When you are as talented as Norman Blake, nothing is needed in the studio but a guitar and microphone.
Blake, who retired from the road with his wife Nancy three years ago, recorded some of the old-fashioned Southern string music that he plays around home. His guitar and the Alabama Great Southern Railway are two constants from his life that come into play with this record.
He cut songs like “Railroading On The Great Divide” (recorded by A.P. Carter Family in 1952), the punitive death of “The Tramp,” “The Wreck On The C&O,” and the title cut that he wrote in the 1980s about his summer days down along the Southern Railroad in Sulphur Springs, Ga., in the 1940s. His wife adds harmony vocals along the way on some of the CD’s 17 cuts. Most songs he recorded date back to the 1920s and 1930s. Their origins he attempts to trace with the listing of each cut. Blake’s simple and pure vocals and acoustic picking of the rural songs from his childhood are delightful. All aboard for this latest excursion into music’s past with one of old-time music’s best friends. (Western Jubilee Recording Co., P.O. Box 9187, Colorado Springs, CO 80932, www.westernjubilee.com.) BC