Clinch Mountain Echo

James Alan Shelton - The Copper Creek Sessions

(Sheltone SR-1963) 2012


James Alan Shelton - The Copper Creek Sessions
CD Tray

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This CD-R is a reissue of James' first two albums for Copper Creek: Road To Coeburn from 1997 and Guitar Tracks from 1999.

With over 68 mins of guitar orientated instrumentals, this will perhaps be a bit arduous for some folks to listen to in one sitting, but at least the CD-R is good value for money... and the two Copper Creek albums are nigh on impossible to find these days.

Road To Coeburn (Tracks 1-13) includes two originals by James, with the title cut being named after the road leading to Ralph's homeplace, and Tom's Creek a catchy flat-picked affair with guitar/mandolin/fiddle breaks. Both are also featured on James' 'Clinch Mountain Guitar' DVD, with notation/tab and where James gives a detailed breakdown / demonstration of how to play them. Indeed the album also garnered it's own tab/songbook issued by Mel Bay, so it must have generated some interest amongst the bluegrass guitar community in the late '90s.

Other tracks include Ralph's Five String Drag, where Steve Sparkman's banjo work is given equal prominence to the guitar. This is another of Ralph's lesser known instrumentals, which is simple but catchy, and great fun to play. Several other tracks are in familiar Stanley territory, but the two Bill Monroe numbers (Ashland Breakdown and Goin' Up Caney) and standards like Angeline The Baker and Carter Family's My Dixie Darling work well given the 'stanley-esque' treatment. The final cut, is a finger-picked tune from Flatt & Scruggs 1968 'The Story Of Bonnie & Clyde' LP.

Guitar Tracks (Tracks 14-26) opens with the standard fiddle tune Sugarfoot Rag, which suprisingly hasn't been recorded (as far as I know) by the Stanley's or CMB's other than on Curly Ray's The Deputy. Several of the tracks will be familiar to Stanley fans, though it's still nice to hear James' treatments of tracks like Snow Deer, Tragic Romance and Ralph's favourite - Cannonball Blues. The album also includes two further originals by James: the haunting The Ghost Train (groan) and Road Weary Blues which also has fine breaks by James Price / Steve Sparkman.

As one would expect many tracks are dominated by the guitar, but James Price / Steve Sparkman and Adam Steffey provide some variety to proceedings, with a lively rendition of I'll Fly Away, Lost Indian and Sugarfoot Rag sounding particularly fine.

Personnel on Tracks 1-13:

NB: (a) John Rigsby plays mandolin on tracks (1 - 13) except (2) and (5). (b) Adam Steffey plays mandolin on tracks (2) and (5)

Personnel on Tracks 14-26:

Track:
Title:
CD-R:
(68:31)
1
Tom's Creek

James Alan Shelton
2
Sunny Side Of The Mountain

Harry C. McAuliffe / Bobby Gregory
3
Five String Drag

R. Stanley / George Shuffler
4
Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem

Robert F. Boyce
5
Angeline The Baker

Stephen Foster
6
My Dixie Darling

Percy Wenrich / Arthur Gillespie
7
Goin' Up Caney

Bill Monroe
8
Road To Coeburn

James A. Shelton
9
Ashland Breakdown

Bill Monroe
10
Lonesome Reuben (aka Train 45)

P.D.
11
East Virginia Blues

A.P. Carter
12
I Saw The Light

Hank Williams
13
Highway's End

Randy Scruggs / Earl Scruggs / Lester Flatt
14
Sugarfoot Rag

H. Garland / G. Vaughn
15
Old Spinning Wheel

P.D.
16
Barbara Allen

P.D.
17
Cannonball Blues

A.P. Carter
18
The Ghost Train

James Alan Shelton
19
I'll Fly Away

Albert E. Brumley
20
Road Weary Blues

James Alan Shelton
21
Tragic Romance

Wiley Morris / Zeke Morris
22
Snow Deer

P.D.
23
Lost Indian

P.D.
24
Rosewood Casket

P.D.
25
Sweet Bye And Bye

Samuel Fillmore Bennet / Joseph P. Webster
26
Shenandoah

P.D.

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