The best things in life are free, they say, and, sadly, it is equally true that the best albums are often neglected. Luckily, I heard d-j Bob Powell play a couple of tracks from this 1982 release on his LONDON COUNTRY Radio Show & it has given me more pleasure over the years than almost any album - certainly more than any bluegrass album - and it still sounds beautiful to me today, 24 years later!
Quite simply, it has everything a great album should have:-
1. A tasteful selection of lesser-known compositions (from the 50's, 60's & 70's) by writers of the calibre of Bob Dylan, Shel Silverstein, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Dan Fogelberg & John D.Souther.
2. Superb musicianship & vocalizing (Herb Pedersen's high tenor harmony being especially notable).
3.A marvellous consistency of both quality & sound, each track blending into the next naturally (though running time is a bit short at 29 mins).
4. An excellent production, but not over-polished or slick, like some modern bluegrass.
5. Most of all, a laid-back feel, the music just washing over you.
No track stands out above another, but Gram Parsons' Hickory Wind deserves special mention. As well as being, in my opinion, superior to the Byrds' Sweetheart of Rodeo version, it is, in view of the writer's premature demise, poignant in the extreme.
I'm sure when Chris Hillman & Co. sat down to make this record, creating a masterpiece was not on the agenda, but, as so often happens, through luck or whatever, they've done just that. It's A REAL BEAUTY, & I would recommend it to anyone who likes their music sincere, melancholy & easy-on-the-ear.