times at Our House, recorded for Jean Ritchie and George Pickow's Greenhays label, is particularly neo-Appalachian in feel, featuring several fiddle medleys and McCutcheon's own bright and airy hammer dulcimer playing. Among the many highlights here are the opener, "Wild Rose of the Mountain," a fiddle reel that makes the heart soar, and a wonderful segue that puts two traditional melodies, "Lonesome John" and "Fine Times at Our House," together in one basket. Most of the tracks are instrumentals, but McCutcheon's appropriately creaky singing on the haunting dirge "Times Are Not What They Used to Be" is particularly moving. A bright joy seems to permeate every inch of this record, and its offhand, easy flow makes it a wonderful introduction to McCutcheon's considerable body of work.
1. Wild Rose of the Mountain/Wild Rose of the Mountain
2. Hale's Rag
3. Nancy Ann/Hey, John D., Where'd You Get Your Britches?
4. Lonesome John/Fine Times at Our House
7. I Am the Bravest Cowboy/Cowboy's Dream
8. Times Are Not What They Used to Be
9. Grandpa's Waltz/Clarinet Polka
10. Sally Ann
11. Back Side of Albany/Cooley's Reel
12. Carolan's Farewell to Music
mr | vinyl, cleaned | mp3 >256kbps