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A Tribute To James "Yank" Rachell

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:39 am
by blueswriter
Various Artists
1910-1997 - A Tribute To The Legendary Blues Mandolin Man - James "Yank" Rachell
Yanksville (2008) yr012708


21 tracks, 77 minutes. Recommended. One plain and simple fact over the entire recorded history of blues music is that the mandolin has played a role far too small. Among the tens of thousands of blues records (both 78 and 45 RPM as well as LP albums) and compact discs, those devoted to or featuring mandolin are perhaps in the lower end of a four-digit range. While this tribute to Yank Rachell isn’t likely to change those figures or start a new and exciting blues mandolin trend, it’s certainly a refreshing hour-plus of great music and some seriously good fun. The broad styles of blues covered here range from Mike Seeger‘s wonderful solo performance of Deep Elam Blues, to full-on band romps with amplified electric mandolin in Mike Butler and Greg Ashby’s reading of Divin’ Duck. The true standout comes with Yank’s granddaughter, Sheena, singing an astounding Lake Michigan Blues with passionate and dirge-like accompaniment from a small band that also features Butler’s 5-string electric slide mandolin. John Sebastian is present on Sebastian Speaks and Tappin’ That Thing, recalling a few humorous stories about working with and talking to Yank. While we might not often think of the very lengthy-but-small recorded history of blues mandolin, this wonderful effort begins to show just how far-reaching Yank Rachell’s influence was. A wonderful effort indeed.

© 2010 by Craig Ruskey