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Bud & Travis In Person at the Cellar Door

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So much of what is presented as typical American folk music today is more a comic epitaph than anything else. If we tried to judge our forebears by the whimsical pap presented on, say, the average folk fiasco, we'd get a picture of all women dressed In checked tablecloths and all men in Levi's, living a cartoon existence in some Dogpatch community: drinking, loving, farming, and perhaps killing with equal gay abandon.

Like almost all of the serious urban folk singers, however, Bud and Travis resent this distortion as much as they resent the picture that future generations may have of us as an age of nearly illiterate teenage malcontents, judging by so much of today's music.

Obviously, there must be another side to the coin. And there is. In the more realistically (and therefore more representational) musical legacy, not only of this country but literally of the world, Bud and Travis have found a number of hauntingly beautiful songs with which they consistently enchant their audiences. Some of the music is from Broadway, some from the heart of the jungle, some from the fields of France, and some from the smouldering gin-mill night life up America's sidestreets. Some is from the pueblo fiestas of Latin America, some from contemporary guitarists and singers, and some from the versatile pens of Bud and Travis themselves. The validity and authenticity of their music speaks for itself, as does their consistent popularity since 1958.

Probably their dominant philosophy about their kind of music is: who cares if it's officially a "folk song" or not. What's important is: is it a good song?

Bud and Travis have never put on the "folkier-than-thou" hairshirt, feeling such an attitude to be a total waste of time. They don't concern themselves with snowblinding audiences with phrases like "Honesty in folk music is back!' which suggests, of course, that all that has come before is dishonest. Nor do they say that the world is going to be  "saved" through folk music. Or that anything is going to be accomplished by petty agitation, since they consider themselves primarily as entertainers.

One thing that bothers them is the fact that so many folk groups relish in bum-rapping our country by way of their songs. Bud and Travis think that this is wrong, and further that more songs should be written about our assets rather than about our liabilities.

The thing which melds all of Bud and Travis' ideas-musical and otherwise- into the act that is Bud and Travis is not just their attention to careful choice of material or to proper guitar playing, but their own personalities. Neither of them is exactly close-mouthed on stage, and their audiences particularly enjoy their hilarious random comments on the passing scene. Bud and Travis draw capacity audiences wherever they appear; their engagement at the Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. was no exception.

What you will hear in this album is a typical evening spent at the Cellar Door, a better night club where people come to be entertained instead of a place to go to drink. (The clientele of the former simply get more for their money!) Bud and Travis had an especially successful engagement there -as you can readily discern by the audience's response to their musical sense and spoken nonsense.

Incidentally the fact that the Cellar Door is in our nation's capital is a symbolic indication that American audiences are "aware" and are not to be fooled.

Within the last year Bud and Travis' inclusion of David Wheat, or Buckwheat, as he is called, as musical director and accompanist has given the duo wider musical horizons as Buckwheat is equally at ease with jazz guitar, string bass, and the arranger's manuscript. (He was previously with the Jerome Richardson Quartet, with the Kingston Trio for three and a half years, and with ex-Kingston member Dave Guard's Whiskey Hill Singers, to name but  a few.

Producer: Dave Pell
Arranger: David Wheat
Engineer: Dave Wiechman
 Cover Design: Studio Five
Cover Photography: Robert W. Young


Not merely because Bud and Travis were such a stunning live act, but for the content even more, this has to be one of their top albums.  The tracks represent one treasure after another.



Bud & Travis in Person at The Cellar Door now on CD


Side One

Gimme Some
South Coast
Cielito Lindo Son Juasteco
It Was a Very Good Year
Elija Rock

Side Two

Better Than Anything
Amor De La Calle
Golden Apples of
the Sun  
How Long, How Long Blues

denotes Travis Edmonson
 denotes Travis Edmonson arrangements
    denotes Travis Edmonson arrangements in collaboration

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