Memories of John

Memories of John

by The John Hartford Stringband


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The John Hartford Stringband -- Chris Sharp, guitar; Bob Carlin, banjo; Matt Combs, fiddle; Mike Compton, mandolin; Mark Schatz, bass -- is the band that backed up Hartford on five of his Rounder Records albums. They were also his backup band for the last years of his life. Most listeners probably know Hartford for his one pop hit, "Gentle on My Mind." When it was recorded by Glen Campbell, "Gentle" was a major smash and won four Grammys. It's one of the most recorded country hits of all time. Hartford knew that the career of a pop star had a limited shelf life and switched gears; he devoted the rest of his life to folk music and bluegrass, becoming a one-man band who played fiddle, guitar, and banjo. His 1971 Aereo-Plain album is considered the first newgrass album and he contributed to the bazillion-selling Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. He was touring to support that record when he lost control of his hands due to his struggle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He died of the disease in 2001. Although he wasn't well known outside of folk and bluegrass circles, Hartford turned out an impressive body of work in his lifetime, and the Hartford Stringband pays tribute to his music here, including the first recordings of several tunes Hartford played live but never cut himself. The "new" songs include "Madison Tennessee," a tune Hartford was going to record on what was to be his last album, but the record was never finished. It's the story of a traveling musician and his tribulations given a lighthearted spin by Hartford's wry humor. Compton's mandolin and Combs' fiddle give the tune a sprightly feel. "Homer the Roamer" is a Celtic-flavored instrumental that gives each bandmember a chance to stretch out. The album also includes a few rare Hartford performances. "You Don't Notice Me Ignoring You" was written around the same time as "Gentle"; the Stringband overdubs a 40-year-old Hartford demo to produce one last great performance from the group's friend and mentor. The album closes with "Fade Out," another rediscovered demo, this time presented as it was cut, just Hartford and guitar. Hartford's playful wordless vocal and whistling bring the set to a poignant close.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/25/2010
Label: Compass Records
UPC: 0766397453927
catalogNumber: 4539
Rank: 118656

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Hartford Stringband   Primary Artist
Alison Brown   Banjo,Guest Appearance
John Hartford   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Bob Carlin   Banjo,Vocals,Group Member
Mike Compton   Mandolin,Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Béla Fleck   Banjo,Guest Appearance
Alan O'Bryant   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Mark Schatz   Bass,Vocals,Foot Percussion,Spoken Word,Group Member
Matt Combs   Fiddle,Vocals,Group Member
Chris Sharp   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
George Buckner   Banjo,Guest Appearance
Eileen Carson Schatz   Foot Percussion,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

John Hartford   Composer
Ed Haley   Composer
Johnny Bond   Composer
Mark Schatz   Composer,Engineer
Richard Battaglia   Engineer
Chris Sharp   Producer,Track Notes,Production Notes
Erick Jaskowiak   Engineer
Toshio Watanabe   Executive Producer

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