MAY 1993


Strictly Country Records SCR-31
(compact disc)

Pan American Boogie/Do You Know Him/Miss The Mississippi And You/My Baby's Gone/My RocklHerding Cattle In A Coupe DeVille/Wild Hog In The Woods/Sinner's Hymn/The Devil Is A Mighty Wind/The Leaving Train/Don't Let Me Come Home A Stranger/Across The Blue Moun tains/Stone Wall Country.
Once in a great while, recordings come along that transcend musical category and orthodox expectations to achieve a kind of perfect blend. These rare events capture musicians at the peak of their talents, instilling their work with a sense of direction and purpose that creates a classic work.

With "Live In Holland" longtime acoustic music road warriors Robin and Linda Williams make that kind of musical statement. Recorded live at three concerts in Holland last year, this CD reveals four mature, talented musicians in complete communion with themselves and their audience.

As always, the Williams' voices sound great, throaty and soulful with an obvious sense of respect and commitment to their music. Backing them on this project are former Red Clay Rambler Jim Watson on bass and vocals and Kevin Maul on dobro and bass vocals.

Opening with "Pan Arnerican Boogie," Robin and Linda include many songs familiar to their fans, along with a batch of new tunes. Each song reflects a different aspect of the Williams' musical philosophy, from old-time country, gospel and a cappella features tocountry and bluegrass classics. Together, these performances form a profoundly moving, inspired CD that improves each time it's played.

Maul and Watson are integral to this success. A fine soloist, Maul brings the perfect touch of melodic invention to his work, especially on his insightful, haunting backup work. Frequently, he slips subtle harmony runs into the band's ar rangements, giving this small band a fuller, more sophisticated sound. Both Robin and Linda Williams contribute tasteful, intelligent instrumental work on guitar, harmonica and banjo in addition to their obvious vocal skills. On the bottom, Jim Watson's bass sets a granite-solid foundation for everyone.

Picking favorite tunes from this CD is like choosing favorite colors. Literally every tune here will emotionally affect the listener in some fashion, with stirring renditions of original tunes like "The Devil Is A Mighty Wind," "The Leaving Train," "Don't Let Me Come Home A Stranger" and "Stone Wall Country" standing out as especially dramatic and touching.

What a treat that simple, heartfelt, joyous acoustic music like this remains commercially available, even if it does have to appear on a Dutch record label. Don't look for hot licks, blazing instrumentals or soulless singing anywhere on "Live In Holland." This is the real deal, the kind of hearffelt, genuine musical performance that built the foundation of all country and bluegrass music decades ago yet remains timeless and appealing across the ages. It's not strict bluegrass, but if there's love in your heart for great music, make room on your CD shelf for this one. (Strictly Country Records, Postbus 32, 9540 AA Vlagtwedde, Holland)


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