Wednesday, May 12, 2021

VA - Sugar Hill Records, A Retrospective 1978 - 2003 [2006] (4 x CD's)


VA - Sugar Hill Records, A Retrospective 1978 - 2003 [2006] (4 x CD's)

Sugar Hill Records is a Folk/bluegrass label, started 1978 in Durham, North Carolina. Label owner and president is Barry Poss. In 1998 the label was sold to Welk Music Group and in 2015 acquired by Concord Music Group and merged under its Rounder Label Group.

With 4 x CD's containing 81 musical selections, one of Americana's leading indie labels celebrates its first 25 years. Actually, Sugar Hill passed the quarter-century mark in 2003, but such a handsomely packaged and lovingly annotated set arrives better late than never. Label founder Barry Poss made the selections and contributes anecdotes about each, with the sequencing following a chronological progression from 1978 to 2003. From its base in bluegrass, both traditional and progressive, the North Carolina label has subsequently branched into maverick Texas songwriters (Robert Earl Keen, Townes Van Zandt, Terry Allen, Guy Clark, James McMurtry) and bands as diverse as the Gourds, Bad Livers, and Donna the Buffalo. Though label stars such as Jerry Douglas, Nickel Creek (as a trio and in their solo efforts), and Dolly Parton are inevitably represented, the set also features the underexposed artistry of country singer John Starling and harmony trio Uncle Walt's Band. Though never signed to the label, Emmylou Harris provides harmonies all over the set, while Johnny Cash guests on two cuts. As Vince Gill notes in the accompanying booklet, "Whenever you bought music on Sugar Hill, even if it was by an artist, you were unfamiliar with, you'd be pretty sure it was something pretty great." (Amazon)

Beyond just the listening pleasures this set brings, it serves to expose one to a broad range of styles and artists that I never would have discovered. With this box, I can explore deeper into individual groups. For example, I had never heard of Red Knuckles, but they did my favorite of the whole set "If You Ain't Loving, You Ain't Living." A Capella Southern white male gospel singing was something else I wouldn't have dug into, but I discovered I loved the pieces here.






Track lists


01 Ricky Skaggs Could You Love Me One More Time 3:02

02 Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Mis'ry River 2:50

03 John Starling Long Time Gone 3:38

04 Peter Rowan Moonshiner 3:02

05 Marty Stewart Hey Porter 2:58

06 Mike Auldridge Little Rock Getaway 1:51

07 New Grass Revival One More Love Song 3:21

08 Tony Rice Church Street Blues 3:06

09 Boone Creek One Way Track 2:43

10 Chris Hillman Why You Been Gone So Long 3:11

11 Hot Rize Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning 2:46

12 Jimmy Murphy You Touched Me And Made Me Live Again 2:22

13 Country Gentlemen Come And Sit By The River 3:32

14 Hillmen Ranger's Command 3:07

15 Doc Watson Greenville Trestle High 3:26

16 Buck White More Pretty Girls Than One 2:17

17 Osborne Brothers High On A Hilltop 3:20

18 Berline, Crary & Hickman Forked Deer 4:02

19 Ricky Skaggs Bury Me Beneath The Willows 2:42

20 Jonathan Edwards & The Seldom Scene Don't This Road Look Rough And Rocky 3:34

21 Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver On The Sea Of Life 2:05


01 (Almost) Original New South Freeborn Man 3:09

02 Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers If You Ain't Lovin', You Ain't Livin' 2:24

03 Nashville Bluegrass Band Father I Stretch My Hand 2:24

04 Uncle Walt's Band High Hill 2:55

05 Lonesome Standard Time The Bigger The Fool 2:47

06 Carl Jackson I'm Not Over You 3:08

07 Tim O'Brien Senor 4:01

08 Seldom Scene Satan's Jeweled Crown 3:26

09 Mike Cross Whiskey 'Fore Breakfast/Sailor's Bonnet 2:48

10 Robert Earl Keen Mariano 3:31

11 Nashville Bluegrass Band Rock Bottom Blues 2:55

12 Townes Van Zandt At My Window 4:08

13 Doc Watson Nobody Knows But Me 3:42

14 Red Clay Ramblers One Rose/Hot Buttered Rum 6:13

15 Blue Rose Train Of Life 2:54

16 Kukuruza Mother I'm Lonely 3:49

17 Tim & Mollie O'Brien Unwed Fathers 4:01

18 Old & In The Way Pig In A Pen 2:51

19 Peter Rowan & The Nashville Bluegrass Band Trail Of Tears 4:30

20 Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Lord I've Been A Hard Working Pilgrim 2:08


