In the third installment of their campaign to reissue classic albums, Rebel Records is releasing Curly Ray Cline’s Chicken Reel and Dave Evans’ Bluegrass Memories for digital download on December 21st.
During his nearly thirty years as Ralph Stanley’s faithful sideman Curly Ray Cline recorded a handful of fiddle albums to sell at Clinch Mountain Boys shows. Recorded in 1971, Chicken Reel was the first, and often cited as the best, of seven that Curly recorded for Rebel. Chicken Reel presents strong renditions of several popular traditional fiddle tunes including “Soldier’s Joy” and “Leather Britches.” The album also highlights the influence of old-time fiddler Arthur Smith on Cline in the two Smith tunes “Walkin’ In My Sleep” and “Dixon County Blues.” The Clinch Mountain Boys in their acclaimed early 1970s lineup contribute instrumental and vocal parts with Ralph Stanley on banjo, Ricky Skaggs on mandolin, Jack Cooke on bass, and Roy Lee Centers and Keith Whitley on guitars.
Bluegrass Memories was the fourth in a string of successful albums Dave Evans recorded for Rebel in the 1980s. Intended as a tribute to the forefathers of bluegrass, this 1984 release features estimable performances of Flatt & Scruggs’ “Someone Took My Place with You,” Bill Monroe’s “Wheel Hoss,” and The Stanley Brothers’ “Sweet Thing,” as well as a haunting stripped-down rendition of the classic murder ballad “Down in the Willow Garden.” The album also presents three Dave Evans originals: “When the Snow Falls on My Foggy Mountain Home,” “If I Ever Get Back to Old Kentucky,” and “My Bluegrass Memories” from which the record gets its name.