Posts Tagged ‘bill monroe

17
Nov
10

HiFi Radio: listening pleasure to excess

Yes, after massive amounts of board meetings and swooning investors we here at HiFi Central have created our own radio station, well, er, kind of did.  In association with Playlist.com HiFi has created a station that you can click on and listen to our hand selected favorites while you toil at work or perhaps waste endless amounts of time looking busy.

We will do our best to refresh the station every  now and again, but we feel that variety of songs will be some you will want to play almost every day.  We’ve found some Zappa, Phish, Supergrass, Reverend Horton Heat and others to mix it up and keep it interesting.  Hey, we even sprinkled a bit of GWAR in there too (yes, here at HiFi Central we feel that Eliot Smith and GWAR live in peaceful coexistence on the same playlist).

I have to admit that the highlights of this playlist are the two live versions of both Suzy Greenberg and Gotta Jiboo by PHISH; simply incredible!

Although the coding between WordPress and Playlist.com do not jive exactly as well as we would like (it would have cost an additional $1,000,000,000 to fix) we feel that the result is fairly acceptable.  In order to launch the player look on the right of your screen and  just click the link for “Popout Player”; you will be presented with a new window and the fantastic and obnoxious Juicy Fruit billboard surrounding our radio station (ain’t nothin’ for free in this world; thank god it’s not a KY or Trojan ad instead). 

If you have any requests that you think we should consider, please let us know and please tune in regularly.

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03
Aug
10

The Essential Bill Monroe 2-Disc Set (1945-1949)

Recently on a canoe / camping trip to The Adirondacks in Upstate New York my father asked me for some music that would inspire him during the drive though the Eastern High Peaks Region.  Instantly I thought of Bill Monroe, if you are not familiar with this bluegrass icon you should be, this is vintage bluegrass at its best.

I picked up this box set a few years ago on a lark since I wanted to add some dimension and variety to my music collection.  I had been familiar on a superficial level with Bill Munroe and Earl Scruggs (a protege of Monroe) and liked what  I had heard, normally the only time I listened was on my local college radio station (WRPI). 

I had picked up the two-disc set of Allison Krauss and Union Station Live and was really intrigued by bluegrass and modern country. If you are not famliar with Krauss’ live album it is one of the best live albums I’ve heard, incredible.  I’ve never been one to feel compelled to pick up a Tanya Tucker, Merle Haggard, or Willie Nelson album; that type of Country/Western music never really has appealed to me.  However, vintage Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr. always has, so I figured that why not Bill Monroe .  Luckily my bet paid off and this 2-disc set is worth every penny as an introduction to the roots of bluegrass.

Although Monroe had many hits over his 40+ year career, one of the highlights of his music was his hit “Blue Moon of Kentucky“; this song is featured on this collection; one can plainly see why this song was so appealing, but there are 39 other songs as equally as impressive.  The biggest gripe however about this box set is that a majority of the songs are not the actual studio hits, many are alternate versions or unreleased studio tracks of hits.  There is a companion cd that Columbia released “Bill Monroe: 16 Gems”, this is more of a “best of” album than anything else, good yes, but for a purist I feel that the box set is far more a better investment.

The overall sound quality is good but not incredible, most of the tracks were recorded in the early to mid-1940’s so you can understand why it may sound “boxy” at times.  You can get a used box set for about $12.00 on Amazon.  Do yourself a favor if you are a bluegrass fan, or looking for an inspirational album to set the mood as you head on your epic camping trip.

The Essential Bill Monroe (1945-1949) 2-disc set gets 4.0 out of 5.




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