TOSHIO WATANABE, THE FICTION TWINS
Red Clay Records
Sometimes another person’s perspective acts as a mirror to our music. Toshio Watanabe has made a spot-on recording capturing the instrumental nuances of the Monroe Brothers’ duet recordings. His mandolin and guitar playing sound just like the originals. This is a wonderful throwback to another time. He even gets the same harmonies as on the original recordings. Unfortunately, the language barrier is something he could not overcome. The devotion to the roots music of bluegrass shown here is admirable. This is, on so many levels, a marvelous recording.
The label is an adaptation of the old Bluebird label upon which the original recordings were presented. The “Twins” in the name is clever, as Watanabe overdubs everything here. The package (while short on liner notes) does provide all of the lyrics for the songs. There are duets associated with other brother acts besides the Monroes. There are songs by the Lilly Brothers, the Carter Family, and Wade Mainer.
If you like that old-time brother duet sound, this one is a bit different, but very well done.(Red Clay Records, 6-5-18 Kawamo, Taharazuka, Hyogo 665-0842, Japan, www.redclayrecords.com.)RCB