CD-300 Eddie Adcock "Vintage Banjo Jam"
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This narrow slice of a mere glimpse into Eddie Adcock's banjo style/s from more than half a century ago nevertheless provides a treasure trove of what we should call avant-garde wonders. Jazzy, bluesy and rocking though his playing has always been, if the spectrum of his musical career were seen as a circle, this diverse collection of tunes displays a mere few degrees of it, a slice in time and type.
The most casual of bluegrass fans know Eddie's career first and mainly from his rule-breaking tenure as Country Gentlemen sparkplug from 1959 to 1970. His horizons next expanded far further with his newgrass-progressive II Generation group, to the country-rock Adcock Band, to the longtime and present-day duo of Eddie & Martha Adcock Always, the beat of bluegrass has breathed in his own personal genre.
How did this project come to be? By Adcock's mid-Gentlemen period in 1963, his uncontainable ethos tempted him toward a wider market than bluegrass, and this project was cut in order to dangle it before Nashville producer/musician Chet Atkins' nose. But when even that master marketer of pop and country was left scratching his head at the problems of the how-to, Eddie left that behind to entertain other dreams.
So, here is Eddie Adcock jamming joyously with himself, out on a limb in every tune and making extraordinary flights an everyday thing, accompanied by inimitable bluegrassers Tom Gray on bass and Pete Kuykendall on rhythm guitar, plus jazz drummer Barry Worrell, recording on the fly in two-track mode. Eddie still employs the methodology of freedom of expression in performing these tunes, as he does on all others he may play.
To the most traditional of bluegrass purists, Eddie's unique musical wizardry is frequently mind-blowing, too challenging and unnervingly opaque --often leaving the right-hand roll unused-- while simultaneously managing to be irresistibly inviting, with its unmatched buoyancy and wit.
To be sure, those who have true insight into Eddie Adcock's playing comprise an elite group whose members are few and far between. For years, swirling misconceptions and misinformation concerning his music have been passed on as the norm. As an example, even some of the most widely lauded banjo teachers and disseminators oddly seem not to recognize, admit, or be interested to know the difference between Eddie Adcock style and Reno style, since it bears somewhat closer inspection than many listeners or players are apt to attempt.
Astonishingly, in his long and historic career this is the only true solo banjo album that Eddie has yet made, a particularly extraordinary fact given his pervading musical influence embedded firmly in the bluegrass genre. Yet as he continues to choose to ignore musical boundaries, still his inspiration of others has only grown as his own music continues to evolve.
Eddie Adcock's I'll-do-it-my-way insistence from the very beginning has earned him the successive titles of iconoclast, inspiration, influence, true father of newgrass, and multi-Hall-of-Famer. Always deeply driven to remain an uncatchable free spirit, the 'original wild child of bluegrass banjo' and this long-lost album are
supremely deserving of rediscovery.