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Larry Sparks

John Deere Tractor – 2002 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Larry Sparks

This reissue of a 1978 LP shows Larry Sparks at his best. Bluegrass doesn't get better than this.

The title track pushes the definition of traditional bluegrass just a bit, but it remains one of Sparks' signature songs, one that fans always ask for. "Carter's Blues" features fantastic guitar, dobro and fiddle work, and "When I Lay My Burdens Down" has some of the most haunting background music you'll ever hear.

Another Sparks' standard here, "Girl At the Crossroads Bar," is included, and later, he swings into "Making Believe" with an arrangement that challenges anything ever heard when the song was on the radio and the Opry. Don't overlook the song that epitomizes bluegrass - "Love of the Mountains." As a bonus you get some good pictures of Sparks before his hair started turning gray. This CD isn't good, it's great. Twenty-five years old and still some of the best music you can hear.