Opry Old Timers by Sam & Kirk McGee and The Crook Brothers

Label: Starday Records.
Release Date: 1962.
Recording Date: 1961.
Release Info: Instrumental, Live Recording.

Styles: Old-Timey, Traditional Country, Folk Blues.

The Starday label puts together two groups that revolve around "brother" duets for an album that is certainly enjoyable, if a bit confusing in presentation. The song credits would make it seem that this is a sort of split disc, in which the tracks alternate between Sam and Kirk McGee and the Crook Brothers, and, to the extent of who is handling the leadership of a particular tune, that would be true. However, there is an overlap of the musicians in the different groups; for example, the Crook Brothers are onstage with the McGees, and Sam McGee is picking guitar with the Crook Brothers, and so forth. Best thing is probably to just sit and back and enjoy this program, which is sort of an anniversary card for 35 years of active service with the Grand Old Opry, which started out in 1925 as the WSM Barn Dance. Listeners may want to quibble about whether they want to hear some of these numbers for the umpteenth time, yet the musicians crank out some of these too-familiar songs as if they were proving their worth, so no complaint there. Fiddler Gerry Rivers, who also worked with Hank Williams, is on hand for all the tracks, and gets pushy in the instrumental exchanges with both bands. - Review by Eugene Chadbourne.

Credits: The Crook Brothers - performer, primary artist; Herman Crook - harmonica; Lewis Crook - bass; Hubert Gregory - guitar (rhythm); Kirk McGee - banjo, vocals; Sam McGee - guitar, primary artist; Sam & Kirk McGee - primary artist; Traditional - composer.

Tracks: 1) Roll on Buddy - Sam & Kirk McGee; 2) John Henry - Sam McGee feat. The Crook Brothers; 3) Hung Down My Head and Cried - Sam & Kirk McGee; 4) Black Mountain Rag - Sam McGee feat. The Crook Brothers; 5) Freight Train Blues - Sam & Kirk McGee; 6) Soldier's Joy - Sam McGee feat. The Crook Brothers; 7) Roll Along Jordan - Sam & Kirk McGee; 8) Ragtime Annie - Sam McGee feat. The Crook Brothers; 9) My Gal's a High Born Lady - Sam & Kirk McGee; 10) Lost John - Sam McGee feat. The Crook Brothers; 11) Coming from the Ball - Sam & Kirk McGee; 12) Liberty - Sam McGee feat. The Crook Brothers; 13) Chittlin Cookin' Time in Cheatham County - Sam & Kirk McGee; 14) Will the Circle Be Unbroken - Sam McGee feat. The Crook Brothers.