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McCRARY SISTERS —LET’S GO (MCC Records)

http://www.thirtytigers.com

http://mccrecords.com

 

Sisters Ann, Regina, Deborah and Alfreda McCrary are not only a wonderful vocal quartet but have in part or whole aided projects by Buddy Miller, Bob Dylan (three albums) and Tom Russell plus recent releases from Nashville’s ageless gospel ensemble, The Fairfield Four and exciting new Americana singer-songwriter act Sam Lewis. For them to add their talent to the Fairfield Four is no real surprise, due to their late father, Rev. Samuel McCrary was a founder member of the quartet.

 

Much as I admire their music and work on the likes of the above, their contribution to Buddy Miller’s stellar album, Universal United House Of Prayer in particular is immense. In the past I have found their own albums less impressive than anticipated. Hence, though my expectations were high I did have a few reservations on placing this McCrary Sisters recording on my player, yet knowingly felt that if any man could get the best out of the girls’ producer Buddy Miller was the man. Let’s Go remains a little patchy or it could be me looking for perfection as they peak on the likes of the terrific moving ballad “Hold On”, He Split The Rock / My Blind Driver” (Julie Miller/Buddy Miller), “Walk With The Lord”, “I John” (a variant of “Twelve Gates To The City”) and fevered, heart-wrenching soulful gospel ballad “Use Me Lord” (Rev. James Cleveland) plus a stellar version of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’ “The Mark”. It sounds like it was written centuries ago, it is that good and is matched by some of the finest sibling harmony vocals one could wish for, plus there is also some tidy, sympathetic guitar (Miller) to go with it! Quality!  

 

There’s more too every bit as good, as in stirring a cappella  “Don’t Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round” with the above noted Fairfield Four and Allen McCrary. While with restrained piano and organ accompaniment and some of the album’s finest lead vocals “I’d Rather Have Jesus” underlines the class of the girls and players involved; Miller, Derrek Phillips, Chris Wood, Ralph Lofton and Marc Copley. Beautifully understated, but with sufficient support to make it roll gently the performance made a huge, if not greater imprint on me than any other song on the record. Of the remainder “Old Shoes” is short and sweet in the best possible way, with penultimate “Hold The Wind” and peaceful ode “Walk In The Light” left to put the 16-track set to bed.    

 

            Maurice Hope 

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December 2018
1
Malford Milligan
75 pts.
Life Will Humble You
Royal Family Records
JF,FB
2
JD McPherson
61 pts.
Socks
New West Records
CVL,DHO,MVP,MB
3
Rosanne Cash
50 pts.
She Remembers Everything
Blue Note Records
WR,BP,JSM,HB
4
Ad Vanderveen
45 pts.
I Was Hank William
Blue Rose Records
TK,LM,BM,JB
5
John Hiatt
44 pts.
The Eclipse Sessions
New West
FC
6
The Yearlings
41 pts.
Skywriting
Lonely Sounds Records
EZ
7
Tip Jar
40 pts.
Onward
Independent
FS
8
Nathan Bell
39 pts.
Loves Bones & Stars
Angry Stick Recording Co.
RB,SZ,PG
9
The Brother Brothers
38 pts.
Some People I Know
Compass Records
BK
10
Richard Dobson
30 pts.
I Hear Singing
Brambus Records
JS,NC
11
Steve Forbert
29 pts.
The Magic Tree
Blue Rose Music
PR
12
J.P. Harris
28 pts.
Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
Free Dirt Records
TJ
13
The Bottle Rockets
24 pts.
Bit Logic
Bloodshot Records
GS,PKO
14
Rodney Crowell
23 pts.
Christmas Everywhere
New West
 
15
Christian Kjellvander
22 pts.
Wild Hxmans
Tapete
 
16
Erin Costelo
21 pts.
Sweet Marie
Compass Records
PJ
17
Colter Wall
20 pts.
Songs of the Plains
Young Mary's Record
 
18
The Hillbenders
19 pts.
The Hillbenders
Compass Records
FH
19
Eric Bibb
18 pts.
Global Griot
Stony Plain
 
 
Karine Polwart
18 pts.
Laws of Motion
Hudson Records
HH,KG
21
Carson McHone
17 pts.
Carousel
Nine Mile Records
 
 
Malcolm Holcombe
17 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
MF
23
Ben Bedford
16 pts.
The Hermit's Spyglass
Cavalier Recordings
SP
 
Craig Moreau
16 pts.
A Different Kind Of Train
Independent
MP
 
David Olney
16 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music

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