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(Early films of legendary performers 1952-1954). The Shanachie label, which in the past has brought us ten volumes of the fabulous Flatt & Scruggs TV shows, now has another real winner in this fabulous collection of country music superstars in all their full color glory. Filmed originally by the late Al Gannaway, there may have been as many as 40 or more half hour shows, using the Opry stage as a backdrop. Gannaway brought them out again in the 1970s or 80s in VHS format to sell via infomercials in various parts of the country. But Shanachie has picked out excerpts that will be of most interest to Bluegrass and Old-Time fans, creating one magnificent video. For Bluegrass fans the highlight will be all 5 of the songs done by Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, including CLOSE BY, A VOICE FROM ON HIGH, LITTLE GEORGIA ROSE, ROANOKE and SWING LOW. To see Monroe in his prime ripping into ROANOKE can take your breath away. (A young Bobby Hicks is one of the sidemen on Monroe's cuts, playing both fiddle and banjo!) Other compelling performances feature Grandpa and Ramona Jones, Sam and Kirk McGee, Stringbean, The Crook Brothers, Benny Martin and two marvelous songs by the Louvin Brothers (I DON'T BELIEVE YOU'VE MET MY BABY and LOVE THY NEIGHBOR). There are some neat square dance sequences as well. It sure looks like everyone is having a good time! In addition to the 24 Gannaway segments, there are 4 Black & White clips of Hank Williams (these may have appeared elsewhere, but not in one place like this; Hank's duet with Anita Carter on I CAN'T HELP IT is precious). Whether you are old enough to recall seeing any of these programs when they first were televised (in the very early days of color TV!), or are just curious to see what this is all about, I think it's safe to say that you will thoroughly enjoy this DVD. It gets our HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.

Track Listing:

  • CLOSE BY - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys
  • ROLL ON BUDDY - Sam & Kirk McGee
  • DARBY'S RAM - Grandpa & Ramona Jones
  • FORKED DEER - Square Dance
  • YOU'LL FIND HER NAME WRITTEN THERE - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys
  • GREY EAGLE - Crook Brothers
  • I DON'T BELIEVE YOU'VE MET MY BABY - Louvin Brothers
  • CRIPPLE CREEK - Stringbean
  • LITTLE GEORGIA ROSE - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys
  • RAGTIME ANNIE - Square Dance
  • JOHN HENRY - Lonzo & Oscar
  • A VOICE FROM ON HIGH - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys
  • LIZA JANE - Stringbean
  • ME AND MY FIDDLE - Benny Martin
  • KITTY KLYDE - Grandpa Jones
  • ROANOKE - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys
  • FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN - Square Dance
  • LOVE THY NEIGHBOR - Louvin Brothers
  • SOLDIERS JOY - Fruit Jar Drinkers
  • OLD DAN TUCKER - Grandpa Jones
  • SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT - Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys
  • COTTON EYED JOE - Johnny & Jack/Kitty Wells/Grandpa Jones/Faron Young
  • HEY GOOD LOOKIN - Hank Williams
  • COLD COLD HEART - Hank Williams
  • I CAN'T HELP IT IF I'M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU - Hanks Williams & Anita Carter
  • EIGHTH OF JANUARY - Square Dance
  • I SAW THE LIGHT - Hank Williams/Roy Acuff & Cast