Blast from the past

From time to time, I like to dig one of my old CD reviews out of the closet, dust it off, and let you read it again. I ran across this Buddy Greene review today. It’s definitely off the beaten path and worth checking out. Enjoy . . .

Dave’s Review

Producer: Buddy Greene

Website: www.buddygreene.com

Songs: “Sally Good’n,” “Working On A Building,” “Deep River Blues,” “Cluck Ol’ Hen,” “Kinfolk In Carolina,” “All My Loving,” “Cryin’ Holy,” “The Little Beggar Man,” “Walkin’ Blues,” “One Way Avenue,” “Rock In A Weary Land,” and “Highway Heading South”

I hesitated to review Buddy Greene’s new project for SoGospelNews. Half the songs are old secular standards from the bluegrass tradition, not even pretending to be gospel. (One lyric even mentions drinking whiskey in a not necessarily condemning manner!) Then there’s the fact that this style of music isn’t what most people think about when they hear the phrase “Southern Gospel.” It’s more along the lines of how Lyle Lovett would sound if he played harmonica and sang in a bluegrass band.

In the end, though, the DOs won out over the DON’Ts. Greene is known in Southern Gospel circles due to his appearances on the Gaither Homecoming videos, and perhaps more for his part in co-writing the modern Christmas classic “Mary Did You Know.” Above that, though, the musicianship on this recording is astoundingly good. Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, and Chuck Leavell are just a few of the players who join Greene. If you find yourself drawn to sensational players, particularly those of the bluegrass persuasion, read on. Otherwise, skip to the next review.

If you’ve seen the most recent Gaither videos from New York City’s Carnegie Hall, you know Greene can play classical melodies on his harmonica. He’s also adept at fiddle tunes. This CD begins with a joyous romp through “Sally Good’n.” “Cluck Ol’ Hen” follows a few songs later. “The Little Begger Man” is a lilting Irish song, with Greene doing all the licks traditionally played by the fiddle on his mouth harp.

Ashley Clevaland lends her background vocals to “Working On A Building” and “Rock In A Weary Land,” two of the gospel tunes on this CD. Leavell’s rhythmic piano lines and Kenny Malone‘s percussion drive “Cryin’ Holy.” Malone’s original gospel number “One Way Avenue” is also included.

A word about the title. Greene used to play in Jerry Reed‘s band, and they already had another “Buddy” in the band when he joined them. Reed wanted him to use a different name to keep things simple, so Greene suggested his middle name, Rufus. He went back to using Buddy later, but decided to bring “Rufus” back for this project.

This CD may be difficult to find in your local Christian bookstore. Greene has it available at his website, www.buddygreene.com. It’s worth the extra effort to check it out. In a time when most of the music you hear has instruments overdubbed, compressed, and stacked fifteen deep with all the soul sucked out and all the feeling ironed flat, it’s refreshing to hear what energy and passion three guys can produce in one pass. Rufus . . . doesn’t disappoint.

Category CD Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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