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CLIFF CARLISLE 'A Country Legacy 1930-1939' JSP-7732-CD

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Unless you go back to the days of LPs, very little of this Kentucky born singer has been available, despite the fact that he and his brother Bill were very prolific recording artists in the 1930s. That has now been corrected by Britain's JSP label which presents not only this 84-track, 4-CD collection, but another similar set as well (JSP-7768 "Cliff Carlisle Volume 2, also $ 27.50). Cliff --who actually appeared on some of Jimmie Rodgersrecordings --had a simple but appealing style. Influenced by Hawaiian guitarists in the 1920s, he was one of the first country entertainers to feature an unamplified steel guitar (he influenced Brother Oswald and Josh Graves among others). Like Rodgers, he had a warm southern voice and a good yodel, and he recorded a wide variety of material from risquŽ double entendre songs to spirited, charming gospel pieces that included his young son Tommy singing as well. (It is quite interesting to note that fellow Kentuckians Bill and Charlie Monroe between them recorded at least 8 of the songs that Cliff waxed, including FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW, VALLEY OF PEACE, GOODBYE OLD PAL, WHEN THE CACTUS IS IN BLOOM, END OF MEMORY LANE and GIRL IN THE BLUE VELVET BAND). This 4-CD set presents a good cross section of the material Carlisle cut for a variety of labels including Gennett, A.R.C., Bluebird and Decca. It's kind of curious to find songs like ASH CAN BLUES, SAL'S GOT A MEAT SKIN, MOUSE'S EAR BLUES, and THAT NASTY SWING on the same disc as THE BLIND CHILD'S PRAYER and WHEN THE ANGELS CARRY ME HOME, but no matter: there are some neat up tempo numbers featuring Bill Carlisle's distinctive guitar work (SALLY LET YOUR BANGS HANG DOWN, RAISE A RUCKUS, BROKEN HEART, UNCLOUDY DAY etc), a bunch of hobo songs and Cliff's fine take on TROUBLE IN MIND and the rousing SHINE ON ME. Quite an interesting set, and we'd recommend this one over Volume 2 for those who would just like one good sampling of this entertainer.