The Early Years, 1958-1962
THe New Lost City Ramblers (1991)
I don't think it's possible to overestimate the impact of The New Lost City Ramblers. These guys were an old-time music machine starting in the late 50s. I've always enjoyed the diversity of material on this record, which was drawn from their first 12 Folkways releases. That's not a misprint--they made 12 records in 4 years.
On the banjo front, you hear fingerpicking and frailing styles back to back. Lots of great songs and tunes here, and also a variety of instruments. I love the autoharp on this record, and that's what turned me on to The Carter Family.
Of particular strength on this record are the depression-era songs, such as "No Depression in Heaven" and "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" Seeger, Paley, and Cohen are great at tight harmonies on these and the other tunes.
Speaking of tight harmonies. I've never been a huge bluegrass fan, but "On Some Foggy Mountain Top" and "My Long Journey Home." We used to do these tunes in the Frenzy Brothers. Great fun to play bass on these.
I love Mike Seeger's voice. He's almost as good a yodeler as my pal Curtis Eller.
I've often thought that if I could go back in time, New York City between the years 1955-1965 would be an amazing musical destination. I'd try to soak in the New Lost City and all my favorite jazzers like Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, etc.
This record is a must have.