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6919 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Online
Now that I have it, I wonder why it took me so long to get this CD. I had heard some of Dan Gellert’s tracks on the compilation CDs Old-Time Banjo Festival and Banjo Gathering. I recall there being plenty to like there. And I’ve come across mentions of Gellert online over the last while, particularly on Banjo Hangout. But while I had heard about this CD, I left it an unturned stone.
Something about the last mention I came across sparked my interest and motivated me to find out more about this recording. It is out of print, as it turns out (though available via download purchase from Dan himself). And I’ve concluded that Dan is under-exposed and (pardon the cliché) underrated. If more people knew about Waitin’ for the Break of Day, I suspect there’d be more buzz, even though it’s now several years past release date.
Dan has a gritty, not prettified, attack on his banjos. There’s lots of rhythm and bounce and drive. And I hear all kinds of tasteful variations on the basic tune, but never to the point that the melody recedes in importance. He plays two fretless banjos, one strung with gut, the other steel. As you might expect from fretless instruments, there are lots of good slides. Solo fiddle also makes an appearance, in seven of the cuts, compared to nine with banjo.
Tune selection ranges wide, and his simple liner notes cite sources (minstrel shows of the nineteenth century, Sam McGee, Wade Ward, Uncle Dave Macon, to mention just some). There is much variety across the generous sixteen tracks.
”Cotton Eyed Joe” is one of my favorites; it showcases Gellert’s remarkable drive and the way he makes the banjo fretboard dance, along with his effortless integration of vocals. “Sandy Boys” is striking and plaintive both. “Jimmy Crack Corn” feels like it could have been transported from an earlier century. Gellert does more than produce authentic sounds, he somehow allows his personal connection to this music to resonate.
Web site: http://orphonon.utopiandesign.com. For download instructions and payment, contact Dan Gellert here on the Banjo Hangout, where he is a member.
Track listing: Eph Got a Coon; Policeman; Mary Blane; De Boatman Dance; Going Across the Sea; Cluck Old Hen; Polly Put the Kettle On; The Hog-Eyed Man; Buckdancer's Choice; Cotton-Eyed Joe; Sandy Boys; Jimmy Crack Corn; Old Bunch of Keys; We'll All Go to Heaven When the Devil Goes Blind; Old Christmas Morning; Pateroller Get You/Old Sledge
Overall Rating: 9
'Fear Waltz' 8 min
'Home' 11 min
'Recording King RK35' 19 min
'Glue for LUTE peghead' 28 min
'Nervous Breakdown' 35 min
'Banjo Calm/Steve Martin' 42 min
'Tab reading software' 57 min