Monte Mills- Sings Old Favorites

Seem to be overdoing it slightly on the country early this month, but what the hey.  This looked like the small local/novelty/independent type record that this blog thrives on.  Plus it had a bunch of songs that I like, most notably “Mama Tried”.  It was only one dollar.

Much to my surprise, Monte Mills has a web page and still plays around 30 to 50 shows or so a year with the Lucky Horseshoe Band, including opening for the late Merle Haggard.  So many times, records like this are a one and done-er. Based in Central Coastal California,Mills has played for a wide variety of functions and people, including entertainers and politicians. He also has released a handful or records outside of this one.

Mills Web Page

Mills, at the time of this record (which I believe was his first) was a humble horse shoe-er by trade who sang both on the trail and in the shower. As the record as well as the web page states, singing is still a side gig to horse shoeing.  However, on one fateful day, while out on the trail for the Ranch Vistadores annual 7 day ride, held at Lake Cachuma between Santa Barbara ad Santa Ynez, Mills befriended a studio musician, one  Dusty Rhoads, encouraged Mills to come out to Hollywood and make a record.  Well, Mills took his advice and made this effort, featuring, Rhoads on bass, Harold Hensley on fiddle, Roy Lanham on guitar, the great Bud Isaacs on slide, and Art Anton on drums. Anyway, the same story is on the back of the record with more colloquialisms and venacular.

For a sample, I decided to go with “The Auctioneer”.

Satisfactory record,  I really liked this.  Good songs and great selection of tunes with numbers from Haggard, Hank Williams, and Bob Wills among others. Plus, I was really happy to see that Mills stuck with it rather than letting his talent fall to the wayside after one effort.

Merle Haggard- Close Up

It is Saturday and here is that purveyor of the Bakersfield sound, Merle Haggard.  This double record set cost me either $1 or $3.  I am guessing $3 due to the fact that it is a double record. Probably got it at a Record Show at the Hilton. I guess this is a good time as any to complain about what became an occurrence this month.  That is a had albums picked out which I was kind of jazzed about only to find that the records inside were different.  One was an early Aretha Franklin record.  The other was the movie soundtrack of “The Pajama Game” featuring Doris Day, John Raitt, and Eddie Foy jr ( I know, I said I was sick of Broadway but…).  Anyway, I was quite bummed out at both instances.  I think in January, I will dedicate a week to these kind of albums.

This was a greatest hits compilation from 1969 by Capitol Records, released around the same time of some of Haggard’s biggest hits (not included in this collection) such as “Mama Tried” “Hungry Eyes”, and “Okie From Muskogee”.  Most of these songs are written by Haggard but there are other songwriters here such as Liz Anderson, Tommy Collins, Wynn Stewart, and Ernest Tubb.  Overall, it is a good collection of early Haggard showing off both his singing as well as song writing.

For a sample, I went with my old favorite, the Haggard penned “Swinging Doors” although I like Ray Price’s version better which I believe I posted on this blog.


Hank Snow- The Southern Cannonball

This was $4.  It is Saturday.  Yay!! Also last post of the month although I seem to think I missed a week somewhere.  A quick check of the schedule tells me this can not be.

Wrapping up another month of the show with Mr Hank Snow. I am running out of new pictures of him to post. This record was released in 1961.  It was a RCA/Camden compilation effort.  It is ok.  I felt a lot of the songs were derivative from other works (“I’m Moving In”, “Boogie Woogie Flying Cloud” for example).  The biggest hit from this was “Let Me Go Lover” which went to #1 in 1954.

For a sample, I was drawn to “When Mexican Joe Met Jolie Blon”.  I also really liked “Trouble, Trouble, Trouble”.  It is a kind of talking blues number kind of like Woody Guthrie’s style.  I have never heard Snow perform a number like this.

Criticism aside, of course I am goint to like one of Snow’s records.  Satisfactory.  See, I learned something from last month.  Put the easy posts at the end of the month.

