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James Price

Fiddlin' The Old Time Way – 2003 (Rebel)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by James Price

When Ralph Stanley decided to continue in the music business on his own following the death in 1966 of his brother Carter, one of the first moves he made was to hire "Curly Ray" Cline as his fiddler, and Cline became a fixture in the Clinch Mountain Boys for more than a quarter-century until leaving the band for health reasons in the early 1990's. His replacement, James Price, had a big pair of shoes to fill, but for nearly a decade, he has been more than up to the challenge. Though somewhat different from Cline stylistically, Price has shown himself to be a remarkable fiddler in his own right as well as within the parameters of the "Stanley Sound."

This new solo, all-instrumental album is indeed true to the "old time way," in keeping with the Stanley legacy, yet Price manages to work in a lot of his own musical expression. Yes, there are well-worn chestnuts like "Sally Goodin," "Soldier's Joy" and the venerable "Orange Blossom Special," but it's interesting to hear "Dark As A Dungeon" done as an instrumental, and his touch on Bill Monroe's "Kentucky Waltz" shows he's not just a guy who can play fast. Mostly, though, Price displays a wonderful sense of tone and timing that might surprise those who think of "Stanley music" as being raw and unpolished.