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Classic Album Review-Statler Brothers “The Country America Loves”

It’s back to 1977 for a release from country music’s first superstar group, The Statler Brothers. “The Country America Loves” hit the shelves in January of that year, becoming their fifth top ten album and first since 1975′s “The Best Of”. As for singles, three were included on this album, all reaching the top ten.

The Statler favorite “The Movies” starts this album off. A top ten hit, it’s an ode to the motion picture, mentioning many famous titles throughout the track. Fun song.

I will guess that no other country album has a song that sounds anything like “Let It Show”. You could almost call it a country-jazz mixture, with Lew DeWitt in the lead on this one, while Harold Reid does the narration. It’s a truly unique sound, though the song, itself, I would consider average.

Next, the foursome covers Dolly Parton’s hit “All I Can Do”. They cut loose on this one, letting it all hang, giving us a real treat, as they nail this track.

“You Could Be Coming To Me” is pretty much just standard fare; not anything that stands out or is special. It is a nice, relaxing sound, in fact, I almost dozed off, it’s such a relaxing sound.

Harold takes the lead on “Hat And Boots”, a track about what a well worn hat and pair of boots could tell, were they able to talk. Average song, nothing special.

Side one ends with another top ten hit, “I Was There”. All over country radio during the summer of ’77, a mid tempo ballad that is really a track that does nothing for me one way or the other. I wouldn’t say bland, but at the same time, not a track that grabs my attention, either.

Their hit, “Thank God I’ve Got You” opens things up on side two. A top ten hit at the end of 1976, some great vocals by the Statlers. Good song that most of us can relate to, especially right now.

The actual highlight of this album may well be their rendition of the classic “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”. Some of the best harmonies I’ve heard, right here. It’s a completely different take than the classic Willie Nelson version, but it’s still just as good.

“Somebody New Will Be Coming Along” is another solid Hidden Gem contender. Nice exchange of vocals between Don Reid and Lew DeWitt on this one. A good melody/lyric combination, this is one of those compositions that can stay with you, once you hear it.

“You Comb Her Hair” features Phil Balsley in the lead. Not a track that stands out, but it is a nice rendition of a George Jones classic.

We’ve come to final cut, a ballad titled “A Couple More Years”. Average is the word that comes to mind. The performance, of course, is fine, but the composition, itself, is average.

If you desire to have this album on CD, be prepared to pay. There are still some new copies for sale, but the prices I saw were around $30. A better way to go would be an MP3 download, only about $9. Or if vintage vinyl is your thing, then you’ll find copies as low as $1.

I’ve always liked the song “Thank God I’ve Got You”, and I think it has to rank as the album’s Standout Track, though “The Movies” is a solid contender. As for the Hidden Gem, “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” is the easy choice, it’s a cut that should be heard. I’ll give “A Couple More Years” the nod for Weakest Track. Really didn’t do it for me.

Overall, it’s an okay album, but I don’t think anywhere near their best work. The singles are strong, but with the exception of two or three tracks, there is a noticeable drop off in the remaining cuts. I would rate this one a 3 out of 5.

MORE FROM THE STATLERS

“Entertainers…On And Off The Record”

“Maple Street Memories”


MORE GREAT COUNTRY GROUPS

Oak Ridge Boys – “Y’all Come Back Saloon”


Alabama – “40 Hour Week”


“Sawyer Brown”


Tompall & The Glaser Brothers – “Greatest Hits”


Amazing Rhythm Aces – “Stacked Deck”


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