Bluegrass Mandolin and other trouble is a pleasant surprise because it reminds me of how good a mostly instrumental recording can be. Just write a bunch of originals that sound like they’re 40 years old, mix in imaginative interpretations of some familiar tunes and work with a few great pickers and you’re likely to have a success on your hands.
Distilled from over 20 years worth of recorded material, Red Henry has put together an impressive 22-track collection, including 8 fine, original instrumentals. There are a few vocal tunes on the CD, including a nice version of Sleepy-Eyed John from 1985, but it’s the instrumentals, and Red’s stellar mandolin style, that put this CD at the head of the class.
Complementing Red’s wonderful mandolin and occasional fiddle work is some rock-solid and hard-driving banjo playing by Red’s wife and long-time partner, Murphy Henry. The older material also includes some fine resophonic guitar work by Tuck Tucker.
In the late 70s and early 80s, Red and Murphy & Co. were widely active on the bluegrass festival circuit, but it seems recently that they’ve stuck closer to home. As a result, people don’t get to hear much of him these days. That’s a shame because he can stake his claim to being in the true elite of mandolin players. Bluegrass Mandolin… shows why. This is solid, elemental bluegrass with creativity and humor.