THE BUCKING MULES
Free Dirt Records
The Bucking Mules new offering digs deep into the Tennessee roots of fiddler Joseph Decosimo with a few forays into neighboring states. The first and title-cut is a rollicking fine time of a tune with rock-solid rhythm and words from the Georgia Organ Grinders. “John Cooper’s Tune” is more sedate, but equally satisfying. “Georgia Belles” is a flight of fancy from Manco Sneed. Hamper McGee wrote “Jasper Jail” about a place he knew from the inside; Karen Celia Heil sings lead and plays guitar. Blaine Smith was the source of “Irish Washerwoman,” turned into a crooked and lilting reel.
Decosimo picks up the banjo, and banjoist Luke Richardson fiddles on “Railroad.” Their version of “Fire On The Mountain” comes from Oscar Oberturf via Bob Townsend. “Lexington” is a gorgeous setting of “Too Young To Marry” with a fiddle/banjo duet. Luke sings lead on “More Good Women Gone Wrong.” The band learned “Wild Geese At Flight” from the late Trevor Stuart. “Ruffled Drawers” is an alternate title for “New Five Cents.” Luke pulls out his harmonica for the Carter Family song “Girl On The Greenbriar Shore,” on which Karen sings lead. “Altamont” in D is another Oberturf/Townsend gem. Karen again sings lead on Clyde Davenport’s “The Soldier And The Lady.”
“Climbing The Golden Stairs” passed through Alabama fiddler James Bryan on its way to the band. “My Wife Died On Saturday Night” derives from Dr. Humphrey Bate and His Possum Hunters. “Greenback” features three-part harmony backed up by Decosimo’s banjo. Joe Bass Dejarnette holds down the bass in the band. This is all very fine and enjoyable music and deserves to be heard widely. (Free Dirt Records, P.O. Box 11451, Takoma Park, MD 20913, www.freedirt.net.)SAG