What the Reviewers Say


Fine & interesting CD featuring the old-time fiddle of Lee Stripling, the son of old-time fiddler Charlie Stripling who recorded during the "Golden Age" of commercial old-time music. Lee performs many tunes he learned from his dad as well as several Western-Swing & pop tunes that he picked up in the 1930s & 1040s. Joining Lee on this album are: W.B. Reid on guitar & vocals, Tony Mates on bass, Glenn Dudley on plectrum banjo and old-time fiddler and scholar, Kerry Blech, on mandolin (Blech also wrote the fine notes accompanying the CD). (County Sales Newsletter)

Lee Stripling is the son of Charlie Stripling, the fiddling half of the Stripling Brothers duo, who left a fine legacy of fiddling through their recordings of the 1920s and '30s on Vocalion and Decca. In the course of growing up, Lee became a fine fiddler in his own right, acquiring a large repertoire that included old-time fiddle tunes, many of which he learned from his father, western swing songs just then becoming popular, and all manner of popular music. In his teens, Lee began playing dances with his father and also formed a duet with his brother. By the 1940s Lee had moved to Washington State, married and started a family, and pretty much put the fiddle aside. Since the 1980s, he's started actively fiddling again, and lately it seems, he's been going at it with a vengeance. This CD, recorded in April of this year, gives us a fairly detailed cross section of Lee's musical interests and capabilities. Fans of the Stripling Brothers will immediately recognize several of Stripling tunes from the program list, including "Whiskers," "Horseshoe Bend," "California Blues," and "Wolves a-Howling." Lee's versions of these tunes are a tribute to his father's fiddling, but Lee definitely puts his own stamp on them. The more commonly known fiddle tunes included here were learned from Charlie as well and all have a unique twist to them which often kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next.

While Lee does a wonderful job on the fiddle tunes, it is on the pop tunes and swing numbers, which make up over half of the selections on this CD, that he really cuts loose and shines. Lee's fiddling on these pieces is relaxed and playful. It would be hard for me to pick out a favorite as they're all a great deal of fun. Another reason this material sounds so good is that Lee has a great supporting cast throughout. W.B. Reid and Tony Mates keep things moving right along on the guitar and bass, respectively, while Kerry Blech and Glenn Dudley occasionally join in on mandolin and plectrum banjo. The effect is ragged but just right. On many of the vocal numbers, W.B. lends just the right harmonic support to Lee's lead singing. They sound as if they've been doing this together for years. Let's hope they keep it up. The CD insert includes a short essay by Kerry Blech that gives a short account of Lee's life and music. W.B. supplies notes on the tunes (in no particular order) that for the most part give Lee's source for each one. This is an entertaining recording, and I hope only the first of many, as I suspect they've only barely tapped Lee's well of musical material. Jim Nelson, The Old-Time Herald

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