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A School Of Bluegrass by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

A School Of Bluegrass by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver - Album Cover
Artist: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
Product #: CR05472
Release Date: 05/18/2004
Digital Release Date: 05/18/2004
Categories: Bluegrass
Tags: Vocal, Traditional, Special, Southern gospel, Roots, Quartet, Progressive, Instrumental, Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Americana, Acappella


Class is in Session. The Doyle Lawson School of Bluegrass began 25 years ago, in 1979, when Doyle decided to start his own band after playing for 15 years with such groups as JD Crowe and The Country Gentlemen. He has since released over two dozen albums, won numerous awards, and attained the status of a living legend.

A School of Bluegrass is a front-row and even backstage pass into the world of bluegrass for the past twenty-five years. The styles, influences, and techniques that Doyle develops with the various editions of Quicksilver are phenomenal, especially considering the pioneering ideas we hear emulated in other bands. To catch a glimpse of the long shadow Doyle Lawson has cast on contemporary bluegrass music, you only need to hear his standout band gathered around one microphone as well as scan the horizon of award-winning groups such as IIIrd Tyme Out, Blue Highway, Mountain Heart, and Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder, all of whom spent years honing their music in Doyle’s School of Bluegrass.

Sit back and enjoy live performances and rehearsals of many never before released songs from Doyle Lawson and thirteen versions of Quicksilver spanning twenty-five years. If you want to understand why DL&Q has been an integral part of bluegrass music’s most important and lasting developments, this is the answer. From Alison Krauss to Garth Brooks, a world of artists have testified to the impact that Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have had, and will continue to set the pace with an unsurpassed combination of skill and spirit.

Doyle commented about the album:

Well, folks, here we are at 25 years and counting. It really is something to think about and I can hardly believe it. On one hand, it seems so long ago and on the other hand, just yesterday that I stepped out with faith, hope, will power and perseverance on a new musical journey as Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. And what a wonderful journey it has been.

The idea for this project came quite suddenly one evening as I was sorting through some boxes of tapes I’ve collected over the years. I came across some of the first rehearsals we did in 1979. I did some more digging and found tapes of other rehearsals. It occurred to me that I might have rehearsals or on-stage music by every make-up of DL&Q. This is pretty much what you have here.

Please understand that these are not studio recordings. Some are rehearsals and some live performances and the quality will vary. I sent them to Crossroad’s Recording Studio and they cleaned them up as much as possible.

There are a lot of songs on here that I never recorded, some I had forgotten we had ever sung. Some of these we were fooling around with and did different arrangements and I selected what was the best version. Since we were rehearsing and working the bugs out of the songs and the arrangements, there are rough spots here and there. I thought you would enjoy hearing these in a raw form.

I tried to stay away from songs I have already recorded. Most of what you’re getting is songs you haven’t heard us do. I hope you enjoy this musical trip through 25 years. For me it was a blast compiling it for you. My heart felt thanks to all of you who made this possible and may God’s blessings rest on you.

Horizon Records’ Mickey Gamble discussed the album’s historical significance:

This is not the usual re-hash of hit songs and past recordings.  Here we get to watch as Doyle plans and experiments.  Here we have a series of rehearsal tapes and copies of live performances which, for the most part were not released on the band’s recordings.  As we listen, we get to hear all the pioneering ideas being developed which we later hear other bands adopt.  I know of no other collection like this in the history of bluegrass.

Doyle also offered comments on each song.

Disc 1:

Tracks 1-7 are of the first edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Terry Baucom, Banjo; Jimmy Haley, Guitar; Lou Reid, Bass.

  1. Mississippi Queen (Wesley Creed Golding): Comments:  “Mississippi Queen” This was one of the first songs we rehearsed when we got together. Wes Golding wrote it and Terry had done this song while a member of Boone Creek. I don’t think we ever did it on stage. We were just trying to get our act together.
  2. Come On Over (Barry Alan Gibb, Robin Hugh Gibb): This is a Bee Gees song and I thought it had great harmony potential plus it was current (at the time) and I could turn it into a contemporary bluegrass song.
  3. Just A Little Talk With Jesus (Cleavant Derricks): We all loved pure bluegrass from the first generation. This is pretty much a take-off on the version I heard Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise and Cedric Rainwater do on a tape of the Grand Old Opry. Earl played the guitar on their version, I played it on ours.
  4. The Prince Of My Peace (Roscoe Reed): This is the first a cappella song we tried and for some reason we never did it on stage. “He Put A Rainbow In The Clouds For Me” was the one we used on the recording instead.
  5. The Little Community Church (Bill Monroe): Yet another Monroe song that I have always loved. I wanted to keep my foot in the traditional vein and I felt this was just a part of being a well-rounded group.
  6. Train '45 (arr. Doyle Lawson): I had played this song all of my professional career - as a banjo picker for Jimmy Martin, mandolin picker with J.D. Crowe and The Country Gentlemen. I think the DL&Q version was the most intense of them all.
  7. On The Sea Of Life (Bob Angel, T. S. Sloan): This became the signature song for us and it still is. It’s one of those songs that only comes along once in a long while.

