Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Del McCoury - Don't Stop the Music (1988)

After thirty years in the business, when most artists would start winding down, Del McCoury launched a new beginning with this outstanding hard-driving bluegrass album from the late 1980s. Don’t Stop the Music was the first Del McCoury release to feature both sons, Ronnie and Rob McCoury, and this album also features the twin fiddles of Jon Glik and Warren Blair, which contribute heavily to its traditional sound.

After his sons joined the band, Del changed the name of his group from The Dixie Pals to The Del McCoury Band, and this group dominated the bluegrass scene of the 1990s, putting on some of the best live performances I’ve ever seen in any style of music. While the oldest and more naturally gifted son Ronnie had blossomed into a brilliant mandolin player and formidable singer by the late 80s, teenage Robbie had yet to reach the height of his skills and his banjo understandably takes a backseat on this recording. My favorite cuts on Don't Stop the Music are probably “I Feel the Blues Moving In” and “Don’t Our Love Look Natural,” but every song features the impeccable high lonesome harmonies and disciplined yet adventerous soloing that you would expect from the Del McCoury Band. Del and the boys are also very good at adapting non-bluegrass material to their distinctive style and their rendition of the George Jones title track is better than the original.

Good bluegrass music is filled with excitement and intensity, and the Del McCoury Band plays some of the best bluegrass music ever made.

AMG Rating: ****1/2
My Rating: ****

No comments: