Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always the passion. Today’s Classic Album Review looks back at a release at one of country music’s best stylists, Don Gibson. Don truly was a stylist, a unique singer whose sound is unlike any other, to this day. And one must not overlook his songwriting skills, as well, giving us classics such as “Oh Lonesome Me”, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Sweet Dreams (Of You)”. Today’s album is a 1960 release, Look Who’s Blue. A couple of interesting notes about this album; even though Don had scored a top ten hit, two years prior, with the song, “Look Who’s Blue”, it was not included, on this album. Also, it was the first of two albums for Don, with this title. The second Look Who’s Blue release, would be his final album for Hickory Records, in 1978. RCA Victor released this album in April. The album did not chart on the pop side, and there were no country album charts, at this time. The album contains two singles; “Big Hearted Me” and “Just One Time”.
The album opens with Don’s trademark sound of country, with just a little rock ‘n’ roll mixed in, on “My Hands Are Tied”. A bouncy, infectious piece of music that rocks the speakers a bit.
Same can be said for “Big Hearted Me”. A great track, it’s amazing, to me, that as a single, it could only muster a peak of twenty-nine in early 1960. I should mention that it’s flip-side, “I’m Movin’ On” did break the Country 15. This is Don Gibson at his best. He’s got that country rockin’, mixed with that lonesome, bluesy sound that just seemed to be a natural part of his voice.
“It Only Hurts For A Little While” had been a 1956 pop hit for The Ames Brothers, and in 1978, a number one country hit for Margo Smith. Here, Don gives a really good interpretation of this classic. Again, that lonesome, bluesy sound that he was so good at, is perfect for this song.
“Never Love Again” is another ballad that’s not as strong as the previous track, but it’s not bad. The guitar intro is rather cool and funky for early sixties country.
After becoming a pop hit for Andy Williams, “Lonely Street” became one of those songs that seemingly almost everyone recorded at some point. Even though Carl Belew co-wrote the song and one listen makes it obvious that it’s a country song, it was never a country hit, until Rex Allen Jr.’s 1978 version. Don Gibson’s version is more of a straight country approach, featuring a prominent steel guitar. Good track that could have been a hit, in my opinion.
Side one ends with Don’s hit “Just One Time”. In late Spring, it just missed number one, becoming one of his biggest hits. You can’t help but love this record. The tempo immediately hooks you in, while the melody and even the guitar work are so strong that you can’t resist it. And of course, Don’s vocals on this are stellar.
Side two opens with the most rocking piece on the album, a rollicking, pounding version of Hank Williams’ “Why Don’t You Love Me”. Good, strong recording.
This album actually is heavy on the slower ballads, including the bluesy “My Love For You”. Very strong track, that really brings out the blues in Don Gibson’s vocals. He could wail ‘em as well as any country singer ever could.
Never a hit for Hank Williams, but a song he co-wrote, “The Banks Of The Old Ponchartrain” is another slower song, that features a spoken segment. Great performance of a decent song.
“If I Can Stay Away” has more of a straight pop feel to it, very much in the vein of what was playing on top 40, in those days. A slow, ballad, the track comes off very well, with Don’s vocals being the highlight.
“The Streets Of Laredo” has a dramatic feel to it, but not overly so. While the arrangement is slicker than the better known Marty Robbins version, it’s restrained enough, as to not overpower the lyrics or the vocal work.
The album gives a strong finish with Don’s version of “Everybody But Me”, which would later be a big hit in 1962 for Ernest Ashworth. Now, why RCA didn’t issue this as a single….? Great track, as good as the hit version. I can’t help but think this could have been a big hit.
While not in print, domestically, this album can be found on CD, as an import. As for used copies, they are not too difficult to find, mostly in the $10 to $20 range.
Both singles are strong, but I give “Just One Time” the Standout Track, since it was the bigger hit. Again, several strong cuts, but the Hidden Gem has to be “Everybody But Me”. I really can’t say that there’s a weak track, here, but “Never Love Again” may be the lesser of the twelve, yet still a decent track.
