A Superb Tribute to Some Deserving Gentlemen

The Country Gentlemen Tribute (Blue Circle Records)
Bill Yates and Friends

By Bob Mitchell

This is a superb CD. Every year there are numerous tribute releases and some of them are exceptional; this is one such recording. Bill Yates, an associate of the late Charlie Waller, assembled an outstanding group of musicians for this tribute to the Country Gentlemen; however, it is the voice of Mike Phipps on lead and tenor vocals that grabs your attention.

An artist who obviously did his homework, Phipps' phrasing and enunciation is as respectful and close a duplication of Waller's presentations as you are likely to hear anywhere. Doyle Lawson (a former Country Gentleman) says in his liner notes that Yates was closely associated with the "Gents" and the selections contained on this CD "brought back many good memories." Fans of the Gents won't be disappointed with this first-rate production.

Bill Yates (lead, baritone, tenor and bass vocals) is ably assisted by Darren Beachley on guitar and lead, tenor and baritone vocals, Scott Walker on banjo,

Dave MacGlashan on bass, Kevin Mallow on fiddles and David Propst on mandolin and lead, tenor and baritone vocals.

Tribute contains 12 memorable selections guaranteed to provide a pleasant listening experience. I especially enjoyed the haunting, uncanny harmony on "Redwood Hill," and the timeless classic, "Little Bessie." Other highlights include a heartfelt "Remembrance of You," the perennial favorite "East Virginia Blues," and a poignant version of "Blue Ridge Mountains Turning Green."

On a five-point scale of nostalgic excellence this release merits a five.

Hear samples at www.myspace.com/countrygentstrib.