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Dry Branch Fire Squad

Memories That Bless & Burn – 1999 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Jonathan Colcord

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CDs by Dry Branch Fire Squad

Dry Branch Fire Squad is known for their great traditional bluegrass and humorous live shows. This compilation offers seven of their favorite bluegrass gospel tracks plus nine new recordings. Fans of traditional bluegrass should not avoid this album because of its gospel content because there is plenty of hardcore bluegrass singing and playing here.

The title track includes a wonderful mandolin melody reminiscent of "Wayfaring Stranger," while "Travel, Travel On" might musically remind some of Monroe's "I'm Going Back To Old Kentucky." Great Monroe and Stanley style bluegrass with plenty of drive. Fans of a cappella work will love the band's treatment of five such numbers including their live standard "Looking For The Stone." The song appears twice to include an earlier bluegrass version including Bobby Osborne on mandolin. The balance of material includes the work of Ralph Stanley, The Louvin Brothers, David Marshall and others. Despite the older material and various band incarnations included, the album has a nice flow.