Ballad of the Boonslick
Medley: Valley Forge-Grey Eagle/The Dry Waltz/Scarborough Fair/ Darby's Ram/Medley: Devilish Mary-The Devil and His Wife/The Call of the Far-Away Hills/The Ballad of the Boonslick/Black and White Rag/Palace Grand/Whippoorwill Song/Medley: Rise Oh Fathers-No Time to Tarry Here/Medley; Boyer's Waltz-Dry and Dusty,
Cathy Barton-banjo, guitar, hammered dulcimer and vocals; Dave Para-guitar, banjo, six-string banjo and vocals; Taylor McBaine- fiddle; John Murdock-fiddle.
Cathy Barton is an academically-trained folklorist and she and her husband/partner Dave Para have done extensive field collecting of old songs and tunes in the Ozark and the Midwest. It shows, but not in the usual, negative sense that this is a dry, boring scholarly record of interest only to other scholars. "Ballad of the Boonslick" is just the opposite: an exciting, well-played and intelligently produced album that should interest many fans of old-time country music.
Barton is best known around the Midwest as a hammered dulcimer ace. Her playing is at once driving and delicate and the five cuts here which feature the dulcimer should further ad- vance her reputation. Especially winning are the early ragtime tune "Black and White Rag" and her solo work on "Scarborough Fair." Barton is also a top-notch old-time banjo player as her work on the four fiddle tunes (two learned from Ramona Jones) will attest. "Valley Forge/Grey Eagle" is graced by the sprightly fiddle work of Taylor McBaine and Para adds his banjo for a fine duet on "Devilish Mary/The Devil and His Wife." Para is also an excellent rhythm guitarist and harmony singer, The vocal highlights on "Ballad of the Boonslick" include two fine duets, one of the rousing "Darby's Ram" and the other on a coupling of acappella gospel songs, "Rise Oh Fathers- No Time To Tarry Here." Cathy Barton and Dave Para have combined their considerable individual talents into a first-rate team and "Ballad of the Boonslick" is a first-rate album that should help to spread their music beyond their home region. Barton end Para's music is rooted in the rolling hills of the Ozarks and the flat Midwestern prairies, and their music, like the land itself, has a beauty all its own.
Recommended for airplay: "Valley Forge- Grey Eagle," "Devilish Mary- The Devil and His Wife," "Black and White Rag," and "Rise Oh Fathers- No Time To Tarry Here."