Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick | Laurie & Kathy Sing Songs of Vern & Ray

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Laurie & Kathy Sing Songs of Vern & Ray

by Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick

Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick sing the songs of Vern Williams and Ray Park, two of California's early bluegrass heroes.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Oh! Susanna
1:44 $0.99
2. Cabin On a Mountain
2:50 $0.99
3. Cowboy Jack
3:56 $0.99
4. Little Birdie
3:38 $0.99
5. If I Had My Life to Live Over Again
2:48 $0.99
6. Happy I’ll Be
2:32 $0.99
7. Black-Eyed Susie
2:02 $0.99
8. To Hell With the Land
3:23 $0.99
9. Flying Cloud
2:32 $0.99
10. Montana Cowboy
3:16 $0.99
11. Down Among the Budded Roses
3:37 $0.99
12. Thinkin’ of Home
2:51 $0.99
13. Field of Flowers
3:06 $0.99
14. How Many Times
2:24 $0.99
15. My Clinch Mountain Home
4:30 $0.99
16. My Old Kentucky Home
2:59 $0.99
17. Blue Grass Style
1:47 $0.99
18. Touch of God’s Hand
2:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Before Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick became the highly respected and successful singers, songwriters, and bluegrass bandleaders they are today, they were founding members of the groundbreaking northern California band the Good Ol’ Persons. Although Laurie remained in that group for only a short while before moving on to lead her own bands, she and Kathy forged a lifelong personal and professional friendship that endures to this day. They recorded a collaborative album, Together, in 1991, for Kaleidoscope Records, on which they performed their wonderful interpretation of the venerable "Little Annie," learned from Vern & Ray. Laurie and Kathy wrote in the liner notes, “This album is respectfully dedicated to Vern Williams and Ray Park, early sources of inspiration for both of us.” This new album, in which the two perform music exclusively drawn from the repertoires of those early mentors, is the latest coming-together of this multi-talented twosome. It is long overdue.

Listening to this music creates–in this listener, at least–a sensation somewhat akin to being present at a reunion of old friends, being privy to the dawning awareness among them that those things they’d done together in times past really were wonderful, and that sensations from that time and place can sometimes actually be recaptured. Laurie & Kathy don’t sound like Vern & Ray (as hard as they try) but the essence, the wildness that made the music of Vern & Ray what it was is omnipresent in the gorgeous, full-throated, expressive sound of their voices, singly and in harmony. The sourdough starter that Vern and Ray brought from Arkansas with them to the Gold Country is readily evident here. These musicians, ably abetted by some of the top accompanists on the West Coast, bring to the music of Vern & Ray renewed life, introducing it to new generations of bluegrass lovers and doing themselves and their early mentors proud at the same time.

Vern Williams and Ray Park, two young men from rural Arkansas (they grew up only a few miles from one another), met in Stockton, California, in the 1950s. They were brought together by their mutual love of traditional country music. That meeting created a musical alchemy that still lives today, not only in the bluegrass music of the northern part of The Golden State, but wherever hard-edged, heartfelt bluegrass is appreciated. Vern & Ray and their bluegrass band performed together from the late 1950s to the mid-'70s. Their brand of bluegrass had an untrammeled fierceness in it seldom heard in popular bluegrass, then or ever, except at the highest Monrovian or Stanley Brothers levels.
Their few recordings together include a four-song EP on Starday which introduced what became their best known song, “Cabin On A Mountain,” and a full album on Old Homestead Records that reportedly brought no particular pleasure to either Vern or Ray, though the music it contains seems powerful and representative of their sound to most. There is a live recording of an appearance at the San Francisco Folk Festival in 1968, released on the Arhoolie label, which perhaps presents best what the Vern & Ray band sounded like in full cry, with a youthful Herb Pedersen on banjo and harmony vocals; their version of “The Touch Of God’s Hand” is awe- inspiring. Alas, by 1976, when the first California Bluegrass Association Festival happened, their musical partnership had run its course; they joined to perform a reunion set then, but both by that time were heading their own bands, which they continued to do for most of the rest of their lives.
The rough beauty of that original Vern & Ray music is gone, though not completely or forever, because much of what they created lingers on, abiding in the music made by those who heard them or played with them, including Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick.

–Randy Pitts, April 28, 2014, Nashville, TN

Kathy Kallick: guitar
Laurie Lewis: fiddle, string bass
Tom Rozum: mandolin
Patrick Sauber: banjo except where noted

Oh! Susanna (Stephen Foster)
Laurie: lead vocal/Kathy: lead and harmony vocals

Cabin On a Mountain (Clyde Williamson, Cal Veale/Trio Music Co., BMI & Fort Knox Music, BMI)
Laurie: lead vocal

Cowboy Jack (A.P. Carter/APRS, BMI)
Kathy: lead vocal/Keith Little: banjo, harmony vocal/Annie Staninec: twin fiddle

Little Birdie (traditional)
Laurie: lead vocal

If I Had My Life To Live Over (Chester Smith)
Kathy: lead vocal/Keith Little: banjo, harmony vocal

Happy I'll Be (Ray G. Park/Fiddletown Music, ASCAP)
Kathy: lead vocal/Laurie: harmony vocal

Black-Eyed Susie (trad., additional lyrics Kathy Kallick/Red Shirt Pub. Co., BMI)
Kathy: lead vocal

To Hell With the Land (Ray G. Park/Fiddletown Music, ASCAP)
Laurie: lead vocal/Tom: harmony vocal

Flying Cloud (traditional)

Montana Cowboy (Ray G. Park/Fiddletown Music, ASCAP)
Kathy: vocal/Keith Little: banjo/Sally Van Meter: resophonic slide guitar

Down Among the Budded Roses (traditional)
Laurie: lead vocal/Tom Rozum: harmony vocal/Sally Van Meter: resophonic slide guitar

Thinkin' Of Home (Ray G. Park & Vern Williams)
Laurie: lead vocal on duet/Kathy: harmony and vocal solo Keith Little: banjo/Annie Staninec: twin fiddle

Field Of Flowers (Paul Evans, Paul Parnes/Deshufflin Music Inc, Port Music Inc.)
Laurie Lewis: guitar, vocal

How Many Times (Ray G. Park/Fiddletown Music, ASCAP)
Laurie: lead vocal

My Clinch Mountain Home (A.P. Carter/APRS, BMI)
Kathy: lead vocal/Keith Little: banjo, harmony vocal

My Old Kentucky Home (Stephen Foster)
Kathy: lead vocal/Tom Rozum: harmony vocal/Sally Van Meter: resophonic slide guitar

Blue Grass Style (Luther Riley)
Laurie: lead vocal/Kathy: harmony vocal

Touch Of God's Hand (Paul Houser/Houser's Publishing & Music-BMI)
Keith Little: guitar, lead vocal



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