ARTIST: RAFE AND CLELIA STEFANINI

TITLE: NEVER SEEN THE LIKE...
OLD TIME FIDDLE, BANJO,GUITAR TUNES AND SONGS

LABEL: YODEL-AY-HEE RECORDS

RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 2009

BY KELLY MARIE MARTIN

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What is so wonderful about old time music now is that the generation of players who picked up fiddles and banjos and guitars in the 1960s and 1970shad kids. And man, are we lucky to be the beneficiaries of the stuff on which they were raised. Never Seen the Likeis an album of "old time fiddle, banjo, guitar tunes and songs" from fiddle/banjo legend Rafe Stefanini and daughter Clelia. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Joel Savoy, Cajun fiddler in the Red Stick Ramblers (son of Marc and Ann Savoy) at Studio Savoyfaire in Eunice, Louisiana and produced by Rafe and Clelia, this album is one great product of Dynasty and I'm not talking about the TV show. Jillian Johnson, at Work Agencies designed the artwork and took the photographs for the packaging.I love the cover photo of Clelia with the fiddle and Rafe a banjo and the inside cover shot with the twin fiddlers sitting. This photo sets the tone ofthe album in a literary way: a wide enthusiastic smile from the daughter seated more forward and the closed mouth smile of pride from the poppa. From the resemblance in the eyes, you just sense the sounds inside are also gonna bear the strike through their bows. With the opening tune, Never Seen the Like Since Gettin' Upstairs, you'll know what I mean.

There is such richness with each track of this music's histories and styles. The double fiddles of father and daughter are the real standouts. They see saw so perfectly. On Lost Goose it's as lovely as a porch swing on a summer's eve and Drunken Hiccups will just make you wanna gulp at the recording quality: a rich drip of the bow and rosin and string.Second to the twin fiddles are the duets with Rafe on banjo and Clelia on fiddle. Sales Tax Toddle just makes me shake my head--hard to believe she's just eighteen! On the 16 tracks, there are about 5 with the added musicianship of Eric Frey and Chas Justus which add to the distinctiveness of the songs. I only wish that the guitar and bass had the same tonal presence as the fiddles. The added voice of Kelley Breiding on Single Girl and Columbus Stockade Blues is a real treat as she has that high keen like Hazel Dickens and complements Rafe's voice in a nice, husky timbre.

What's truly great about this CD, in addition to the music,are the parenthetical references on each track telling us where the tunes are from or followed. It's a look into the curatorial mind of someone who's been playing for over thirty years and knows innumerable tunes and songs. And the added reference to place provide a geographical map to the novice old time listener who may think the music began and lives in Appalachia--I counted seven states! Never Seen the Like... is a rare gift and glimpse into the companionship of music a father and daughter can find and hopefully we'll see the likes of it again.

Kelly Marie Martin plays guitar and sings in Los Angeles' old-time string band Triple Chicken Foot." She came to old-time when the drummer in her indie/punk/folk rock band quit and while at a bbq at Walter Spencer's house he offered her the upright bass. Three week slater she was jamming in a living room with Foghorn along with her soon-to-be husband, Ben Guzman on mandolin, Walter and fiddler Barb Hansen. She hasn't looked back since". Blame it on the strawberry margaritas? www.triplechickenfoot.com and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.