Overall, this is a nice piece of work from Don Gibson, during his commercial peak. There’s really not anything to dislike, here, as the material is strong and the performances are excellent. I rate it a 4.5 out of 5.
Categories: Classic Album Reviews Tags: 1960, Big Hearted Me, classic country, country albums, Country Music, country oldies, Don Gibson, Hickory Records, Just One Time, Look Who's Blue, RCA Victor Records
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 is a mere one year younger than yours truly (the album, not the review). From 1967, it’s time to remember Roy Acuff’s Hickory Records release Roy Acuff Sings Famous Opry Favorites. It’s an album of The King Of Country Music singing cover versions of hits from the likes of Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe, and Don Gibson, just to name a few. The album failed to crack the Country bestseller lists as did both singles from the album.
Opening things on this album is Roy’s take on the Hank Snow classic “I’m Movin’ On”. It’s interesting to hear Roy sing these songs as most are a departure from the type of songs he normally sang. In addition, the arrangements are nothing like the typical Smokey Mountain Boys sound, but rather a contemporary traditional sound (for 1967). The aging is starting to creep into his voice, at this point, but there’s still enough in the tank that the vocals are still quality stuff on this track. I like Roy’s take on this track. This was the album’s first single, but failed to chart.
The Ernest Tubb’s “Tomorrow Never Comes” has more of the traditional Acuff sound, but here, I think they keyed the song too low, as he seems to struggle to hit the lowest nights. Decent track, but I think a little higher key would have done wonders for this one. It’s nice, though, how they ended the song very similar as to how the Texas Troubadours would have.
Roy Acuff gives a nice interpretation of the George Morgan hit, “Candy Kisses”. The vocals are good, here, and again, the arrangement, a mix of of the traditional Acuff sound and contemporary sounds, melds extremely well, giving you a very enjoyable track to listen.
Pretty much the same story with “I Love You Because” as it was with “Candy Kisses”. Even as his voice aged and lost it’s luster, Roy could still sell a song as well as anyone, this album is no exception. One note, the album credits Jim Reeves as the hit man for “I Love You Because” and while Jim did, indeed record the song, the hit version was actually the song’s writer, Leon Payne, along with another version by Ernest Tubb.
“Filipino Baby” may be Roy’s best vocals on the album. Roy simply nails this track, where he actually uses the vocal repeats that Cowboy Copas had used, but Ernest Tubb had not. Roy’s version is quicker than either of the other mentioned versions, as well. The banjo, featured prominent here, gives the track an almost bluegrass feel.
Side one ends with “I’ll Go On Alone”. The song was written by Marty Robbins and was one of his first hits, while also hitting for Webb Pierce. This is another good track that really melds everything ranging from Roy’s vocals to the arrangement and the song, very well. This was the album’s second single, hitting the market in the Spring of 1968.
“Foggy River” is the track that opens side two. The album mentions a 1946 version by Red Foley, but the biggest hit version was actually Carl Smith’s 1968 version. Roy gives a pretty decent version, here.
If there’s a track, here, that could be a potential train wreck, it would likely be Don Gibson’s Country-rocker “Oh Lonesome Me”. And while it’s not the best track on the album, it’s far from a train wreck, as Roy Acuff gives a more than credible performance, here. Not really Roy’s style of song, but it works okay.
Next, Roy tackles the Hank Locklin hit “Send Me The Pillow You Dream On”, featuring a heavy dose of dobro, likely Bashful Brother Oswald. This track isn’t quite as good as the others, Roy’s vocals sound a bit tired, here.
However, on “A Satisfied Mind”, the voice is as strong as anywhere on the album, as Roy gives another of the album’s best performances. A great song for Roy Acuff to cover.
