Roland White – I Wasn’t Born To Rock‘n Roll

January 01, 1970



Roland White could be considered something of a legend
within the bluegrass sphere, having helped elevate the form to prominence when
it was mainly considered the realm of hillbillies and the kind of characters
who nuzzled up to the unsuspecting city folk in Deliverance. Roland and his brother Clarence made bluegrass a
contender for popular appeal, first in their band the Kentucky Colonels, and
later when Roland joined Country Gazette and the Nashville Bluegrass Band.
While they created their template from traditional music, they also nudged
those sounds ever closer to rock ‘n’ roll, beginning with Clarence’s enlistment
by the Byrds and later, when Country Gazette morphed into the Flying Burrito
Brothers. Clarence’s untimely death – he was killed when the two brothers were
run down by an errant equipment van – cut short his trajectory, but by then
country had gone contemporary and the lines were forever fused between roots
and rock.


Long out of print and considered something akin to the Holy
Grail, I Wasn’t Born To Rock ‘n Roll is finally back in print thanks to the good folks of Tompkins Square who
diligently remastered the original tapes, restored its original packaging and
tossed in a heretofore unreleased bonus track to boot. Although it was released
nearly 35 years ago, its music sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did back
in the day, well before bluegrass had crossed into the mainstream. The set
boasts both heartfelt ballads (“The Storms Are Over the Ocean,” “Same Old Blues
Again”) as well as ramped up workouts (“Kansas City Railroad Blues,” “Head Over
Heels in Love With You”), but regardless of the pacing, White’s engaging vocals
and the sturdy accompaniment of his Country Gazette cohorts result in a
dazzling display of sheer, timeless virtuosity.


“Marathon medley,” “Kansas
City Railroad Blues,” “I Saw Your Face in the Moon” LEE ZIMMERMAN



Leave a Reply