24 tracks (plus a bonus track) Producer: Nate Gibson Bear Family 63:00
The Starday record company may be best known for giving George Jones his first break, but it did much more than that. Boss Don Pierce, in charge from the late 50s, had a maverick's taste for recording "unfashionable" honky tonk, bluegrass, old timey and Gospel at a time when Nashville was increasingly focused on smoother sounds. And by giving a second bite of the cherry to older stars, Starday was doing what enlightened operators like of Heart of Texas for country artists and Fat Possum for blues and soul artists have done more recently. To Starday we give thanks for the biggest hit of the Cowboy Copas's career Alabam, and a slightly more minor one for Moon Mullican (Ragged But Right). But Starday might have been forgotten had it not been for the bright young light, part musician, part scholar, part preservationist, that is Nate Gibson. He recorded his first record with Kenny Roberts, another former Starday favourite widely recognised as the finest yodeller in the business, back in 2001. Then, working with Pierce just before he died, he wrote The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built, which is recommended reading.
NATE GiBSON & THE STARS OF STARDAY How to make something new with musical memory? Produced by Nate Gibson, the author of The Star-day Story (Univer-sity Press of Mis-sissippi), this 25-track album was recorded with the support of Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives and Chris Scruggs.
Nate Gibson. who is also a musician. has selected songs once released on Starday (country, rock-kabilly, bluegrass. honky tonk, gospel. western swing). He re-recorded them half a century after the originals with the artists he convinced to revive these titles, some of which are part of the heritage of any classical country music fan. Thus the presence of Betty Amos, Judy & Jean. Bill Clif-ton, Rudy Grayzeil. Wade Jackson. Sleepy LaBeef, Little Roy Lewis. Jesse McR eynolds, Darnell Miller, Frankie Miller, Arnold Parker, Margie Singleton. June Stearns, etc. gives a good taste of living history without distorting the compositions, with a real dynamism and a flawless sound.
A very beautiful 56-page booklet provides detailed testimonies on this magnificent project. Emotion guaranteed, with Bear Family quality. (JB) (BCD 17588►