1992 CD collection.
The Cat and the Dog
Kitten on the Keys
The Old Town Pump
Fair and Warmer
Send Back My Honeyman
The music on this highly entertaining CD is much more of a group effort than the title would suggest. Make no mistake, Harry Reser was one of the great banjo virtuosos, although his style was totally of the strummed, plectrum variety without a trace of the mystic quality of Appalachian banjo or the fingerpicking stunts of bluegrass players. With the banjo's rapid sound decay and complete lack of fortitude in certain registers, a combo with plenty of harmonic punch, like a good piano player, is required to pull off the kind of ragtime, early swing, and novelty numbers that make up the repertoire here. Keys and chords are going by quickly here, and whereas the ideal choice of accompaniment for a bluegrass player might be a guitarist strumming an endless G chord, Reser needs his pianist to be all over the map to put an address behind his plinks and plunks.
Some of the finest banjo playing here involves the beautiful tone he gets in the lower register, almost like the banjo equivalent of Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax if such a thing can be believed from a banjo, and intentionally out-of-tune slides on that make it sound like he is playing a rubber band. The entire CD might have a kind of cartoony effect on the listener between the manic banjo playing and eccentric, sometimes silly arrangements and tunes. There is no information provided about the other musicians, and only a morsel of credit provided for a few of the composers.
Eugene Chadbourne ~ AllMusicGuide
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