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John Hartford Backroads, Rivers & Memories CD

$ 14.98

If all John Hartford had done was to write “Gentle on My Mind”, his legend would be sealed as a songwriting giant. But his talent as a singer and instrumentalist catapulted him to fame not only as the banjo-playing sidekick on the Glen Campbell Good Time Hour TV show of the late sixties, but also as an in-demand studio sideman (the Byrds’ fabled Sweetheart of the Rodeo, James Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim, and countless others). In the midst of this, he formed the band that made Aereo Plain, the 1971 record that defined newgrass before theprogressive new style had a name. Or any other practitioners. That bold, singular approach was actually years in the making. Starting his professional life as a St Louis banjo player obsessed with Flatt & Scruggs’ history-making bluegrass, John Hartford seemed at the outset to have set out on a conventional country music path, complete with a white cowboy hat, pickin’ and singin’ on the radio, and pressing up singles of his bluegrass group, inching slowly and inevitably towards Nashville. Along the way, he picked up some newinfluences, including Bob Dylan and Roger Miller. And he recordedevery step, every song of his musical sojourn.

Backroads, Rivers & Memories collects 27 recordings, 19 of which have never been released, the other 8 being his ultra-rare early singles with the Ozark Mountain Trio. Licensed directly from the John Hartford estate, the set features three live radio cuts from 1964, and 16 beautifully rendered 1965-1969 songwriter demos, including 5 Hartford newly-uncovered originals never heard before. Fanfavorites include “This Eve of Parting” (from the recent indie hit filmLady Bird), the iconic “Gentle on My Mind”, and a brief recording ofthe first rehearsal of the bluegrass classic “Steam Powered AereoPlain.”

Complied and notated by musician and Hartford scholar Skip Heller, mastered by Kevin Chubirka at Haven, and graced with photos from the Hartford family archive, this collection is destined to be one of this year’s most talked-about country/bluegrass releases.



1. Towboat River
2. Tall Tall Grass
3. Front Porch
4. Eve of My Multiplication
5. California Earthquake
6. Left Handed Woman7. George
8. Run
9. This Eve of Parting
10. Self Made Man
11. Minus The Woman
12. Like unto a Mockingbird
13. Grownup Man
14. Gentle On My Mind
15. Steam Powered Aereo Plain 
(first rehearsal excerpt)

16. Station Break

Live on WHOW, Clinton IL with Pat Burton (guitar) & Nate Bray (mandolin)

17. Ice Cold Love
18. Matthew 24

19. Greensleeves

The Ozark Mountain Trio singles

20. Corrina
21. Greenback Dollar
22. Jesus Loves Everybody
23. I Forgot to Forget
24. The Way Is Narrow
25. Short Life of Trouble

26. That Great Day Is Coming
27. When I Feel the Hand of My Saviour

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