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Posts Tagged ‘MCA Records’

Conway Twitty “The Grandest Lady Of Them All” Single Of The Day

"The Grandest Lady Of Them All", a 1976 Conway Twitty hit that pays homage to the Grand Ole Opry.Greetings from Asheville, where good music is on the turntable, and the computer, via the Ultimate Twang show on Asheville Free Media.  Today’s Single Of The Day features the legendary Conway Twitty paying homage to the home of Country music, appropriately titled “The Grandest Lady Of Them All”.

Released by MCA in February, 1976, it didn’t turn out to be one of Conway’s biggest hits, but it still was able to break into the Country 20, peaking at sixteen.  The first part of the year, the nation was putting the final touches on it’s Bicentennial celebration, and the music world wasn’t left out, as several songs along that theme would be heard.  While “The Grandest Lady Of Them All” isn’t about the nation, it still fits in with the spirit of that time, as even by 1976, the Grand Ole Opry had long become an American institution.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - April 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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George Strait “Chill Of An Early Fall” Classic Album Review

1991 album release from George Strait, "Chill Of An Early Fall"Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the turntable or in the CD player.  Today’s Classic Album Review is a 1991 release for George Strait.  To date, George has released twenty-six studio albums, with Chill Of An Early Fall being his eleventh release. Released in March, by MCA Records, the album sold over a million copies, yet became his first studio album since 1982’s Strait From The Heart to miss the number one spot, as it peaked at four.  Three of the four singles from the album climbed into the top ten, with “Lovesick Blues” missing out, peaking at twenty-four.

The title cut is the opening track of this collection.  “The Chill Of An Early Fall” is quite a song, an outstanding ballad, and frankly, one of George’s most underrated hits.  Charting in the Fall of 1991, it would climb as high as three on the charts.

Sometimes, within the first few seconds, you can tell that a song is going to be great, and such is the case with “I’ve Convinced Everybody But Me”. Great bouncy rhythm, led by a heavy dose of steel guitar, stellar twin fiddles, great lyrics and melody.  A strong Hidden Gem contender.  Pure country at it’s best.

“If I Know Me” was the album’s first single, and in the Spring of 1991, it became George’s twenty-first number one hit.  A quality piece, showcasing George Strait’s stellar capabilities with a ballad; something of which many must have agreed with, since it spent two weeks at number one.

Performing even better as a single is “You Know Me Better Than That”, spending three weeks at number one during the Summer of 1991.  Bouncy and lite, I’ve always loved the lyrics of this piece.  Great song.

Back in the mid-1960’s, Lefty Frizzell recorded a song titled “A Little Unfair”.  “Anything You Can Spare”, the album’s next track, has a similar melody, rhythm, and overall feel.  Really like this track, another Hidden Gem contender.

Next, we begin a string of covers, starting with the Bob Wills classic “Home In San Antone”.  While I don’t know that anyone can top the original version, this is an excellent cover of the Texas Playboy sound.

If there’s a weak track on the album, it’s “Lovesick Blues”.  It’s an okay version, but as I’ve said before, simply no one can sing this song nearly as well as Hank Williams could, not even George Strait.  Simply, no one should ever be allowed to record this song, as I don’t think anyone will ever be able to do it proper justice.

“Milk Cow Blues” is an old blues song, written by and first recorded by Kokomo Arnold, back in 1934.  Over the years, artists such as Johnny Lee Wills (Bob’s brother) and Elvis Presley would record versions.  I’ve never thought of George Strait as a blues singer, or for that matter, even having much blues influence in his style, but he pulls off this track quite well, actually.  While it’s Texas swing-style, it still retains a strong blues feel to it.  Good stuff, right here.

“Her Only Bad Habit Is Me” is a ballad, that again, has a little blues feel to it.  While much slower in tempo, it still, like the previous track, has a nice mix of the blues and Texas country sound.  One could hear Bob Wills doing this number.  Would have been perfect for Tommy Duncan’s vocals.

The album returns to a straightforward country sound for the final track, the ballad “Is It Already Time”.  This is George Strait at his best.  A strong end to a strong album.

Originally released on vinyl, cassette, and compact disc, the album is still available on compact disc and MP3 download.  Used compact disc copies appear to be mostly under $5, while used cassettes and vinyl, under $10.

The album’s Standout Track has three strong possibilities, but I have to go with “The Chill Of An Early Fall”.  Again, some great contenders for Hidden Gem, my pick is “I’ve Convinced Everybody But Me”.  “Lovesick Blues” is my Weakest Track, simply for the reasons I mentioned, above.

