Album Review
The Early Years: Kerrville Folk Festival 1972-1981

The Early Years: Kerrville Folk Festival 1972-1981, album cover

The Kerrville folk festival began as a 3-hour indoor concert June 1-3, 1972 in the Kerrville Municipal Auditorium, with a total attendance of 2800. The next year, midnight concerts were added on two of the days, with the attendance doubling. By 1974, the festival had grown to the point that it was moved outdoors to what is now known as the Quiet Valley Ranch. The Kerrville Folk Festival has steadily grown through the years and has expanded to an 18-day event with attendance in the 30,000 range. Given its longevity and popularity, it is a real treat that a portion of its musical heritage has been preserved in this box set.

The Early Years: Kerrville Folk Festival 1972-1981 is a 10-CD limited edition box set (only 500 were pressed), with one disc each for the ten years covered. 140 songs total by 90 artists, it contains some instantly recognizable names - like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt and Nanci Griffith, just to name a few - as well as artists you may never have heard of, and they all turn in stellar performances.

Highlights include the exquisitely understated Pancho And Lefty, performed by its writer, Townes Van Zandt, the B. W. Stevenson rocker, Shambala, Allen Damron's humorous ditty, A Little Bit Late (even for the Pearly Gates!), and - well, I could keep going until I ended up naming every track here.

Though the slant of most of the music is obviously toward folk, there are notable forays into bluegrass (a totally unique version of the Jerry Lee Lewis tune Great Balls Of Fire, performed by the Bluegrass Revue), country (I'd Have To Be Crazy, by Steven Fromholz) and gospel (Jesus, My Rock by the Royal Light Singers). In short, there's something here that's sure to please just about any listener.

The only real drawback to this box is the fact that it was mastered from LPs. The good news is that it's hardly noticeable on most tracks; the bad news is that on some tracks it's positively annoying. For example, the sound quality on disc 2, from track 6 to the end is particularly painful to listen. Even so, Silverwolf Records is to be commended for its thoughtfulness and selection of material here. Folk music fans are sure to give these discs a spin often.

(Silverwolf catalog number 1009)

Disc 1

  1. This Will Be - Peter Yarrow/A Little Big Late - Allen Damron
  2. Summertime - Carolyn Hester
    with Dick Goodwinn, bass
  3. John A. Lomax, Jr. - Long John
  4. Drunken Lady of the Morning - Texas Fever
  5. Texas Blues - Mance Lipscomb
  6. Orange Blossom Special - Dicky Barrett
  7. Candy Creek Reunion and Picnic - Segle Fry
  8. Put Me in the Alley - Robert Shaw
  9. Birds and Wolverines - Steve Fromholz
    with Travis Holland, guitar
  10. Tennessee Green - Bill &Bonnie Hearne
  11. When Day Is Done - Peter Yarrow
    with Dick Goodwinn, bass

Disc 2

  1. Call - Bobby Bridger
    with John Inmond, guitar Layton Depenning, bass; Leonard Arnold, steel guitar; Donny Dolan, drums
  2. Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound - Carolyn Hester
  3. Shambala - B.W. Stevenson
    with Herb Steiner, steel guitar; Rodney Garrison, bass; Donny Dolan, drums
  4. Jesus, My Rock - Royal Light Singers
  5. Party's Over - Willie Nelson
    with Mickey Ralphael, harmonica; Bobbie Nelson, piano; Jackie Deaton, bass; Paul English, drums
  6. Camille's Blues - Timberline Rose
    Richard Dean and Jim Schulman, vocals and guitar
  7. Dear Darcy - Steven Fromholz
  8. Peter's Song - Rev. Charlie Sumners
  9. Waitin' for a Train - Kenneth Threadgill
    with Michael Descdeau, bass
  10. Muddy Boggy Banjo Man - Bill Hearne
  11. Here I Come With My Dirthy Duckins On - Robert Shaw
  12. Deep in the West - Ewing Street Times
    Shake Russell and John Vandiver, vocals and guitars; Michael Machkis, vocals and bass
  13. Charlie Dunn - Jerry Jeff Walker
    with Bob Livingston, bass; Craig Hillis, guitar, Gary Nunn, piano; Herb Steiner, pedal steel guitar; Michael McGarry, drums
  14. Take Away - Sunny Schulman
    with Jim Schulman, guitar; Bob Schulman, bass; Ed Page, congas
  15. Tecumseh Valley - Townes Van Zandt

