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Curly Seckler

That Old Book of Mine – 2005 (County)

Reviewed by J.P. Tausig

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CDs by Curly Seckler

His name isn't as familiar as Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe or Lester Flatt, but Curly Seckler, inducted in 2004 into the IBMA Hall of Honor, recorded several hundred songs, helping to develop the tenor harmonies so prevalent in bluegrass and country.

This album from the former Flatt & Scruggs member (1949-62) is a compilation from "Curly Seckler Sings Again" (1971) and "Curly Seckler - Willis Spears: Tribute to Lester Flatt" (1989), covering traditional tunes like "Don't This Road Look and Rocky" to the Lester Flatt tune "No Mother Or Dad" that Seckler helped write. There's even a nod to gospel with "Remember the Cross" and "Sing Sing Sing."

On "You Took My Sunshine" and "That Old Book Of Mine," Seckler sings lead, but his true genius shines when he sings tenor. "No Mother In This World," "We Can't Be Darlings Anymore" and "Little Pal" showcase Seckler's true talent of blending his voice to the lead singers' - proving he listens as he sings. With backup players including Herschel Sizemore on mandolin, Tater Tate on fiddle, and John Palmer on bass, songs are tight and clean. Billy Edwards on banjo sings several leads and has some hot banjo breaks as well. Some songs drip reverb - making the group sound like they're singing in an empty hall or the bottom of a big can. On the upside, there's little hiss or noise detracting from the sound.

Old time and modern bluegrass fans will like this album - highly recommended.