Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Maddox Brothers and Rose, Volume 2

Called "America's most colorful hillbilly band", the Maddox Brothers and Rose did their best to live up to that slogan with their elaborate, custom made outfits and wild stage show. The group played country ("hillbilly") music, but did so at a time when there were no rules, so they blended plenty of old-world folk, pop, gospel and whatever else popped into their heads to create their own style.

The musicianship is somewhat simplistic (they learned how to play as they went), but it's strong and melodic and always fitting for the song. Nice steel and 6-string git-playin' throughout, plenty of mandolin'n'fiddle and they all harmonized with Rose's sweet voice. Sometimes I feel the harmonizing is almost too much - in an Andrew Sisters pop sense, - but overall, it's a fine sound. One gimmick that is definitely over-the-top is the jokin'n'laughin'n'cacklin'n'woopin' it up that dominates too many of the tunes. When they refrain from that, the folk/country melodies are catchy and nicely done.

This 30 song (!) CD is the natural companion to Volume One (guess that goes without saying) for a full picture on the early days of country/hillbilly music in the States. A little more pop-oriented than some may prefer, but a great snapshot of the burgeoning scene.