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Album Review

Rambling Boy [coll] – [The Decca Record Co.]

ArtCrimes   10/28/2008   CD, Country

Little did I know that Charlie Haden had spent much of his youth singing and playing country music on his parent’s “Haden Family” radio show, making his debut at age 2. A bit of that performance appears on this collection, but the rest of these tracks capture Charlie’s return to the music of his childhood, some 50 years later. Meanwhile his career as one of *the* great jazz bassists has kept him occupied, putting in time with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Keith Jarrett and his own high-concept ensembles like Liberation Music Orchestra. But family ties are strong and here he creates his own version of the Haden Family show, with his wife, triplet daughters, and son Josh, most of whom have followed their own musical careers. Three-quarters of these tracks are country or bluegrass classics, with guest vocals & musical cameos from the cast of thousands that Charlie can call close personal friends: Elvis Costello, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Pat Metheny, and others. The other tracks could be said to have a jazz tinge, but let’s just say that Ornette might not take much notice. It’s a joy to hear this family man reflecting on times gone by, and the fact that Jack Black (track 16) is his son-in-law should not distract too much.

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