The dobro (pronounced to rhyme with 'go slow') is probably best-known in Britain as the strange metal guitar on the sleeve of Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms album. Never having heard the album, I can't tell you if you actually get to hear it or not. If you haven't heard the dobro, you should - played by an expert, the swooping slide of its steel strings can sound, in turn, joyous and deeply mournful.
I first heard these two albums when I worked for Virgin Records' Marble Arch branch in 1979. That was when it was the poky shop on the corner of the Edgware Road rather than the brightly-lit megastore of today. It was the only record shop in London to open on Sundays and was frequently fined by Westminster Council. Sunday was a good day for ordering and I would play all sorts of records that I'd never heard before. Sonet had these two albums out and I was immediately hooked, buying them both that day.
But I digress. On this CD you will hear one of the true masters of the bluegrass dobro. Mike Auldridge has gone on to make many albums with the Seldom Scene, as a solo artist, and with Chesapeake. Another plus is that Auldridge assembled the cream of bluegrass pickers for these albums. He is accompanied by Vassar Clements, John Duffey, David Bromberg, Ricky Skaggs, Ben Eldridge and many more, with cameo appearances by Lowell George and Linda Ronstadt.
Takoma issued these albums on one CD in the last days before the label disappeared for a while. It can only have been available for about five minutes, as I scoured stores for it, but never found one.
by Phil Stoker