Contact us at sagearts@sagearts.com
Home
CDs
Littlefield Farm
Recording Studio
Artists' Links
Favorite Links
Marley's Ghost: You are here.
Events
Recordings
Ed Littlefield
Mike Phelan
Dan Wheetman


Reviews

Ed Littlefield, Jr.
Going to the West
from Bluegrass UnlimitedSing Out,
Victory Review and Roots66.com
Going to the West CD
More about Going to the West:
Ed's CD page  and  Ed's Extra Liner Notes

BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED
November 2004
Les McIntyre

Bluegrass UnlimitedEd Littlefield, Jr. is a cofounding member of Marley’s Ghost. For his solo project, he returns to his folk roots with an assortment of captivating performances. He is featured on vocals and several instruments including guitar, resonator guitar, pedal steel, fiddle, and piano. Aside from a pair of original instrumentals, featuring Laurie Lewis (fiddle) and Tom Rozum (mandolin), the selections are bluegrass and folk standards ranging from “You’ll Find Her Name Written There” and “Green Light On The Southern” to traditional folk pieces like “Been All Around This World,” “Over The Waterfall,” and “Pretty Peggy-O.” “Going To The West” is a delightful adventure into the world of folk music, and with Ed Littlefield, Jr. as a guide, it is a rewarding excursion.

Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. ©November 2004 Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, 1-800-BLU-GRAS.


SING OUT
Vol. 48 #2, Summer 2004
Gary von Tersch

SingOutThis long awaited solo project from multi-instrumentalist/vocalist and co-founder of the eclectic Marley’s Ghost, Ed Littlefield, Jr. is a real treat. On a few selections he is joined by guest musicians such as Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum (the nostalgic self-penned instrumental "Miss Julia’s Waltz") and Phil Salazar and Jon Wilcox (on the old Bill Monroe classic "You’ll Find Her Name Written There"), but this is mostly Littlefield’s show.

The only other original here is the set closing "Miss Julia’s Dream," an ultra-melodic acoustic guitar lullaby, as Littlefield concentrates on bringing fresh ideas to an armload of traditional American roots material. From the calypso drenched "Sail Away Ladies," a dimensional, unassuming arrangement with winsome vocal on the saga of "Pretty Peggy-O," the Flatt and Scruggs inspired fiddle heavy "Johnson Boys" and a spellbinding revival of the rural Gospel plea "Standing in the Need of Prayer," Littlefield offers bracing renditions of some of his favorite back porch songs with a knockabout élan that reveals a musician at the peak of his powers.

Other rewarding efforts include the adventurous yet strangely wistful title song that he heard Seattle’s Sue Thompson sing at a party in 1992 along with the digeridoo-latticed "Waterbound" and a stunning version of Norman Blake’s magisterial railroad epic "Green Light on the Southern." This is one of those albums you can listen to over and over.
Recommended. - GvonT,
www.singout.org

Return to top of page


VICTORY REVIEW
May 2004
Bill Fisher

This is an absolutely superb recording. All is extraordinary-from the exquisitely painted cover art and internal art to the generous and beautiful booklet with lyrics to the songs and explanations of how each song found its way into Littlefield's repertoire to the rich recording quality to the musicianship. Amazingly, this is Ed Littlefield, Jr's first solo recording project – he is perhaps best known for his work with Marley's Ghost – and it has been put together with loving care. Now, what may be most astonishing here is that the tracks sound as if they were recorded by a large cast of players and singers. And while it is true that Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum provide fiddle and mandolin on one track, the lovely "Miss Julia's Waltz," and Phil Salazar brings his fiddle to two tracks (whereon he and Littlefield create a glorious string orchestra), Jon Wilcox his mandolin to one track, and Trevor Wheetman his digeridoo to one, the rest is entirely Littlefield. The vocals, guitar, dobro, pedal steel, mandolin, fiddle(s), piano, jews harp and electric bass. Possessed of a pleasingly gruff voice, Littlefield manages to sing every part from bass to alto in several songs. Old-time chestnuts like "Pretty Peggy-O" and Blake’s "Green Light on the Southern" and "You'll Find Her Name Written There," and Littlefield's sweet paeans to his life-partner Julia all receive definitive treatments. If you love traditional music, you must own this; if you don't know yet that you love traditional music, this CD will move you in that direction.
Bill Fisher,
www.victorymusic.org