01 Lonesome River Band When You Go Walking 3:31

02 Sam Bush All Night Radio 4:39

03 Del McCoury Can't You Hear Me Calling 4:09

04 Robin & Linda Williams Rolling & Rambling (The Death Of Hank Williams) 3:37

05 Seldom Scene Dry Run Creek 2:36

06 Chris Thile Shadow Ridge 2:43

07 Brother Boys Let's Shake Loose 3:03

08 Red Clay Ramblers Way Long Timey Ago 2:40

09 James McMurtry For All I Know 3:55

10 Psychograss Tree King Creek 4:10

11 Guy Clark Out In The Parking Lot 5:08

12 Darrell Scott You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive 5:01

13 Terry Allen Gone To Texas 6:22

14 Edgar Meyer Big Bug Shuffle 3:42

15 Front Range The Hills That I Call Home 3:27

16 Byron Berline Sally Goodwin 4:59

17 Laurel Canyon Ramblers Bad Case Of The Blues 2:26

18 John Cowan Dark End Of The Street 3:30

19 Seldom Scene Let Me Be Your Friend 2:46

20 Robert Earl Keen Merry Christmas From The Family 4:45


01 Rodney Crowell I Walk The Line (Revisited) 3:51

02 Nickel Creek House Of Tom Bombadil 3:45

03 Don Rigsby I Won't Be There 2:47

4 Scott Miller Dear Sarah 3:01

05 Jim Mills Bound To Ride 2:02

06 Mollie O'Brien My Girlish Days 2:40

07 Ronnie Bowman Man I'm Trying To Be 3:08

08 Sean Watkins The Ant And The Ant 4:03

09 Tara Nevins I've Got A Mule To Ride 2:31

10 Sonny Landreth Levee Town 6:28

11 Aubrey Haynie Bluegrass In The Backwoods 3:22

12 Jesse Winchester Club Manhattan 3:44

13 Jerry Douglas Little Martha 3:43

14 Donna The Buffalo Yonder 3:59

15 Gibson Brothers Whisper In My Ear 3:52

16 Gourds Hallelujah Shine 3:34

17 Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown Chickenshift 3:15

18 Bad Livers Lumpy Beanpole & Dirt 5:18

19 Bryan Sutton Decision At Glady Fork 3:46

20 Dolly Parton I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open 3:04




  1. Many thanks for sharing this excellent compilation.

  2. Interesting collection. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Bob Mac,
      I've been listen to it recently. Had to share.


  3. Hi there BB..
    Music aside (haven't listened, looks great).. I gotta say the Sugar Hill Records cover graphic is spectacular in it's design and simplicity. I've always appreciated cover art and it's ability to catch your eye, draw your attention, set a mood, convey an idea or make you ponder. Along with the title and lettering it could be a memorable graphic, group photo, beautiful photography, outrageous design, or a combination of those and more. LP's by their sheer size were great for conveying this. When you think of a particular album don't you almost simultaneously picture it's cover in your mind? Well that's the way it works for me anyway. That is why covers you create for your own comps are much appreciated. Just thought I'd comment on something more than the music and thought this Sugar Hill graphic was a really intelligent design, whoever did it.
    Thanks for the music, too!

    1. Hi mrRadio,
      I agree with you. The impact cover art has on ones desire to make that decision to explore further is important. I purchased many albums based on the cover art alone. It always fascinated me. When LP's were king and large gate-folds were used you could guarantee I would take another look. Some LP artwork is amazing. I have several graphic books on album artwork and enjoy them very much. Someone (I apologize to the person as i cant remember their name) once suggested i should do a series based on Album art by certain artists, Andy Warhol being one of them. Its an interesting concept I haven't got around to exploring so far.
      I am happy you dropped in and commented. I will be looking at album covered today.
      I also appreciate you kind words about the covers i create for my compilations. Sometimes they are OK.

  4. The links are dead. Can you kindly repost? Many thanks!

    1. Hi codeg.
      New links established, tested and working,