New Releases: March-> December, 2011
Country, Bluegrass & Old Timey
The 101 Ranch Boys  -> Lulubelle & Scotty + Book




MUSIC FROM THE TRUE VINE Mike Seeger's Life & Musical Journey by Bill C. Malone ● BOOK $28.98
Hardback, 235 pages, counts as five CDs for shipping
A musician, documentarian, and scholar and one of the founding members of the influential folk revival group the New Lost City Ramblers, Mike Seeger spent more than fifty years collecting, performing, and commemorating the culture and folk music of white and black southerners, which he called "music from the true vine". In exploring Seeger's life and musical contributions, Bill Malone argues that Seeger, although not as well known as his brother Pete Seeger, may be more important to the history of American music through his work in identifying and giving voice to the people from whom the folk revival borrowed its songs. Seeger recorded and produced over forty albums, including the work of artists such as Dock Boggs and Maybelle Carter. In 1958, with an ambition to re-create the southern string bands of the 20's, he formed the New Lost City Ramblers and thereby helping to inspire the urban folk revival of the 60's. Mike Seeger was one of the folk revival's most influential figures, and Malone has presented a fascinating biography.



THE 101 RANCH BOYS B.A.C.M. 342 Picking Cotton Down South ● CD $14.98
29 tracks, 78 mins, recommended
Entertaining Western group that originally formed in Kansas City in the 1930s and eventually shifted their base of operations to York, Pennsylvania where they were featured on a long running and very popular radio show in the 1940s. The recordings here were made for a number of different labels between 1946 and 1950 and feature a selection of solo vocals, harmony vocals and a handful of instrumentals. The vocals are usually by George Long, guitarist Andy Reynolds or accordion player "Smokey" Roberts with the three collaborating on the harmony sides. The instrumental work is solid with particularly fine steel guitar playing from Leonard Zinn who got his start playing in Hawaiian bands. Their material is a mix of covers of western and hillbilly songs along with a few originals. Their An A-Bomb Of Bibles is a standout! Decent sound and informative notes by Al Turner. (FS)
THE 101 RANCH BOYS: An A-Bomb Of Bibles/ Back In The Saddle Again/ Beer Bottle Mama/ Blue Ranger/ Candy And Women/ Cimmaron/ Happy Birthday My Darling/ Honeysuckle Rose/ I Belong To Only You/ I'll Find Someone/ I'm Building My Future In Heaven/ It's A Sin/ Merry-Go-Round Love/ Move It On Over/ One Little Kiss/ Paradise Isle/ Picking Cotton Down South/ Red Hair & Green Eyes/ Someday You'll Be Sorry/ Steel Guitar Rag/ Tear Drops In My Heart/ Thank You Lord/ The 101 Boogie/ There'll Be No Strings Attached/ Tico-Tico/ Timber Trail/ Won't You Ride In My Little Red Wagon/ You're My Last Sweetheart Darlin'/ Your Love Is Just A Souvenir

GENE AUTRY JSP JSPCD 77112 The Early Years Of One Of Country's Biggest Stars ● CD $28.98 $21.98
Four CDs, 100 tracks, highly recommended
Last few copies at sale price. This set features all the issued recordings made by Gene Autry from his first session in October 1929 through April, 1931. Though Autry became best known as a singing movie cowboy, on these early recordings the influence of his idol Jimmie Rodgers is very strong featuring a selction of sentimental songs, blue yodels, blues, Gene Austin style ballads and the occasional risque song. Autry was a warmer singer than Rodgers, but his records don't have much stylistic diversity since most of the tracks feature just Autry accompanied by his own guitar. About a third of the tracks benefit from the fine steel guitar, harmonica or jews harp playing of his long time associate Frankie Marvin and a handful of tracks feature an unknown mandolin player. There are a handful of covers of Rodgers' songs (Waiting For Train/ California Blues/ High Powered Mama, etc.) but most of rest are Autry's own. He recorded for a number of labels during this period and some of the songs appear than once in slightly differeng versions. Sound quality is generally fine and there are informative notes by Pat Harrison. Real Autry fans will want Bear Family's magnificent box set (BCD 15944 - $239.98) with nine CDs and a hard cover which goes up to 1933 and includes a number of unissued songs and alternate takes but for the rest of us this modestly priced collection provides a fine introduction to this important artist. (FS)

CARL BELEW B.A.C.M. 335 Cool Gator Shoes ● CD $14.98
28 tracks, 67 mins, highly recommended
Superb collection of songs by this outstanding honky tonk singer and songwriter. Although Carl only had modest success as a performer his songs were recorded by a host of artists and this set includes his original versions of songs that have become country standards - Am I That Easy To Forget (a song inspired by the breakdown of his marriage that was his biggest hit), Lonely Street and Stop The World And Let Me Off. Carl started his recording career with the Sowder label in 1956 - a custom 4 Star label for which he recorded four songs including a couple of great rockabilly songs I'm Long Gone and Twenty Four Hour Night before moving to 4 Star and eventually Decca. Almost all the songs here were written or co-written by Carl and are excellent examples of honky tonk country with splendid soulful vocals by Carl even though some have pop flavored arrangements. (FS)
CARL BELEW: Am I That Easy To Forget/ Another Lonely Night/ Can't You Hear Me Call Your Name/ Cool Gator Shoes/ End Of Time/ Every Time I'm Kissing You/ I Can't Forget/ I Can't Lose Something/ I Don't Know How I'll Live/ I Know But Tell Me Dear It Didn't Happen/ I Wish I'd Never/ I Wish You Love/ I'm Long Gone/ It Happened When I Really Needed You/ Just Out Of Reach/ Lonely Street/ My Baby's Not Here In Town Tonight/ No Love Tonight/ No Regrets/ Release Me/ Silence And Tears/ Stop The World/ Such Is Life/ That's What I Get For Loving You/ There She Goes/ Too Much To Lose/ Twenty Four Hour Night/ You're Doing Things To Hurt Me

JEANNE BLACK B.A.C.M. 354 He'll Have To Stay - Also Featuring Janie Black ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 65 min., recommended
Black (and her sister Janie) got her start after auditioning for Cliffie Stone, the producer of the Hometown Jamboree TV Show in the 1950s. Her first hit was an answer song to Jim Reeves' He'll Have To Go>, released while Reeves' song was at the top of the charts. Black's answer charted in the Top Ten on both country and pop charts. Her recording career slowed to a crawl by the early 1960s. This collection draws its tracks from Blacks Capital output, cut between 1960-61. Aside from the title track, Black covers Hank Williams (You Win Again), Buck Owens (Under Your Spell Again), Ivory Joe Hunter (I Almost Lost My Mind), Dallas Frazier (Commandments Of Love), Don Gibson (Don't Speak To me), and Eddie Arnold (You Don't Know Me), among others. She occupies the area between Doris Day and Patsy Cline, which is to say, she's on the pop side of country. And Capitol has a few too many moments when strings come stabbing in to mess up a song. Still, all in all, Black is a talented singer and worth a listen.(JC)
JEANNE BLACK: A Little Bit Lonely/ Beautiful Lies/ Commandments Of Love/ Don't Speak To Me/ He'll Have To Stay/ Hello Me Misery/ How Many/ I Almost Lost My Mind/ I Know I Can't Forget/ I Stole You Away From Someone Else/ I'm Gonna Make It Happen/ Jimmy Love/ Journey Of Love/ Lisa/ Loneliest Heart In Town/ Lonely Sixteen/ My Baby's Gone/ Oh How I Miss You Tonight/ Sleep Walkin'/ Under Your Spell Again/ When You're Alone/ You Don't Know Me/ You Win Again/ You'll Find Out