Return to top of page


ROOTS66.COM
May 19, 2004
Bill Yates

Ed Littlefield, Jr., has played around the Northwest for many years. In 1986 he joined Dan Wheetman, Jon Wilcox, and Mike Phelan to form Marley's Ghost. They have been together ever since, producing seven CDs (an eighth is due soon) and a DVD. If you don't know the group, stop everything and check them out. This is where I say I know Marley's Ghost personally but I will be as objective as I can in this review. Ed plays a number of instruments on this album: guitar, dobro, pedal steel, mandolin, fiddle, piano, jews harp, and electric bass in addition to all the vocal parts. Over the years, Ed has developed his interest in multi-track recording; this album is the fruit of those efforts. And sweet fruit it is. Except for a few tracks laid down by friends such as Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Phil Salazar, Jon Wilcox, and Trevor Wheetman, everything else is by Littlefield. All the instruments and all the vocals. And it all sounds great. The songs are all either traditional or in the traditional sound. Ed Littlefield, jr., owns Sage Arts Records where this release was put together.

Ed starts out with "Going to the West," which he learned from Sue Thompson who learned it from the Seegers who got itt from the book "Folk Songs of Alabama." He has also recorded this with Marley's Ghost. His version is my favorite of all I've heard. Fiddlin' Phil Salazar (of the Rincon Ramblers, Acadiana, and Acousticats) joins Ed for the story of the legendary "Johnson Boys." Phil Salazar on fiddle and Jon Wilcox (Marley's Ghost, Rincon Ramblers) on mandolin join Ed for "You'll Find Her Name Written There," a lament for a mother who has died. The traditional "Been All Around This World," is a life summary by a condemned man. A variant of the traditional Scottish song, "Pretty Peggy-O" recounts the tragic results of the rejection of an army captain going off to war. Laurie Lewis on fiddle and Tom Rozum on mandolin join Ed for Littlefield's own "Miss Julia's Waltz." a sweet instrumental dedicated to his companion, Julia Derby.

"Waterbound" is another traditional tune. Ed is joined by Trevor Wheetman (son of Marley's Ghost bandmate Dan Wheetman) on digeridoo. "Kingdom Coming" is an instrumental of a Henry Clay Work minstrel song from the Civil War era. The gospel song "Standing in the Need of Prayer" shows off Littlefield's vocal range: he takes all the vocal parts from bass to alto. "Sail Away, Ladies" is a traditional song Ed first heard from Uncle Dave Macon. Guitar great Norman Blake wrote the sentimental train song "Green Light on the Southern." "Over the Waterfall" is a traditional instrumental. Ed finishes up with another instrumental to Julis Derby, "Miss Julia's Dream," which his daughter Heather thinks of as her lullaby.

Ed Littlefield, Jr., has put together a remarkable display of his talents and love of the music. Through his skill at multi-track recording, Littlefield has become a one-man band, but one in which all the parts are played by expert musicians. Perhaps not obvious to the lay listener is the fact that he is also an excellent arranger. This helps make the album sound as if there were a full band, not just one man with occasional help from his very talented friends. Ed's voice is especially suited to the selections as it sounds authentic, like a real person singing, not a trained voice which has lost the ability to communicate to the listener. Although assisted by such names as Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Phil Salazar, Jon Wilcox, and Trevor Wheetman, the rest of this CD is strictly Ed Littlefield, Jr. Produced by Littlefield, the engineers were the excellent Daniel Protheroe and Matthew Gephart in addition to Littlefield himself. This is a fine and enjoyable recording and well worth your investment.

Rating: 4-1/2 notes

© 2004 William Theron Yates, www.roots66.com

Return to top of page
Return to Ed's CD page


Marley's Ghost: A One Band Music Festival
For booking information contact
Michael Nash
Tritone Artist Management

tritone3@earthlink.net
415-381-3739

Send comments or questions about Sage Arts or our artists to: sagearts@sagearts.com
Problems with the site? Contact the Webmaster