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Orthophonic Joy is a Real Joy

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Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions RevisitedOne of the most exciting projects in recording has been released, Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited. Produced by multi-Grammy award winning Carl Jackson, this may be the best recording project of the year. Based on the music of the famed "Bristol Sessions" in 1927 where "Record Man" Ralph Peer created the "Big Bang of Country Music" when he brought his Victor Talking Machines equipment to Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia to record the music of the region. That was 88 years ago and is still significant. Johnny Cash once said that the Bristol Sessions are the single most important event in the history of country music. What Carl Jackson has done is to breathe new life into the Appalachian music of generations ago.

I've been saturating myself with this album. I've played it and played it and played it some more. As a fan of the original Bristol Sessions and the Johnson City Sessions, this new rendition with contemporary artists and fresh sounds takes these historic recordings to a new dimension. One needs to listen to this entire album to fully grasp what Carl Jackson produced here.

The original Bristol Sessions were an important historical event. This recording certainly contributes to that history of those early songs of hard life, the church and more. Jackson has taken the old songs and mixed them with country artists that know the region and its rich heritage. Dolly Parton, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Jesse McReynolds, The Church sisters, Vince Gill and a long list of others payed tribute to the sessions on these tracks.

Orthophonic LabelThe sorrowful fiddle, family harmonies, lively banjo, mandolin chops, traditional autoharp, and other instrumentation brings a new life to these songs that will live for eternity. Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited blows the dust off those 78 RPM recordings played on the "Orthophonic Victrolas" and reintroduces them to the 21st century with another "Big Bang!"

Songs that many have grown up with for many generations like "Darling Cora," "Pretty Polly," "In the Pines," "I'm Redeemed," "Shall We Gather At The River" all are as much alive in this recording as they were almost a century ago. In this promotional video, Marty Stuart and Vince Gill discuss this project...

One aspect of this important recording is these songs are as fitting today as they were back then. Their timeless melodies and lyrics are so pure and true that people day can emotionally relate and bind to them as "new" songs. From the double fiddles on "Train On The Island" to Carl playing Mother Maybelle’s Stromberg Guitar, the soul of these songs shows their strength to allow them to endure all this time. These aren't just songs that disappeared for a while and then were found and newly discovered. These are songs I listed to in my childhood, through high school, after college and even today. Jackson has captured the true essence of the "Bristol Sessions" with Orthophonic Joy. It requires special care and attention to achieve this marvelous creation. Jackson achieved that and more.

Eddie Stubbs fills in the blanks with wonderful historical aspects of the music contained within these two CDs. He describes the setup, the artists and the culture surrounding the different songs within this collection. It is a fine blend of the old, when these songs were first recorded and the new with the artists that bring these songs back to life in the 21st Century. This added dimension to the album gives it further meaning and strengthens its value as an important recording.

This is a collection that belongs on the shelf with those early songs by The Carter Family, The Stoneman's Dixie Mountaineers, Jimmie Ridgers, Tenneva Ramblers, B.F. Shelton, the Johnson Brothers, Alfred Karnes, Tennessee Mountaineers, West Virginia Coon Hunters and other artists of the region and the day. The "Big Bang of Country Music" is still expanding the universe of music into the modern day thanks to Carl Jackson and Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited.

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