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Me and My Friends
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  • Jim & Jesse's lonesome fiddler steps forward here to whip out a series of numbers with a crack band backing him up. Anyone looking for an example of what this character can do on his own will find that this album answers the question to the utmost satisfaction. It is also a first-class collection of old time fiddle music that basically begins to approach the neighborhood known as bluegrass before pulling over for a rest stop. On top of that, this project represents some kind of technological milestone for McReynolds, as he overdubbed two fiddle parts plus mandolin on some of the numbers. With all that going on, banjoist Vic Jordan and guitarist Charlie Collins get to tread a lot of water, although the former picker steps forward nicely on "Carroll County Blues" and "Me and My Fiddle." "Down Yonder" is another rip-roaring tempo, while "Orange Blossom Special" is a thing of beauty, something that can make a listener forget what a cornpone number this became in the hands of cheesy fiddlers such as Doug Kershaw and Charlie Daniels. McReynolds even proves his versatility by taking on a Muzak number by Bert Kaempfert, practically forcing the banjo man into playing flamenco in the process. The material on this excellent but too short album, complete with an endorsement from Vassar Clements, was released on a small Georgia label and is ripe for re-release in the context of a larger collection. ~ Eugene Chadbourne
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