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Larry Cordle And Lonesome Standard Time
Took Down And Put Up

Review By Steven Stone
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  Larry Cordle was born in the village of Cordell in eastern Kentucky. Among his boyhood friends were Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley. They played music together well into their teens until Skaggs and Whitley joined nationally touring bluegrass bands and became stars. Cordle stayed in Kentucky. After high school he joined the Navy and then went to college. During his college days, Cordle began writing songs, among them "Highway 40 Blues" which Ricky Skaggs recorded in 1983. It went to #1 on the Country Music charts and Cordle's professional songwriting career began.

Since 1983 Cordle has written hit songs for George Strait and Alan Jackson "Murder on Music Row," Garth Brooks "Against the Grain," Trisha Yearwood "Lonesome Dove," and Alison Krauss "Two Highways."  He has also released a series of solo albums beginning with Lonesome Standard Time in 1993. Took Down and Put Up is the latest in a string of releases that showcases his original songs and heartfelt lead vocals. Here you'll find nine new original songs along with fine renditions of three other songwriters' work - Chris Stuart's haunting ballad, "The First Train Robbery," Ken Gardner's rollicking instrumental "Plum Sideways," and Lynard Skynyrd's anthemic  "Mississippi Kid."

All of Cordle's original compositions share the common thread of relaxed musical assurance. Some such as "Old Cheater's Blues" could have been written forty years ago, while others such as "The Hero of the Creek" have a refreshing topical quality. No matter what the musical style Cordle's vocal delivery has that classic bluegrass "snap." He begins a vocal line right on or slightly ahead of the beat and then leans on the rhythmic structure of the phrase. Cordle's voice drives the song's rhythm just as Bill Monroe's mandolin used to drive his music's pace.

Took Down and Put Up was recorded primarily with Cordle's regular touring band, Lonesome Standard Time. Chris Davis is on mandolin and vocals, Mike Anglin on bass and vocals, Booie Beach on lead guitar, Kristin Scott Benson on banjo and Kim Gardner on dobro. Cordle also tapped JeneeFleenor for fiddle parts and Wayne Benson for mandolin solos. Travis Tritt and Randy Kohrs appear as guest vocalists for duet vocals. Kohrs also served as recording engineer, mixer, and digital editor. The final sonic result ranks as a solid production that avoids sounding overly polished. The emphasis here is clearly on the songs and the ensemble sound, not the hot picking. There are some great solos however, especially by mandolin whiz Wayne Benson.

Even before the release of Took Down and Put Up Larry Cordle had a well-deserved reputation as one of bluegrass and traditional country music's premiere songwriters. This latest CD should further enhance his standing.

 

 

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