Like Dear Old Dad

Randy Waller (Lendel Records)
Randy Waller

By Bob Mitchell

According to the powerful and moving words of "Daddy's Old Guitar," bluegrass legend, Charlie Waller kept a promise when he passed on his 1937 Martin D28 herringbone dreadnought to his son, Randy. The senior Waller passed away on August 18, 2004 and Randy played his first date on that guitar 10 days later. This project is Randy's fulfillment of his promise to continue the great sounds of his father and the Country Gentlemen. Although Randy's country influence is present, his bluegrass roots are also evident in an excellent debut recording.

Waller's song writing skills are evident in four original tunes, but none more moving and powerful than, "Daddy's Old Guitar," (Randy's memories of a celebrated guitar and a pledge to be "keeper of the sacred flame.") "Rough and Ready" is the love song of a reformed man who is still "rough around the edges" and "Little Red Shoes" is a delightfully compassionate song about a child's ability to provide happiness, while "The Vision" is a first rate gospel track.

Waller also knows how sing a song whether it's his or someone else's. "Should've Took That Train" is a straight-ahead bluegrass number that confirms his intention to keep his father's sound alive. Sammy Shelor's banjo is a happy bonus. "Daddy's Need To Grow Up Too" is a poignant song from a father to a son with the promise to do better. As the tune says adults, like children, make mistakes too. But, there is no mistaking the exemplary mandolin work from Jimmy Gaudreau. It's first rate on every track. "A Sad Song Don't Care Whose Heart It Breaks," and "Old Rugged Cross" are heartfelt vocals and Aubrey Haynie's fiddle provides perfect support.

The biggest surprise was Waller's excellent work on the resonator guitar. He really cuts loose on "The Ballad of Curtis Lowe," and a hard driving bluesy cover for Bonnie Raitt's "Give It Up Or Let Me Go."

Mike Moore provides a solid bass line while Martha and Eddie Adcock arranged and performed all vocal harmonies. I especially enjoyed them on "A Sad Song." ?>