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CD Review: Take Me As I Am

Posted by Stev187 on Sunday, January 7, 2007

Take Me As I Am

Bruce Molsky/Bob Carlin (1988)

When I first purchased this recording back in 1990, it absolutely knocked me on my can.  Originally released on Marimack Records, it was only available on cassette.  Now it's released on CD under another label and the playing is as hot and fresh as ever.

For me, the chemistry between Carlin and Molsky on this recording is the real hook.  They are rhythmically, melodically, and harmonically in a total lock together.

"Say Darling Say" and "Cumberland Gap" have always been standouts on this recording for me.  The rhythm is just outstanding.  Every track on this record is a keeper; ironically, my least favorite is the title track, "Take Me As I Am," despite great singing by Bruce.

Another important thing about this record for me is that it turned me on to the Lusk stringband recordings on "Altamont," which are just fantastic.  Molsky and Carlin pay wonderful tribute to the black stringband tradition here with tunes such as "Corinne" and "Altamont." 

I especially enjoy Carlin's fretless banjo playing on this record.  It's great to hear him playing in this context.

Molsky has long been one of my favorite fiddlers.  He gave a fiddle workshop at my house about 10 years ago.  I also love his voice.

The only negative note here is the production on the CD.  I have come to expect a great deal from re-issues in terms of sound quality.  The fidelity on this CD isn't much better than my old cassette copy.  My guess is that the original tapes were not remastered.

In all, this is one of my personal favorite old-time recordings.  It also represents the kind of playing I'd like to do once I find a fiddler to work with.

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