Another song that might surprise some as to how well Roy handles is the Carl & Pearl Butler classic “Don’t Let Me Cross Over”. In fact, I’ll go so far as to call it another of the album’s standout tracks. Roy Acuff nails it, here.
To finish off this album, Roy and the band let it all out on Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen”. A rousing version where it sounds like everyone is having fun doing some picking and singing.
Not on the market, but I did find a few used copies, mostly under $10.
My pick for Standout Track is “Don’t Let Me Cross Over”. As for Hidden Gem, I’m going with “Uncle Pen” and here’s why; my 6 year old daughter has fallen in love with this version, in fact, I’ve had to play it 4 or 5 times while finishing this post! As for Weakest Track, I’m going with ‘Send Me The Pillow You Dream On”, Roy’s voice just sounds off or tired, here.
Overall, it’s pretty decent collection by the King Of Country Music, Roy Acuff. Before the first time I ever heard this album, I had some reservations, as Roy Acuff is best, singing those “mountain” type songs like “The Precious Jewel”. But he gave some very good performances on this album, definitely worth giving a listen to, especially if you are a Roy Acuff fan. I rate it a 4 out of 5.
Categories: Classic Album Reviews Tags: 1967, Bill Monroe, Carl Butler, Carl Smith, classic country, country albums, Country Music, country oldies, Cowboy Copas, Don Gibson, Ernest Tubb, Famous Opry Favorites, George Morgan, Hank Locklin, Hank Snow, Hickory Records, Jim Reeves, Leon Payne, Marty Robbins, Red Foley, Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce
…this past week, as another opportunity to experience Ultimate Twang arrived. It was a great mix of classic Country & Christmas tunes from Country music’s day’s past. If you missed the show, you can still catch it. It will re-air on Sunday morning, December 18, at 8am EST, and again on Wednesday morning, December 21, at 10am EST. Simply go to http://ashevillefm.org, under shows, click on Ultimate Twang, then click on listen, under stream link. I’ve also included a link, below.
So, what popped up on this past week’s show? Let’s take a look…
|Ricky Skaggs||Get Up John||1997|
|Elvis Presley||All Shook Up||1957|
|Mel Tillis||Ain’t No California||1978|
|Hank Williams Jr.||All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)||1981|
|Roger Miller||Old Toy Trains||1967|
|Tom T. Hall||A Bar With No Beer||1985; Almost Hit|
|Donna Fargo||Mockingbird Hill||1977|
|John Anderson||She Sure Got A Way With My Heart||1984|
|Charley Pride||Christmas In My Hometown||1970|
|Merle Haggard||I’m A Lonesome Fugitive||1967|
|Gary Morris & Crystal Gayle||Makin’ Up For Lost Time||1986|
|Freddie Hart||Easy Lovin’||1971|
|Tex Ritter||Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie||1959; Classic Album Track|
|Bill Anderson||Christmas Time’s A-Comin’||1969|
|Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton||We’ll Get Ahead Someday||1968|
|Eddie Rabbitt||Two Dollars In The Jukebox||1977|
|Bobby G. Rice||Pick Me Up On Your Way Down||1976|
|Lynn Anderson||Ding-A-Ling (The Christmas Bell)||1971|
|Dottie West||Would You Hold It Against Me||1966|
|Roy Acuff||The Streamlined Cannonball||1940|
|Don Gibson||Oh Lonesome Me||1958|
|Vernon Dalhart||Wreck Of The Old 97||1924|
|The Browns||Blue Christmas||1960|
|Jim Reeves||Distant Drums||1966|
|Janie Fricke||What’re You Doing Tonight||1977; Almost hit|
|George Strait||I Hate Everything||2004|
|Skeeter Davis||I Can’t Believe That It’s All Over||1973|
|Bobby Helms||Jingle Bell Rock||1957|
