MAC WISEMAN 'On Susan's Floor'
For the Mac Wiseman completist, this is an interesting set (4-CDs and a hard-cover book of over 60 pages) that gathers most of his later recordings. But for the hard core Bluegrass fan, it is a non-essential item, as the music here is generally way below the standard that Mac set on his classic early Dot recordings (which fortunately are preserved on another great Bear Family box set, BCD-15976 “Tis Sweet To Be Remembered”). Mac always seems to be in fine voice, and there is no quarrel with his singing on the 114 tracks that make up this set. But the various producers that arranged most of these sessions (including Bonnie Guitar (!?)) did him no favors, plastering much of the material with drums, steel guitars, piano, etc in a never ending search for a “hit”. Here’s what the collection includes: Mac’s all Canadian LP (1965) that came out on his own WISE label (this is good Bluegrass and the best music on the set along with Mac’s 1966 “Bluegrass” release on Dot that included Bob and Sonny Osborne and Tommy Jackson.) Also included from Dot are the “Songs Of The Good Ole Days” LP (good songs but so-so accompaniment), and the inferior “A Master At Work” record (on which Ms. Guitar shows she has no understanding of Mac’s artistry). There are also 20 songs cut for the Rural Rhythm label in 1966—good old standard songs but with unspectacular backing of dobro, bass and electric guitar. The rest of the set is made up of very mediocre later recordings for MGM, RCA Victor, and the Churchill label (1977-1979). While the set is attractively produced (as always on Bear Family) and has a modest amount of good recordings, it basically makes one appreciate Mac’s best early work even more. 4-CD & Book: $ 95.00