    Tracks 8-12 are of the second edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Terry Baucom, Banjo; Jimmy Haley, Guitar; Randy Graham, Bass.

  1. Carolina In The Pines (Michael Martin Murphy): Jimmy Haley had done this Michael Martin Murphy song before we joined up and formed a group. I loved not only the way he sang it and but the fact that it was song out of the norm of bluegrass
  2. Jezebel (arr. Doyle Lawson): I have a deep love and appreciation for Black gospel music from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. As a kid I used to hear it on WLAC Radio, Gallatin, TN. This song is from the late 30’s or early 40’s.
  3. You'll Never Be The Same (Bob Osborne): I learned this song from a recording by Jimmy Martin & Bobby Osborne. What a great cut they had. We did it somewhat faster with our version.
  4. I'll Take The Blame (Louise Cirtain, James E. Clackley, Gladys Stacey): Flatt & Scruggs recorded this quite a few years before it was released. As soon as I heard it I wanted to do it.
  5. Sally Goodin (arr. Doyle Lawson): We used to do a little routine with this song. I made up a story about Mary Baldwin and went through a long spiel about her. Terry played the fiddle and I played the banjo (my one big number). I remember on this cut that I borrowed a thumb pick from J.D. Crowe. I wasn’t used to it and I kept hitting the 4th string. I decided to use this song since folks ask from time to time if I still play the banjo any. Truthfully, I have played very little since about 1971.

    Tracks 13-18 are of the third edition of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Scott Vestal, Banjo; Russell Moore, Guitar; Curtis Vestal, Bass
  6. Every Time I Feel The Spirit (arr. Doyle Lawson): I had heard many different versions of this song. On this one I wanted to do it a little different – pick up the tempo, use only a guitar, stagger harmonies.  This song easily lent itself to all of these ideas.
  7. Leather Britches (arr. Doyle Lawson): This is a timeless old fiddle tune that I still play once in a while. During this period of DL&Q, I didn’t have a fiddle player so I came up with this arrangement featuring the guitar, mandolin and banjo.
  8. Come Back To Me In My Dreams (Bill Monroe): This is a song I used one morning in the studio to loosen up my voice. We liked it so well that we went on and cut it right then, the first time we sang it.
  9. My Walking Shoes (Jimmy Martin, Paul Williams): This is another classic bluegrass song by Paul Williams. I suppose just about everyone has played this song at some time. We did it high-energy style. It’s a crowd pleaser.
  10. Til The End (Cathy Gosdin): “Til The End” I picked this song out to showcase Russell’s voice and the harmonies. Though we did it a lot on stage, we never recorded it. I still think it is a great song. This cut is from a live performance.
  11. Stormy Waters (Henry Donohue): This is the first a cappella song I rehearsed with Scott and Curtis Vestal and Russell Moore at Suzanne’s Daddy’s house in 1985. Kristi was not quite two years old and fell in the creek while we were singing this song.

Tracks 19-25 are of the fourth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Scott Vestal, Banjo; Russell Moore, Guitar; Ray Deaton, Bass.

  1. Up On The Blueridge (Jeffrey Scott Vestal): “Up On The Blue Ridge”  Scott Vestal wrote this tune before he came to work for me. In my opinion this is one of the best banjo tunes I have ever heard and I don’t think I ever heard anyone play it other than Scott.
  2. I Know The Way To You By Heart (Tony Laiolo): Comments:  “I Know The Way To You By Heart” This was sent to me by a writer on the recommendation of Vern Gosdin. We did it on stage several times but never recorded it, however, Vern did a great recording of it.
  3. Ezekial Saw The Wheel (arr. Doyle Lawson): “Ezekiel Saw The Wheel” This is yet another spiritual that came to me by way of my dear friend, the late Rex Nelon. Rex loved good harmonies and intricate arrangements. This song was a showcase for Ray Deaton’s bass vocals.
  4. The Northern Lights (arr. Doyle Lawson): Northern Lights”  We learned this tune from Pat Menard, a Canadian friend from North Bay, Ontario. Again, having no fiddle, we gave a different twist to this arrangement.
  5. Polka On The Banjo (arr. Doyle Lawson): We would play this Flatt & Scruggs tune just to hear the banjo breaks. It was a fun song to do and Russell would sing the verse with Scott leading the chorus. Russell sang tenor and I sang high baritone
  6. If You See My Savior (Thomas A. Dorsey): The great Thomas A. Dorsey wrote this song. I heard a version of this by The Golden Gate Quartet and I stayed fairly close to their arrangement but with enough change to give it the DL&Q sound. Russell played a mighty mean Nose Trumpet.
  7. Little Black Moustache (arr. Doyle Lawson): I seem to recall Russell learned this fun tune from Clarence Greene.