JACK BLANCHARD & MISTY MORGAN Omni 107 Weird Scenes Inside The Birdhouse ● CD $17.98
27 tracks, 74 min., highly recommended
The offbeat hit Tennessee Birdwalk (and thus the birdhouse reference in the title?), not included here but on OMNI 102, made them as famous as they are ever likely to be. And while they could and did crank out other novelty songs, they could and did also put out some fine straight up country stuff too. These mid-1970s tracks, including 5 previously unissued demos, also move from novelty (The Cockroach Stomp) to skillfully crafted country (Just One More Song. Sometimes Blanchard sounds a bit like Willie Nelson, sometime like Leon Redbone, but always like Jack Blanchard. The most unusual thing about the duo is the unusually large amount of talent they possess as singers and songwriters and producers. Such songs as When The Blues Come In From The Rain, Something On Your Mind, Because We Love, and I'm High On You should have been enough to make them famous. And slightly amusing numbers such as Cows all but ensure that most people never take Jack and Misty seriously. And that's too bad. (JC)

ELTON BRITT & FRIENDS B.A.C.M. 350 Vol. 3 - Early Recordings, 1933-1941 ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, 72 mins, recommended
Another enjoyable collection of sides from this popular performer featuring recordings drawn from commercial discs and radio transcriptions. Most of the cuts feature him with small instrumental and small vocal groups and the repertoire is diverse including traditional songs and tunes, western songs, pop songs, blues and more. Presumably some of these tracks are from very worn discs as some of the tracks are distorted and show the effect of too much digital noise reduction - a real shame as there is some fine music here and detailed notes from Kevin Coffey and Louis Hatchett. (FS)
ELTON BRITT: Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party/ Britts Reel/ Cowboy's Dream/ Drunkard's Blues/ Everybody Has The Right To Be Screwy/ Free Wheelin' Hobo/ Good Night Little Girl Of My Dreams/ Goodbye Little Darlin'/ I Like Mountain Music/ I'll Never Smile Again/ In A Little Gypsy Tea Room/ Isle Of Capri/ Leave It Up To Uncle Jake/ Mr. Ghost Goes To Town/ My Darling Clementine/ Open Up Them Pearly Gates/ Red Sails In The Sunset/ Rocky Mountain Lullaby/ Rocky Mountain Moon/ Roving Gambler/ Standing In The Need Of Prayer/ Sweet & Low/ Take Me Home/ The Lady In Red/ Whoopee-Ti-Yi-Yo

THE BROWN'S FERRY FOUR Gusto 0961-2 Fine Singing Of Wonderful Sacred Country Songs ● CD $8.98
24 tracks, very highly recommended
If you missed out on the two CD featuring the complete recordings of this superb group who recorded for King between 1946 and 1952 don't miss out on this glorious collection featuring a little over half their recordings. The group was an occasional group who mostly got together for radio shows and recordings. The first two sessions in 1946 featured Alton & Rabon Delmore, Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis. The Delmores provide most of the leads with the others providing harmonies - backup is mostly guitar with occasional mandolin and the sound is both gentle and soulful. Their next session in 1947 had Red Foley replacing Travis but the sound was pretty much the same. The group did not record again until 1951 and recorded four sessions in '51 and '52, most of them with The Delmores and Jones but a different fourth member and on one session Jones was replaced by Clyde Moody. The songs are a mix of traditional shape note songs, old spirituals, Alton Delmore originals and other old favorites all performed with absolutely exquisite harmonies. Tracks include Arm Of God/ Eternity Without Him/ Heaven, Eternal For Me/ Jesus Hold My Hand/ On The Jericho Road/ Rock Of Ages, Hide Thou Me and others. Country gospel at its finest. (FS)

VIN BRUCE Bear Family BCD 16895 Dans La Louisianne ● CD $21.98
CD  with 36-page booklet, 20 tracks. Playing time approx. 54 minutes. -- Long overdue set of Cajun icon Vin Bruce's very first recordings for Columbia Records spotlights a fascinating time and place in the development, popularity and rise of Cajun music and its inevitable collision with country and western at its mid-century apex. Among the highlights are Grady Martin multi-tasking on guitar, mandolin and fiddle, Owen Bradley on piano, Chet Atkins and Jack Shook and Tommy Jackson on guitars, and other leading lights of the early Nashville era. For the first time ever, these groundbreaking sides are brought together with flawless sound quality, including four never-before-released tracks. Bruce was the first Cajun artist to be marketed to the widespread record buying public by a major record company, his first single, Dans la Louisianne b/w Fille de la ville, was sung purely in French, but, like Harry Choates' 'Jole Blon' before it, that didn't keep it from becoming a country music sensation. Hank Williams was so endeared to Bruce's music that he invited him to play his public wedding ceremony at New Orleans' Municipal Auditorium. The authoritative booklet by Louisiana musicologist Michael Hurtt is the most detailed history of Vin Bruce and the Bayou Lafourche sound yet to be published, bringing together years of research, illuminating interviews and never-before-seen photographs. This set is a revelation for Cajun and country music fans alike.
VIN BRUCE: Are You Forgetting/ Claire de la lune (Light Of The Moon)/ Dans la Louisianne (In Louisiana)/ Fille de la ville (Girl Of The Town)/ Goodbye To A Sweetheart (Hello To A Friend)/ Here Is The Bottle/ I Tried/ I Trusted You/ I'll Stay Single/ I'm Gonna Steal My Baby Back/ Je laissez mon coer (I Left My Heart)/ Knockin' On The Door/ La valse de St. Marie/ Le délece/ My Mama Said/ Oh ma belle/ Over An Ocean Of Golden Dreams/ Si toi tu m'aime/ Sweet Love/ Too Many Girls

