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Suger Hill Records - A Retrospective
Review By Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

Barry Poss started this label after doing a short stint as a graphic artist with County Records (small bluegrass label). This four disc box set with eighty one tracks including a DVD with artist interviews, videos and a photo gallery. There are extensive liner notes from founder Barry Poss and an intro from Jay Orr of the Country Music Hall Of Fame. To top it off, it was mastered by Rhino Records, and sounds incredible. The broad range of styles goes from Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Gospel to even some Roots Rock.

Reading this material and listening to the sampler of sixteen of the eighty one tracks makes me proud to be on Sugar Hill's mailing list. The four discs cover time periods, for example, Disc One 1978 - '86, and Disc Two 1982 - '96. Things have changed with Welk media who is their promoter and just dropped a bigger promo division Klew media. They send me mostly Sugar Hill and some Vanguard too who are also part of Welk media. I have reviewed more music for Welk and Klew media than anyone over the last three years, their music is first class. If this was released last year I would probably would have gotten the whole box set like the consumer gets, but Welk stopped doing it this way a few months ago and honestly, they were probably the last label to send out the full CD, other labels have gone the way of a disc in the envelope and e-mail you the liner notes a long time ago or they have a publicity site where you can get liner notes.

Can you imagine Poss reviewing twenty five thousand songs over the first twenty five years for this collection. My guess is the sixteen tracks that I got which cover a few songs from each disc are the best of the total eighty one tracks. Poss started his label in his garage apartment. He would pretend that there was an office staff. He had a telephone interview with Billboard magazine when he had his first number one hit with Ricky Skaggs. They asked who his executive staff was and he made his landlords son (VP of operations), the postman, head of A and R and on and on.

Well, let's look at some of this great music. This collection is a must have if you like that high lonesome sound. Some highlights of the sampler I have are Tony Rice "Church Street Blues", real clean acoustic pickin' with great vocals, pure bluegrass with some of the greatest tone imaginable. (on disc 1 so an early release). Another great disc one song is the old timey Bluegrass "One Way Track" by Boone Creek. Bluegrass purists may have a problem with the mastering that Rhino did, I personally love it, but you can tell there was some broadband compression added to liven up the tracks. The originals probably did not sound like this, but I think Rhino always does a great job.

Poss had a different vision for a record label, he wanted a family of artists, not necessarily Big names, but artists who had something to say as well as to sell. Like Dolly Parton found a home here after Nashville let her go and she went to bluegrass. Nickel Creek is one his acts who is a progressive bluegrass act. 

A more modern label in the mold of Sugar Hill is Dualtone who is trying to be more artist friendly like Sugar Hill.

Jerry Douglas does a real nice Dobro version of the Allman Brother's "Little Martha" and it's just plain beautiful. There is one song by Nickel Creek "House of Tom Bombadil" which is a great bluegrass kicker, in fact, just about everything on the sampler is bluegrass. There are lots of new artists on Sugar Hill since '03 not mentioned, like The Duhks, Albert Lee and Allison Moorer. Boy, there is a ton of music I'm looking at , but I can't tell you what it sounds like which is a bit frustrating, I can tell you if every song has the quality of the sampler I got, the other sixty five songs, you are in for a treat and I can honestly say that I believe that the quality is there based on my dealings with Sugar Hill, a bunch of honest hard working folk, may get this one myself. Looks like a goldmine.

Imprint- Sugar Hill
Release Date - 9/06/06

Click on the CD cover to order yours!

Disc One (1978-1986):
1. Ricky Skaggs - Could You Love Me One More Time 3:01
2. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - Mis'ry River 2:50
3. John Starling - Long Time Gone 3:38
4. Peter Rowan - Moonshiner 3:01
5. Marty Stuart - Hey Porter 2:57
6. Mike Auldridge - Little Rock Getaway 1:50
7. New Grass Revival - One More Love Song 3:20
8. Tony Rice - Church Street Blues 3:05
9. Boone Creek - One Way Track 2:42
10. Chris Hillman - Why You Been Gone So Long 3:10
11. Hot Rize - Keep Your Lamp Trimmed & Burning 2:45
12. Jimmy Murphy - You Touched Me & Made Me Live Again 2:20
13. The Country Gentlemen - Come and Sit by the River 3:31
14. The Hillmen - Ranger’s Command 3:06
15. Doc Watson - Greenville Trestle High 3:25
16. The Osborne Brothers - High on a Hilltop 2:16
17. Buck White - More Pretty Girls than One 3:18
18. Byron Berline, Dan Crary & John Hickman - Forked Deer 4:01
19. Ricky Skaggs & Tony Rice - Bury Me Beneath the Willow 2:41
20. Jonathan Edwards & the Seldom Scene - Don't this Road Look Rough & Rocky 3:33
21. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - On the Sea of Life 2:05

