After recording their classic sides for Capitol in the early 1950s, Jim & Jesse McReynolds disappeared from music for several years while they served in the Armed Forces. They returned with a bang in 1958, with a great band that included Vassar Clements on fiddle and the great Bobby Thompson on banjo (later an equally brilliant edition of the group featured Jim Buchanan & Allen Shelton respectively). Here, nicely presented (thanks to noted researcher Gary Reid) are all 14 of their Starday tracks in one place, finally, with discographical notes. An important gap is filled, with these fine cuts that include PARDON ME, BORDER RIDE, HARD HEARTED, DIXIE HOEDOWN, LET ME WHISPER and 6 seldom heard gospel songs.
- Dave Freeman
Dedicated to the memory of Jim McReynolds one year after his death in 2002, this compilation was the first to assemble the complete body of works that Jim & Jesse recorded for Starday Records in 1958 and '59. While preserving the essence of traditional bluegrass music through their wonderful singing and instrumental work, this collection exemplifies a progressive adaptation of the bluegrass sound to appeal to audiences and stages that were struck by the rock craze of the 1950s. Electric bass and drums as well as somewhat mainstream leaning song subject material combined with Jesse's cutting-edge mandolin style offers a fresh and exploratory sound - especially to someone whose usual intake consists of regional old time and traditional bluegrass music like myself! In the end, the strong song choices, band energy, Jesse's instrumental work, and (of course!) the legendary McReynolds' harmony singing are the real selling points of this striking album. If you're like me, this is one album you'll keep coming back to!