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MAYFIELD BROTHERS 'Vintage Recordings 1948-1956' PATUX-136-CD

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Here's an unexpected and fascinating treat for lovers of classic Bluegrass, especially Bill Monroe fans. Those who go back far enough will recognize the name of Edd Mayfield --one of the finest singers and guitarists ever to be a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. He played with Monroe off and on from 1951 to 1958, recording 20 songs & tunes with Monroe including the classics FIRST WHIPPOORWILL, CLOSE BY, SCOTLAND and PANHANDLE COUNTRY. Tragically, Mayfield died of Leukemia in a Bluefield hospital while touring with Monroe in 1958. Before signing on with Monroe, Edd and his two brothers --Herb and Smokey --formed one of the first bands in Texas to play Bluegrass, and this 21-track album consists of material recorded informally between 1948 and 1956. It's neat stuff, with Edd showing a wonderful tenor harmony voice in addition to his lead vocals. Clearly a labor of love, the CD comes with a very nice 16-page booklet with some fine photos and good notes by Joe Carr and Alan Munde. WARNING: the recordings were taken from cassettes, the only surviving artifacts that document this music. The sound is muffled and sometimes distorted, but the music has been remastered by sound expert Billy Wolf, so it is almost surely the best that could have been done with this music. Potential buyers will have to make their own decisions --for us it is very much a worthwhile and exciting project despite the sound problems. ON & ON, SAWING ON THE STRINGSA, THE OLD HOME TOWN, I HAVE FOUND THE WAY, WHERE COULD I GO, etc