SONNY BURNS Bear Family BCD 16877 A Real Cool Cat ● CD $21.98
31 tracks, 80 mins, highly recommended
First off, I would like everyone to know that this collection contains some of the best liner notes that I have seen in years. Andrew Brown provides us with 40-plus pages of fantastic writing that not only tells the story of Sonny Burns, but also a lot of the history of the Starday record label and the heyday of Texas Honky-Tonk as well. Sonny Burns himself has long been written off as not much more than a side note in George Jones' history, for his early duets with George Jones and, most famously, for the duet session that he missed (George Jones' breakout hit Why Baby Why was originally supposed to be a duet, but Burns didn't make the session). That and a few other bad decisions and missed opportunities derailed Sonny Burns' career before he could rise above local popularity in Texas. Bear Family have rightly placed Sonny Burns in a more prominent place, and most fans of classic Country music will certainly have a new appreciation of him after listening through this fine collection. Sonny Burns sang in a rich lonesome baritone that shined best on the kind of melodramatic Honky Tonk ballads that made Hank Williams famous, and the "watch out for Satan" precautionary tales of the Louvin Brothers. I'm not saying that Burns was as great as Hank, or had the high harmony of the Louvins, but I would take him over Faron Young, nine singles out of ten. That's just about what you get here, too: Burns' original ten singles for Starday, A & B sides, plus two duets with George Jones, and a handful of unissued songs and alternative takes. So his entire 31 tracks that he recorded for Starday, that should have been the start of something great, instead they are another document of what could have been. (JM)

THE CALGARY KID B.A.C.M. 345 The Tenderfoot's Warning ● CD $14.98
22 tracks, 61 min., recommended
A somewhat mysterious figure in Canadian country music, Erwin was a real cowboy before he became a singing cowboy. He sold his is trick horse "Shawnee" to his friend Hank Snow early in Hank's career, and reportedly Erwin appears in dozens of movies, though perhaps often uncredited. His music has not been available outside of the original 78 rpm shellac discs released by Decca, Melotone, Apex, Enterprise, and Rancho labels, making this compilation particularly important and satisfying. And while the Kid's guitar skills are not up to Merl Travis' standards, he does all right and manages some first-rate sides. The material here, recorded between 1941-47, comes mostly from the Southern Apex and Apex labels. (JC)
THE CALGARY KID: Darling Please Tell Me Why/ Don't Leave Me Heartbroken Alone/ Going Back To Peaceful Valley/ I'll Never See My Darling Anymore/ I'm A Cowboy That's Never Been Thrown/ I'm Sorry We Ever Met/ Move On, Little Dogies, Move On/ My Heart Keeps Yearning For You/ My Indiana Moon/ Old Kentucky Moon/ Out On The Western Range/ Punching Cows On The 76/ Riders Of Liberty/ Rose Of Old Cheyenne/ She's My Little Lady/ Take Me Back To Bow River Valley/ The Cowboy's Lament/ The Dude Ranch Cowboy/ The Dying Cowboy's Farewell/ The Tenderfoot's Warning/ Way Out Yonder/ Why Have You Gone And Broken My Heart

JOHNNY CASH Columbia 60051 Bootleg Vol. 2 - From Memphis To Hollywood ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 57 tracks, 124 mins, highly recommended
Johnny Cash certainly cast a long shadow in American Music history, so it's no surprise that, years after his passing, there are numerous CDs worth of quality recordings still being released. This collection includes early Memphis area radio appearances, demos, and rare recordings, b-sides and out-takes from about the first 15 years of Johnny Cash's career. Disk one focuses exclusively on the formative years of 1955 - 1958 and has the radio shows, a slew of demos and then some rare Sun records recordings. There are 17 demo recordings throughout the 2 CDs, most of them '58 or before, and they include the first recordings of such major songs as I Walk The Line/ Country Boy/ Get Rhythm/ Train Of Love/ Come Along And Ride This Train, etc. These fantastic demo versions would be enough for the price of admission for most Cash fans by themselves, but then you have 40 more great tracks besides. The early radio shows include Johnny Cash doing promotional spots for the Home Equipment Company; not the natural pitch-man that someone like Hank Williams was, but that makes these spots that much more endearing. Disk two focuses mostly on Cash's late '50s to '60s material and has such gems as All Over Again/ The Johnny Yuma Theme/ Five Minutes To Live/ Johnny Reb/ The Frozen Logger/ You Beat All I Ever Saw/ Foolish Questions, and so on. As with the first installment in this series, I consider this an essential for any Johnny Cash fans and at least highly recommended to everyone else (I'll definitely be buying this copy!) (JM)

JOHNNY CASH Legends 21 100 Hits ● CD $19.98
5 CDs, 100 tracks, 246 mins, highly recommended
100 track collection, all in chronological order by release date, which means it starts with the legendary Sun records singles, goes into the Columbia releases, then hits more Sun recordings as the Sun label cashed in (pun intended) on Johnny's major label success. So you get all kinds of hits, like I Walk The Line/ Folsom Prison Blues/ Big River/ Get Rhythm/ Hey Porter/ Five Feet High And Rising, and many more, plus all kinds of more obscure tracks, like Come In Stranger/ Doin My Time/ The Troubadour/ Fools Hall Of Fame/ Smiling Bill McCall/ The Fable Of Willie Brown/ The Lumberjack/ Transfusion Blues/ When Papa Played The Dobro, etc., etc. There are certainly many Johnny Cash collections out there, and although there are a whole bunch of well-known songs here, at least half of them are very rarely, if ever, compiled. This is the biggest concentration of Johnny Cash's classic years outside of the big expensive Bear Family box sets. Since all of this material was recorded 1955 - 1960, you know how great it all is. Cash rarely hit a sour note in those years, and I can honestly say that I don't think there is a bad song on the whole collection. It is endlessly enjoyable and 50+ years later; it all still sounds fresh and cool as ever. (JM)

BILL CLIFTON Gusto 2225 The Gospel Side Of Bill Clifton ● CD $7.98
10 tracks, 26 mins, recommended
Bill Clifton was one of the first East Coast, college educated folk artists to embrace bluegrass music and formed his first bluegrass group in the mid 50s. With his background he didn't have the intense high lonesome sound of rural musicians but he was an engaging singer and recorded a lot of fine music. This is a collection of traditional and original gospel songs recorded for Starday in the late 50s/ early 60s finding him in the company of some great musicians and vocalists like Jimmy Selph, Ralph Stanley, John Duffey, Curley Lambert, Charlie Waller and others. Songs include Living The Right Life/ No Hiding PLace Down Here/ Mother Will Be Waiting There/ When I Lay My Burdens Down, etc. (FS)

