By Tim Newman
The most recent album by The Old 78’s, “The Women Wear No Clothes At All,” is as lively as it is old-timey. With a vast array of banjos, including a cello banjo and a banjo mandolin, some ragtime fiddlin’ and the occasional baritone saxophone or clarinet, this album is an attention grabber throughout. A playlist full of rags, stomps, reels, jigs and even a march leaves you wanting more from these talented multi-instrumental musicians.
The duo at the heart of The Old 78’s is Curly Miller, a well-seasoned fiddle and banjo player, and Carole Anne Rose, a banjo player with a style all her own. Joining Miller and Rose for the first time are Ray and Melanie Palmer. Mr. Palmer dons the banjo mandolin and occasional fiddle, while Mrs. Palmer favors the reeded instruments and an occasional cello banjo. This is the second collaborative effort by The Old 78’s; the first being with Fayetteville local, Clarke Buehling. There are only a few tracks on “The Women Wear No Clothes At All” that include vocals. One of which, the title track, stands out due to Miller’s fiddle playing dynamic that borders on ferocious. He adds a new dimension to the old-time fiddle and banjo tunes of late 1920s. The stompin’ bassline and claw-hammer technique fills this CD with Rose’s pleasantly unique style like in “Maybelle Rag.” Another honorable mention is the album closer, “Hora de Mana,” a traditional Romanian tune that is haunting enough to let you drift into a three minute a day dream, enjoying the sounds of an era before electric guitars, credit cards and global warming. The Old 78’s are a great part of Northwest Arkansas’ music scene and their newest release will surely please even the toughest critic. So, everyone grab your stompin’ boots and get to knee slappin’ for the CD Release Party at the Greenhouse Grill on Dec. 4.
Check their website for more information, www.theold78s.com.