Seldom Scene


Smithsonian Folkways SFWCD40199


Vintage stuff from the vintage progressive bluegrass kings It’s hard to believe that Seldom Scene have been around for 42 years and whilst they’ve endured many personnel changes, their current line-up has been settled for nearly two decades. Original band member Ben Eldridge (banjo) is still going strong and is joined by Lou Reid (mandolin).

Dudley Connell (guitar), Fred Travers (Dobro) and Ronnie Simpkins (bass). Sadly, John Duffey and Mike Auldridge have passed on but the other founder members, John Starling and Tom Gray have contributed to this album of re-worked and oft-requested numbers. The result is a terrific 16-strong collection, most of which will be instantly recognised by fans of the ‘Scene’ or followers of acoustic country music. Seldom Scene aficionados will recall the heady days playing once a week at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia or Washington’s Red Fox Inn where they met Emmylou Harris playing the DC club scene in her formative years.

Four decades and much collaboration later, Emmylou adds her vocals to With Body And Soul and Gram Parsons’ Hickory Wind. This is one of those rare albums where every track is a highlight but Walk Through This World With Me and Herb Pederson’s Wait A Minute had the hairs on the back of the neck standing up to take notice. As with all Seldom Scene offerings, this album features some great harmonies, with just one instrumental, the American Civil War anthem Lorena, which is on a par with the live version included in their 15,h ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION album from 1986. ‘Scene’ fans will continue to argue whether John Duffey’s high tenor vocals or Mike Auldridge’s amazing Dobro work could ever be replaced and the 1994 album LIKE WE USED TO BE offered a genuine comparison. LONG TIME… though, certainly ticks all the right boxes and will not stray very far from my CD tray. John Roffey

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