Booze, drugs and wild women - it sounds like the Rolling Stones, but describes the quirky and troubled life of Jimmy Arnold. Despite the promise of great talent, he never achieved much commercial success and was dogged by his drinking problems. He died at the end of 1992, his body wasted by his excesses.
This retrospective reveals a man of talent whose music, while usually based in bluegrass, often went outside those boundaries. This generous collection of songs includes a few well-known musicians, notably Mike Auldridge and Mark Newton, and makes pleasurable listening. It is primarily an instrumental album, and the random samplings of vocals show us Arnold was not a spectacular vocalist.
Some songs, such as "My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains," are rooted in old time flavored music. Several, including the just mentioned song and "Jesse James" are from Arnold's seminal work, "Southern Soul."
There is good music here as "Rainbow Ride," "Panhandle Rag" and "Travis Blues" are all easy listening. Rebel has given us a peek into the life of a musician who could have had a bigger and longer role in music, but for a turn down the wrong highway.