The Celebrated Renaissance Band,
Real Live American Music
(Totem Pointe, 2003)

This is a fascinating release. The majority of the tracks were recorded by the Celebrated Renaissance Band three decades and more ago, while some were completed only a year ago -- giving us a chance to compare and contrast style and performance. The origins of the band stretch back a further decade when two bands went on the road performing "psychedelic old-time music."

The album is an excellent showcase of old music with great versions of songs like "Shady Grove." I particularly enjoyed "Frankie and Johnny." Most of us are familiar with Elvis and others giving it a sort of country feel, but the CRB brings us back to the roots of the traditional origins.

Another traditional song getting a reprise here is "Rosin the Bow." This is a song we all recall or think we hear too often from the title, but in fact it is probably better known as a title rather than the song.

"Old Jimmy Sutton" is a song unfamiliar to me but I thoroughly enjoyed the light-hearted touch and spirited playing. One of the newer recordings is a beautiful song featuring the vocals of Kim Baer called "Texan Ranger." It is one of only two studio recordings here and is a great story-song.

If you enjoy reliving the music of the past, played as it was in the not-too-distant past with some recent studio work, this is the album for you.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 18 December 2004

Buy it from