With twenty years behind the name and nine to ten years with two of his current bandmembers (bassist Christy Reid and banjoist Trevor Watson), Lou Reid brought his group, into the Down Home in Johnson City, Tenn., for an evening of anniversary reminiscing. Longtime on-and-off member Kevin Richardson was on guitar and guest Justin Moses added fiddle and resonator guitar.
Taken from that evening are 12 tracks touching, if only briefly, on the many phases of Lou Reid’s career, but primarily focusing on his time with Carolina. Some were hits, such as “Time,” “Amanda Lynn,” and “Carolina Moonshine Man.” Some are band favorites. “Mountain Girl” makes a nod toward Reid’s time with Doyle Lawson, which is chronologically his starting point, though the tune dates to a much later reunion album. From his solo period comes the title cut of his 1991 When It Rains, then a couple from 1993’s Carolina Blue—“Lord Have Mercy” and “I Call Your Name.” “Lord Have Mercy,” an a cappella tour de force reflecting what he learned from Lawson, is a standout with spot-on harmonies and great spirit all around. The ode to the bluegrass, “Grass Lover,” rounds out the early years, while the Monroe-tinged “Lost In A Memory” and the angst-ridden “I Couldn’t Find My Walking Shoes” reflect his membership in the Seldom Scene.
All the rest are post-Christy Reid/Trevor Watson numbers, including “Time,” “Amanda Lynn,” “Carolina Moonshine Man,” and “She’s More To Be Pitied,” the latter sung by Christy. Of them, “Amanda Lynn” seems to get an extra boost from being recorded live. The others are well done, but “Amanda Lynn” has a more forward-leaning quality about it that makes it more vibrant and joyful than the studio cut and gives an extra lift to an overall entertaining recording. (Lou Reid, P.O. Box 133, Union Grove, NC 28689, www.loureidandcarolina.com.)BW