Bad Livers | The Ridgetop Sessions

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Country: Bluegrass Folk: Power-folk Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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The Ridgetop Sessions

by Bad Livers

Pioneer alternative-bluegrass legends recorded live at the height of their powers.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Interplanetary Music
2:16 $0.99
2. Better Times
2:58 $0.99
3. Corn Liquor Made a Fool Out of Me/country Blues
5:28 $0.99
4. Ghost Train
2:26 $0.99
5. Phone Message From David
0:28 $0.99
6. Life in the Food Chain
2:36 $0.99
7. Shot At a Bird, Hit Me a Stump
2:34 $0.99
8. Yearning
5:00 $0.99
9. It Takes One to Know One
3:24 $0.99
10. Counting the Crossties
4:06 $0.99
11. Black Diamond/blue Monk
4:59 $0.99
12. Hell Broke Loose in Georgia/old Folk's Shuffle [live]
5:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Bad Livers started as a fairly straight, although quite progressive and somewhat irreverent, bluegrass band. Over the course of six albums, they got progressively more experimental, alienating many of their more purist fans. Well, those fans should seek out The Ridgetop Sessions: a living-room session featuring just Danny Barnes on banjo and vocals and Mark Rubin on bass and vocals. That's it. It was recorded in Rubin's living room, with a single microphone run straight to a DAT recorder. As such, this is the type of performance that could have taken place at any point in the last 50 years -- just a couple good old boys sangin' and playin'. They play songs off their albums, a couple choice covers (Sun Ra!), and a great medley of Don Stover's "Black Diamond" paired with Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk." These are relaxed, very informal sessions, but not at all sloppy. As usual, Barnes' banjo playing is great, and Rubin always gives great support. The set is capped off with a live track recorded several years earlier that also features former Bad Liver Ralph White on fiddle. No revelations here, just a damn fine, stripped-down set from one of the finest and most interesting bluegrass acts of the '90s.
~ Sean Westergaard, All Music Guide

Ridgetop is the name of the central Austin neighborhood where this informal recordings was made. Situated on top of a ridge that at one time overlooked the whole of the city at it's northly most point, it's right in the path of Robert Mueller airport in the heart of central Austin today. Luckily, no planes flew over during this recording session

"If the Bad Livers have effectively called it quits, as someone recently claimed is the case, then The Ridgetop Sessions is a quiet, sagacious way to go out -- particularly coming on the heels of their previous release, the loud, electric Blood and Mood.

Recorded almost entirely over the course of a single morning through a single microphone in the front room of Rubin's North Austin home, this session finds the Livers -- Rubin and Danny Barnes -- at their loosest and most comfortable. The two pick their way through a good batch of Barnes' originals as well as a few interesting covers. It begins with a brief foray into Sun Ra's "Interplanetary Music," which bubbles up from perfunctory free-form into a quickened banjo exercise, and winds down with a jaunt through Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk," which saunters right out of Don Stover's "Black Diamond." Between the bookend standards, there's plenty of banjo tunes, "Yearning" being a high point as it bounds along on the banjo with the dazzling, fluid ease that is Barnes' signature and legend in the making. The album ends with a hot double take of "Hell Broke Loose in Georgia/Old Folks' Shuffle," recorded live in 1994 and including original Liver Ralph White on fiddle.

The Bad Livers have added significant dimensions to the concept of banjo music over the course of their decade-long career, creating through influence an impressive legacy. The Ridgetop Sessions, if it is a swan song, certainly adds another one.

***.5 Stars, Austin Chronicle"



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Bad Livers
Excellent execution. The radio show "The Eclictic Chair" stated this as "Bluegrass meets Punk Rock"
It's much better than that!


Wonderful, charming, humorous bluegrass, with a few surprises along the way! Very highly recommended.