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Records to Die For 4: Goodbye Jumbo and Aereo-Plain

Goodbye Jumbo
Chrysalis/Ensign F221654. 1990, Karl Wallinger, prod. TT: 53:36.

Listening to Goodbye Jumbo is like making your way through the detritus of an audio attic – stepping amongst old 45s, vinyl albums, eight-tracks and memorable riffs, bridges and choruses. Though every Karl Wallinger song stands on its own, there are plentiful references to icons from the Beach Boys to Prince to the Beatles, and yes, those are the “whoo-whoos” from the Rolling Stones “Sympathy from the Devil” leading out “Way Down Now” and the melodies of “Please Mr. Postman” and “Be Bop A Lula” underpinning “When the Rainbow Comes.” There is not a song here that you can’t sing along to. (102)

Rounder 0366. 1971, David Bromberg, prod., Claude J. Hill, eng.
TT: 40:10 .

The record that changed the bluegrass landscape forever. Until then, captive to RCA producers who didn’t know what to do with his literate, often hilarious songs, Hartford slipped below Warner Brothers’ radar, hooked up with David Bromberg and some of the genre’s top guns and tore the lid off traditional bluegrass. Together, they spilled out the contents, rolled them back up with some kind bud and let the tapes roll. Aereo-Plain’s combustible jumble of old-time reverence and flower-power curiosity was an unofficial muse for a new generation of players (led by Sam Bush and New Grass Revival) that has spread the framework and the influence of bluegrass far beyond its original borders. (112)

The assignment: Write reviews of two great records in 100 words. These were my choices for 2004.


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