Celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show, The Grascals pay tribute to the classic program with a collection of traditional bluegrass tunes taken mostly from the series itself — the EP Dance ‘Til Your Stockings are Hot and Ravelin’.
“All of us are huge fans of the show,” says The Grascals bass player Terry Smith. “We even have trivia contests with our audiences on the road.”
This kind of enthusiasm is heard all throughout the 7-song EP, on which the Grammy-nominated musicians transport the listener back in time to when the songs were first heard.
“Boil Them Cabbage Down” opens with a fiddle sounding the alarm to get everyone involved before banjo, mandolin, bass and guitars jump in. “Boil them cabbage down, bake them biscuits brown,” guitar players Terry Eldgredge and Jamie Johnson, along with Terry Smith, sing in textured three-part harmony.
Light-hearted lyrics, often with a family-friendly comedic twist, and up-tempo bluegrass pickin’ are staples of the collection. On “Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer),” the catchy, albeit slightly nonsensical, lyrics “mule and grasshopper eatin’ ice cream/ mule got sick so they laid him on the green” mix kid-friendly entertainment with what is essentially a tame party anthem from a previous generation.
The Grascals do a nice job picking different songs to showcase varying elements of the show. “The Andy Griffith Show had a moral lesson that every human being should live by,” says Terry Eldredge.
On “Leaning On Everlasting Arms,” a highlight from the EP, mid-tempo Southern Gospel flows to a hummable melody as the lyrics open with “what a fellowship, what a joy divine.” When backing harmonies join on the chorus to sing “Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms/ Leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms,” the listener is treated to an example of musical fellowship through supporting vocals.
The album features one original composition, written by The Grascals in the spirit and style of the classic songs included. The group crafted an entertaining number from a line in one of the show’s most memorable episodes. The song, “Boy, Giraffes Are Selfish,” ties the project together nicely by using a melody similar to the second-to-last song, “Mayberry’s Finest Theme,” and closes the EP on a lighthearted note and a smile.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be associated with the best TV show ever made,” says Terry Eldredge. “It was – and still is – awesome family entertainment.” And by using their position as one of bluegrass’ premier groups, The Grascals are admirably doing their part to help this classic series reach new fans.