Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely “I’ll Never Slip Around Again” Classic Album Review
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the turntable, and every Thursday, beginning at 4p EST, on Asheville Free Media with the Ultimate Twang Show. Today’s Classic Album Review is 1967 Hilltop Records compilation of the music of Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting. I’ll Never Slip Around Again was taken from the duo’s follow-up hit to their 1949 smash “Slipping Around”, which is not included on this collection. Still, even it’s exclusion, there are several hits, here, amongst the tracks.
There is no question that the Whiting/Wakely team were indeed the “pop-country” act of the late 1940′s and early 1950′s. While many of their tracks have elements of both pop and country (really, more western), some are strictly pop, such as the album’s opening track, “My Heart Knows”. With no really strong twang and a smooth style of singing, Jimmy Wakely easily pulls off the pop sounds, teamed with Margaret Whiting, who was one of pop’s top female vocalists of that era. A really good track.
“When Love Goes Wrong” is much the same, though with some Jazz stylings mixed in. Again, a good track.
Italian-styled mandolin playing mixed with steel guitars is an interesting mix of sound. That’s a part of “I Learned To Love You Too Late”. It works pretty well, though, mixed with a catchy melody.
The Lefty Frizzell hit “Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)” gets a swinging treatment from the duo. While I can’t say it’s as good as the Frizzell version, I will say this is a good cover, a fun track.
“I Don’t Want To Be Free” is the final track on side one; it was also the final charting single for Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely, peaking at five in December, 1951. Probably the most country of their recordings.
Side two opens with the title track, which, as mentioned earlier, was an answer song to their massive hit, “Slipping Around”. Proving that you can’t have too much of a good thing, “I’ll Never Slip Around Again” debuted in November, 1949, while the original was still firmly entrenched in the number one spot. Peaking at two, this song uses the exact same melody and a very similar arrangement to the original. As answer songs go, this is one of the better ones you’ll find. Lyrically strong.
Another of their top 10 hits to be found, here, is “When You And I Were Young, Maggie Blues”. A jazzy little swinger, Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting really excel, here, melding two different styles of singing, flawlessly (remember, this is way before mixing. All was done in real time in the studio). Jimmy Wakely is singing in a straight, slower style, while simultaneously, Margaret Whiting is belting out a swinging, jazzy piece. This cracked the top 10 in the Summer of 1951.
“Six Times A Day And Twice On Sunday” is another bouncy track, featuring a lite, easy feel.
Another single that did quite well for the duo was “Let’s Go To Church, Next Sunday”. Just missing the number one position in the Spring of 1950, it’s a breezy little track that just seems to float through the inner ears of the listener.
The album wraps with the only really slow song in the collection. ”Close Your Pretty Eyes” has a stronger country feel to it, than much of their work. Also, it sounds more like a lullabye, both lyrically, and in arrangement.
Long out of print, a bit of searching can turn up some used copies, of which the ones I saw were mostly under $10.
Overall, it’s not a bad overview of their work, even for a budget release. While there are not a ton of hits, here, even the non-hits are of quality, showing why the team of Whiting and Wakely worked extremely well as a duo. One interesting side note; the designated sides 1 and 2 that I list, here, are from the record label, itself. The album cover has them reversed. I rate this one a 3.5 out of 5.