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POP STONEMAN 'Gospel Music Treasures' KING-0529-CD

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What at first glace looked like a welcome re-release of the Stoneman Family's Starday recordings of the 1960s turns out to be something even more interesting & welcome: an entire album of gospel songs that was never previously issued. The 14-song record features only the singing & auto-harp playing of Ernest "Pop" Stoneman-the patriarch of an amazing musical family that included the legendary fiddler Scotty Stoneman and 3 ladies who were some of the earliest women to play Bluegrass music: Roni, Donna & Patsy. Pop Stoneman-who first recorded in 1924 and was one of the more prolific old-time artists of the 1920s-has problems with pitch and especially the meter, but basically this is a charming and enjoyable album. The songs are great old standards, Stoneman's voice is assertive and well-recorded, and his auto-harp playing is more than adequate. A nice tribute to an important figure whose musical career spanned some 40 years.