Clinch Mountain Echo

Curly Ray Cline - Smarter Than The Average Idiot

(Tin Ear TE-33010) 1984


Smarter Than The Average Idiot
Rear Cover Side One Side Two

This hard to find album, is one of Curly's best. Featuring a few fiddle tunes (Cacklin Hen, Billy In The Low Ground, Down Yonder and Patty On A Turnpike; and a nice instrumental version of Bill Monroe's Kentucky Waltz; the balance is an eclectic mix.

Ralph "now as always, a sideman for Cline's albums" is featured on about half of the numbers, including a ground-breaking performance on triangle and vibra-slap on Down Yonder. Elsewhere, Jack Cooke gets to do a bass solo (Step It Up & Go), and Charlie Sizemore makes a debut performance on banjo (John Henry and Watermelon Hangin' On The Vine).

Charlie Sizemore's witty writing skills, that would later give rise to classics like Alison's Band and No Lawyers In Heaven, is apparent on Just-A-Hangin (a true tale about the demise of one of Curly's beloved hunting dogs) and the title cut Smarter Than The Average Idiot. The former track, with Junior Blankenship on lead vocals, is a pastiche of John Anderson's hit Swingin', which during the band had perfomed with Hook 'n' Beans.[1]

Elsewhere, Curly Ray get's to sing the creepy Fly On The Baby's Nose and Death Came A Creepin' Into My Room.

The album is also notable for featuring Hillard 'Duck' Blankenship, the bands long-standing bus-driver on washboard. John Wright provides a hilarious sleevenotes too.

As far as I can tell, Tin Ear were active from the late seventies to mid eighties, which may explain why this album seems pretty hard to find.

It was recorded in one session on 24th Jan 1984. On the 21st the band had made an appearance at the Hiltons, VA (A.P. Carter store) followed by a 3-day booking at the University Of Chicago, Chicago Folklore Society.

Track:
Title:
Side One:
(16:18)
1
C(r)acklin' Hen

P.D.
2
Billy In The Low Ground

P.D.
3
Step It Up & Go

Curly Ray Cline
4
Kentucky Waltz

Bill Monroe
5
Watermelon Hangin' On The Vine

P.D.
6
Just-A-Hangin

Charlie Sizemore
Side Two:
(13:49)
1
Down Yonder

P.D.
2
Smarter Than The Average Idiot

J. Preston / Charlie Sizemore / Curly Ray Cline
3
Patty On The Turnpike

P.D.
4
Death Came A Creepin' In My Room

Curly Ray Cline
5
Fly On The Baby's Nose

Curly Ray Cline
6
John Hardy

P.D.

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