Disc Two (1982-1996):
1. The (almost) Original New South - Freeborn Man 3:08
2. Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers - If You Ain't Lovin’ 2:23
3. The Nashville Bluegrass Band - Father I Stretch My Hand 2:22
4. Uncle Walt’s Band - High Hill 2:53
5. Lonesome Standard Time - The Bigger the Fool 2:45
6. Carl Jackson - I'm Not Over You 3:08
7. Tim O’Brien - Señor 4:01
8. The Seldom Scene, featuring Emmylou Harris - Satan's Jeweled Crown 3:25
9. Mike Cross Whiskey - ‘Fore Breakfast/Sailor's Bonnet 2:47
10. Robert Earl Keen - Mariano 3:31
11. The Nashville Bluegrass Band - Rock Bottom Blues 2:54
12. Townes Van Zandt - At My Window 4:07
13. Doc Watson - Nobody Knows But Me 3:40
14. Red Clay Ramblers - One Rose/Hot Buttered Rum 6:12
15. Blue Rose - Train of Life 2:52
16. Kukuruza - Mother I'm Lonely 3:47
17. Tim & Mollie O’Brien - Unwed Fathers 4:00
18. Old & In The Way - Pig in a Pen 2:50 
19. Peter Rowan & the Nashville Bluegrass Band - Trail of Tears 4:28
20. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - Lord I've Been a Hard Working Pilgrim 2:07

Disc Three (1993-1998): 
1. The Lonesome River Band - When You Go Walking 3:30
2. Sam Bush - All Night Radio 4:39
3. True Life Blues: Songs Of Bill Monroe, featuring Del McCoury - Can’t You Hear Me Calling 4:08
4. Robin & Linda Williams - Rolling & Rambling 3:37
5. The Seldom Scene - Dry Run Creek 2:36
6. Chris Thile - Shadow Ridge 2:43
7. The Brother Boys - Let's Shake Loose 3:02
8. Daddies Sing Goodnight: A Father’sCollection of Sleepytime Songs, featuring Tommy Thompson - Way Long Timey Ago 2:39
9. James McMurtry - For All I Know 3:55
10. Psychograss Tree - King Creek 4:10
11. Guy Clark - Out in the Parking Lot 5:07
12. Darrell Scott - You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive 5:01
13. Terry Allen - Gone to Texas 6:22
14. Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg & Edgar Meyer - Big Bug Shuffle 3:41
15. Front Range - The Hills that I Call Home 3:27
16. Byron Berline, featuring Bill Monroe & Earl Scruggs - Sally Goodin 4:59 
17. Laurel Canyon Ramblers - Bad Case of the Blues 2:26
18. John Cowan - Dark End of the Street 3:30
19. The Seldom Scene - Let Me Be Your Friend 2:45
20. Tinsel Tunes: More Holiday Treats from Sugar Hill, featuring Robert Earl Keen - Merry Christmas from the Family 4:45

Disc Four (1998-2003):
1. Rodney Crowell - I Walk the Line 3:50
2. Nickel Creek - House of Tom Bombadil 3:45
3. Don Rigsby - I Won't Be There 2:46
4. Scott Miller - Dear Sarah 2:59
5. Jim Mills - Bound to Ride 2:02
6. Mollie O’Brien - My Girlish Days 2:40
7. Ronnie Bowman - Man I'm Trying to Be 3:07
8. Sean Watkins - The Ant and the Ant 4:03
9. Tara Nevins - I’ve got a Mule to Ride 2:30
10. Sonny Landreth - Levee Town 6:27
11. Aubrey Haynie - Bluegrass in the Backwoods 3:21
12. Jesse Winchester - Club Manhattan 3:43
13. Jerry Douglas - Little Martha 3:42
14. Donna the Buffalo - Yonder 3:58
15. The Gibson Brothers - Whisper in My Ear 3:51
16. The Gourds - Hallelujah Shine 3:33
17. Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown - Chickenshift 3:14
18. The Bad Livers - Lumpy Beanpole & Dirt 5:16
19. Bryan Sutton - Decision at Gladys Fork 3:45
20. Dolly Parton - I’m Gonna Sleep with One Eye Open 3:04

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