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Bobby Osborne

The Selfishness in Man – 2000 (OMS)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Bobby Osborne

Bobby Osborne is a name known to any serious bluegrass fan. The Osborne Brothers helped set the standard for bluegrass and were known to stretch the boundaries at times, such as adding electrified instruments to their recordings. This is not an effort to stretch boundaries. It's a labor of love because Osborne has a deep appreciation for the classic country sound.

The arrangements and instrumentation are top notch. The harmonies are great. The shock you must overcome is hearing Osborne's voice in this setting. Once past that, it's good listening, but some songs work better than others. The highlight is the title cut, but the other slow songs work very well, such as "Just One Time" and "Mom and Dad's Waltz." The quality is the same on up-tempo numbers like "Ribbon of Darkness" but, especially on these, it's difficult to escape the need to associate this voice with a mandolin chop and rolling banjo accompaniment. The other obstacle is the inevitable comparison of a cover version to the original, and it will be hard for anyone to make "Act Naturally" their own, erasing Buck Owens from the mind when it's played.

This CD is good listening, but it's likely to hold more appeal to bluegrass fans who know and love Bobby Osborne's voice than the country music-only buyers.