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Dick Kimmel

Fishin' Creek Blue – 2000 (Copper Creek)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Dick Kimmel

The five-string banjo is a key instrument in bluegrass and old-time music. The best known sound is the finger picking style usually associated with Earl Scruggs (although others helped make it popular). Before the Scruggs finger roll was the clawhammer style, probably as old as the banjo itself. where strings are plucked by brushing down with the back of fingers.

Dick Kimmel offers a collection of clawhammer tunes with a smattering of vocals. While the emphasis is the clawhammer, this is a charming offering because there is strong support from a standard bluegrass/old-time cast of instruments. Half of the songs are old-time origin while the other half have more of a bluegrass sound, but few will be familiar except to the true enthusiast of this type of music.

Not recognizing the songs doesn't hurt the listening, though. Whether it's the note-for-note pairing of instruments of the old-time "Sullivan's Hollow" or the bluegrass patterns of "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down" the musicians exhibit solid competency and familiarity with their material. This is an enjoyable listen for anyone who appreciates instrumental music.