Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Bluegrass Cafe" playlist - 12/4/2011

It's a new month at the BG Cafe, and since it's December, that means it's really time to break out the Christmas music.  Many moons ago, when I first began broadcasting BG music on the radio, there was maybe one or two BG Christmas LPs, so the choices for Bluegrass Christmas music programming were really pretty limited.  Now, there are many, many BG Christmas recordings, and we shared selections from two of the newest 2011 entries on today's show:  Heather Berry's Mountain Fever Records CD is named (of course), "Have A Berry Merry Christmas," and the second volume of Christmas music from Ricky Skaggs, the Whites, and their various family members is "A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume II."  In addition, there's a new Christmas tune written by New Hampshire songwriter, Rick Lang, and recorded by Jana & Stephen Mougin.  Other Christmas tunes were featured throughout the program, as well, from performers like the Stanley Brothers, Rhonda Vincent, Larry Stephenson, and the Johnson Mountain Boys.  

In addition to the new Christmas music from Heather Berry, Ricky Skaggs & the Whites, and the Rick Lang/Jana Mougin, a few other newer recordings made their way onto the WHUS airwaves this afternoon.  Other 2011 releases we heard from today came from Bill Emerson, Thomas Porter & Copper River Band, Della Mae, David Grisman, Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, Nothin' Fancy, Newtown, the Expedition ShowDarin & Brooke Aldridge, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Missy Werner Band, Lee Marcus, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Kathy Kallick, and Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice.  

Alton & Rabon Delmore
Today, we also paid tribute to one of the sweetest-sounding brother duets of all time:  Alton & Rabon -- the Delmore Brothers.  These stars of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s and Country Music Hall of Famers were both born in the month of December (Alton on December 25, 1908 and Rabon on December 3, 1916), so the time seemed perfect to shine a spotlight on them by playing several BG versions of tunes from their incredible song catalog.  Even though both of the Delmores have been dead for close to 50 years (Alton died in 1964, Rabon in 1952), the songs they wrote and sang continue to be recorded.  Just within the last year or so, several prominent BG performers have recorded Delmore music, including Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, the Crowe Brothers, Josh Williams, and Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.  Terrific stuff.  

There doesn't appear to be a photo
of this quartet in action during the
1940s, but all three of these acts ended
up in the Country Music Hall of Fame
While shining the spotlight on the Delmore Brothers, it would have been impossible to not play a few songs by the Brown's Ferry Four.  This gospel quartet was born while the Delmores were working on the radio for WLW in Cincinnati in the early 1940s.  At the same time, there were two other members of the WLW staff who were performers:  Merle Travis and Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones.  The story goes that the 3 acts would sometimes work on the Saturday night radio show at WLW and other personal appearances.  Through a mutual love of gospel music, the two Delmores, Travis, and Grandpa found they could sing gospel songs together and have a great sound.  The Brown's Ferry Four were born (the name taken from the Delmores Alabama hometown of Brown's Ferry) after WLW gave the Brown's Ferry Four their own radio show.  Plenty of other folks enjoyed their gospel harmonies, too, and their music has gone on to inspire many other purveyors of BG gospel music, most especially Doyle Lawson.  World War II broke up the quartet when Alton and Grandpa both joined the service, but their music certainly lives on, and it's good to play it on the air every now and then.  

Hope you're enjoying your holiday season, and that you'll be sure to join Jim on the air next Sunday for three more big hours of the BG Cafe.



