It’s hard to believe that thirty-two years have passed since the release of The Statler Brothers’ “Entertainers…On And Off The Record” album. Released in 1978, it would spawn three top ten hits, “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine”, “Who Am I To Say”, and “The Official Historian On Shirley Jean Berrell”; while the album, itself, would reach number five on the country album charts.
The album opens with one of The Statler’s biggest hits, “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine”. A number one hit in early summer of 1978, and one of the best songs of their Hall Of Fame Career. It’s one of those songs that whenever you hear it, you always want to sing along with. In fact, you do, even if you don’t want to, because you can’t help it, it’s infectious.
“Yours Love” was a top ten hit, twice in 1969, once for Waylon Jennings and once for Porter & Dolly. Here, The Statlers give us a more than acceptable version. Good harmonies, here.
On “The Best That I Can Do”, The Statlers give a fine performance of what is really a very ordinary ballad.
Lew DeWitt takes the lead on “You’re The First”, a decent song that has a nice little bounce to it and is easily listenable.
Songs that are sentimental seem to be where The Statlers often do their best work. While “Tomorrow Is Your Friend” may not be the strongest track on the disc, it’s a track that is greatly enhanced by the quartet’s work, along with a soft, gentle arrangement.
Now I ask you; how can you not like “The Official Historian On Shirley Jean Berrell”? Great song, that like “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine”, has to rate as one of their better hits. What a great way to end side one.
If you are keeping score, we now turn to side two, which opens with what was the second single released from the album, “Who Am I To Say”. The track spent the fall of 1978 in the top ten, climbing as high as number three. It’s one of the better tracks on the album.
Not the best cut, but perhaps the most interesting, has to be The Statler’s cover of the Davis Sisters’ “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know”. They significantly speed the tempo over the original (for that matter, most ensuing versions), almost coming off with a breakdown feel to it. And what has the potential to be a train wreck, actually comes off pretty well.
On “When You Are Sixty-Five”, it is wondered what an old love will think about her ex- when she reaches that age. It’s a decent track, that has what I think the most interesting lyrical content on the album.
Nothing particularly special about “I Dreamed About You”, mainly a filler track.
The album wraps with the ballad “Before The Magic Turns To Memory”, an average ballad that I found rather bland.
This album has been issued on CD, though not currently available. I did find a few new copies, online, however at ridiculous prices, like $99?????!!!!!! Not worth it. I also found several used vinyl, cassette, and even a couple of 8-track (the original version I had of this album), copies for sale at much more reasonable prices.
Standout track on the disc? It’s difficult to choose between the three single releases, but I’ll go with “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine”, since it charted highest.
For me, the Hidden Gem of this album would have to be “When You Are Sixty-Five”.
And the weakest track? Close battle between the last two cuts on the disc, but I’ll give the nod to “I Dreamed About You”.
Overall, not the best album they ever released. The three songs that became hit singles are among the best of their career, and the two covers are decent, along with 2-3 other tracks, but there are also some very average compositions, here, of which a couple are made better by the Statler’s always fine vocal work, and strong arrangements, but also a couple that, despite that, are still bland. For me, this album, at best is a 3.5 out of 5. Your thoughts?
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