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Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

They're Playing My Song – 2012 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

Joe Mullins is a pleasure to listen to on CD, but it's even better to hear him in person. His mix of stage patter, humor and music makes his one of the best shows on the bluegrass circuit. This showmanship is the result of many years in the business of bluegrass, growing up the son of Paul "Moon" Mullins, one of the Boys From Indiana, and working as a radio broadcaster along with his father.

As for the CD, Mullins (banjo and lead singer) has surrounded himself with excellent musicians. Adam McIntosh (Dry Branch Fire Squad) plays guitar and helps with singing lead, Mike Terry plays mandolin. Evan McGregor, an alumnus of the Wildwood Valley Boys (who have their roots with the Boys From Indiana) adds fiddle, and Tim Kidd plays bass. The singing, harmonies and instrumental work are all top class.

The CD has an interesting song selection and reflects Mullin's love of older bluegrass music. Katy Daley, a bluegrass standard composed by Moon Mullins, was recorded live. Two instrumentals are included: Cruisin' Timber goes back to 1994 and Larry Sparks "Silver Reflections" album while Steel Guitar Rag is a great classic from country.

The Osborne Brothers are represented by a medley of their great hits including Windy City and Kentucky. Mullins reached out to Dave Evans with When The Snow Falls On My Foggy Mountain Home and Bill Anderson for a lesson in life all should hear, Some Kind of War. Going way back to the roots of bluegrass music, there's Alton Delmore's She left Me Standing On The Mountain while Lily is a touching ballad of love holding a couple together through the hard times and years.

Fourteen songs and not a throwaway in the collection. Joe Mullins continues his father's tradition of great bluegrass performances and music.