VA – Sugar Hill Records, A Retrospective (2006) FLAC

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Sugar Hill Records is Born:

Barry Poss founded Sugar Hill Records in 1978 in order to release music he loved to a market he hoped would embrace what he called contemporary music steeped in strong traditional roots. He used his keen musical instincts to begin building a roster of artists that would give Sugar Hill a strong identity. He chose very well, because his label has become synonymous with the Bluegrass sound. He wanted artists who not only played great music but had lyrics that said something. Some of the early acts that joined him were Berline-Crary-Hickman, The Bluegrass Cardinals, the Country Gentlemen, Hot Rize, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Peter Rowan, The Seldom Scene, Ricky Skaggs, Doc Watson and the Whites all of whom are very impressive and well known names. Sugar Hill became an Independent Record Label that held its own early on with the big boys on the charts when Ricky Skaggs charted on Billboard Single’s with “I’ll Take The Blame” in 1980. The label started in a small apartment with Mr. Poss playing many roles to make it seem that the operation was much bigger than it was. Over the years he upsized into a couple of different buildings and acquired a small staff to oversee the operations.

The Sugar Hill Artists and their Journey:

A Retrospective is 81 songs on four CD’s. It also includes a DVD of artist interviews, videos and a photo gallery. As if that isn’t enough, there is a book included with a small artist bio on a song by song basis and the story of how Sugar Hill Records came to be. This is a very well thought out package and includes some amazing material that will take you on a beautiful trip down memory lane. Disc 1 has 21 songs and covers the years 1978 to 1986 and has artists like Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Boone Creek, Doc Watson and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. One of my favorite songs on this one was “Hey Porter” with Marty Stuart and Johnny Cash. Disc 2 covers 1982 through 1996 with 20 songs. Some artists on this one are The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Carl Jackson, Tim & Mollie O’Brien and The Seldom Scene Featuring Emmylou Harris just to name a few. One of my favorite songs on this disc was “Unwed Fathers” by Tim & Mollie O’Brien. Disc 3 has 20 songs covering the years 1993 to 1998. Some of the many artists you will hear on this disc are The Lonesome River Band, Del McCoury, Chris Thile, and Psychograss. One of my favorite songs on this disc is “Sally Goodin” by Byron Berline, featuring Bill Monroe & Earl Scruggs.

The Journey Continues:

On Disc 4 there are 20 songs and you will find artists like Dolly Parton, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Douglas The Gourds and Nickel Creek. This disc starts delving into the more contemporary side of the genre. While the traditional sound is still there, the younger crowd is trying to bring a newer sound in as well to appeal to another generation of fans. On this album, my favorite song is “I Walk the Line (Revisited)” by Rodney Crowell with special appearance by Johnny Cash. When you are done listening to the music, you can pop the DVD in and listen to some of the artists talk about their time with Sugar Hill and what the label has done for their careers. There is a photo gallery of publicity shots of all the artists as well as the staff and buildings of Sugar Hill Records. It was very informative and I enjoyed watching it. The book was also very nice with the way they did a bio for the artists on each song on each disc. And the history of Barry Poss and what prompted him to start it all was also a very interesting read. Bottom line is that this is an excellent collection of music all the way around and you can’t go wrong by adding it to your personal music library.

– All Music Guide Review –

With over 25 years of quality music in the can, it’s certainly not too soon for Sugar Hill Records to take a look back with their box set Sugar Hill Records: A Retrospective. Founder and label head Barry Poss’ love for quality, roots-based music has garnered his label a whole mess of respect (and 12 Grammy Awards), and his impeccable taste continues to add a mark of quality to any band he picks up. As sprawling and diverse as this four-disc collection is, it’s pretty cohesive (Poss’ good judgment at work). From the plaintive early work of Ricky Skaggs to the charming, shambling rent-party that is the Gourds, Sugar Hill Records: A Retrospective covers a ton of ground, yet it does so within logical (if loosely set) parameters. The bottom line is, it’s quite a spread — but it’s all quality. No one can deny the importance of such iconic roots artists as Doc Watson and Dolly Parton, and most will agree that new-guard artists like Robert Earl Keen, Jr., James McMurtry, Townes Van Zandt, and Rodney Crowell have earned the right to share disc space with those legends. There are many classics to be found here, as well as many classics-in-the-making, but there is also plenty of just plain fun to be found — check out the (almost) original New South’s “Freeborn Man,” Terry Allen’s “Gone to Texas,” and go a round or two with the Bad Livers or the Gourds — it’s a good time! Whether you’re old hat with this stuff or just now discovering the joys of roots-based music, there’s hardly a collection that rivals this Sugar Hill box in terms of depth and variety. Highly recommended. ~ J. Scott McClintock, All Music Guide

