Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Join our Newsletter

Article: Flat-Picking Spectacular

Flat-Picking Spectacular

Flat-Picking Spectacular






The expansive 26-track collection features the “King of Strings” himself on guitar, fiddle and 4-string banjo, along with special guests Merle Travis, Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, Zen Cook and Johnny Gimble.


Joe Maphis was dubbed the “King of Strings” because of his ability to handle a variety of instruments, even a double-necked guitar, with speed and accuracy. He and his wife, Rose Lee Maphis, would also earn the title of “Mr. and Mrs. Country Music.” Joe was the first known player to flat pick fiddle tunes at a time when chord accompany was standard for a guitar player and his talents would bring him to radio stations, television, and even film scores throughout his career.


Upon its initial release on CMH Records in 1981, the Flat-Picking Spectacular double LP was nominated for a GRAMMY in the “Best Country Instrumental Performance” category. Flat-Picking Spectacular offers a special and unique opportunity to experience legendary artists tackle a number of folk, bluegrass and fiddle tunes with the speed and accuracy you can expect from decades of hard work. The tracks “Memories of Maybelle” and “Carter Country” are nods to Joe’s hero, Mother Maybelle Carter. The lengthy track list even includes extended renditions of “Irish Washerwoman” and “Sailor’s Hornpipe,” and many will recognize the tune of “Cripple Creek,” “Duelin’ Banjos” and “Riders in the Sky.”


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 RailroadJimmy 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 catalog 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 Joe Maphis’ Flat-Picking Spectacular:

  1. Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar
  2. Cripple Creek
  3. South
  4. Lonesome Road Blues
  5. Zendel’s Breakdown
  6. Town Hall Rag
  7. Whistling Rufus
  8. Memories of Maybelle
  9. El Rancho Grande
  10. Rocky Mountain Reel
  11. Silver Threads Among the Gold
  12. Grandma’s Favorites
  13. Charlotte Breakdown
  14. Foggy Mountain Breakdown
  15. Lara’s Them (From Doctor Zhivago)
  16. Hilltop Pickin’
  17. Little Rock Getaway
  18. Sailor’s Hornpipe
  19. Albuquerque Rag
  20. Liebestraum
  21. Duelin’ Banjos
  22. Riders in the Sky
  23. Guitar Rag
  24. Irish Washerwoman
  25. Carter Country
  26. Liberty

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.