ALAN JABBOUR AND STEPHEN WADE
This treasure of a recording catches the late Alan Jabbour and Stephen Wade in concert at the Library of Congress where Jabbour had run the American Folklife Center before retiring. Two old friends doing what old friends do, playing tunes, but this time for an appreciative audience. Alan was a fount of knowledge when it came to old-time fiddle tunes. On half of the 29 tracks on this recording, he shares some of that information. Even folks who think they know a lot about this subject might be surprised at what they learn from his informative stories.
Both musicians are in great form for this concert. Wade’s banjo is the perfect foil to Jabbour’s fiddling flights of fancy as his bow dances through these tunes; tunes he learned and collected from older fiddlers and then brought to the collective consciousness of the old-time revival. Wade’s melodic weavings include high harmonies and countering moves that propel the music to exciting heights.
Jabbour brought the name of Henry Reed to the forefront whenever he played and does the same here, telling stories that are as interesting as the tunes. Wade’s liner notes shed a loving light on his longtime friend and some of their musical adventures together. Alan Jabbour gave much to the world around him and thought deeply about what it meant to be an artist. He is quoted: “How complicated and powerful beyond our own imaginings are the radiations of what we do.” Thinking of the common people this music came from he also said: “Art is not a thing apart. It can’t be set aside from life.” These tunes endure and prevail through fiddlers today. As he tells in his preambles to the tunes played here, the music will go on. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.)RCB