“I Can’t Tell the Boys From the Girls” – the A-side of Lester Flatt’s debut single for RCA, released January, 1971 – was the kick-off tune to his first RCA long-playing album release, Flatt on Victor. Song was written by Lester Flatt, with help from Bob Leftridge.
Lester Flatt: vocal & guitar Josh Graves: dobro & vocals Vic Jordan: banjo Roland White: mandolin Paul Warren: fiddle/vocals Jake Tullock: bass/vocals Jerry Carrigan: drums Hargus Pig Robbins: piano
Flatt on Victor was recorded November/December,1970 at RCA Victor Studio in Nashville.
I was half distracted driving through southwestern Ohio when I first heard the title track of Lester Flatt’s Kentucky Ridgerunner album on a community radio station. The song definitely caught my ear, however, so I made a point of acquiring this album from 1972 – the first of three that year from Lester Flatt. But when I finally sat down to listen to the record, I was flabbergasted to discover that all the deep-in-the-valley reverb I heard ringing out each time Lester and the boys sang the phrase “Kentucky ridgerunner” … was all in my head!
So I immediately whipped out my Yamaha REX 50 multi-effects unit, cranked up the reverb, and made a new mix that tried to capture the late-night lonely train cry I originally heard upon my first encounter with the song:
[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to play ”Kentucky Ridgerunner” by Lester Flatt.]
Not long after making this mix, the REX 50, sadly, bit the dust. Thus, this recording – another Zero to 180 exclusive – remains the final chapter in the legacy of this vintage 1980s reverb unit and all the warm feeling that the early digital era had to offer.
Frustratingly, the special effect is a little hard to discern — until, that is, you reach the final chord, at which point the song seems to ring out infinitely.