TOMMY COLLINS Bear Family BCD 16897 Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight - Black Cat ● CD $21.98
30 tracks, 73 mins, very highly recommended
Fabulous collection of up tempo honky tonk and hillbilly boogie from this great West Coast singer and songswriter whose music helped define the the Bakersfield sound. It includes his rare first single Campus Boogie recorded for the obscure Morgan label in 1951 plus lots of great Capitol sides recorded between 1953 and '63 with backup from stellar musicians like Buck Owens, Fuzzy Owen, J.R. Sanders, Roy Nichols, Billy Strange. Many of the songs were written by Tommy and a number have become country standards and although I am not a big fan of novelty songs Tommy's ones were way above average and his great high honky tonk voice makes anything sound good. Includes hits You Better Not Do That/ Whatcha Gonna Do Now and Untied plus other great songs like Smooth Sailin'/ You Gotta Have A License/ I Always Get A Souvenir/ You're For Me/ I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail/ All The Monkeys Ain't In The Zoo and others including a couple of fine duets with his wife Wanda. Sound quality is spectacular and the 36 page booklet has informative notes by Todd Everett, great photos and full discographical info. (FS)
TOMMY COLLINS: A Love Is Born/ All Of The Monkeys Ain't In The Zoo/ Black Cat/ Black Cat (Stereo)/ Campus Boogie/ Heart's Don't Break/ I Always Get A Souvenir/ I Got Mine/ I Guess I'm Crazy/ I Love You More And More Each Day/ I'll Be Gone/ I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail/ It Makes No Difference Now/ It's Nobody's Fault But Yours/ Let Down (& Wanda Collins)/ Let Me Love You/ Love-A-Me/ Mary Don't You Weep/ Oklahoma Hills/ Smooth Sailin'/ That's The Way Love Is/ Think It Over Boys/ Untied/ Wait A Little Longer/ What Kind Of Sweetheart Are You/ Whatcha Gonna Do Now/ You Belong In My Arms/ You Better Not Do That/ You Gotta Have A License/ You're For Me/ l Vous Plait

COWBOY COPAS B.A.C.M. 358 Vol. 3 - Blues In The Moonlight ● CD $14.98
B.A.C.M.'s third collection of this fine honky tonk singer features 27 tracks recorded between 1945 and 1954. It includes many Copas originals along with his fine cover of George Morgan's Candy Kisses which was also a hit and a cover of Ray Price's I'll Be There along with the excellent title song written by Fred Rose and a couple of duets with Kathy Copas. Includes You Will Find Me Here/ Too Many Teardrops/ Boomerang/ My Hula Baby/ More Precious Than Silver And Gold/ Four Bare Walls And A Ceiling/ I Can't Go On/ Sorry, etc.
COWBOY COPAS: A Wreath On The Door Of My Heart/ Are You Honest/ Blues In The Moonlight/ Boomerang/ Candy Kisses/ Don't Leave My Poor Heart Breaking/ Four Bare Walls And A Ceiling/ How Much Do I Owe You/ I Can't Go On/ I'll Be There/ I'm Glad I'm On The Inside Looking Out/ If Wishes Were Horses/ It's Enough To Make Anyone Cry/ Love Me Now/ More Precious Than Silver And Gold/ My Hula Baby/ Open Door Open Arms/ Opportunity Is Knocking At Your Door/ Sorry/ Too Many Teardrops/ Unwanted Alone/ Waltz With Me/ Where You Goin'/ Why Do The Stormy Winds Blow/ Will You Forget?/ You Will Find Me Here/ You'll Never Ever See Me Cry

DICK CURLESS Omni 152 The Long Lonesome Road ● CD $17.98
29 tracks, 80 min., essential
Despite chalking up twenty-two hits on the Billboard Top 40 charts, and despite standing 6' 3'' tall and wearing an eye patch, Dick Curless isn't the household name he should be, though he would be if talent were the only determiner. His deep, resonant baritone sounds like the definition of country music on such moving and disturbing tracks as Bury The Bottle With Me. This excellent release reissues the 1968 LP, "The Long Lonesome Road" (Tower ST-5108), and adds 19 cuts from Curless' Tower and Capital catalog. The result is a collection without any weak tracks, remastered from the original master tapes. So good it will send listeners searching for his out-of-print Bear Family box set. (JC)

SKEETER DAVIS B.A.C.M. 337 Lost To A Geisha Girl ● CD $14.98
27 tracks, 66 mins, recommended
Fine collection of sides from the beginning of Skeeter's solo career in 1958 through 1960 including her six chart hits from this period - Lost To A Geisha Girl/ Set Him Free/ Homebreaker, her fine cover of Carl Belew's Am I That Easy To Forget, (I Can't Help You) I'm Falling Too her answer to Hank Locklin's Please Help Me I'm Falling and her vocal version of the Floyd Cramer hit Last Date. Although the arrangements are frequently pop flavored and some of the songs are pretty trite Skeeter was an excellent singer and this is a worthwhile selection of her early sides. (FS)
SKEETER DAVIS: Am I That Easy To Forget/ Chained To A Memory/ Devil's Doll/ Don't Let Your Lips Say Yes/ Give Me Death/ Have You Seen This Man/ He Left His Heart With Me/ Homebreaker/ I Ain't A Talkin'/ I Can't Help You I'm Falling Too/ I Need You All The Time/ I'm Going Steady With A Heartache/ Just When I Needed You/ Let Those Brown Eyes Smile At Me/ Lost To A Geisha Girl/ My Last Date With You/ No Never/ One You Slip Around With/ Set Him Free/ Slave/ Someone I'd Like To Forget/ Standing In The Shadows/ Under Your Spell Again/ Walk Softly Darling/ Wave Bye Bye/ Wishful Thinking/ Your Cheatin' Heart

AL DEXTER B.A.C.M. 322 High Price For Love ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 69 mins, recommended
26 tracks by this fine Texas country vocalist who is best known for his composition Pistol Packing Mama (included here) which he first recorded in 1942 and has since become a country standard. In spite of the title, the last session here is actually from 1941. The material here ranges from 1937 through 1947 including fine early swinging sides with small groups featuring some nice electric and steel guitar from Bob Symons. Later sides feature larger groups, often with the distinctive trumpet of Holly Hollinger. In addition to his fine vocals and band work, Dexter was a talented songwriter and almost all the songs were written or co-written by him. Apart from Pistol Packin' Mama most of the other tracks are lesser known and most are appearing on CD for the first time. Includes My baby Loves Me/ Gypsy Swing/ Come Back To Me My Darling/ You Will Always Be My Darling/ Just take A Little Time/ Barrel House Pola, etc. (FS)
AL DEXTER: At The End Of Each Day/ Bar Hotel/ Barrel House Boogie/ Barrel House Polka/ Calamity Jane/ Calico Rag/ Can This Love Be Real/ Come Back To Me My Darling/ Each Night I Cry Over Your Picture/ Gypsy Swing/ High Price For Love/ Honky Tonk Baby/ I Cry When I'm Blue/ It's Too Late To Say You're Sorry Now/ Just Take A Little Time/ Meet Me Down In Honky Tonk Town/ New Guitar Polka/ New Pistol Packin' Mama/ New Soldier's Farewell/ One More Day In Prison/ Pistol Packin' Mama/ She's The Sunshine Of Moonshine Valley/ The Texas Waltz/ Two Broken Hearts/ You Will Always Be My Darling

