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Boomkat Product Review:
This double disc edition of Jack Rose instrumentals features one album you might already be familiar with alongside another that's likely to be new to you. Followers of Rose's oeuvre will no doubt be aware of the guitarist's eponymously titled lap steel opus (as previously released on CD via the Archive label and on vinyl through Tequila Sunrise), but it's a welcome reissue nonetheless, as all previous editions are currently out of print. In addition to that indispensable volume comes Dr Ragtime & Pals, a collaborative album featuring fellow Takoma-ite Glen Jones, Micah Smaldone, Mike Gangloff on banjo, plus Sean Bowles, who takes up that most bluegrass of positions: washboardist. And then there's Harmonica Dan. I forget what it is he plays... This all presents Rose with a new angle on his craft, fusing the kind of grass roots traditionalism of his heritage with an upbeat tone that often encroaches upon out-and-out hoedown. It's unlikely that any introduction is necessary for the self-titled solo album over on the second disc. It's one of the clear highlights in Rose's illustrious recording career, marking his boldest move away from the more rigid aspects of Fahey/Basho fingerpicking traditionalism. As far as sheer fluency goes these songs are about as virtuosic as you could ever hope to imagine, with performances that sound like several different parts all played simultaneously all underscored by the extreme glissando of Rose's distinctive slide technique. Classic stuff.