Disc 3

  1. West Texas Country Western Dance Band - Ray Wylie Hubbard
    with The Cowboy Twinkies - Terry Joe Ware, guitar; Clovis Roblane, mellotron; Jim Herbst, drums
  2. Just Like Me - Jimmy Johnson
  3. La Paloma - Flaco Jimenez
    with Manuel Pacheco, bajo sexto; Cookie Martinez, drums; Carlos Garza, bass; Fred Ojeda, vocals and guitar
  4. Lardo Lady - Riley Osbourne
  5. Liberty - Terry Morris
    with The Bluegrass Ramblers of LaPorte, Texas
  6. Ruby - Southern Strangers
    Rual Yarbrough, banjo; Harold Weeks, lead singer and rhythm guitar; Buddy Whitten, Dobro; James Whitten, bass
  7. Mississippi Delta Blues - Kenneth Threadgill
    with The Velvet Cow Pasture - Charlie Davis, bass; Buzz Dolim, guitar; Randy Melcancon, drums
  8. Silent Souls - Bill Priest
  9. Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used to Do? - Asleep at the Wheel
    with Leroy Preston and Chris O'Connell, vocals; Ray Benson, lead guitar; Richard Cassanova, fiddle; Floyd Domino, piano; Tony Garnier, bass; Lucky Oceans, peddle steel guitar;
  10. Last Thing I Needed - Bill Hearne
    Bill Hearne, guitar; Bonnie Hearne, vocals and piano; Jess Yaryan, bass; John Hill, drums
  11. Tin Can Jamboree - Three Faces West
    with Wayne Kidd, vocals and guitar; Rick Fowler and Steve Howell, vocals and guitars
  12. Will the Circle Be Unbroken - Plum Nelly
    Terry Jo Jones, vocals; Bill Stoner, guitar; Benny Thurman, fiddle; Ernie Gammage, bass; harmony vocals, all

Disc 4

  1. Gypsy Songman - John Vandiver
  2. Somewhere I Hear an Angel Singing the San Antonio Rose - Red River Dave
  3. Slow Movin' Outlaw - Dee Moeller
    Dee Moeller, piano and vocals; Michael Stults, guitar; John Keller, bass; J. D. Kindrick, drums
  4. I've Had the Blues - Juke Boy Bonner
  5. Seven Bridges Road - Wheatfield
    Connie Mims, vocals and tamborine; Craig Calvert, vocals and guitar; Cris Idlet, vocals and banjo; Bob Russell, vocals and bass; Damion Hevia, percussion
  6. Anyhow I Love You - Guy Clark
    Mickey White, lead guitar; Mickey Raphael, harmonica; Steve Earl, backing vocals and bass
  7. Poncho and Lefty - Townes Van Zandt
    Townes Van Zandt, vocals and guitar; Mickey White, lead guitar; Rex Bell, bass
  8. Starmaker - Bobby Bridger
    with John Inman, guitar
  9. There's Nothin' I Can Do - Plum Nelly
    Jerry Jo Jones, vocals; Bill Stoner, guitar; Johnny Richardson, electric guitar; Benny Thurman, fiddle; Ernie Gammage, bass
  10. Wolverillo Rap - Steven Fromholz
    with Travis Holland, guitar
  11. Let Your Colors Fly - Denim
    Bill Browder, vocals and guitar; David Moerbe, vocals and drums; Richard Mullen, vocals and guitar; Paul Clagette, vocals and guitar; Jerry Crow, bass
  12. Don't Touch Me - Carolyn Hester
    with Dave Blume, bass
  13. Shorty George - Robert Shaw
  14. Great Balls of Fire - Bluegrass Revue
    Bob Clark, vocals and mandolin; Bill Perry, Jr., vocal harmony and banjo; Vince Gill, guitar; Mike Perry, bass
  15. New Freedom March - Mike Seeger
  16. Dear Darcy - Bill Hearne
    Bill Hearne, vocals and guitar; Bonnie Hearne, piano and harmony vocals; Mickey Raphael, harmonica; Larry Nye, bass
  17. Mississippi Moon - Kenneth Threadgill
    Kenneth Threadgill, vocals; Rene Best, guitar; Charlie Davis, bass; David Atke, drums
  18. Red Riding Hood - Terry Waldo
  19. Jazz Bo Dancer - Ray Wylie Hubbard
    with The Cowboy Twinkies
  20. Down to Mexico - Augie Meyer
    and The Western Hat Band