|Jerry Lee Lewis||Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On||1957|
|Statler Brothers||Let’s Get Started If You’re Gonna Break My Heart||1989|
|George Jones||The Door||1975|
|Hank Snow||The Reindeer Boogie||1967|
|Willie Nelson||Old Five And Dimers Like Me||1985; Classic Album Track|
|David Ball||Riding With Private Malone||2001|
|Buck Owens||Waitin’ In Your Welfare Line||1966|
|Captain Stubby & The Buccaneers||Brazen Little Raisin||1946; Almost Hit|
|Collin Raye & The Beach Boys||Winter Wonderland||1996|
|Billie Jo Spears||Blanket On The Ground||1975|
|Osborne Brothers||Rocky Top||1968|
|Webb Pierce & Wilburn Brothers||Sparkling Brown Eyes||1954|
|Waylon Jennings||Come With Me||1979|
|Ray Stevens||Santa Claus Is Watching You||1985|
|4 Runner||Cain’s Blood||1995; Almost Hit|
|Kenny Rogers||Daytime Friends||1977|
|Ed Bruce||You’re The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had||1982|
|Chet Atkins||Silver Bells||1960|
|Oak Ridge Boys||Sail Away||1979|
|Don Williams||The Shelter Of Your Eyes||1972|
|Alabama||Why Lady Why||1980|
|Buck Owens||Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy||1965|
|Billy Crash Craddocck||Home Is A Lonely Place To Go||1974; Classic Album Track|
|Barbara Mandrell||Operator Long Distance Please||1982|
|Ray Price||Big Shoes||1962; Almost Hit|
|Eddy Arnold||I Want To Go With You||1966|
|Hank Thompson||White Christmas||1964|
|Jimmy Newman||Come Back To Me||1956|
To hear the replay of the show on Sunday morning at 8 EST or Wednesday morning at 10 EST, just click here; Asheville Free Media.
Categories: Artists, Music, & Radio Tags: Alabama, Barbara Mandrell, Bill Anderson, Billie Jo Spears, Billy Crash Craddock, Bobby Helms, Buck Owens, Charley Pride, Chet Atkins, Christmas music, classic country, Country Music, country oldies, Crystal Gayle, Dolly Parton, Don Gibson, Don Williams, Donna Fargo, Dottie West, Ed Bruce, Eddie Rabbitt, Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley, Freddie Hart, Gary Morris, George Jones, George Strait, Hank Snow, Hank Thompson, Hank Williams Jr., Janie Fricke, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Reeves, John Anderson, Kenny Rogers, Lynn Anderson, Mel Tillis, Merle Haggard, Oak Ridge Boys, Osborne Brothers, play list, Porter Wagoner, Radio, Ray Price, Ray Stevens, Ricky Skaggs, Roger Miller, Roy Acuff, Skeeter Davis, Statler Brothers, Tex Ritter, The Browns, Tom T. Hall, Waylon Jennings, Webb Pierce, Wilburn Brothers, Willie Nelson
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player.
Can you believe it? 12 editions of Ultimate Twang, already, since the program began on Asheville Free Media, back on September 1st. Each week has gotten better and more exciting, playing some great classics, along with a few forgotten faves, as well.
Now, if you haven’t listened, yet, here’s the deal. The show is online, every Thursday afternoon, beginning at 4 EST. You will hear Country music that is all pre-2005, with a catalog that goes back into the 1920′s. Mostly hits, but some Almost Hits, Gospel faves, and Classic Album Tracks are lightly mixed in, as well. And the really cool part (at least I think so), is that while I use many CD’s and a few MP3′s, I mix in a good amount of vinyl, as well, 33′s, 45′s, and even an occasional 78.
If you have not heard the show, yet, you can listen to the archived copy of this week’s show, right now, or anytime before next Friday, simply by going to the Ultimate Twang page on the Asheville Free Media site, and clicking on “listen”, right under “stream link”.
