CMH Records Releases Long Out-Of-Print Album The Osborne Brothers’ 'From Rocky Top To Muddy Bottom'

Article Contributed by Falcon Publicity | Published on Friday, July 5, 2024

In an effort to honor and preserve seminal classic country and bluegrass albums, CMH RECORDS (Country. Music. Heritage.) has remastered and is rereleasing The Osborne Brothers’ classic title From Rocky Top to Muddy Bottom. First released on CMH Records in 1977, this extensive 20-track collection has been out-of-print for more than 45 years. Available again on vinyl July 5, printed on unique denim blue colored disc with the original artwork and liner notes included in the package, From Rocky Top to Muddy Bottom finds The Osborne Brothers, Bobby and Sonny Osborne, burn through timeless country and bluegrass classics written by Hall of Fame writers Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, with the richest harmonies and the warmest fidelity one can find.

Extraordinary instrumentalists and endlessly forward-thinking artists, The Osborne Brothers constantly pushed bluegrass music forward and, with their persistence, made a name for themselves that has survived to this day. The duo had a surprise hit in 1968, well after the commercial peak of bluegrass music with “Rocky Top,” a song written by husband-and-wife songwriting duo Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, and dubbed the unofficial fight song for the University of Tennessee. The Bryants, famous for their work with the Everly Brothers as well as pieces recorded by countless other country artists, are celebrated here with 20 of their songs excellently performed by The Osborne Brothers.

Due to a knack for innovations, the Osbornes had a tendency to alienate bluegrass purists at every point in their career. Early on, they unusually placed Bobby’s tenor lead above the rest of their vocal harmonies, as opposed to the typical approach that placed the melody in the center of a three-part arrangement. The brothers were the first bluegrass group to use an electric bass (as heard on this record) as well as instruments like drums, pedal steel, rhythm guitars and piano on recordings. Having said that, many listeners were turned off when the duo insisted upon amplifying their banjo and mandolin with electric pickups at larger festivals and concerts. Eventually, it turned out that their commitment to trying new ideas and techniques helped confirm their position in bluegrass history; thus, shaped the trajectory of bluegrass music throughout the decades.

From 1976 to 1991 the duo recorded seven albums for CMH, which came to represent some of their final recorded output together. Sonny Osborne retired from performing in 2005 due to health complications while Bobby continued playing music until the end of his long life. Sonny passed in 2021 and Bobby passed in 2023. Together, they were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1994.

Founded in 1975 by Martin Haerle, CMH Records has released albums from artists whose monumental influence on American roots music is unparalleled. The ‘70s and ‘80s represent the foundational recordings in CMH Records’ bluegrass, old time and traditional country history, with material being put out by Merle Travis, The Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman, Joe Maphis, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Grandpa Jones, Lester Flatt and Eddie Adcock. Throughout the ‘90s and into the new millennium, CMH Records continued to cut records with artists such as Wanda Jackson (aka “The Queen of Rockabilly”), Raul Malo, Larry Cordle, Pine Mountain Railroad, Jimmy Gaudreau, and many others. Producing songs rich in American heritage by artists with their own distinct style created a strong backbone and history for the label.

The label remains a proud family business, now run by Martin’s son David. Described by the Los Angeles Times as a “stubborn, curious Silver Lake music company,” the label has been a strong proponent for honest music and has found success with its classic catalogue and its ongoing Pickin’ On Series, which features bluegrass interpretations of contemporary artists, including recent hit albums dedicated to the music of Nirvana and Modest Mouse. The Times piece added that CMH “meets unsung needs in the music industry” and cited its “creative diversification.”

Track List for The Osborne Brothers’ From Rocky Top to Muddy Bottom:

    Rocky Top
    We Could
    Georgia Mules And Country Boys
    Don’t Ever Tell Me You Love Me - Unless You Mean it with All Your Heart
    Hey Joe
    All I Have To Do Is Dream
    Packing Up Your Heart - To Say Goodbye
    Tell It To Your Old Grandma
    Little Boy
    Banjo’s Goin’ Home
    Georgia Piney Woods
    Just Another Dream – I’ll Have to Live Without
    I Can’t See The Rainbow
    Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go)
    Tennessee Hound Dog
    Where Did The Sunshine Go?
    Country Boy
    Love Hurts
    Fortune, Fortune
    Muddy Bottom