Track List:

Disc 1 (1978-1986)

1. Could You Love Me One More Time – Ricky Skaggs
2. Mis’ry River – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
3. Long Time Gone – John Starling
4. Moonshiner – Peter Rowan
5. Hey Porter – Marty Stuart
6. Little Rock Getaway – Mike Auldridge
7. One More Love Song = New Grass Revival
8. Church Street Blues – Tony Rice
9. One Way Track – Boone Creek
10. Why You Been Gone So Long – Chris Hillman
11. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed & Burning = Hot Rize
12. You Touched Me & Made Me Live Again – Jimmy Murphy
13. Come and Sit by the River – The Country Gentlemen
14. Ranger’s Command – The Hillment
15. Greenville Trestle High – Doc Watson
16. More Pretty Girls Than One – Buck White
17. High on a Hilltop – The Osborne Brothers
18. Forked Deer – Berline-Crary-Hickman
19. Bury Me Beneath the Willw – Ricky Skaggs & Tony Rice
20. Don’t This Road Look Rough & Rocky – Jonathan Edwards & The Seldom Scene
21. On the Sea of Life – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Disc 2 (1982-1996)

1. Freeborn Man – The (almost) Original New South
2. If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin’ – Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers
3. Father I Stretch My Hand – The Nashville Bluegrass Band
4. High Hill – Uncle Walt’s Bang
5. The Bigger the Fool – Lonesome Standard Time
6. I’m Not Over You – Carl Jackson
7. Senor 4:01 – Tim O’Brien
8. Satan’s Jeweled Crown – The Seldom Scene w/Emmylou Harris
9. Whiskey ‘Fore Breakfast/Sailor’s Bonnet – Mike Cross
10. Mariano – Robert Earl Keen
11. Rock Bottom Blues – The Nashville Bluegrass Band
12. At My Window – Townes Van Zandt
13. Nobody Knows But Me – Doc Watson
14. One Rose/Hot Buttered Rum – Red Clay Ramblers
15. Train of Life – Blue Rose
16. Mother I’m Lonely – Kukuruza
17. Unwed Fathers – Tim & Mollie O’Brien
18. Pig in a Pen – Old * In The Way
19. Trail of Tears – Peter Rowan & The Nashville Bluegrass Band
20. Lord I’ve Been A Hard Working Pilgrim – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Disc 3 (1993-1998)

1. When You Go Walking – The Lonesome River Band
2. All Night Radio – Sam Bush
3. Can’t You Hear Me Calling – Del McCoury
4. Rolling & Rambling (The Death of Hank Williams) – Robin & Linda Williams
5. Dry Run Creek – The Seldom Scene
6. Shadow Ridge – Chris Thile
7. Let’s Shake Loose – The Brother Boys
8. Way Long Timey Ago – Tommy Thompson w/The Red Clay Ramblers
9. For All I Know – James McMurtry
10. Tree King Creek – Psychograss
11. Out in the Parking Lot – Guy Clark
12. You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive – Darrell Scott
13. Gone to Texas – Terry Allen
14. Big Bug Shuffle – Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg & Edgar Meyer
15. The Hills That I Call Home – Front Range
16. Sally Goodin – Byron Berline featuring Bill Monroe & Earl Scruggs
17. Bad Case of the Blues – Laurel Canyon Ramblers
18. Dark End of the Street – John Cowan
19. Let Me Be Your Friend – The Seldom Scene
20. Merry Christmas From the Family – Robert Earl Keen

Disc 4 (1998-2003)

1. I Walk the Line (Revisited) – Rodney Crowell

2. House of Tom Bombadil – Nickel Creek

3. I Won’t Be There – Don Rigsby

4. Dear Sarah – Scott Miller

5. Bound to Ride – Jim Mills

6. My Girlish Days – Mollie O’Brien

7. Man I’m Trying to Be – Ronnie Bowman

8. The Ant and the Ant – Sean Watkins

9. I’ve Got a Mule to Ride – Tara Nevins

10. Leavee Town – Sonny Landreth

11. Bluegrass in the Backwoods – Aubrey Haynie

12. Club Manhattan – Jesse Winchester

13. Little Martha – Jerry Douglas

14. Yonder – Donna the Buffalo

15. Whisper in my Ear – The Gibson Brothers

16. Hallelujah Shine – The Gourds

17. Chickenshift – Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown

18. Lumpy Beanpole & Dirt – The Bad Livers

19. Decision at Gladys Fork – Bryan Sutton

20. I’m Gonna Sleep with One Eye Open – Dolly Parton