DOUG DILLARD & GENE CLARK Sundazed 6264 The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark ● CD $16.98
9 tracks very highly recommended
Gene left the Byrds in March of '66, to work as a solo and with his friends the Gosdin Brothers. After this association he returned to the Byrds for a brief spell and finally he left for good in 1968 & started a rich collaboration with banjo picker Doug Dillard. They fronted a ground breaking group, The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark, which produced two dynamite LPs for A & M in 1969. "The Fantastic Expedition" was their first release and it's a bonafide classic. Bernie Leadon (gtr,bj,v) was the integral member of the band, exerting such a positive presence, & sharing composer credits on 6 of the albums finest tracks - Train Leaves Here This Morning/ She Darked The Sun/ With Care From Someone/ The Radio Song/ In The Plan/ Don't Come Rollin'. The instrumentation is brilliant throughout. Fine mandolin, dobro & banjo leads plus surreal electric harpsichord on 3 songs. (SG)

THE DIXON BROTHERS JSP JSPCD 77113 With The Callahan Brothers ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 101 tracks, essential
Fabulous collection of old time country recorded between 1934 and 1939. The first three CDS and first third of the fourth features the complete recordings of The Dixon Brothers including tracks by The Rambling Duet featuring Howard Dixon and Frank Gerald and duets by Dorsey and his wife Beatrice. Lifelong industrial millhands, The Dixon Brothers from South Carolina were also among the most influential of the early country brother duets and were also successful recording artists in the 30's. The brother's repertoire was an intriguing blend of mountain ballads, parlor songs, self-penned country songs in the style of the day, religious songs, country blues, and songs about the hardships in the cotton mills drawn from personal experience. Dorsey does most of the lead vocal and plays regular guitar, brother Howard provides harmony vocals and steel guitar and the duo were inspired by Darby & Tarleton. Some of their most enduring songs were the topical Weave Room Blues, the humorous delight Intoxicated Rat and Dorsey's composition I Didn't Hear Anybody Pray which was later reworked by Roy Acuff as Wreck On The Highway and became a big hit for him. Other fine original songs include Sales Tax On The Women/ Spinning Room Blues and The Light Of Homer Rogers. Their version of the Civil War song Two Little Boys has entered the bluegrass repertoire via The Country Gentlemen. There are "answer" songs to such popular ditties as Maple On The Hill/ I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail/ More Pretty Girls Than One/ What Would You Give In Exchange and Bonnie Blue Eyes, religious songs like Not Turning Back/ A Wonderful Day/ When Jesus Appear/ A Church At The Foot Of The Hill and others as well as few senitimental songs. The tracks by Howard and Frank Gerald are similar to the songs by the brothers but somewhat gentler compared to the sometimes ferocious approach of the brothers. The last 20 tracks on the fourth disc is devoted to The Callahan Brothers from North Carolina another outstanding and popular duo featuring sides recorded between 1934 and '39. The brothers Homer (aka Bill) and Walter (aka Joe) sang (and sometimes yodeled) in harmony accompanied by their own guitars and some cuts feature some fine mandolin work. They perform traditional songs, blues, novelty, gospel, sentimental songs and the like. Songs include Once I Had A Darling Mother/ Katie Dear/ On The Banks Of The Ohio/ Drive My Blues Away/ I've Rode The Southern L&N, etc and their music perfectly complements that of the Dixons and they are deserving of their own in depth reissue. Excellent sound and informative notes round out another indispensible reissue of old time music from JSP. (FS) Note: In the copy I listened to discs C & D are reversed and I suspect that all copies are like that but all the music is there - just switch around the discs so the track listings on the jewel case match what's on the discs and "Bob's your uncle!"

JIMMY DONLEY Ace CDCHD 1324 In The Key Of Heartbreak - Complete Tear Drop Singles+ ● CD $29.98
This extraordinary double CD set brings together nearly every recording that tragic swamp pop singer Jimmy Donley made in the last two years of his life. All were either produced by or posthumously acquired by the Texas record producer Huey P Meaux, and all are presented here - some in stereo for the first time - from freshly made transfers of the original tapes, still stored in what was once Meaux's studios in Houston. The As and Bs of all of Jimmy's Tear Drop singles are here on Disc One, along with several demos that Meaux overdubbed and released after Donley's death. These singles include Think It Over/ Please Mr Sandman/ Loving Cajun Style/ I'm To Blame and other swamp pop standbys that can still be heard regularly in jukeboxes and on the radio throughout South Louisiana. Disc Two will be a treat for Donley fans - nearly 30 home demos, including songs that Donley never recorded commercially, revivals of Louisiana R&B classics by Cookie and the Cupcakes and Fats Domino and the original versions of several hits that Jimmy wrote for his friend and fan Fats. A few of these have been released before - but the vast majority have not. The booklet features a plethora of label shots and many rare lyric manuscripts, in Jimmy's own handwriting never seen before.

ROY DRUSKY B.A.C.M. 332 Swing Wide Your Gates Of Love ● CD $14.98
30 tracks, recommended
30 tracks recorded between 1955 and 1960 by this artist who had many hits in the the 60s and early 70s but is pretty much forgotten today. Drusky had a smooth but expressive style and wrote some very appealing songs but a lot of his recordings feature backup vocal choruses that were so prevalent at the the time and take away me of the impact of the performances - at least to my ears. It includes three of his early hits - Another/ Anymore/ I'd Rather Loan You Out and Three Hearts In A Tangle along with Come On Back And Love Me/ God Planned It That Way/ I Walk To Heaven/ Three Blind Mice (yes, a country version of the old nursery rhyme!)/ Wait And See/ Our Church, Your Wedding/ I'm So Helpless/ I've Got Some/Swing Wide Your Gate Of Love/ Almost Can't, etc. More than half the songs were written or co-written by DRusky. (FS)

LEE EMERSON Bear Family BCD 16526 It's So Easy For You To Be Mean ● CD $21.98
1-CD Digipac (4-plated) with comprehensive booklet, 35 tracks. Playing time approx. 80 minutes. -- First ever CD release by Lee Emerson! Emerson wrote classic country hits and recorded hillbilly, rockabilly, and even an R&B single! In 1978, Emerson was shot and killed by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler (The Ballad Of The Green Berets) in a fight over a woman! After arriving in Nashville, he landed a contract with Columbia and caught the attention of the label's biggest star, Marty Robbins. They taped two duet sessions together - the very few Robbins ever did! Emerson's Columbia issues also included his original version of what is now a bluegrass classic, I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name. Emerson shuttled between hillbilly, rockabilly, and rock 'n' roll. Two unissued Columbia masters are included. As a bonus, there are 12 demos of songs that he wrote for Kitty Wells, the Willis Brothers, and others.