Disc 5

  1. Torn Between Two Lovers - Peter Yarrow
  2. Lovin' You That's All - Milton Carroll
  3. Back on the Street - Mark McKinnon
    Mark McKinnon, vocals and guitar; Rick Gordon, lead guitar
  4. What a Way to Go - Dee Moeller
    Dee Moeller, vocals and piano; Dennis Blain, guitar; Doug Harmon, cello; J. D. Kindrick, drums; Doug Sederholm, bass
  5. Eight Miles - Kurt Van Sickle
  6. Chime Bells - Bill Staines
    Bill Staines, vocals and guitar; Bill Cade, electric bass
  7. Luckenbach Daybreak - Hondo Crouch
    Hondo's backup: Joe Stuart, guitar; Brian Kanof, harmonica
  8. From Me to You - Shane &Kitty
  9. Texas Traveling Song - Bill Neely
    Bill Neely, vocals and guitar; Larry Kirbo, guitar
  10. Love Is - Don Sanders
  11. You Made My Life a Song - Carolyn Hester
  12. Taking Leave of the Nest - Bill Haymes
  13. Second Time Around - Hardin &Russell
    Patricia Hardin, vocals and piano; Tom Russell, vocals and guitar
  14. Free My Spirit - Bobby Bridger
    Bobby Bridger, vocals and guitar; John Inman, lead guitar; Doug Harmon, piano; John Garza and Mike Williams, backing vocals; David Amran, French horn and Pakistani flute; Donny Dolen, drums; Gary P. Nunn, bass

Disc 6

  1. It's So Hard to Find a Smile - Bill &Bonnie Hearne
    Bill Hearne, vocals and guitar; Bonnie Hearne, vocals and piano
  2. I'd Have to Be Crazy - Steven Fromholz
    Steven Fromholz, vocals and guitar
  3. We Got the Make the Change - Milton Carroll
    Milton Carroll, vocals and piano
  4. One Man's Hands - Carolyn Hester
    Carolyn Hester, vocals and guitar
  5. If I Needed You - Townes Van Zandt
    Townes Van Zandt, vocals and guitar; Mickey White, guitar
  6. Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound - Tom Paxton
    Tom Paxton, vocals and guitar
  7. Joshua Tree - Hardin &Russell
    Patricia Hardin, vocals and piano; Tom Russell, vocals and guitar
  8. Painting Son - Mike Williams
    Mike Williams, vocals and guitar
  9. Weaving Is the Property of Few These Days - Dan McCrimmon
    Dan McCrimmon, vocals, harmonica, and guitar
  10. Fools Fall in Love - Butch Hancock
    Butch Hancock, vocals, harmonica, and guitar; Dee White, guitar; Richard Bowden, fiddle; Leon Grizzard, bass
  11. Temper, Temper - John Vandiver
    B. W. Stevenson, vocals and guitar; Dan McCrimmon, harmonica; John Vandiver, vocal harmony

