Ricky Skaggs and Friends
CD Stock Number:
Skaggs Family Records
SKFR CD 1002
Christianity and Bill Monroe are Ricky Skaggs' evangelistic passions. This new Skaggs Family Records release demonstrates just how successful he has been at "converting" other performers to the catechism of Bill Monroe. Bruce Hornsby, Dolly Parton, Steve Wariner, Patty Loveless, John Fogerty, The Whites, Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt, Charlie Daniels, Joan Osborne, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Dwight Yoakum all try their hands at the Big Man's material.
Unlike other Bill Monroe anthologies which have been done primarily by bluegrass musicians, Big Mon - The Songs of Bill Monroe reveals how his songs sound when performed in decidedly non-bluegrass ways. From the roots-rock treatment of Bruce Hornsby on Darling Cory, to the western swing version of Heavy Traffic Ahead by Steve Wariner, to the rockabilly rave-up on Blue Moon of Kentucky by John Fogerty, each artist puts their own individualistic twist on Monroe's material. The end result is we can appreciate Monroe as songwriter, not merely a performer.
For those of us who like to know what the words are, the liner notes have the lyrics for each Monroe song in the anthology. Music history students will be intrigued by the statements by each artist about what it is in Bill Monroe's music that they find appealing. The rest of us can enjoy the great pictures. My fave is Bill and the boys in baseball uniforms. Ricky Skaggs deserves credit not only for his tasty mandolin playing throughout the disc, but also the superhuman job of pulling together the extremely divergent elements of this album into a cohesive anthology. If you are not already into Bill Monroe, this album will make you a believer.
Sound Quality: 90