(personnel: Mike Craver - piano, Jack Herrick - bass and trumpet, Bill Hicks - fiddle, Tommy Thompson - banjo, Jim Watson - mandolin and bass)"Nobody else in the country could make an album as big and broad and sweet and loud."
This CD combined all the songs from both the Merchants Lunch and Twisted Laurel LPssongs: Blue Jay/The Girl I Left Behind Me, Twisted Laurel, The Hobo's Last Letter, Mississippi Delta Blues, The Telephone Girl, Will You Miss Me, The Ace, The Corrugated Lady, When Bacon Was Scarce, Fifty Miles of Elbow Room, Flying Cloud Cotillion, The Beale Street Blues , Merchants Lunch, A Beefalo Special, Woman Down in Memphis, Molly Put the Kettle On, Milwaukee Blues, Melancholy , Rabbit in the Pea Patch, I've Got Plans , Daniel Prayed, Forked Deer, Henhouse Blues, Sweet and Slow
The first track establishes the ground rules for this record featuring the classic lineup of the Red Clay Ramblers, with both pianist Mike Craver and the superb fiddler Bill Hicks. "Merchant's Lunch" is one of several originals that banjoist and vocalist Tommy Thompson either wrote or co-wrote for the project, and these songs reveal a deepening of the group's repertoire. For old-time music fanatics, this might have been the cause of discomfort, but it certainly can be said that the group created a terrific blend of its different material for this baker's dozen of tracks. Listeners looking for old-time numbers that kick up a rumpus will be able to dig right into "Molly Put the Kettle On" and Uncle Dave Macon's outrageous "Rabbit in the Pea Patch," although in the latter case the Red Clay Ramblers push a good thing by folding in too-cute diggi-diggi-di vocals of the sort Doug Kershaw used to come up with. The album is a luscious studio recording, with the fiddle tune medley on the second side one of the best-sounding tracks of this sort the group has ever recorded.** The blend of mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, and piano is as rich as the aroma of a simmering stew that has had the benefit of a gourmet cook sprinkling spices into it. Group vocals are another aspect that shine on this production. "I've Got Plans" is an ambitious Thompson ballad that gets a nicely relaxed treatment, its profound effect on the flow of music providing a good example of the treasury this group had going in terms of repertoire. "Henhouse Blues" begins with exciting clawhammer banjo, followed by expert fiddle and mandolin solos. Many listeners will be up dancing even before the vocal comes in. In other words, a typical moment with the Red Clay Ramblers."
PDF scores are available for "Blue Jay/The Girl I Left Behind Me", "Daniel Prayed", "The Ace", "Melancholy", and "Merchants Lunch" at SAPSUCKER SCORES