Now, for the list of songs that were spun, this week….
|Dave & Sugar||The Door Is Always Open||1976|
|Faron Young||Occasional Wife||1970|
|Holly Dunn||Heart Full Of Love||1991|
|Walter Brennan||Old Rivers||1962|
|Kentucky Headhunters||Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine||1989||Almost Hit|
|Webb Pierce||Bye Bye Love||1957|
|Bellamy Brothers||Lovin’ On||1978|
|Charley Pride||Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone||1970|
|Tennessee Ernie Ford||Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen||1960|
|Jeanne Black||He’ll Have To Stay||1960|
|Flatt And Scruggs||Cabin In The Hills||1959|
|Eddy Arnold||I Couldn’t Believe It Was True||1947|
|Buck Owens||I Don’t Care||1964|
|Hank Thompson||Swing Wide Your Gate Of Love||1971||Classic Album Track|
|Reba McEntire||Just A Little Love||1984|
|Toby Keith||My List||2002|
|Bobby Bare||I Hate Goodbyes||1973||Almost Hit|
|Anne Murray||Daydream Believer||1980|
|Johnny Bond||Hot Rod Lincoln||1961|
|Johnny Cash||Sunday Morning Comin’ Down||1970|
|Mel McDaniel||I Wish I Was In Nashville||1983|
|Marty Robbins||El Paso||1959|
|Roy Drusky||New Lips||1967||Almost Hit|
|Rhett Akins||That Ain’t My Truck||1995|
|Olivia Newton-John||Something Better To Do||1975|
|Deana Carter||Strawberry Wine||1996|
|The Johnson Family Singers||He Put The Sunshine In My Soul||1947|
|Vern Gosdin||Way Down Deep||1983|
|Highway 101||(Do You Love Me) Just Say Yes||1988|
|Conway Twitty||Slow Hand||1982||Classic Album Track||OK, it was a hit, but the LP was #1′s The Warner Years.|
|Charlie Rich||My Elusive Dreams||1975|
|Billy Walker||Charlie’s Shoes||1962|
|Harry Weger||The Ballad Of Jimmy Bryan||1961||Almost Hit|
|Pee Wee King||Slow Poke||1951|
|Ann (Don’t Go Runnin’)
You Can’t Have Your Kate And Edith, Too
|Waylon Jennings||Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way||1975|
|Johnny Carver||Your Lily White Hands||1968||Almost Hit|
|Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers||What Are We Doin’ Lonesome||1981|
|Nat Stuckey||She Wakes Me With A Kiss Every Morning||1971|
|Cal Smith||It’s Time To Pay The Fiddler||1975|
|Jim Reeves||I’d Rather Have Jesus||1962|
|The Judds||I Know Where I’m Going||1987|
|Earl Thomas Conley||After The Love Slips Away||1982|
|Don Gibson||Far Far Away||1960|
|Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan||Tennessee Bird Walk||1970|
|Amazing Rhythm Aces
|Hit The Nail On The Head
Ruby (Are You Mad)
|Classic Album Track
|Loretta Lynn||One’s On The Way||1972|
|Jeannie C. Riley||The Rib||1969||Almost Hit|
|Alison Krauss||Teardrops Will Kiss The Morning Dew||1989|
|George Hamilton IV||Break My Mind||1967|
Categories: Artists, Music, & Radio Tags: Billy Walker, Buck Owens, Charley Pride, classic country, Conway Twitty, Country Music, country oldies, country radio, Don Gibson, Eddy Arnold, Faron Young, Flatt & Scruggs, Harry Weger, Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Larry Gatlin, Loretta Lynn, Marty Robbins, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Statler Brothers, Toby Keith, Waylon Jennings, Webb Pierce
Here's a guy who was equally influenced by Country, Rock, and R & B.
Categories: Classic Album Reviews Tags: 1982, Any Day Now, Carolina Dreams, Chuck Jackson, classic country, country albums, Country Music, country oldies, Dennis Morgan, Don Gibson, He Got You, Inside, Kye Fleming, Mike Reid, RCA Victor Records, Ronnie Milsap