Bad Livers The Ridgetop Sessions (Lumpydisc)

Texas Platters

Record Reviews

Bad Livers

The Ridgetop Sessions (Lumpydisc)

If the Bad Livers have effectively called it quits, as Mark Rubin recently claimed is the case, then The Ridgetop Sessions is a quiet, sagacious way to go out -- particularly coming on the heels of their previous release, the loud, electric Blood and Mood. Recorded almost entirely over the course of a single morning through a single microphone in the front room of Rubin's North Austin home, this session finds the Livers -- Rubin and Danny Barnes -- at their loosest and most comfortable. The two pick their way through a good batch of Barnes' originals as well as a few interesting covers. It begins with a brief foray into Sun Ra's "Interplanetary Music," which bubbles up from perfunctory free-form into a quickened banjo exercise, and winds down with a jaunt through Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk," which saunters right out of Don Stover's "Black Diamond." Between the bookend standards, there's plenty of banjo tunes, "Yearning" being a high point as it bounds along on the banjo with the dazzling, fluid ease that is Barnes' signature and legend in the making. The album ends with a hot double take of "Hell Broke Loose in Georgia/Old Folks' Shuffle," recorded live in 1994 and including original Liver Ralph White on fiddle. The Bad Livers have added significant dimensions to the concept of banjo music over the course of their decade-long career, creating through influence an impressive legacy. The Ridgetop Sessions, if it is a swan song, certainly adds another one.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

Texas Platters
The Beaumonts / Hickoids
This Is Austin, All the World's a Dressing Room (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Christopher Hess
Phases & Stages
Rob Halverson
Second Whirled (Record Review)

Feb. 4, 2005

Phases and Stages
Stratford 4
Love and Distortion (Record Review)

March 14, 2003


Bad Livers

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle