How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Using the politics of Be Bop as an analogy, if Nickel Creek are "beboppers" and the music they make sounds like "Chinese Music" then Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver are the "Moldy Figs." Lawson and his group have immersed themselves in white gospel music as of late to the point that the bluegrass community was beginning to worry that they had forsaken their bluegrass roots for salvation. The Hard Game of Love has a contemporary relationship temperament cast against its wholly traditional bluegrass canvas. This is a collection addressing the burden of love won and lost. The subject matter would have been perfect for the last Sugar Hill compilation, Cool Blue and Lonesome (Sugar Hill 3944, 2001). Lawson is a superb mandolinist and Quicksilver is a crack combo. They sing with that beautiful and haunting high tenor that sounds like a dry wind blowing across the Oklahoma prairie. Like Jazz, Bluegrass has the capacity to be performed poorly. Luckily, however, it is the rarified music like The Hard Game of Love that more often than not makes it to disc.
Cool Blue Outlaws
- Songs for Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions : (Sugar Hill 3950, 2001)
Taking the liberty to piggyback a related compilation on to this review Sugar Hill has released the follow-up to Cool Blue and Lonesome. Cool Blue Outlaws is a collection of songs by a collection of Sugar Hill label mates vilifying, mystifying, celebrating, condemning, and enduring the durable myth of the American Outlaw. Lonesome Standard Time provides a lively "Bandit" and Ronnie Bowman a desperate "Jail House Blues. Sam Bush covers Willis Alan Ramsey's beautifully decadent "Ballad of Spider John" and our own Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver offers Malcolm Pulley's prison tome, "In the Gravel Yard." If the listener like Cool Blue and Lonesome or Cool Blue Rocks (Sugar Hill 3930) the listener will love these tales of woe.
Track Listing: Blue Train; The Hard Game Of Love; Oak Ridge Rendezvous; We Missed You; Nightingale; Standing Room Only; Poor Boy Working Blues; In My Dreams; A Thing Of The Past; My Trust In You; The Had Made Cross; As Long As The World Stands. (Total Time: 55:15).
Personnel: Doyle Lawson-- mandolin, vocals; Dale Perry-- banjo, bass, vocals; Barry Scott-- bass, vocals; Jamie Daily-- guitar, vocals; Barry Abernathy-- banjo, vocals; Jimmy Van Cleve-- fiddle; Owen Saunders-- fiddle.