Disc 2:

Tracks 1-5 are of the fifth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Jim Mills, Banjo; Russell Moore, Guitar; Ray Deaton, Bass; Mike Hartgrove, Fiddle

  1. Florida Blues (arr. Doyle Lawson): This was a tune we opened our show with after I hired my first full-time fiddler, Mike Hartgrove
  2. Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong (Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe): This is another song steeped in bluegrass tradition. We did it more up-tempo than the original cut. I loved the break Jim Mills took on this tune.
  3. Move To The Top Of The Mountain (Bill Carver, Gordon Stoker): I learned from the Sewanee River Boys, one of my all-time favorite quartets. We gave it a swing feel.
  4. North Carolina Breakdown (Arthur Leroy Smith): Mike and Jim used to play this tune on our shows. I love to hear the banjo and fiddle give each other a work out.
  5. Little Mountain Church House (Carl E. Jackson, Jim A Rushing): Carl Jackson & Jim Rushing wrote this great song that brought back memories of my childhood. It was the first IBMA Song Of The Year in 1990.

    Tracks 6-8 are of the sixth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Jim Mills, Banjo; Shelton Feazell, Bass; John Bowman, Guitar.
  6. Tennessee Banjo Man (Kenneth R. McDuffie): I heard Mel Tillis do this song and I thought it would make a great bluegrass tune. Jim Mills really wore this one out.
  7. The Mighty Number (arr. Doyle Lawson): John R. Bowman and Shelton Feazell had just come aboard. I wanted a song to make a statement with so we worked this out on our way to Ontario, Canada.
  8. Careless Love (arr. Doyle Lawson): Jim just played the fire out of this old song. I used the “Get Up John” tuning for this one.

    Tracks 9-10 are from the seventh edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Brad Campbell, Banjo; Shawn Lane, Guitar; John Berry, Bass; Jimmy Stewart, Fiddle.
  9. Lay Your Burdens At His Feet (William McKinney): I had heard this song as a youngster at home and recorded it in 1983, not exactly as it was written, but close. On this cut, Shawn Lane sang high lead, I sang baritone, Brad Campbell sang low tenor and John Berry sang bass. Jimmy Stewart played the dobro
  10. Big Country (Vernon Derrick, Jimmy Martin): I learned this instrumental from J.D. Crowe who recorded it with Jimmy Martin. It’s one of those good songs that, fortunately, hasn’t been over-played.

    Tracks 11-12 are from the eighth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Barry Abernathy, Banjo; Steve Gulley, Guitar; Dale Perry, Bass; Owen Saunders, Fiddle.
  11. Your Crazy Heart (Hylo Brown): I used to hear the late Hylo Brown do as a solo. I could always hear the duet in my head so Steve Gully and I sang it.
  12. Write Me Sweetheart (Roy Acuff): This song was written and recorded by Roy Acuff. I think it made a great traditional bluegrass song. Dale Perry, Barry Abernathy, Steve Gully and Owen Saunders are on this live cut.

    Tracks 13-14 are from the ninth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Barry Abernathy, Banjo; Barry Scott, Guitar; Dale Perry, Bass; Jimmy Van Cleve, Fiddle.
  13. Rock Of Ages Keep My Soul (Luther G. Presley): We would sing this on the bus a lot, a cappella style. I suppose we were searching for something when we recorded this in my garage. Barry Scott was in the band by then, along with Dale Perry, and Barry Abernathy. Gospel music is Barry Scott’s first love. This is a good song. Please listen to the words.
  14. Heartbreak Insurance (Steven M. Gulley): Steve Gulley wrote this song and we thought Barry Abernathy’s voice was just right for it. Jimmy Van Cleve was playing fiddle with us by this time.

    Tracks 15-20 are from the tenth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Dale Perry, Banjo; Barry Scott, Bass; Jamie Dailey, Guitar; Doug Bartlett, Fiddle.