TERRY FELL/ LEODIE JACKSON B.A.C.M. 333 Ramblin' Oakie ● CD $14.98
28 tracks, 77 mins, recommended
Fine collection of 28 sides from the mid/ late 40s featuring vocalist Terry Fell and Western swing steel guitarist Leodie Jackson, often working together. They are featured on a varied selections of mostly original compositions by Fell or Jackson recorded for small West Coast labels like Fargo and Courtney as well as the more significant independent 4 Star. Unlike his later material which was heavily loaded with novelty songs most of this is pretty much straight ahead honky tonk - sometimes with a Western Swing flavor. Apart from Jackson the personnel varies from session to session and some of the 4 Star sides feature the great guitarist Porky Freeman. An enjoyable collection with decent sound quality though, curiously, there is an insert apologizing for the sound quality on some cuts but I didn't find them any worse than other B.A.C.M. CDs so don't be put off by that. Includes quality notes by Kevin Coffey. (FS)
TERRY FELL & LEODIE JACKSON: Double Crossing Mama-1/ Double Crossing Mama-2/ Down And Out Blues/ Guess I'm Better Off Without You/ I Love You Too Much To Care/ I'm Sorry We Have To Part/ Jackson Stomp/ Little By Little/ My Pretty Little Japanese/ Napanee/ Paper Heart/ Please My Darling Think Of Me/ Please Tell Me Why/ Ramblin' Oakie/ Snow Deer/ Steel Guitar Melody/ Steeling The Blues (instro)/ Stop Your Flirting Little Girl/ Texas A La Mode (instro)/ That Naggin' Wife Of Mine-1/ That Naggin' Wife On Mine-2/ Waiting For A Love Untrue/ Why Should I Feel So Blue/ Will There Still Be A Light In Your Window/ With Another In Your Heart/ You Are My Sunshine/ You Didn't Want Me Anymore/ You're Tearing My Poor Paper Heart

FREDDY FENDER Golden Stars 5298 The Hits And More ● CD $19.98
3 CDs, 42 tracks, 125 mins, recommended
The great Freddy Fender's catalog is criminally neglected. This three CD collection does the bare minimum to help correct that. This is a cheap set with no notes, info, pictures, etc., just the music, which thankfully there is a lot of fantastic music here. Disk one features most of his best-known recordings in their classic versions. His most well known numbers Before The Next Teardrop Falls, and Wasted Days and Wasted Nights, along with some of his best Tex-Mex cover versions, like Ivory Joe Hunter's Since I Met You Baby, Merle Haggard's Silver Wings, and Lloyd Price's Just Because, all fantastic, makes you feel like you are back in the '70s listening to A.M. radio crying a tear into your Billy Beer. Disk two is a mix of Fender's originals - The Girl Who Waits On Tables/ A Man Can Cry, etc., covers of classic Rhythm & Blues and Country like You'll Lose A Good Thing, and Jambalaya, and traditional Mexican numbers like No Me Quieres Ver, all good, but the best track on disk two would have been Fender's take on Kris Kristofferson's For The Good Times, if it was his beautiful studio version, as it is we get an o.k. live version, an opportunity lost for sure. Disk three is almost entirely live, seemingly recorded at a number of different dates and for the most part, the performances are really good. The standout studio track on the disk the Doo-Wop esque "Como Quieres" ends up being the best track on the disk. So all in all, a mixed bag, but about the best we fans have available right now. (JM)

GRAYSON & WHITTER Document DOCD 8054 Complete Recordings, Vol. 1 : 1927-1928 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 68 mins ,essential
Available again. The first of two albums to feature the complete recordings of this superb and influential duo. Gillam Bannom Grayson from North Carolina was a superb singer and fiddler with powerful emotional vocal style and an intensley melodic fiddle style. He teamed up with guitarist Henry Whitter from Virginia in 1927. Whitter had been recording prolifically on his own and as a sideman and took Grayson to Gennett in New York and over the next couple of years they recorded a series of classic 78s for Gennett and Victor. Their music was strongly rooted in traditional ballads, old fiddle songs, minstrel songs and the like. While they may not have originated songs like Train 45/ Tom Dooley/ Handsome Molly/ Ommie Wise or Nine Pound Hammer their versions were to be the springboard for many old time and bluegrass versions to follow. Besides the superb musicianship and singing on display the duo make whimsical asides to each other which enhances the intimacy and spontenaity of the performances. This volume features two versions each of Train 45 and the beautiful Handsome Molly (one each for Gennett and and Victor), the tragic He's Coming To us Dead, the stunning Ommie Wise with fiddle accompaniment only, plus Nobody's Darling/ Shout Lula/ You'll never Miss Your Mother Until She's Gone/ Rose Conley/ Sally Gooden/ My Mind Is To Marry and others. Sound on a few of the Gennett cuts is a bit rough but is generally excellent. Notes by Ray Parker are satisfactory. If you missed the out of print "Appalachian Breakdown" set on JSP this is a must! (FS)

BOBBY GREGORY B.A.C.M. 351 And The Cactus Cowboys ● CD $14.98
30 tracks, good
Entertaining, if not particularly compelling, collection of mostly traditional Western songs from singer/ accordion player Bobby Gregory and his group The Cactus Cowboys. Most of the lead vocals are taken by guitarist Jake Watts with fine fiddle from Smilin' Eddie Smith. The matrerial here was recorded in the mid/ late 40s - mostly drawn from radio transcriptions. Songs include The Old Chisholm Trail/ Bile Dem Cabbage Down/ Old Paint/ The Dying Cowboy/ Old Grey Mare/ Yellow Rose Of Texas/ Arkansa Traveler/ Strawberry Roan/ Trail To Mexico/ Reeling Cowboy, etc.
BOBBY GREGORY AND THE CACTUS COWBOYS: Arkansas Traveller/ Blie Dem Cabbage Down/ Git Along Home Cindy/ Give My Love To Nell/ Goin' Fer Away/ I Had But Fifty Cents/ I Wish I Was Single Again/ I'd Rather Die For My Country Than Live With My Wife/ In The Pines/ Indian Polka/ Lil Liza Jane/ Love Oh Careless Love/ New River Train/ Old Grey Mare/ Old Paint/ Old Rattler/ Old Zip Coon/ Prairie Dog Hoedown/ Reeling Cowboy/ Strawberry Roan/ Sugar In The Gourd/ Tennessee Waggoner/ The Dying Cowboy/ The Old Chisholm Trail/ The Old Chisholm Trail - no 2/ The Tickle Finger Rag/ Trail To Mexico/ Whoa Mule Whoa/ Whoopee-Ti-Yi-Yo/ Yellow Rose Of Texas

STONEWALL JACKSON Omni 141 Life Of A Poor Boy ● CD $16.98
30 tracks, 76 mins, highly recommended
A country star of the late 50's and on into the 60's, Jackson is somewhat forgotten today; and yet, he racked up thirty-five Top 40 country hits between 1958 and 1971. This collection of hits and lesser known album cuts seeks to remind people that Jackson was and is (he's still very much alive) an honorable member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jackson's honky-tonkin' is savored on hits like I Washed My Hand in Muddy Water (probably his best known song), Trouble and Me/ Blues Plus Booze (Means I Lose), and Help Stamp Out Loneliness, and all are featured here. Omni have done a beautiful job of putting the compilation together-the songs are remastered from Columbia's original master tapes and the booklet contains exclusive liner notes and rare photos. This country music at its most pure, heartfelt, and down-home-most presented for the first time on CD-and deserves your attention. (GMC)