Disc 7

  1. Sweet Melissa - Mother of Pearl
    Ernie Gammage, vocals and bass; Jerry Jo Jones, backing vocals; Johnny Richardson and Layton DePenning, guitars; Don Fischer, drums and backing vocals
  2. Livin' on a Dry Land Farm - Joe Ely
    Joe Ely, vocals and guitar, with Butch Hancock, vocals; Joe Ely Band
  3. Sweet Virginia Lace - Rick Beresford
    Rick Beresford, vocals and guitar
  4. Stuck in New York City - Frummox
    Steven Fromholz, vocals and guitar; Dan McCrimmon, vocals and guitar
  5. Take Me Back to Tulsa/Milk Cow Blues - Alvin Crow
    Alvin Crow, vocals and fiddle; Rick Crow, guitar; Roger Crabtree, harmonica; Johnny Holly, drums; Gary Roller, bass; Bobby Earl Smith, rhythm guitar; Herb Steiner, pedal steel guitar
  6. Chime Bells - Kevin Hatcher &Ken Brothers
    Kevin Hatcher, vocals and autoharp; Ken Brothers, vocals; and The Mountain Vagabonds
  7. Queen of the Rodeo (Cheryl Doreen) - Rusty Wier
    Rusty Wier, vocals and guitar; Chuck Flood, harmonica
  8. Crawdad Song - Buck White &Guy Clark
    Buck White, vocals and mandolin; Guy Clark, vocals; Bob Black, banjo; Sharon Hicks, guitar and harmony vocals; Cheryl White, bass and harmony vocals
  9. Dollar Matinee - Eric Taylor &Nanci Griffith
    Eric Taylor, vocals and guitar; Nanci Griffith, vocals; Bill Cade, bass and harmony vocals
  10. Alfred the Hog - David Amram
    David Amran, vocals and guitar, percussion, flutes; Lindsay Haisley, autoharp and backing vocals; Donny Dolen, drums; Bobby Bridger and Gary P. Nunn, backing vocals, questions and laughs; Kerrvillaires

Disc 8

  1. Well Well Well - Gibson &Camp
    Bob Gibson and Hamilton Camp, vocals and guitar
  2. Getaway - Gary P. Nunn
    Gary P. Nunn, vocals and guitar; David Amran, flute, cowbell, guiro; B. W. Stevenson and Bobby Bridger, backing vocals
  3. Little Buutterfly - Louis Real &Cactus Rose
    Louis Real, vocals and guitar; Cactus Rose Band
  4. Light Beyond These Woods - Nanci Griffith
    Nanci Griffith, vocals and guitar; Eric Taylor, guitar; John Hage, cello
  5. Hello Early Morning - Ray Wylie Hubbard
    Ray Wylie Hubbard, vocals and guitar; John Inman, guitar; Bob Livingston, piano and bass; Donny Dolen, drums
  6. Don't Let the Devil Turn You Around - Lindsay Haisley
    Lindsay Haisley, vocals and autoharp
  7. Deep in the West - Shake Russell - Dana Cooper Band
    Shake Russell, vocals and guitar; Dana Cooper, harmony vocals, guitar and harmonica; Steven Fromholz and John Vandiver, harmony vocals; Michael Mashkes, bass; John Alderman, piano; Peter Gorisch, drums
  8. Cattle Call - Ken Brothers
    Ken Brothers, vocals and guitar
  9. Battle of New Orleans - Jimmy Driftwood
    Jimmy Driftwood, vocals and guitar; Allen Damron, harmony vocals
  10. Tennessee Bottle - Jim Ritchey &Be Jae Fleming
    Jim Ritchey, vocals and guitar; Be Jae Fleming, mandolin and harmony vocals
  11. Safely in the Arms of Jesus - Mercy River Boys
    Wayne Christian, lead vocals
  12. Midnight Moonlight - Peter Rowan
    Peter Rowan, vocals and guitar; Jimmy Fuller, pedal steel guitar; Roger Mason, bass; Ed Hughes, drums

