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The Osborne Brothers

Hyden – 1998 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Mark "Brink" Brinkman

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CDs by The Osborne Brothers

This is the first of a four-part series documenting the career of The Osborne Brothers from their birthplace of Hyden, Ky. to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Bobby and Sonny Osborne weave old songs together with several new songs to give us a tapestry of their early days. The classic "Ruby," originally recorded in 1956, proves Bobby's wonderful tenor voice is as clear and as powerful as ever. Sonny's mastery of the three-T's, (timing, taste and tone), is evident throughout and is a testiment to why he is one of the best five-string banjo players of all time. There are several timeless classics on the project. Tunes such as "I'll Just Pretend," "Little Cabin Home On The Hill" and "The Great Speckled Bird" will be familiar to most all bluegrass fans.

Fine new material also is included. Larry Cordle, a topnotch Nashville tunesmith, contributes three fine songs. "Grandpaw's Radio" is sure to bring back wonderful memories of a time gone by. The Osbornes have always had the ability to take songs and bring fresh and creative arrangements to the music. They don't disappoint here. The Osborne trademark harmony is also everpresent. After hearing this first installment, it will be hard to wait for the next three segments.