Lonesome River Band
Chronology – Volume One
4 stars (out of 5)
By Larry Stephens
You won’t and you will hear something new in this first of three CDs (or EPs) chronicling LRB’s thirty years in the business, one for each decade.
You may recognize the songs but they have been re-recorded by the 2012 LRB members. Longtime banjo player and band leader Sammy Shelor heads the cast, joined by Brandon Rickman (guitar and vocals), Mike Hartgrove (fiddle) (IIIrd Tyme Out, Quicksilver), Randy Jones (mandolin, vocals) and Barry Reed (bass) (Michael Cleveland). Excellent musicians all.
"Close The Door Lightly When You Go" dates back to 1987’s Saturday Night, Sunday Morning album when Tim Austin headed the band and featured Brian Fesler on banjo. This is a good, hard-driving song of heartbreak. Speaking of heartbreak, Rickman sings the blues with a Jimmy Martin favorite, "Mary Ann," which was on LRB’s debut album. I’ve heard several people do this but no one sings it better than Rickman.
From 1989 is "I’m Afraid To Love You Anymore," that goes ‘way back to Jimmie Skinner.
Carrying The Tradition was LRB’s first natioanlly successful album and featured newcomers Shelor and Ronnie Bowman along with Austin. From that album is "Hobo Blues," kicking off with the CD’s most dynamic riffs including some danged good bass playing. Just when you begin to think it’s going to be an instrumental Rickman and Jones kick in with a duet. Also from that album is "The Game Is Over," featuring lead singer Rickman.
"The Old Man In The Shanty" is a great story song that I’d like to hear in their shows. It doesn’t hurt that Rickman is the singer because he has a natural bluesy, plaintive voice that best tells a story like this.
Rounding out the reprised songs is "Laura June" from 1989’s Looking For Yourself album. Their one "new" song is an instrumental version of "Angeline The Baker" featuring Shelor and Hartgrove.
If you’re a longtime LRB fan and have all their old albums this is still a good one to add to your collection since they are all cut again for this CD. If you don’t have the old versions, run out and get this one. It’s a good listen.