Personnel: Dave Evans (vocals, tenor, guitar, banjo); Mike Hamilton (tenor, guitar); Buddy Griffin & His Orchestra (baritone, fiddle); Josh Graves (dobro).
Liner Note Authors: Frank Godbey; Marty Godbey.
Photographer: Lynwood Atkins.
Arranger: Dave Evans .
In the late '70s, bluegrass singer/songwriter and banjo picker Dave Evans recorded two albums for Vetco, Dave Evans and River Bend and Call Me Long Gone. While Evans had honed his banjo chops and vocals with Larry Sparks and the Boys from Indiana, the 21 cuts he recorded for Vetco were his first work as a leader. Now Rebel, the label where Evans recorded most of his subsequent work, has attained these earlier tapes and issued 15 cuts on The Best of the Vetco Years. Evans work here is fresh, vital, and recorded well, and includes energetic cuts like "Highway 52" and the bluesy "99 Years Is Almost for Life" (the first two cuts). This body of work is interesting for a couple reasons. First, these tracks sparkle because of Evans' and company's first-rate performances, delivering classics like "Barbara Allen" and "White House Blues" as though they meant every word. Secondly, these tracks are deeply invested in tradition and, in the late '70s, ran counter to the active new grass scene that had developed in the 1970s. These recordings showed that the style coined by Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs had life in it yet. Smartly, these songs were recorded "straight" without much echo or other distracting studio additions, allowing Evans voice and the banjos, guitars, fiddles, and dobros to come to the forefront. Evans work on The Best of the Vetco Years will probably cause D.I.W. (dyed in the wool) bluegrass lovers and pickers to crank up the stereo to rock & roll levels. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.