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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vinyl Find: Bluegrass Brigade

I'm far to lazy and cheap to be much of a vinyl collector. A lot of the stuff I'd really like on vinyl, lots of other middle aged guys would like to have those records back, too, so despite all the ways vinyl is superior to CD, I have a hard time shelling out $15 for a record I have on compact disc.

And as far as the lazy factor goes, I'm a bit of an audiophile but I also like putting music on as a background to other activities (such as writing this blog post—I don't have to get up every fifteen minutes with CDs). But every once in a while, in the thrift stores I'll find something interesting enough and cheap enough. By interesting, in part, I mean stuff that obviously isn't likely getting re-issued in an updated format, especially local stuff. Back when producing your own album meant coming up with pretty big bucks for a pressing.

Case in point, I came across an LP in good shape of the 'Bluegrass Brigade' recorded in 1981 in the Ozarks. Hand drawn front cover art in one color (Reflex blue, no doubt they saved a $25 Pantone match charge using a house color at the printer), black & white back side with liner notes obviously done on a typewriter and then shot on a camera (no scanner back in 1981). I can't tell if it was self-produced or just a micro-label, though the difference is mostly semantics (and I guess, who wrote the check for the studio time, printing and pressing).

It's a solid album, too. Old school bluegrass, it's not breaking any new ground but then it's not really trying to. They're still around apparently, Jack and Mae Burlinson, Jim McGreevy and Don Montgomery. Their Facebook profile doesn't mention the fifth member on the LP, Rusty Dutton, but having four of the five members still playing as a band 34 years later is something of a miracle. I might have to find a gig they're playing and take the LP jacket for autographs. I did that to Mike Metheny when he was editing the Jam and I found a copy of his Blue Jay Sessions debut LP.

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