Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Mike & Mitch O'Roark and the Freeborn Men Live Program Audio 1978
Sometimes this regional private press stuff is such a mess. The same problem is prevalent, the titles and cover are just a jumble of nonsense. This is not a Kansas City thing, it's an everywhere thing. This album for one lists the band as "Mike and Mitch O'Roark and the Freeborn Men", no problem, until you see the back and you realize the "Freeborn Men" consists of a single banjo player by the name of Jody Wisecup. Further, the back lists the artist as The O'Roark Brotheres, the spine offers nothing, but the record label uses the cover moniker. The title, also confusing, it's either Live Live Recorded at the Ozark Mountain Bluegrass Festival Eminence Missouri or it's just Live. The record label lists it as the latter. It's not that big of deal, and all told, but the private press charm, but you'd think someone would proof read things for consistency and not just run a quick spell check.
Moving on, I was excited I found this record after listening to a Freeborn Men album on Kansas City's K Records. I thought the regional bluegrass album showed promise, enough that I was scoping out other albums by the Freeborn Men or the O'Roark Brothers. They are available, but when people online get a hold of private stuff, due the rarity they try to charge absurd amounts. Given that most this regional country and bluegrass is usually goes the way of Nashville Pop after an album or two, I wasn't about to make that kind of investment.
Again, I was stoked (but not surprised, this can be found in and around KC with patience) when I picked this up for a dollar or two. I can't say it should be worth a lot more than that, it's not ground breaking. The live recording aspect of it doesn't add anything despite being done well. But, it is a good listen. The O'Roark brothers weren't sucked into Nashville garbage (well, they do a Kenny Rogers tune, but it's "Rueben James", which is pretty hardcore for Rogers). The covers they choose (which is the whole album) are well selected, from traditional bluegrass tunes to outlaw country, to something like "July, You're a Woman" by John Stewart. The O'Roark brothers are legit, enjoyable regional country/bluegrass, at least until I find another album.