B Sharp Records
For Old Times Sake brings together Jake Landers and Herschel Sizemore, childhood friends and former Dixie Gentlemen bandmates. Each has established sterling careers in bluegrass music as sidemen for the first generation greats and/or composers of some of the genre’s more memorable tunes. While the years have slowed the pace of the music here, compared to the ’60s sound of the Dixie Gentlemen, the result of this project is a solid CD with 12 cuts, half of which are Landers compositions. Helping out are banjoist Andy Richardson, Vance Henry and Tony Robertson on guitars, Ricky Rogers on bass, and William Smith and the Secret Sisters on vocals.
Landers’ contributions here include “Shadows Of My Heart,” the very poignant “The Last Request,” “Don’t Wake Me,” “Put A Light In The Window,” and two gospel cuts, “I Have Changed” and “There’s A Railroad.” The remainder are bluegrass standards from other sources: “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues,” “Cabin In Caroline,” “Before I Met You,” “Long, Long Way To The Top Of The World,” and instrumentals “Gold Rush” and “Blackberry Blossom.” Landers is in good voice and handles a majority of the lead vocals, and the harmony work is solid as well. There is nice banjo work by Richardson throughout, and Sizemore is—as always—very solid and tasteful (if somewhat understated here) on mandolin.
As the title indicates, this release was never intended to break new ground, but it is very well done and an appropriate document to commemorate two very distinguished careers. (Herschel Sizemore, 5720 Barns Ave., Roanoke, VA 24019, www.herschelsizemore.com.)AW