The Grascals,
Dance Til Your Stockings are Hot & Ravelin'
(BluGrascal, 2011)

The Grascals' new EP pays tribute to the music performed on the old Andy Griffith Show, which the band declares to be a favorite of theirs and a strong influence on their lives, their values and their music. Even as it salutes the show, however, the album also salutes traditional American roots music, featuring versions of "Boil Them Cabbage Down," "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" "Stay All Night" and an instrumental version of "Ol' Joe Clark."

Of course, the CD kicks off with a version of the Dillards' "Dooley," which the band performed many times on the show in their guise as the Darling Boys, and maybe it's because the song is so closely associated with the Dillards, who wrote it, incidently, the Grascals' version lacks a little fire.

The energy kicks in with "Boil Them Cabbage Down," however and hold up through the traditional songs that serve as the centerpiece of the CD. They close with a vocal version of "Mayberry's Finest" but that's not the end; as a bonus cut, the Grascals have written an original song based on what they describe as one of their favorite lines from the show: "Boy, Giraffes are Selfish."

You don't have to be as obsessed with the Andy Griffith Show as the band is to enjoy this CD. As a tribute, it's sincere and fun, and as an album of well-done if well-known songs, it works also. If there's a problem with it, it's that there isn't enough of it; the album clocks in at around 15 minutes so it definitely leaves you wanting more. Each time I hear it, I find myself fantasizing about the possibility of a full-length album of the Grascals doing traditional American folk and bluegrass material. You know, an album filled with the stuff they tease us with here.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

2 July 2011

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