  1. Praise His Name (Dee Gaskin): I had forgotten we ever sang this Dee Gaskin song. Dee is one of my favorite gospel songwriters. The Lord surely gave her a way with lyrics.
  2. Prayer Is A Wonderful Gift (Jamie S. Dailey, Doyle Lawson): Jamie Dailey and I wrote and rehearsed this song in several different ways. I like the a cappella version best. I sang lead, Dale Perry bass, Jamie Dailey tenor and Doug Bartlett baritone.
  3. Far Above The Starry Sky (Theodore Sisk): This is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I had forgotten about this one.
  4. Happy In My Soul Today (Jamie S. Dailey, Doyle Lawson): Jamie and I wrote this song, as well, not long after our second appearance at the National Quartet Convention and we were really charged up about it. We were thinking along the line of something similar to an early Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quartet. I think Hovie would have liked this one. We wanted 5 vocals. It’s a pretty good practice cut recorded in my garage.
  5. Peace In My Savior's Love (Jamie S. Dailey, Doyle Lawson): I would call this our “Doo Wop Gospel Harmony” song. Jamie had the idea and melody and we collaborated on the lyrics.
  6. Amber Tresses (A. P. Carter): This is another song that I had forgotten we had ever practiced. This song is credited to A.P. Carter.  

    Track 21 is from the eleventh edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Barry Scott, Bass; Dale Perry, Banjo; Jamie Dailey, Guitar; Hunter Barry, Fiddle.

  1. Twinkle Little Star (arr. Doyle Lawson): Hunter Berry played this fiddle tune when he was here. He has studied the old school fiddle players and I guess that’s one reason I love his playing.

    Tracks 22-24 are from the twelfth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Dale Perry, Banjo; Barry Scott, Bass; Jamie Dailey, Guitar; J.W. Stockman, Fiddle; Jess Barry, Fiddle

  1. Go Rest High (Vince Gill): We just started building on this song over time. It started off as a feature for Barry Scott’s voice and piano playing. Folks fell in love with it and we just kept it in our presentation.
  2. Julie Ann Come On Home (Leroy Drumm, Pete Goble): This song is still popular for us. Folks have been asking for a recording of it with Barry signing lead. Here it is.
  3. Dailey's Reel (arr. Doyle Lawson): This is another one of my favorite fiddle tunes. For a while I carried two fiddlers, J.W. Stockman and Jess Barry, and this is one I asked them to play.

    Track 25 is from the thirteenth edition of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: Doyle Lawson, Mandolin; Terry Baucom, Banjo; Barry Scott, Bass; Jamie Dailey, Guitar J.W. Stockman, Fiddle.

  1. The Girl From West Virginia (Clyde Denny, Marie Denny, Wade Hill): Jamie has known and sung this song since he was  a little kid. Clyde & Marie Denny and Wade Hill wrote this and after I paid attention to it, I wanted to sing it. At some point in time we’ll probably do a studio cut of this one. It’s what I call straight down the middle, hard-driving bluegrass. This is what Terry loves and does best.

Full Album

Song Listing

  • 1) Mississippi Queen
  • 2) Come On Over
  • 3) Just A Little Talk With Jesus
  • 4) The Prince Of My Peace
  • 5) The Little Community Church
  • 6) Train '45
  • 7) On The Sea Of Life
  • 8) Carolina In The Pines
  • 9) Jezebel
  • 10) You'll Never Be The Same
  • 11) I'll Take The Blame
  • 12) Sally Goodin'
  • 13) Everytime I Feel The Spirit
  • 14) Leather Britches
  • 15) Come Back To Me In My Dreams
  • 16) My Walking Shoes
  • 17) Til The End
  • 18) Stormy Waters
  • 19) Up On The Blue Ridge
  • 20) I Know The Way To You By Heart
  • 21) Ezekiel Saw The Wheel
  • 22) The Northern Lights
  • 23) Polka On The Banjo
  • 24) If You See My Savior
  • 25) Little Black Moustache
  • 26) Florida Blues
  • 27) Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong
  • 28) Move To The Top Of The Mountain
  • 29) North Carolina Breakdown
  • 30) Little Mountain Church House
  • 31) Tennessee Banjo Man
  • 32) The Mighty Number
  • 33) Careless Love
  • 34) Lay Your Burdens At His Feet
  • 35) Big Country
  • 36) Your Crazy Heart
  • 37) Write Me Sweetheart
  • 38) Rock Of Ages Keep My Soul
  • 39) Heartbreak Insurance
  • 40) Praise His Name
  • 41) Prayer Is A Wonderful Gift
  • 42) Far Above The Starry Sky
  • 43) Happy In My Soul Today
  • 44) Peace In My Savior's Love
  • 45) Amber Tresses
  • 46) Twinkle Little Star
  • 47) Go Rest High
  • 48) Julie Ann Come On Home
  • 49) Dailey's Reel
  • 50) The Girl From West Virginia

User contributed reviews

  1. Gary Hill 2011-01-29

    This is a lot of songs.

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