This is my kinda Country Music and it don’t get much Countrier than this!
In all honesty I’m now at the stage of my life when I choose to listen to various artist albums when I’m relaxing; most I create myself but occasionally I find a little diamond that does the job for me; and that’s exactly what we have here.
Here’s a pocket history of Buddy Emmons aka The Big E – at age 18 he joined Little Jimmy Dickens Band, then Ernest Tubbs, Ray Price’s and performed on too many Nashville sessions to mention until he eventually joined the Everly Brothers touring band in 1991 but restricts himself to the occasional guest appearance at Trade Fairs these days.
With that background it’s no surprise to see the long list of Country stars who have donated tracks to this Charity Tribute album.
The album opens with Vince Gill doing what Vince Gill does best on Jimmy Dickens’ Country Boy; this is followed by Country Music’s latest favourite duo – Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris bravely reprise That’s All It Took; made famous by Gram on the GP album and they turn it into a shuffle Tammy and George would have been proud of.
One of my guitar heroes; Duane makes a couple of appearances; first with Blue Jade from 1967 and ends the album with glorious instrumental version of Hank’s Mansion on the Hill.
One oddity; yet one of my favourite tracks here is Willie Nelson singing Are You Sure; which is the only song not to feature a pedal or lap steel guitar!
Country music’s most under rated guitarists, one time member of Emmylou’s Hot Band Albert Lee provides a scorchingRainbows All Over Your Blues, which also shows what a great singer he is too.
There are plenty of nice surprises lurking in the shadows too; Raul Malo from the Mavericks joins Brad Paisley’s steel player, Randle Currie for an epic interpretation of Ray Price’s Night Life that really should be heard at midnight with the lights turned down low and a glass of ‘something’ in your hand as you merge as one with the music.
Another pleasant surprise was hearing Little Jimmy Dickens, Duane Eddy and Dan Dugmore combine for the classic When Your House Is Not A Home; seriously – Country doesn’t get any more Countrier than those three minutes; and when I first heard Marty Stuart’s pedal-steel side kick Gary Carter perform Shenandoah I felt sure I was going to burst into tears.
Not only is A Salute to Big E a wonderful trip down memory lane for fans of ‘real’ Country music, but the proceeds all go to the Country Music Hall of Fame in the name of Buddy’s wife of 42 years; Peggy.
Warner Music Nashville 535494-2