GEORGE JONES Bear Family BCD 16858 Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight - Heartbreak Hotel ● CD $21.98
This volume in Bear Family's "Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight" series features 35 up tempo recordings from the greatest living honky tonk country singer recorded for Starday and Mercury in the 1950s. It includes his first hit Why Baby, Why as well as rarities, obscurities, and shoulda-been-hits like No Money In This Deal/ Too Much Water/ Tall Tall Trees (written by Roger Miller and later a #1 hit for Alan Jackson), Nothing Can Stop Me/ That's The Way I Feel/ Revenooer Man (written by Donny Young, aka Johnny Paycheck)/ Who Shot Sam, and Sparkling Brown Eyes. There's Jones' only major pop hit (and #1 country hit) White Lightnin' (written by the Big Bopper). Starday Records persuaded Jones into recording several rockabilly tunes under the name of Thumper Jones - the classics Rock It and How Come It. Short of cash, Jones also covered other artists' hits for Starday's budget-priced series of Dixie EPs. These included Heartbreak Hotel and Johnny Horton's I'm A One-Woman Man (a 1988 hit when George re-recorded it for Epic). It also includes a rare radio spot from his Starday years. The 48 page booklet has extensive notes by country expert Rich Kienzle.
GEORGE JONES: Baby (You've Got What It Takes)/ Did I Ever Tell You/ Eskimo Pie/ Gonna Come Get You/ Heartbreak Hotel/ Hold Everything/ How Come It/ I'm Ragged But I'm Right/ If I Don't Love You (Grits Ain't Groceries)/ Jesus Wants Me/ Just Little Boy Blue/ Maybe Little Baby/ Mexican Boogie (Boogie Woogie Mexican Boy)/ No Money in This Deal/ Nothing Can Stop Me/ One Woman Man/ Please Take the Devil Out of Me/ Poor Man's Riches/ Revenooer Man/ Rock It (Alternate)/ Slave Lover/ Someone Sweet to Love/ Sparkling Brown Eyes/ Taggin' Along/ Tall Tall Trees/ That's the Way I Feel/ Time Lock/ Too Much Water/ Vitamins L-O-V-E/ White Lightnin'/ Who Shot Sam/ Why Baby Why/ You All Goodnight/ You Better Treat Your Man Right/ You Gotta Be My Baby

GEORGE JONES Fantastic Voyage 107 Ragged But Right - The Starday Years, Plus ... ● CD $21.98
Three CDS, 86 tracks, essential
Bear Family has done a great job reissuing the 60s recordings of the great George Jones on three box sets (all available from Roots & Rhythm) but this set is the first in depth look at his early recordings covering all of his issued recordings cut for Starday and Mercury between 1954 and 1960 including singles, LP tracks and alternate LP versions of some singles. This is Jones at the beginning of his career, the personification of hard-drinking East Texas honky tonk in the very era when the citified Nashville sound was taking off. From his very first crudely-recorded song, No Money in This Deal from 1954 through to the last cut on disc three you know that this is music untouched by the "Nashville Sound". It includes all his early hits like Why Baby Why/ You Gotta Be My Baby/ Don't Stop The Music/ Too Much Water/ Color Of The Blues/ White Lightning and all the rest along with lesser known but equally fine songs like Still Hurtin'/ Your Heart/ Boat Of Life/ What's Wrong With You/ All I Want To Do and many others including his great version of Jimmie Rodgers' Any Old Time, his monumental gospel song Cup Of Loneliness and some great duets with Sonny Burns, Virginia Spurlock and Jeanette Hicks. It also includes his four superb rockabilly sides that were issued as by Thumper Jones. Poignantly forlorn music from the singer who, after Hank Williams, recorded the greatest county music of the 1950s. Excellent sound and 16 page booklet has informative notes by Davy Penny and a discography of these recordings. If you love country music you must have this! (FS)
GEORGE JONES: 'Cause I Love You/ (I'm A) Wandering Soul/ Accidentally On Purpose/ All I Want To Do/ Any Old Time/ Big Harlan Taylor/ Boat Of Life/ Color Of The Blues/ Cup Of Loneliness/ Don't Do This To Me/ Don't Stop The Music/ Eskimo Pie/ Flame In My Heart (with Virginia Spurlock)/ Frozen Heart/ Give-Away Girl/ Gonna Come Get You/ Good Old Bible/ Gotta Talk To Your Heart/ Have Mercy On Me/ Heartbreak Hotel (as Thumper Jones)/ Heartbroken Me (LP version)/ Heartbroken Me (with Sonny Burns)/ Hearts In My Dreams/ Hold Everything/ Hold Everything (LP version)/ How Come It (as Thumper Jones)/ I'll Take The Chance/ I'm A One-Woman Man/ I'm Ragged But I'm Right/ I'm With The Wrong One (with Jeanette Hicks)/ I've Got Five Dollars (And It's Saturday Night)/ If I Don't Love You (Grits Ain't Groceries)/ If You Believe/ If You Want To Wear A Crown/ Into My Arms Again/ It's OK/ Jesus Wants Me/ Just One More,/ Let Him Know/ Life To Go/ Long Time To Forget/ Maybe Little Baby/ Maybe Next Christmas/ Money To Burn/ My Lord Has Called Me/ New Baby For Christmas/ No Money In This Deal (with The Western Cherokees)/ No No Never (with Virginia Spurlock)/ No Use To Cry/ Nothing Can Stop My Love/ One Is A Lonely Number/ Opry Rag (as George Jones' String Band)/ Play It Cool Man, Play It Cool (with The Western Cherokees)/ Ragged But Right (LP version)/ Rain, Rain/ Rock It (as Thumper Jones)/ Run Boy (as Thumper Jones)/ Seasons Of My Heart/ Settle Down/ Singing The Blues/ Sparkling Brown Eyes/ Still Hurtin'/ Sweet Dreams/ Taggin' Along/ Take The Devil Out Of Me/ Tall Tall Trees/ That's The Way I Feel/ Too Much Water/ Treasure Of Love/ Uh, Uh, No/ We'll Understand It/ What Am I Worth?/ What's Wrong With You/ White Lightnin'/ Who Shot Sam?/ Why Baby Why/ Will The Circle Be Unbroken/ Wrong About You (with Sonny Burns)/ Yearning (with Jeanette Hicks, LP version)/ You All Goodnight/ You Gotta Be My Baby/ You Never Thought/ You're Back Again/ You're In My Heart (with The Western Cherokees)/ Your Heart

