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The historical waters do get muddy sometimes. For instance, these Hodges Brothers (Felix, Ralph, and James) aren’t the Hodges brothers of Hi Records rhythm-section fame, and they’re not even really themselves, either—at least not the Hodges Brothers best known in rockabilly circles for the much-anthologized single “I’m Gonna Rock Some Too.” That hit was just a larky departure from the rough-and-ready dance tunes and tender old heart-songs with which the brothers kept packing in crowds around their hometown of Bogue Chitto, Miss., even as the opulent countrypolitan sound came to dominate Nashville. But on Bogue Chitto Flingding: Old Time Mississippi Country Music, an expanded version of a 40-year-old Arhoolie album titled Watermelon Hangin’ on the Vine, the Hodges’ true identity is fixed: an unabashed throwback to the front-porch pickin’, love-gone-wrong mopin’, and when-I-get-my-reward philosophizin’ that country music was founded on. The group’s featured instrumentalist is fiddler Felix, and he wasn’t about to let his devil’s-box go all silky-smooth—he digs into the swooping melody of the heavily syncopated “Carroll County Blues” and lays hard into the double stops and drones of the yearning “Never Alone Waltz” while Ralph’s mandolin ripples in the background. Ralph was no slouch, either, and when he switches from eight strings to six for “Bogue Chitto Waltz,” he takes a mandolin-style approach to the lead that offers a piquant contrast to the sawing on Felix’s showpieces. Although Arhoolie boss Chris Strachwitz makes a hash of the sessionography in his liner notes, his criticism of string bassist and McComb, Miss., radio DJ John White as an interloper is right on point. When White takes the lead vocal on “On the Banks of the Ohio,” he gives a murder ballad that would have been popular among the folk-revival crowd an embarrassingly hootenanny-friendly performance. But after Ralph and Felix join reedily in on the chorus, the song jolts back about 25 years to the heyday of the Blue Sky Boys and the Dixon Brothers. The cream of Bogue Chitto Flingding is just such brother-team harmonizing, as featured on “Mississippi Baby” and “Little Church House on the Hill.” When, on the latter tune, Ralph and Felix sing, “That’s where my friends and loved ones wait,” you know why they never strayed far enough from home to make a national name for themselves. What you still don’t know is whether they’re running late for Sunday services or dreaming of joining the choir invisible. —Glenn Dixon