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Art Stamper

Wake Up Darlin' Corey – 2004 (County)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Art Stamper

Art Stamper has played old time and bluegrass music for most of his seven decades on earth, and much of this CD features songs he learned from his father, Hiram. Despite serious medical problems recently, Stamper is still playing and visiting festivals. He has played with bluegrass greats, but this CD shows his heart is with old time music.

This style of music was heard in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Close your eyes, listen to Tim O'Brien sing "Old Arkansas" to the lonesome strains of Stamper's fiddle and picture the hard times and hard life of turn-of-the-century Kentucky, the men lured away to mostly false promises of a better job somewhere else. Other numbers ("Little Birdie," "Sweet Dixie," "Train Forty-Five") speak of the close relationship between bluegrass and old time. It's easy to let this music transport you back to that different time: the light of kerosene lamps, the smell of wood smoke, coming together on Saturday to hear the local fiddler, dance, visit and perhaps partake of some "Old Kentucky Whiskey" or listen to the plaintive Civil War tale of "Lorena." Stamper and friends have made an old time recording as good as you'll ever hear.