  • Katy Hill / Del McCoury Band / RockyGrass / Blue Planet
  • If We Make It Through December / Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum / Winter's Grace / Signature Sounds
  • Have You Come To Say Goodbye / Travers Chandler & Avery County / State Of Depression / Patuxent Music
  • Crazy Heart / Ben Greene with James King / Bluegrass Sideman / Blue Circle Records
  • Christmas Is Near / Stanley Brothers / Christmas Time's A-Comin' / Time Life
  • Jesse James / Bill Emerson with Marshall Wilborn & Lynn Morris / Eclipse / Rural Rhythm
  • The Year That Clayton Delaney Died / The Grascals with Tom T. Hall / The Grascals & Friends / Cracker Barrel
  • Trolley Days / Thomas Porter & Copper River Band / Trolley Days / Self-Produced
  • Bowling Green / Della Mae / I Built This Heart / Self-Produced
  • My Little Georgia Rose / David Grisman with Del McCoury / Dawg Plays Big Mon:  Happy Birthday Bill Monroe / Acoustic Disc
  • Silence Or Tears / Country Gentlemen / John Duffey:  The Rebel Years, 1962-1977 / Rebel
  • Fireball Express / Mark Delaney / Sidecar / Patuxent Music
  • Christmas Time's A Comin' / Rhonda Vincent / Beautiful Star / Rounder
  • Ain't It Funny / Lou Reid / When It Rains / Sugar Hill
  • When The Springtime Comes Again (Little Annie) / Expedition Show / The Expedition Show / Mountain Fever Records
  • Comin' On Strong / Joe Val & the New England Bluegrass Boys / One Morning In May / Rounder
  • New Kid In Town / Heather Berry / Have A Berry Merry Christmas / Mountain Fever Records
  • Wall Around Your Heart / Reno & Smiley / Classic Bluegrass / King
  • Old Joe Clark / Lilly Brothers & Don Stover / Bluegrass At The Roots / Smithsonian Folkways
  • I'll Sign My Heart Away / Allerton & Alton / Black, White & Bluegrass / Bear Family
  • The Hills Of Tennessee / Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa / It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Day! / Self-Produced
  • Lookin' Out My Back Door / Nothin' Fancy / Nothin' Fancy / Virginia Dreams Records
  • Flora, The Lilly Of The West / Newtown / Newtown / Self-Produced
  • When You're Holding Me / Rhonda Vincent / single / Upper Management Music
  • Rock Bottom / Gillis Brothers / Ice Cold Stone / Hay Holler
  • Long Forgotten Dream / Gibson Brothers / Long Forgotten Dream / Hay Holler
  • Weary Lonesome Blues / Delmore Brothers / The Delmore Brothers / JSP Records
  • I've Got The Railroad Blues / Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper / Fired Up / Rounder
  • Happy On The Mississippi Shores / Nashville Bluegrass Band / Home Of The Blues / Sugar Hill
  • Freight Train Boogie / Bear Minimum / Live At The Finnish Hall / no label
  • When It's Time For The Whippoorwill To Sing / Louvin Brothers / A Tribute To The Delmore Brothers / Gusto
  • Some Of These Days (You're Gonna Be Sad) / David Peterson & 1946 / In The Mountaintops To Roam / Self-Produced
  • Southern Moon / Crowe Brothers / Bridging The Gap / Rural Rhythm
  • Blue Railroad Train / Josh Williams with Tony Rice / Down Home / Pinecastle
  • Little Did They Know / Jana Mougin / single / Self-Produced
  • Christmas Country Style / Larry Stephenson / Close My Eyes To Heaven / Webco
  • Pretty Little Girl From Galax / Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out / Prime Tyme / Rural Rhythm
  • Blind Man / Spinney Brothers / If I Were Your Brother / Self-Produced
  • Lonely Ends Where Love Begins / Darin & Brooke Aldridge / So Much In Between / Mountain Home
  • Women Like To Slow Dance / Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers / Rare Bird Alert / Rounder
  • You Must Be Born Again / Brown's Ferry Four / 16 Greatest Hits / Starday
  • Journey To My Savior's Side / Missy Werner Band / Three Kinds Of Lonesome / Self-Produced
  • Will The Circle Be Unbroken / Lee Marcus / Grandpa's Pond / Self-Produced
  • Thankful For Each Day / Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice / The Heart Of A Song / Rebel
  • The Friendly Beasts / Johnson Mountain Boys / Christmas Time's A-Comin' / Time Life
  • Daniel Prayed / Kathy Kallick with Laurie Lewis / Count Your Blessings / Live Oak Records
  • Whispering Now / Czech Drivers with Chris Jones / Live In Holland, 1985-2004 / Strictly Country
  • Let The Church Roll On / Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs / Flatt & Scruggs At Carnegie Hall! / Columbia
  • Children Go / Ricky Skaggs & the Whites / A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume II / Skaggs Family
  • Over In The Gloryland / Brown's Ferry Four / 16 Greatest Hits / Starday
  • Black Mountain Blues / Johnson Mountain Boys / Requests / Rounder

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