Good music, BUT it's all pirated. Everything on this disc--sounds, photos, label scans, etc.--was pirated from the website www.whistlingrecords.com. The music on the CD was taken from low quality 32 kbps MP3 files the producers downloaded from that website, and the photos, in all their pixellated glory, were nabbed from the site as well. And all of this was done without the knowledge of the website owner, and the owner was NOT credited in the booklet. Disgusting.
Brother Bones was an amazing musician--very talented on the musical bones--and I like his music very much. But I DON'T like these pirates who steal the work of others and claim it as their own. There's no need to buy this CD, everything on it can be had free from the site above.
I originally wrote a review of this CD before I knew of its shady origins, and for those who don't care that it's all ripped off, I post that original review below:
First off, I'm a real sucker for a good "bones" record! I first discovered Brother Bones when I heard his Tempo 78 of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Margie." Something about those rapidly clacking bones with his whistling really caught my ear, and I've kept a lookout for other Brother Bones 78s since. With the exception of "Sweet Georiga Brown," his records aren't too common, so I was delighted to find this CD.
Even though you may not know the name of Brother Bones, you may be familiar with his music. His recording of "Sweet Georgia Brown" ws picked up by the Harlem Globetrotters around 1950 as their theme song and they have kept it ever since.
This disc represents most of Brother Bones's recorded output, but it isn't complete; my favorite BB record, "Bye Bye Blues" is missing. Most of the 17 tracks that are here are pretty good, although there are a few duds in the batch (like "Red Wing" which isn't too bad until that awful organ comes in and just kills it). Unfortunately, the sound quality is very uneven. Some, like "Sweet Georgia Brown" sound quite good: crisp and clear. Others, like "Red Wing" sound incredibly dull and muffled, as if someone piled up several dozen pillows over the loudspeaker. In those cases, the bones become difficult to hear. Another annoyance is the constantly changing equalization. "China Town," for instance, has such boomy bass that it hurts my ears to listen to it. I was looking forward to having many of my Brother Bones records on CD and in better sound, but I'm afraid that for most, my original 78s sound better than the same selections on disc.
The liner notes aren't much--offering only the vaguest outline of Brother Bones's life (he started out as a shoeshine attendant, whistling while he worked). A few color label scans are presented, along with a reproduction of a Harlem Globetrotters record sleeve that contained a copy of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Particularly frustrating is the tiny thumb-nail sized reproduction of a Brother Bones album cover (called "Bones on the Beat"). From the small image, it looks like an interesting paingint of a skeleton band with a guitar, trumpet, and a feww other instruments. However, it's too small, and the resolution too bad to really get much out of it. On the adjacent page, the producers chose to present the Harlem Globetrotters sleeve at full-page size. Oddly, though the Harlem Globetrotters doesn't even mention Brother Bones and has only pictures of the trick basketball team in action. Do we really need to see that full-sized when the much more interesting (and relevant) cover is squashed into a 1-inch by 1-inch square? This is very poor design.
Brother Bones's music is fun and different. I haven't heard much else like it. If you've never heard it: basically, Brother Bones whistles and plays bones on each track (if you don't know what musical bones are, look them up... they're a percussion instrument not often played these days). He is accomapnied by bass, organ, cymbal, and occasionally clarinet and guitar. It's a unique sound. Listen to some audio clips if you can.
It seems unlikely that anyone else will reissue these recordings and time soon (if ever again!). Although I'm a bit disapppointed with the production of this CD, it's all we've got for now, so it will have to do. It isn't bad, but it certainly could have been better.