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Lost Wages

Foolin' Around – 1998 (Blue Tarp)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Lost Wages

New England's bluegrass bands tend toward the "progressive," so Lost Wages' focus on traditional material makes for a change of pace, and their revival of some under-recorded classics like "Cabin On A Mountain," Vern & Ray's "Happy I'll Be" and Jim & Jesse's "Air Mail Special," as well as the selection of country songs like the title cut and "Roly Poly" shows they've given some thought to moving beyond the usual chestnuts.

Their debut, though, falls short on a couple of key counts. Most importantly, the vocals just aren't very strong; Larry Neu's original "Out Of The Blues" is a pretty fair composition, but begs for a stronger lead singer, and the trio, though tuneful, sounds tentative rather than forceful.

The instrumental work is competent and sometimes more - banjoist Neu has some good ideas - but the timing is sometimes shaky, and lacks the solid "pop" that characterizes the kind of bluegrass Lost Wages aspires to make.