Various Artists – Smithsonian Folkways, Classic Bluegrass from Smithsonian Folkways

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A collection that embraces the full range of folk-era bluegrass.

The entire “Classic” series provides a great introduction to Smithsonian Folkways'catalogue, but this one is especially well done. The Stanley Brothers offer a primal version of “Little Birdie,” with Ralph on clawhammer banjo, while the lesser-known Red Allen is featured with and without Frank Wakefield. Weighted towards traditionalists like Earl Taylor and the Johnson Mountain Boys while still leaving room for progressives like the Country Gentlemen, it contains zero filler while embracing the full range of folk-era bluegrass.