Overall, I consider this an excellent album, one that deserves much more acclaim than it seemingly has received.  George Strait fans already know how good this work is, but any fan of country music should like this collection.  I rate this one a solid 5 out of 5.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - March 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

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Reba McEntire “Have I Got A Deal For You” Classic Album Review

1985 Reba McEntire release, "Have I Got A Deal For You"Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the speakers.  Today, we’re looking back at one of Reba McEntire’s earlier efforts.

July, 1985, a little over a year and a half since she had switched from Mercury to MCA, and it’s time for a new album release, as Have I Got A Deal For You hits the store shelves.  Reba’s third MCA album would feature two top ten singles and eventually attain Gold status for sales of over 500,000.  The album would peak at twenty-seven on the bestseller lists, and as of this writing (2/13), is her last studio album (excluding Christmas and compilations) to fail to reach the top ten.

This album opens with a rousing piece titled “I’m In Love All Over”.  Some very good country swing, right here, giving the song a fun feel.

“She’s Single Again” is an interesting take that is completely different than the Janie Fricke hit version.  Whereas her version was the standard country-pop style of the times, Reba turns it into a honky tonk sound, perfect for an old dusty dance floor.

The first ballad on the album is “The Great Divide”.  Not the same track as the Roy Clark hit from 1974, this is a quality piece of music that features some strong writing to go with Reba’s stellar vocals.  A Hidden Gem contender.

The title cut is next, a song that only peaked at six on the charts in the early Fall of 1985.  Rhythmic and country and one of her more underrated hits.

Another Hidden Gem contender is “Red Roses (Won’t Work Now)”.  One could argue this is how a country ballad should sound.  It would be hard to dispute.

The album’s other single opens side two (on the vinyl version), “Only In My Mind”.  A top five hit at the end of 1985 and I would argue another underrated hit.

The tempo picks up on “She’s Loving You Now”, which features a great melody, simply infectious.  Another Hidden Gem contender.

The one song on the album that failed to generate any excitement for me was “Whose Heartache Is This Anyway?”.  A mid tempo beat, the song simply isn’t quite the same level as the other nine.  It does feature some nice fiddle work, though.

“I Don’t Need Nothin’ You Ain’t Got” may also not be the strongest composition, but Reba’s performance, mixed with a great Bob Wills-type sound more than makes up for that.  You keep waiting for Bob to chime in with one of his trademark, a-ha’s.  Good stuff.

You could argue that Reba saves her best for last, with the track “Don’t Forget Your Way Home”.  May well be her best performance on the album.

Originally released on vinyl and cassette, and later compact disc, this album remains on the market on both compact disc and MP3.  As for used copies, they are plentiful in all three formats, mostly in the $10 or less, range.

I give “Only In My Mind” the Standout Track nod, while “She’s Loving You Now” gets the Hidden Gem nod.  I would say “Whose Heartache Is This Anyway?” gets the Weakest Track, as it just didn’t generate any real excitement or interest.

Overall, this is the Reba McEntire that I still like to hear, the most.  The days when she was country, plain and simple.  While polishing the sound may have increased fanbase size and record sales, something in the music was lost when she strayed from this sound, at least for me.  I rate this one a 4 out of 5.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - February 1, 2013 at 1:09 PM

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Barbara Mandrell “Crackers” Single Of The Day

Barbara Mandrell "Crackers" 45 rpmGreetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player.  Today’s Single Of The Day is a 1980 hit for hall of famer Barbara Mandrell.

Barbara’s popularity was approaching it’s peak, at this time.  Not only was she now having regular top five and number one success on the singles charts, her albums were selling better than ever, and now, she was preparing for her foray into network television.

In late June, it was time for MCA to release another single, and the song to be plugged would become the lead-off single from her Love Is Fair album.  That song turned out to be “Crackers”.  Debuting on the country 40 in July, the single would quickly climb into the top ten, where it would ultimately peak at three.

Standard country-pop fare of the time, it starts out slow, with only Barbara and a keyboard, before kicking the tempo into high gear.  Brite and catchy; a fun record to listen to.

Your thoughts?

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - December 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

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Patty Loveless “A Little Bit In Love” Single Of The Day

Patty Loveless "A Little Bit In Love" 45Greetings from Asheville, where the good music is always found.  Today’s Single Of The Day is a early hit from one of the top female vocalists of the 1990’s, Patty Loveless.

Fresh off her first top ten hit, “If My Heart Had Windows”, Patty’s second single was shipping to radio towards the end of May, 1988.  Debuting in mid-June, “A Little Bit In Love” would rock up the charts to a peak of number two, by late Summer.  Strong beat and strong twang, I liken this one to what a Marty Stuart-style sound, where there’s a strong mix of hillbilly twang and rockabilly attitude.  Simply put, a great record.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - December 5, 2012 at 1:22 PM

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