John Hartford
Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 1:21PM
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• John Hartford Remains a Beloved Figure in Country and Bluegrass Music, with an Annual Bluegrass Festival in His Name Held in Bean Blossom, Indiana

• Two Groundbreaking Albums That Gave Birth to the "Newgrass" Genre

• Eight Unreleased Tracks, Four from Each Album Session

• Among the Sidemen are Norman Blake, Vassar Clements, Dave Holland, Randy Scruggs, and Tut Taylor

• Liner Notes by Hartford Scholar Andrew Vaughan

• Photos from the Hartford Family's Private Collection

JOHN HARTFORD: Aereo-Plain/Morning Bugle—the Complete Warner Bros. Recordings. 2-CD Set

After penning the Glen Campbell mega-hit “Gentle on My Mind” and appearing repeatedly both on Glen’s weekly variety show and on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, John Hartford could have taken the show biz glide path to financial security and ease. Instead, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist (and steamboat enthusiast) moved back to Nashville from L.A., signed a contract with Warner Bros., and proceeded to create two of the most influential and groundbreaking albums not just in bluegrass but in modern country music as a whole.  For 1971’s Aereo-Plain, Hartford assembled a veritable supergroup consisting of fiddler Vassar Clements, dobroist Tut Taylor, guitarist Norman Blake and bassist Randy Scruggs to play a set of mostly original tunes that were unlike anything the staid bluegrass community had ever heard before. Fresh, irreverent, funny and always—except for the hilarious Dr. Demento favorite Boogie—tuneful, and played by an absolutely scintillating band, the songs on Aereo-Plain pointed to a new stylistic direction for bluegrass, one quickly coined “newgrass;” as Sam Bush of the New Grass Revival says, “Without Aereo-Plain, there would be no ‘newgrass’ music.”

The predictable result of Hartford’s bold experimentation was that the album failed to perform commercially, so Warner Bros. elected not to promote its successor, 1972’s Morning Bugle, but it’s a classic as well, sporting a stripped-down line-up of Hartford, Blake and famed jazz bassist Dave Holland. Songs like “Nobody Eats at Linebaugh’s Anymore” and “Old Joe Clark” continued Hartford’s novel fusion of hippie ethos and bluegrass tropes, and the musicianship was, needless to say, sublime, often completing each song in one take.

Now, Real Gone Music is proud to announce the release of Aereo-Plain/Morning Bugle—the Complete Warner Bros. Recordings, a two-CD, 35-track set that devotes a CD to each of these landmark albums and tacks on four unreleased tracks from each album session for a total of eight unreleased tracks! Liner notes are by Hartford scholar Andrew Vaughan, and the Hartford family has generously contributed photos from John’s private collection. This collection is destined to be one of this year’s most talked-about country/bluegrass releases—it’s an essential addition to any library of modern American music.

Songs:

Disc One

Aereo-Plain

1.   Turn Your Radio On

2.   Steamboat Whistle Blues

3.   Back in the Goodle Days

4.   Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie

5.   Boogie

6.   First Girl I Loved

7.   Presbyterian Guitar

8.   With a Vamp in the Middle

9.   Symphony Hall Rag

10. Because of You

11. Steam Powered Aereo Plane

12. Holding

13. Tear Down the Grand Ole Opry

14. Leather Britches

15. Station Break

16. Turn Your Radio On

Unreleased Tracks

17. Sweetheart Can’t You Hear Me Calling

18. Weave and Way

19. Cumberland Gap

20. Orange Blossom Special

Disc Two

Morning Bugle

1.   Streetcar

2.   Nobody Eats at Linebaugh’s Anymore

3.   Howard Hughes’ Blues

4.   All Fall Down

5.   On the Road

6.   Morning Bugle

7.   Old Joe Clark

8.   My Rag

9.   Late Last Night When My Willie Came Home

10. Got No Place to Go

11. Bye-Bye

Unreleased Tracks

12. Flower Power Died

13. Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down

14. Back Up and Push

15. Airport Floor

 

Article originally appeared on Real Gone Music (http://www.realgonemusic.com/).
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