Click here to go to Rebel Records' Main Page
EDDIE ADCOCK & DON RENO - SENSATIONAL TWIN BANJOS (REB-1482), 1968
Eddie Adcock: Banjo
Don Reno: Banjo
Charlie Waller: Guitar
Ronnie Reno: Mandolin
George Shuffler: Bass
Produced by Charles R. Freeland
Recorded at R.D. Homer Associates, Clinton, MD
Engineered by Roy Homer
Remastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering, Springfiled, VA
It is 1968. The ultra-modern, million-dollar robotic towns-of-sound approach had not yet overwhelmed the human factor in the recording studios of the world- in short, the engineer still ran the train, rather than vice versa. Recordings were still made primarily the old-fashioned way, with the participants rendering their contributions in the same room at the same time, rather than the way a house is painted where no new coat may be applied until all the previous work has become dry. It did not yet cost a quarter million dollars to make a half-hour of music, and even more to induce a sufficient number of people to buy it. Until Eddie Adcock and Don Reno chose to record one, there had been no twin-banjo albums by any Southern banjo pickers of any stature-it is only fitting that Don and Eddie, both at all times precocious stretchers of any musical boundaries they were nominally working within, should have recorded the first one. Many great musicians know one way to be great. Don Reno always knew, as Eddie Adcock does to this day, many more ways than one. While other early bluegrass banjo pickers solidified their greatness along highly structured guidelines, both Eddie and Don always saw the breadth, as well as the depth, of possibilities the banjo had to offer. This was true in terms of both the expanse of tunes that could be played, and the variety of ways these tunes could be played. This album, with its vintage pop tunes, old fiddle tunes, a steel guitar tune, and a Reno original, is a fertile testimonial to the fact that, in the right hands, a good tune is, quite simply, a good tune, regardless of its origin.
Roy Homer's compact, low-ceilinged, Clinton, Maryland basement studio, was the incubator for many great Rebel albums during the label's developing years. It was here that Eddie Adcock and Don Reno, with Eddie's fellow Country Gentleman, Charlie Waller, son Ronnie and George Shuffler, from Don's Tennessee Cutups, recorded this amazing album. Now, "amazing" is a word that is wafted about rather routinely these days, but considering that the album was recorded- a) in just four and a half hours, b) into just one microphone, an early Sony stereo model, and c) with no prior actual rehearsal, just some meeting-of-the-minds discussion, the word "amazing" seems appropriate. (Note: Eddie Adcock did most of the lead banjo work, Don Reno most of the tenor.)
Bluegrass albums tend to stay in print longer than many here-today-passe-tomorrow sets from other musical genres. In its original vinyl form it sold reasonably well at the time, but it's been gone awhile. In the meantime, a small army of banjo pickers has come forth to push back the frontiers of what is possible in the general neighborhood of bluegrass music. It is well to remember that Eddie Adcock and Don Reno were two of the first to proclaim that diversity was an option in the first place. This is important music, but, more importantly, it's great music- it's good to have it back.
Bill Vernon - July, 1992
--Original liner notes from the 1992 CD reissue