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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

7014 reviews in the archive.

J.D. Crowe & the New South  Holiday in Japan Recording/Album Reviews

Submitted by thkidd (see all reviews from this person) on 5/24/2012

Where Purchased: Bluegrass Festival from J.D.

Overall Comments

I was extremely excited when I heard about this "new" CD. It's actually a CD release of live recordings that were done when the group was in Japan back in the late 70's. This is the original New South band, featuring the same members as the famed Rounder 0044 album, so I was very anxious to get my hands on it. I bought this 2-CD set from J.D.'s record table at a recent bluegrass festival, and he graciously autographed it for me. I was a bit hesitant at paying $30, even for a 2-CD set, but felt this was an opportunity to own a historic recording that I had only heard others talk about.

I popped the first CD in the player on the way home that night, and I immediately thought that I must have gotten a defective CD. The entire CD sounds as if only the mics that Ricky Skaggs' was singing and playing into were being recorded. You basically only hear Ricky's backup vocals and picking, and his occasional mandolin breaks; you can barely hear the lead or other harmony vocals, or the other instruments' breaks.

I thought surely this CD must be defective, so I switched to Disc Two, and it was almost as bad, but not quite. I was extremely disappointed to barely be able to hear J.D.'s banjo breaks and Tony's lead vocals. I was set to send the CD back for an exchange, and then someone on the BHO told me theirs was the same way, and that this is how all of these CDs sound.

In this age of technology, it's almost inconceivable to me that a recording company has issued such a terrible-quality recording. Surely there are better versions somewhere that they could have used as the master for producing these CDs? If this is indeed the best that exists, then they should have made that very clear on the package, and the cost should have been more like $10 or so.

I don't fault J.D.; I've heard since that he is very disappointed with the quality of these CDs. Still, he could have chosen not to sell them from his record table; I would have gladly bought some of his other CDs with the money that I spent on these.

Overall Rating: 3

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