My Favorite Recordings: Red Smiley with the Bluegrass Cut-ups

I have been asked to review an album that I liked or had a significant effect on me. Of the thousands of recordings and hundreds of LP’s, 45’s 78’s, CD’s, cassettes and reel tapes I have listened to over the last 45 years or so, I’ll review the first record I remember really listening to as a child at age 3-4 years old. It was an old album my dad really liked, he played it over and over again. I learned to really like it as well, and it still plays in my mind all the time.

The album is Red Smiley with the Bluegrass Cut-Ups, recorded on Rural rhythm records, RRRS 182, under Sage brush music, BMI. It has 20 good songs on album. The band was formed after Don Reno and Red Smiley split up. The core band consisted of Red Smiley, Clarence “Tater” Tate (fiddle), Billy Edwards (banjo, bass, vocals) and John Palmer (bass, guitar). Other musicians would sometimes perform with the Bluegrass Cut-Ups.

Some of my favorite cuts on this album are “Budded On Earth To Bloom In Heaven” Which really touched me at my early age since my own brother had just drowned a year or two earlier. Death was a reality at that age for me, and I imagine maybe my dad played that record so much because of this song as well. “A Prisoner’s Dream” stuck in my mind for many years after. I often dreamed how awful it would be to be sleeping in a prison cell. Seems like there were many songs about prison cells to follow after first hearing this record.

“Budded On Earth To Bloom In Heaven”

I wanted to share this record with you folks to help describe how dear and important bluegrass music has been to me all my life. It taught me about a lot of things especially in my early life including, love, trains, death, sorrow, train robbers, men who shot other men, ladies, uncles, mother and dad, Jesus Christ, Satan and God among other things that were REAL! . It has been a real sense of reality for me through music, bluegrass music. I hope it has a positive effect on you as well.

Editor’s Note: The Tennessee Cut-Ups preceded the Bluegrass Cut-Ups and included Don Reno. When Smiley left the band it became the Shenandoah Cut-Ups

Steve Brandt

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