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Josh Graves

Josh Graves – 1998 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Mark "Brink" Brinkman

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CDs by Josh Graves

Burkett H. "Josh" Graves played a major role in bringing the dobro to prominence as a lead bluegrass instrument. "Uncle Josh," as he is affectionately known, attempts to bring back some of the old magic with these 14 cuts, mostly bluegrass standards. "Your Love is Like a Flower," "Shuckin' the Corn," and "Cora is Gone" will be familiar to most bluegrassers. Terry Eldridge does a solid job on lead vocals.

One of the joys is hearing the fiddle of Kenny Baker. Baker and Graves play off each other throughout trading break after break. The bluesy version of "Columbus Stockade Blues" will definitely cause goosebumps. Graves' playing is as clear as ever but some tunes seem to lack the drive and excitement of the old Flatt & Scruggs recordings with whom he played from 1955-1969. Of course, that is an extremely high yardstick of comparison. Even so, the brilliance shows through in the A.P. Carter tune "Cannonball Blues" and the self penned "Just Joshin'."

You will hear the three-finger rolls that he brought to the instrument, as well as some of the old "crying" steel sounds that the dobro became known for in the 1940's. As Mike Auldridge says in the liner notes, "Josh started it all and is still the champ."