More New Old Tunes

My Home Ain't In The Hall of Fame (Rounder Records)
J.D. Crowe and The New South

By Bob Mitchell

This exceptional and historical project was recorded in January 1979, just three months after Keith Whitley left Ralph Stanley to join-up with another bluegrass legend, J.D. Crowe. The original recordings were re-mixed for this release and the result is an outstanding blend of "country-grass."

In the liner notes, J.D. says, "We were straddling the fence;" indeed they were. The bluegrass purist is not a happy camper when instrumentation includes drums, steel guitar and electric bass. Yet somehow, Crowe pulls it off. Tight harmony and tasteful arrangements reign supreme. The music does not sound like Jimmy Martin or Ralph Stanley but it is deeply influenced by the first generation of bluegrass. After all, Crowe worked with Martin and Whitley worked with Stanley.

My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame contains 10 tracks showcasing the incredible banjo styling of Crowe and the phenomenal vocal talent of Whitley. Crowe, in fact, believes this album was a major stepping stone for Whitley's monster career in country music. One listen to "Lady" is confirmation of Crowe's opinion.

Several of the grassier selections include a hard driving "Will You Be Lonesome Too," and "She's Gone, Gone, Gone" with notable tenor and mandolin from Jimmy Gaudreau. Two other exceptional cuts include a heartfelt "Tennessee Blues," and a rocking western swing arrangement of "My Window Faces South" with outstanding fiddle from Bobby Slone.