Thursday, March 25, 2010

Various artists -- Rounder Records 40th Anniversary Concert

Rounder Records 40th Anniversary Concert

This CD collects highlights from an October 2009 concert at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of Rounder Records, one of the most important, and by now one of the most venerable, of roots-oriented independent record labels.

Featured on the CD are two songs each from some of the most popular artists on Rounder’s current roster: Minnie Driver, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Irma Thomas, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck (with Abigail Washburn on one song and Jerry Douglas on the other); and Mary Chapin Carpenter. All of them perform together on a spectacular grand finale medley.

As well, there are several performances not from the concert that were shown on the big screen at the Opry concert and are included here including a song from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss and two songs each from Madeleine Peyroux and Steve Martin.

Minnie Driver, who hosted the concert – an edited version was a recent PBS fundraiser – may be a bit of a weak link musically in such a stellar lineup, but all of the artists turn in terrific performances. It’s a great party that touches several of Rounder’s main bases: bluegrass, Zydeco, R&B, contemporary folk, etc.

But what the CD doesn’t really give us is a sense of Rounder’s tremendous musical legacy. I’ve known the Rounder folks for most of those 40 years and I’ve collected hundreds and hundreds of their albums. Here, then, is a list of 40 of my favourite albums released or reissued by Rounder over the years, either on Rounder, or its subsidiary or acquired imprints. For the sake of variety, I’ve included no more than one album by any artist or group, no various artists collections, and the list is presented in alphabetical order.

Chava Albertstein & the Klezmatics- The Well
David AmramNo More Walls
Rory Block- Gone Woman Blues: The Country Blues Collection
Roy Book Binder- Polk City Ramble
Brave Old World- Beyond the Pale
Guy Clark- Craftsman
J.D. Crowe- J.D. Crowe & the New South
Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard- Hazel & Alice
Nanci Griffith- Last of the True Believers
Woody Guthrie- My Dusty Road
John Hartford- Aereo‑Plain
Priscilla Herdman- Forgotten Dreams
Anne Hills- Angle of the Light
Tish Hinojosa- Culture Swing
Flaco Jiminez- Arriba El Norte
Bill Keith- Something Auld, Something Newgrass, Something Borrowed, Something Bluegrass
Klezmer Conservatory Band- Live: The Thirteenth Anniversary Album
Allison Krauss- I've Got That Old Feeling
Lew London- Swingtime in Springtime
David Mallett- Inches & Miles
Martin, Bogan & Armstrong- Martin, Bogan Armstrong/That Old Gang of Mine
Mary McCaslin- Way Out West
Katy Moffatt- Evangaline Hotel
Bill Morrissey- Bill Morrissey
David Olney- Roses
Tom Paxton- Even A Grey Day
Utah Phillips- The Telling Takes Me Home
Red Clay Ramblers- It Ain't Right
Peter Rowan- Peter Rowan
Tom Russell- Poor Man's Dream
Mike Seeger- Third Annual Farewell Reunion
Paul Siebel- Paul Siebel
Skyline with Tony Trischka- Ticket Back: A Retrospective
Michael Smith- Michael Smith/Love Stories
Bill Staines- Tracks and Trails
Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin- Our Town
Happy & Artie Traum- Hard Times in the Country
Guy Van Duser & Billy Novick- Exactly Like Us
Dave Van Ronk- Sunday Street
Doc Watson- Sittin’ Here Pickin’ the Blues

--Mike Regenstreif

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