Rebel Records REB-CD-1846
It doesn’t seem all that long ago when Larry Sparks’ fortieth anniversary album was released, which finally garnered the lonesome legend the IBMA Album Of The Year, Recorded Event Of The Year, and Male Vocalist Of The Year awards. Since then, impressively, he has continued to record some wonderful traditional bluegrass music with albums such as The Last Suit You Wear and the excellent Almost Home.
Now, it is time to celebrate Sparks’ fiftieth year in the music business with his latest album Lonesome And Then Some. The recording is filled with the expected solid bluegrass music with help from guests such as long-time admirer Alison Krauss, former bossman Ralph Stanley, and IBMA Hall Of Famers Bobby Osborne, Jesse McReynolds, and Curly Seckler. Produced by Sparks and Steve Chandler, the album also features Judy Marshall, Ron Stewart, Tim Graves, Jackie Kincaid, David Harvey, Tyler Mullins, and Larry D. Sparks.
Krauss and Marshall join Sparks on a moving version of “Going Up Home To Live In Green Pastures,” and Stanley adds his old-school harmony vocals to “Loving You Too Well.” Seckler shows up on two cuts—adding harmony to “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” and again with McReynolds on “I’m Gonna Sing Sing Sing.” There’s a new song on here that is classic Sparks, a true-life blues number along the lines of “John Deere Tractor,” sung as only he can do it. That cut is the uptempo yet moving “Bitterweeds,” about an old spinster woman who lives at the edge of town who missed the love of her life—or did she? The album ends with a live recording made with Bill Monroe in 1995.(Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7405, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.)DH