Clinch Mountain Echo

Ernie Thacker & Junior Blankenship Band - Tears Of Gold

(Atteiram API-CD 1730) 1995

Tears Of Gold
Rear Cover CD Tray CD Booklet CD Booklet

Average Album Rating: 3
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After Ernie Thacker and Junior Blankenship left Ralph in March 1994 they formed their own band. The following month they started work on this album, although it looks like it was released after Tennessee Blues, which was recorded later in Nov. 1994. Sound-wise it certainly sounds like it bridges the gap between the trad bluegrass of the Old Virginia cassette and the more contemporary Tennessee Blues album.

The CD was recorded in sessions at Hickory Hill studios in Parkensburg West Virginia that took place in April and May 1994. Interestingly, James Price plays the bulk of the backing instruments. James, after a stint with The Goins Brothers, went on to join the CMB's in 1995 and played fiddle with Ralph until c2003.

There are two Stanley Brothers tunes, two Jimmy Martin favourites, two traditional instrumentals, and one Bill Monroe mandolin instrumental. Old Virginia had previously been recorded by the pair on their Old Virginia cassette, and Ernie Thacker contributes one song, Leavin' You Today, which they also cut for Tennessee Blues. Ernie's brother Dave wrote the title song, Tears Of Gold.

The majority of lead vocals are handled by Ernie with Junior singing lead on Rock Salt And Nails and Chalk Up Another One. Ernie's voice is in fine form, although not quite in the same class as his later albums. Ernie was probably the last of the 'great' vocalists to sing lead with Ralph. In some ways, it's a shame he didn't get to stay longer in Ralph's band.

Junior also plays some fine lead guitar on Red Haired Boy and Bill Cheatham. The splendid instrumental version of Faded Love, with guitar reminiscent of Larry Sparks, is also one of the albums highlights.

I'm Lost, I'll Never Find The Way

R. Stanley
Leavin' Your Today

Ernie Thacker
Rock Salt And Nails

Bruce Phillips
Red Haired Boy

Old Virginia

Clinch Fields
Faded Love

Bob Wills
A Beautiful Life

William Golden
Our Last Goodbye

C. Stanley
Chalk Up Another One

Jimmy Martin / Paul Williams
Bill Cheatham

Takes One To Know One

Jimmy Martin
Kentucky Mandolin

Bill Monroe
Tears Of Gold

Dave Thacker


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