James Burton and Ralph Mooney
Corn Pickin’ and Slick Slidin’
Merle Travis and Joe Maphis
Country Music’s Two Guitar Greats
It’s no secret that Sundazed Music has become one of the leading purveyors of re-issued country and rockabilly music. One of the label’s true specialities is guitar music, and with these three new reissues, that title has been magnified even more royally.
Ask any guitar player to name their influences, and most of the country pickers (and a large percentage of the rockers) will name drop James Burton and Merle Travis. James Burton, perhaps best known for his work with Elvis Pressly and with Rick Nelson, is a true master of the six-string. Together with pedal-steel master Ralph Mooney, he was a first-call session man for everyone from Merle Haggard to Johnny Cash. Because of their popularity, the duo was urged to record an album in 1966.
The album, Corn Pickin’ and Slick Slidin, included originals, as well as instrumental covers of Haggard’s “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” and classics “Spanish Eyes,” and “The Texas Waltz.”
An earlier pairing, recorded in 1963, put two more of country’s hottest pickers together in the studio to record Country Music’s Two Guitar Greats.Merle Travis and Joe Maphis recorded an album that is just as amazing 40 some-odd years later as it was when it was recorded. Travis and Maphis covered tunes by the Carter family, Chet Atkins, Bill Monroe and more, including sendups of “Corrina, Corrina,” “Kentucky waltz, and Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down.”
Speedy West backed up countless Capitol Records artists including Tennessee Ernie Ford during the 1950’s. This collection, Steel Guitar, was recorded fifty years ago, and features West accompanied by the legendary guitarist Jimmy Bryant. Included in the collection is the firey instrumental “Speedin’ West,” a song that was adopted as a theme song by many a country DJ in the ‘50’s. Other outstanding and surprisingly timeless tracks include “Steelin’ Moonlight,” “Railroadin,” and the tranquility of “Sunset.”
Taken as a set, these three releases are an indispensable addition to the library of any guitar player or fan of classic country music. These are the best of the best from the mid-20th century. Sizzling, smoking guitar.
-Michael Buffalo Smith