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Old Time Herald Review

Posted by arnie on Monday, June 23, 2008

I just got my copy of the summer issue and wowee - a review thanks to Banjo Hangout's Pete Peterson! It's a really good issue with articles about Brandywine, Kevin Enoch & Kate Brett - check out the Old time Herald - you'll be glad you did.

We are online with a really high quality mp3 of Blue Railroad Train - give a listen.
It is right HERE.

More details at Merriweather Records

Lookie here:

The Old Time Herald June / July 2008 Volume 11, Number 5

 You can tell a lot about a CD by its cover. Here we see a portrait of Kathy Reid-Naiman and her husband Arnie Naiman, standing in front of a music store, with A. P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter on their left, the Delmore Brothers on their right, and, sitting in front, Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Poole, and Riley Puckett. You think, "This CD probably has some good singing-they certainly chose some great sources to learn from." And it doesn't just have some good singing-almost every song is a gem. In Canada, even in the southern part, winter comes early and stays late. A couple from Toronto who enjoys singing and playing old-time music will have the chance to work out arrangements carefully, choosing vocal harmonies and instrumental parts to make the song sound Iovely. These arrangements (and their instrumental breaks) sound effortless, which means, of course, that effort was spent in getting to that point. Hearing some of these songs inspired me to go to our CD collection and check out some of the originals, to see what has been added and taken away. "Leaving Home," which I first heard done y the New Lost City Ramblers long before I heard Charlie Poole's original, sounds great as a duet. ( Arnie's three finger banjo playing isn't bad, either.) Riley Puckett's "Ragged but Right" also works well with two voices. Even more interesting is their method for rendering Delmore Brothers songs: instead of the standard brother configuration of lead voice and close tenor harmony only a few notes above, Kathy sings lead, while Arnie sings the tenor harmony an octave lower. They use the same system for Whitey and Hogan's "Gosh, I MissYou All the Time"-a wonderful song and my favorite of the CD. The Carter Family's "Sailor on the Deep Blue Sea" was done with two close voices. While I miss A. P.'s bass from the original, this too works well as a duet. I also appreciate that they learned these songs from the original recordings and point the listener to these recordings with their well-written and careful liner notes. All of the songs discussed above use simple harmonies, played using only the 1,4, and 5 chords, and harmonies using notes in those chords. However Arnie and Kathy also enjoy singing more complicated harmonies-like the ones that the Boswell Sisters of the 1930s used for songs like "Dinah." They said, "In our version, since there are only two of us, we do a bit of vocal part switching to cover all the bases." And they do it well. They also do two songs with five voices: "A Nose Full of Nickels" and "Harmony Road," adding the three singers of Finest Kind to their two voices. The 1930s pop songs (and the recently composed "Harmony Road") are nice, but I most enjoyed the simpler harmonies of the duets. Even if you think you know all of these songs and would probably prefer the original recordings to any possible modern cover you ought to buy this CD. It's worth listening to. Furthermore, for folks who enjoy the old-time songs but are unable to appreciate the old recordings (because of the primitive production values and/or the more stilted old-time vocal styles ), this is an excellent CD choice.

Pete Peterson

1 comment on “Old Time Herald Review”

Hunter Robertson Says:
Monday, June 23, 2008 @5:22:06 PM

Congratulations Arnie! That's a great review.

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