Tom and Ben Paley

Paley & Son

Hornbeam Recordings HBR0004

1.  Yew Piney Mountain;  2.  Didnít He Ramble;  3.  This Train;  4.  Mississippi Medley ( Sullivanís Hollow / Rufus Rastus);  5.  Done Gone;  6.  Little Sadie;  7.  The Devil And The Farmerís Wife;  8.  Old Shoes And Leggings;  9.  Follow The Band;  10.  Turner Smathersí Waltz;  11.  Oh My Little Darling;  12.  Louisville Burglar;  13.  Three Men Went A-Hunting;  14.  Glory In The Meeting House / Grub Springs / Sugar In The Gourd;  15.  Avalon Quickstep;  16.  Louis Collins.
Oh yes!  This is really lovely.  Rather difficult to explain why in words, or in a few short sound clips, but Tom Paley is the nearest thing to a real traditional singer that you're likely to encounter today, and he has all the skills to delight anyone with the ears to hear and understand them.  His timing is just superb, and his melodic and pace variations are so subtle.

Not only that, but his versions of (let's admit it) some fairly hackneyed songs, are among the best and most interesting I've ever heard.  A bit of Didnít He Ramble may convince you of what I mean.  And he's not above making up new words to old favourites, as in This Train, which is cited as 'traditional' in the notes.

Although it describes a thoroughly revolting example of a man, I have to admit that Tom's Little Sadie, learned from Clarence Ashley, is probably my favourite track.  Exactly how someone aged 87 can play guitar, banjo and fiddle as well as Tom Paley does is quite beyond my understanding - but he can and he does!  Admittedly, his son Ben takes most of the honours for classy fiddling, but it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the whole CD, and the little band of other musicians work perfectly together.

What a great record - I'm only sorry that Hornbeam Recordings didn't see fit to send me a copy of his previous Roll On, Roll On CD to review!

Rod Stradling - 29.5.15

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