Classic Album Review-Orville Couch “Hello Trouble”
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player. Today’s Classic Album Review revisits an album from one of Country music’s relatively few (by comparison to Pop, at least) “one-hit wonders”, Texan Orville Couch. Orville placed one single on the top ten with “Hello Trouble” in 1963, then followed it up with an almost-hit, “Did I Miss You?”, which peaked at twenty-five. Both are heard, here. Also worth noting is that Orville Couch was one of the Vee-Jay labels few ventures into Country music; they specialized in R & B, Jazz, and rock ‘n roll; with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Jerry Butler, The Four Seasons, and some early Beatles releases. As for Couch, his album Hello Trouble, hit the shelves in the latter part of 1963, just before Country albums were tracked for chart sales. Three singles, in all, were a part of the album, the above mentioned tracks, along with the non-charting “Dance Her By Me”.
The album opens with the bouncy “Hello Doll”, whose intro actually sounds vaguely similar to “Hello Trouble”. A lite, bouncy track that is a fun track to listen to. It’s good enough that one actually wonders why it didn’t get released as a single.
Even today, farmers can relate to “Help Me Get My Cotton In”. Safe to say that there’s not a farmer alive who hasn’t expressed a desire to the Lord to get their crop in at some point. Quick paced, with a good melody and good lyrics.
Of course, “Honky Tonk Man” was a hit for both Johnny Horton and Dwight Yoakam, as well as a minor hit for Bob Luman. Orville’s version may not quite match those of Horton and Yoakam, but it’s good. I actually like this version better than the Luman version. Here, the tempo is closer to that of Dwight Yoakam.
“Dance Her By Me” was a non-charting single in 1964. A slower song, it’s a decent track, not anything groundbreaking.
“Strike A Match” is a catchy, bouncy little tune that isn’t anything spectacular, but enjoyable to hear.
I was first introduced to Orville Couch’s music, over twenty years ago, as a young overnight board operator for a radio station that aired the long-gone and now mostly forgotten Music Country Radio Network, where “Hello Trouble” would still get an occasional spin. Released as a single in late 1962, it would be Orville’s only hit, peaking at five. A great track that should be heard more often, I think it’s one of the great underrated hits of Country music history.
Side two opens with a cover of the Ferlin Husky classic “Gone”. Of course, no one can touch the Husky version, but it’s pretty decent take of the song. Some of Orville’s best vocals, right here.
“His And Hers” is a great piece of Country music. The lyrics are stellar, mixed with a fine melody. One of the album’s best tracks.
Next, is a cover of the Bobby Helms classic “Fraulein”. A bouncy version that is okay, but doesn’t do a lot for me. The quick pace is just a little too much, for me. As for the vocal part, nothing to complain about, there.
On the other hand, a fast tempo is perfect for “Come On Back”. A track that has a “Bakersfield Sound” feel to it, in fact, a song that has Buck Owens written all over it, though I do not know if Buck ever cut it, I couldn’t find it listed anywhere. Too bad, it would have been a killer cut. As it is, Orville’s version is no slouch, definitely worth Hidden Gem consideration. It should be noted that Buck did record a version of “Hello Trouble” for his Together Again/My Heart Skips A Beat album.
I like the guitar work on “The Lonesomes”, but the rest of the song is averagely forgettable. Mid tempo, but rather bland.
The album wraps with Orville Couch’s other chart single, “Did I Miss You?” Mid tempo, it’s not as good as “Hello Trouble”, but not a bad track, certainly deserving of a higher chart placement. Perhaps had it been on a bigger label, it might well have, with a bigger promotional budget.
This album is available on CD, with four additional bonus tracks. As for originals, they are out there, but from what I’ve seen, pricey. The copies I located were all between $20 and $40.
“Hello Trouble” is my Standout Track choice, while my Hidden Gem goes to “His And Hers”. “The Lonesomes” gets the nod for Weakest Track.
Overall, this is an album that is good. There are some issues from a technical standpoint, most notably some drops in one channel on my stereo cut. I thought it might be my equipment related, but after running some tests, I’m pretty positive the recording. I actually flipped the console switch to mono and got a better overall sound. Still, one, when hearing this album, has to wonder why Orville didn’t have more of a career. He was a good vocalist, though not necessarily the kind to stand out from the crowd, but he was as good as several others who did have good, long careers. The songs, here, for the most part, are very good to excellent. I rate this one a 3.5 out of 5.