As a Jim and Jesse Show alumnus - Randall Franks is honored to share a duet recording that is highlighted by restored archival tracks featuring the unique harmonies and musical talents of legendary Bluegrass Hall of Fame brothers Jim and Jesse McReynolds of the Grand Ole Opry. While Jesse continues to perform, Jim passed away in 2002. The single may be found on the Alan Autry & Randall Franks CD Mississippi Moon: Country Traditions.
This is the first new recording featuring their talents together in many years. It was a movie script created for a TV pilot that inspired Franks to take Alan Autry’s idea and pen the mandolin-infused “Mean Joe Blake” reminiscent of the story songs of the 1960s such as Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” and Walter Brennan’s “Old Rivers.”
“This is probably one of my favorites on the CD Mississippi Moon because thanks to the wonderful advances in technology, I was able to restore the archival tracks of two of my Grand Ole Opry heroes - Jim and Jesse McReynolds,” Franks said. “I am thankful to Jesse and Jim for all the encouragement they shared with me.”
Franks sings lead while Jim and Jesse sing echoes and harmonies, as they did for the original TV theme recording. The musical performance is driven by Jesse on mandolin and also includes Jim on guitar, while Franks performs on mountain dulcimer. Franks' association with the Jim and Jesse Show began in the late 1970s while Franks was still a youth.
Franks says, "I appeared both fiddling as a Virginia Boy and guest starring on the Jim & Jesse Show into the late 1990s. I was especially honored as my star rose on American television as an actor, Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys often appeared on television and for the Grand Ole Opry supporting my musical performances. Alan Autry and I both starred in the hit TV series "In the Heat of the Night."
Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle Randall Franks, is best known as "Officer Randy Goode" from TV's "In the Heat of the Night," began a long association guest starring for the Grand Ole Opry ® in 1984, in addition to appearing with two of its greatest acts - Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys and Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys. His talents have contributed to the musical legacies of Jimmy Martin, Josh Graves, Chubby Wise, Mac Wiseman, Doug Dillard, Ralph Stanley, The Lewis Family, and numerous others.
He became the first bluegrass performer to rise to the top 20 Christian music sales charts with the release of Handshakes and Smiles in 1990. The TV celebrity hosts the Grand Master Fiddler Championship in Nashville annually, this year at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The International Bluegrass Music Museum honored him as a Bluegrass Legend in 2010. In his career, he has promoted, performed with, recorded with, published or produced 30 members of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame as well as numerous Country Music, Gospel and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.