Clinch Mountain Echo

The Bluegrass Tarheels - Tarheel Country

(United Low Country U-625S) c1972


Tarheel Country
Rear Cover Side One Side Two

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This was the debut album for The Bluegrass Tarheels, which included a young Ricky Lee on lead guitar and was recorded circa 1972, shortly before he joined the CMB's.

According to the liner notes the band were previously known as the Dixie Hillbillies, and sometime after Sept 1971 were given the 'Bluegrass Tarheels' monicker by Bill Monroe at a gig at an Ernest Tubb Record Store. Ricky Lee had been recruited to the CMB's by Jan 1973[1] so this album seems to have dated from 1972.

No full personnel listing is given on the sleeve, so I can't be sure that Doyle Donahue or Bob Ford played on it, but as they were present on their follow-up LP 'Traditonal Pickin' And Singin' From The Carolinas' (Royal Records S12022173427) 1973, it seems likely.

Incidentally their 1975 album 'The Bluegrass Tarheels' (Vetco LP-3020) included liner notes by Ralph Stanley, saying:- "I have know these fellows for several years, and have heard them perform on many of the bluegrass festivals over the country, they always go over good with the fans. They always play my festival each memorial day weekend near McClure, Va. I think the group plays good driving bluegrass music, and I feel sure that everyone who buys this album will enjoy it".[2]

Ralph later recalled:- "Another thing that helped the band was, we got a new lead guitar player, Ricky Lee, who was seasoned and ready to go. He grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and had a bluegrass band called the Carolina Tarhills (sic). Roy Lee (Centers) was the first to recognize Ricky's talent but it took a while to get him on board. He knew all the Stanley Brothers records by heart and he'd seen our new line-up at festivals, so he fit right in with our sound; he could play just like I sang. When you listen to Ricky Lee lay down the melody line on the Carter Family's 'Gold Watch And Chain' from my album 'A Man And His Music', you can understand why bluegrass pickers still talk about his playing even today."[3]

Highlights of the 'Tarheel Country' release include a chilling adapation of the Stonewall Jackson hit Water So Cold; and the instrumentals Train 45, Washington County, Lonesome Reuben and Spanish Grass all of which have excellent picking. Ricky's guitar work on Lonesome Reuben is particularly memorable...

The album isn't that common, but an MP3 rip from it can be found on the Bluegrass Music Spoken Here blogsite. Some copies have blank white labels.

One single also seems to have been released from the LP: Old Carolina/Spanish Grass (United Low Country 2232) c1972.

Track:
Title:
Side One:
(17:41)
1
Water So Cold

Harlan Howard
2
Katy Daly

Eamon O'Shea arr Paul Mullins
3
Train 45

G.B. Grayson
4
Children Are Crying

Earl Taylor
5
Locked Away

Monroe Fields
6
Washington County

Kenny Baker
Side Two:
(17:26)
1
Lonesome Ruben

P.D.
2
Will You Miss Me

A.P. Carter
3
Sugar Coated Love

Audrey Butler
4
Spanish Grass

Mike Auldridge
5
Old Caroline

James Randolph
6
Beautiful Life

William M. Golden

 


Go To Top Of Page [1] He was mentioned in Bluegrass Unlimited's 'General Store' (Jan. 1973) as being the 'newest member' of the CMB's.
[2] They were billed as appearing at his 'Hills Of Home' festival in May 1973, but didn't make the adverts on other events.
[3] Ralph Stanley and Eddie Dean's book "Man Of Constant Sorrow" (p. 326-327)