Virginians Ralph and Carter Stanley, the Stanley Brothers, took the traditional Appalachian string band songs of their home and updated them into a traditionally rooted modern bluegrass sound that was singular for its authentic tone, no-frills simplicity, and at times haunting and astonishing beauty, the very model of the high lonesome sound. This expansive four-disc, 111-track box covers the later part of the middle period of their recording career, collecting virtually every side the brothers recorded for the King record label between 1961 and 1965. That's a whole lot of Stanley Brothers, but the musical quality, integrity, and execution of this storied duo never waver here, and indeed, they never really did waver one bit any time the two of them stepped in front of the microphones.
The Early Starday-King Years: 1958-1961 is a 109-track, four-disc box set that compiles every track the Stanley Brothers cut for Starday and King during that era. At the time, the group were releasing albums both on Starday and King, so there was an immense amount of confusion between the releases; the box set helps clarify the matters, by gathering all of the music together and presenting it in chronological order. This way, it's possible to hear their progression, as well as the differences between the recordings for the two labels; on the King recordings, the Stanley Brothers tended to be more experimental, working in electric instrumentation. Though there is plenty of fine music on the set, The Early Starday-King Years is, overall, too thorough and extensive for anyone but bluegrass historians.
Saxophonist Dick Morrissey towered among the finest and most innovative British jazz musicians of his generation when he teamed with guitarist Jim Mullen to spearhead the UK fusion movement of the 1970s. Born May 9, 1940 in Horley, England, Morrissey taught himself the clarinet at age 16, later mastering all of the saxophones and the flute. In his late teens, while apprenticing as a jeweler, he played with the Original Climax Jazz Band, followed by a stint in trumpeter Gus Galbraith's septet, where alto saxophonist Pete King introduced Morrissey to his chief inspiration, Charlie Parker. Tenor saxophone remained his weapon of choice for years to follow, and as he gravitated to bebop. Morrissey formed his own quartet in the spring of 1960 and cut his debut LP, It's Morrissey, Man!, the following year.
Jimmy Forrest was a very consistent tenor, able to infuse bop and swing standards with soul and his distinctive tone. With the assistance of pianist Hugh Lawson, bassist Tommy Potter, drummer Clarendon Johnson and Ray Barretto on congas, Forrest explores mostly veteran tunes, such as a jumping "Annie Laurie," and the calypso "Matilda," a sentimental "My Buddy," "Robbins Nest," and even "Sonny Boy." Enjoyable music from the warm tenor.