Disc 9

  1. Austin Pickers - Gary P. Nunn
    Gary P. Nunn, vocals and guitar; Mike Hardwick, steel guitar; Paul Gold, bass; David Amran, flute &French horn; Billy Sink, drums
  2. Twilight Serendade - Tish Hinojosa
    Rish Hinojosa, vocals and guitar; Dave McGill, piano; Craig Barker, bass
  3. Don't You Feel It Too? - Uncle Walt's Band
    David Ball, vocals and bass; Champ Hood &Walter Hyatt, vocals and guitars
  4. Bramble and The Rose - Mary McCaslin
    Mary McCaslin &Jim Ringer, vocals and guitars
  5. I Want My Mama - Lonnie Glosson
    Lonnie Glosson, harmonica, vocals and guitar
  6. I Came Here to Stay - Masters Four
    David J. D. Kapp, bass, and the Masters Four Quartet; Terry Laird, piano
  7. Dulcimer Meldey - Eaglebone Whistle
    Graham Hall, fiddle; Jane Gillman, guitar; Greg Raskin, hammered dulcimer; Stephanie Beardsley, bass; John Hagen, cello
  8. Touch of New Orleans - Michael Marcoulier
    Michael Marcoulier, vocals and guitar; Jim Racraft, guitar and harmony vocals; Bill Strawn, bass and harmony vocals; Bubba Robin, tenor sax; Carson Graham, drums
  9. Blue Skies - Terry Waldo
    Terry Waldo, vocals and piano
  10. One Night Stand - Lucinda Williams
    Lucinda Williams, guitar and vocals; Mickey White, guitar; Rex Bell, harmony vocals and bass
  11. Baby Boy - Shady Grove Ramblers
    Tom Uhr, vocals and guitar; Lloyd Hinch, mandolin and harmony vocals; Kevin Kirkpatrick, banjo; George Buzzy Stevens, bass and harmony vocals
  12. I Love Trash - Don Sanders
    Don Sanders, vocals and guitar
  13. Nina's Nocturne - Jon Ims
    John Ims, vocals and guitar
  14. Midnight Special - Spider John Koerner
    Spider John Koerner, vocals, harmonica and guitar

Disc 10

  1. Heartbroke - Guy Clark
    Guy Clark, vocals and guitar with band
  2. Looking for You - Bob Gibson
    Bob Gibson, vocals and banjo
  3. Ascending Woman - Carolyn Hester
    Carolyn Hester, vocals and guitar
  4. Piggly Wiggly Blues - Robert Shaw
    Robert Shaw, vocals and piano
  5. River of Stone - Peter Rowan
    Peter Rowan, vocals and guitar
  6. Maria Consuela - Tim Henderson
    with Allen Damron, vocals
  7. Jimmie the Kid - Kenneth Threadgill
    Kenneth Threadgill, vocals; Bill Neely, guitar; Fletcher Clark, mandolin
  8. Pecos Bill - Riders in the Sky
    Ranger Doug Green, vocals and guitar; Too Slim, vocals and bass; Woody Paul, vocals and fiddle
  9. Take My Hand - Odetta
    Odetta, vocals and guitar
  10. Steven Bridges Road - Steve Young
  11. Armelia Earhart's Last Flight - Red River Dave McHenry
    Red River Dave, vocals and guitar
  12. Esta Solida del Sol - Eliza Gilkyson
    Eliza Gilkyson, guitar and vocals; Christine Albert, harmony vocals; John Egnes, accordion; Alan Hand, organ; Peter Rowan, mandolin; Robbie Robertson, guitar; Steve Lindsay, bass; Beard Banner, drums
  13. Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter Yarrow
    Peter Yarrow, vocals and guitar; Dick Goodwin, bass
  14. Dulcimer Medley No. 2 - Eaglebone Whistle
    Greg Raskin, hammered dulcimer; Graham Hall, fiddle; Jane Gillman, guitar; Stephanie Beardsley, bass; John Hagen, cello
  15. Sixth Level - Gatemouth Brown
    Gatemouth Brown, fiddle and guitar with band
  16. Kentucky Waltz - Buck White
    Sharon White, guitar; Jerry Douglas, Dobro; Cheryl White, bass
  17. Dallas - Jimmie Gilmore and Butch Hancock
    Jimmie Gilmore, vocals and guitar; Butch Hancock, vocals and harmonica; David Halley, lead guitar; John Reed, rhythm guitar; Bobby Earl Smith, bass; Dee White, drums
  18. If I Had a Hammer - Bob Gibson, Odetta, Peter Yarrow Peter Yarrow, vocals; Bob Gibson, vocals and guitar; Odetta, vocals