GEORGE JONES Raven 323 Radio Lover: A Critical Anthology, 1980-19189 ● CD $19.98
25 tracks, 77 mins, very highly recommended
Continuing on from Raven 292 ("Step Right Up, 1970-1979: A Critical Anthology" - $19.98) this contnues the survey of George's Epic recordings, this time covering the period 1980 through 1989 and continues finding George in great form. The lushness of Billy Sherill's arrangements is somewhat toned down and never get in the way of George's heartfelt vocals. most of the songs were written specifically for George and reflect aspects of George's own life including the magnificent If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will), I>Still Doin' Time and the somewhat tongue in cheek Ol George Stopped Drinkin' Today. It also includes two honky tonk masterpieces - the tragic He Stopped Loving Her Today and the grim Radio Lover along with other great songs like She Hung The Moon/ You Must Have Walked Across My MInd Again/ The Right Left Hand and others. Great music from a great artist with excellent sound and informative notes. (FS)

GRANDPA JONES Omni 1443 Makes The Rafters Ring/ Yodeling Hits ● CD $17.98
32 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
Grandpa Jones, one of the mainstays of the Grand Ole Opry and television's Hee Haw gets the re-issue treatment from Omni. This CD compiles two albums Jones recorded for Monument Records in the early 60's - "Grandpa Jones Makes the Rafters Ring" (1962) and "Grandpa Jones Sings Yodeling Hits" (1963). The first is mostly re-recordings of his King Records material-notably I Guess You Don't Remember Now and It's Raining Here This Morning -with hotshot musicians like Jerry Byrd and Merle Travis. The second is a collection of yodel numbers-mostly written by Jimmie Rodgers-that were cut due to the success of his 1962 hit T For Texas. Both albums are milestones in Jones' recording career and this deluxe edition includes-in addition to songs remastered from the original Monument master tapes-exclusive liner notes, rare photos, a couple of bonus LP cuts and rare 45 sides. This is the first time these albums have appeared on CD and, is a fine companion to earlier releases on B.A.C.M. and Ace. (GMC)

EVAN KEMP & THE TRAIL RIDERS B.A.C.M. 347 Beautiful Nicola Valley ● CD $14.98
31 tracks, 74 min., highly recommended
Kemp, born in 1928, was a long-time Canadian country music star, gaining great popularity in the 1950s while hosting radio shows on CKWX and CKMO. His traditional style and butter-soft vocals, learned in part from his idol Wilf Carter, made ballads a particular strength. He was known as "The Golden Voice Of The Golden West," and it's not difficult to hear why. Kemp lived on the more sedate side of the country road, but that's no criticism, just description. And he wasn't afraid to incorporate Hawaiian guitar and yodeling into his songs, either. The tracks on this release (apparently drawn mostly from LPs on the Aragon label) were recorded between 1958-1960 and many of them are all but impossible to find elsewhere. Hats off to the British Archive of Country Music for making this wealth of top notch country music available again. (JC)
EVAN KEMP: 1901 Polka/ 4-H Polka/ Beautiful Nicola Valley/ Bile 'Em Cabbage Down-Cripple Creek(Instr.)/ Bulkley Valley Waltz(Instr.)/ Cattle Call/ Crawdad Song/ Dawson Creek Dolly/ Falling Leaf/ First, Last And Always/ Hold Me Close In Your Arms/ If You Come Home Tonight/ Lonely Old Blues/ Mansion On The Hill/ Many Tears Apart/ Midnight Ryder(Instr.)/ My Christmas Tree/ My Dream And I/ My Old Rockin' Chair/ Oh! Baby Doll/ Oh, Lady Be Good/ On The Golden Shore/ One Has My Name/ Over The Hill/ Rainin' On The Mountain/ Real Danger/ Snow Road Stomp(Instr.)/ There's Someone For Everyone/ Too Late To Worry Anymore/ Try A Prayer/ We Two

JERRY LEE LEWIS Bear Family BCD 16685 Old Time Religion ● CD $21.98
 Amazing collection of 20 gospel songs recorded live by Jerry Lee and his band at Brother Davis's Church in Memphis in December 1970 and previously unissued. These recordings were made three days after he renounced worldly music - a situation that didn't last very long! In addition to the songs Jerry Lee does some preaching and testifying and flogs his latest LP to the congregation.
JERRY LEE LEWIS: Amazing Grace/ Down The Sawdust Trail/ I Know That Jesus Will Be There/ I Won't Have To Cross Jordan Alone/ I'll Fly Away/ I'm In The Gloryland Way/ I'm Longing For Home/ If We Never Meet Again-I'm Gonna Meet You In Heaven/ It Will Be Worth It All When We See Jesus/ Keep On The Firing Line/ Life's Railway To Heaven/ Looking For A City/ My God Is Real/ On The Jericho Road/ Precious Memories/ Someone To Care/ The Old Rugged Cross/ There'll Be Peace In The Valley/ Tomorrow May Mean Goodbye/ When Jesus Beckons Me Home

THE LOUVIN BROTHERS Righteous PSALM 23:49 The Church Of Louvin ● CD $17.98
24 tracks, essential
The great Louvin Brothers recorded a lot of gospel and this CD reissues their first two all gospel LPs - "Nearer My God To Thee" (Capitol 825, 1957) and "The Family Who Prays" (Capitol 1061, 1958). Both features that distinctive Louvin sound blending their acoustic guitar and mandolin with electric guitar (usually Chet Atkins or Paul Yandell) and discreet bass and drums. The first LP is mix of Louvin originals like I Can't Say Now, Thankful and I Steal Away And Pray balanced with better known traditional tunes as This Little Light Of Mine/ Nearer My God To Thee and the old Southern gospel favorite Are You Washed In The Blood along with Hazel Houser's Praying and Wait A Little Longer, Please Jesus. The second LP is almost all Louvin originals and includes some great songs like the title song plus Satan Lied To Me/ Preach The Gospel/ Pray For Me/ Make Him A Soldier and others. These have been reissued on CD a couple of times before but if you don't already have them then this is an indispensible collection of country gospel at its very finest. (FS)

LULU BELLE & SCOTTY B.A.C.M. 330 The Sweethearts Of Country Music ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 68 mins, recommended
18 of the tracks are from commercial recordings made in the late 40s/ early 50s for several different labels and they do songs like That's Only Half Of It/ My Heart Cries For You/ New Love Waltz/ Precious Memories/ Spearmint On The Bedpost (the original of the song that became a 1961 hit for Lonnie Donegan as Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor Overnight)/You Don't Love Me Like You Used To/ Beyond The Starry Sky and others. It also includes their second recording of Have I Told You Lately That I Love You - a Scotty Wiseman composition that has become a country and pop standard. There are six tracks from late 40s Republic transcriptions where they are backed by The Prairie Ramblers and the set ends with two live recordings from the WLS National Barn Dance program which they were featured on for many years. Sound quality is decent and notes gives us a potted biography of the duo but no information about the recordings here. (FS)


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