VA- Cotton Eyed Joe & Other Texas Dance Hall Favorites

This was $4.  I got it for good ol’ Cotton Eyed Joe, which is sort of a rite of passage in Texas.  I am reminded of the words of a friend of mine, Cullen, who told me if you are going to pay music in Texas, got to know “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Jole Blon”, which is also on this record.

This record was released in 1979 by producer/ engineer David Stalling’s Delta Records.  The label, based in Nacogdoches, I believe put out records by various country musicians as well as other genres.  This album was recorded at ACA Studios in Houston and features Ex-Texas Playboys Herb Remington on steel guitar and Bob White on fiddle.  Eddie Nation, from Houston, handles the lead guitar.  Apparently, he also played on some of Freddy Fender’s albums.

This record is what the title implies, a collection of Texas dance hall favorites.  No vocals on here. Instead, it is all instrumentals.  A lot of classics on here besides the two mentioned above, including ” Faded Love” Whiskey River”, “San Antonio Rose”, “Waltz Across Texas”, and “Maiden’s Prayer”.  Probably would have liked some vocals on this, but the songs are quite technically good country playing.  Decent album.

For a sample, as I always go with the same tunes, here is “Cotton Eyed Joe” along with “Faded Love”.

Good Record. Satisfactory.

Ray Price- I Fall To Pieces

Of course I am going to throw some country into this anniversary month.  And of course it is going to be Ray Price.  I have posted various albums of his on this site.  This was $4.00 .  Besides being a Price fan, the track list probably led me to get this album. On the personal front, I spent the weekend in Edmonton with a whole lot of family.  It was my pop’s 75th birthday party.  It was a pretty good time.  I saw a lot of family I hardly ever get to visit.  I had to give a brief speech for which I had procrastinated writing (much like this blog).  The plan was to write the speech on the West Jet flight up but I decided to watch Rogue One instead and was thus forced to write something during my layover in Calgary Airport (which I believe is one of the poorly designed airports in North America).    Well, I got it done and the speech was well received.  

This album came out in 1969 on Harmony Records, a subsidiary of the parent, Columbia Records.  Consisting of previously recorded material, this collection seems to cull together songs made famous by other singers such as the title track, “San Antonio Rose”, and “Cold Cold Heart”.  Good album.  What more could you ask?  It is that classic Ray Price sound. As a side note, I think I mentioned it last Ray Price post, I did but if not, I am still highly disappointed with Price’s portrayal in the Hank William’s Biopic I Saw The Light.  I mean he came off looking like a huge putz.

For a sample, I went with “I’m Tired” and “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes”

Satisfactory album.

Hank Williams- The Very Best of Hank Williams

Keepin’ Hank Week real by using the country “in’ ” rather than “ing” as well as another from from the master, Hank Williams Sr.  This came from the Big Al collection.

I mentioned it last month, but I did not like last years William’s biopic I Saw The Light. First, I did not find Tom Hiddleston believable as Williams.  Second, I did not really like or follow the story. It seemed real convoluted.  It was a bunch of things that happened as opposed to offering any why’s.  I thought the actor who played Ray Price looked like a chump.  I mean, I know Price was young and nave but he did not look like a country singer in the movie.  Finally, I was really hoping for more cameos of famous singers of the time (i.e Webb Pierce of Johnny Horton).  Other than Faron Young and Hank Snow, I was greatly disappointed in this regard.

But here this is, a MGM compilation of hits.  Nothing real radical but it is a collection of great ones from the great one.  This was a Canadian release put out in 1973.

For a sample, I went with my favorite Hank Williams’ song “Ramblin’ Man”.  I blogged Jr’s version earlier this week.  I thought i would post this for contrast.

Greatest hits albums are pretty standard but given his body of work, this is a satisfactory record.

Hank Locklin- Original Country and Western Stars

Hank Week is chugging along with this album from Hank Locklin.  This was $1. I got it for the song that I am posting. Back in 5/11/1968, this album belonged to a person by the name of Blackmon.

Locklin, (1918-2009) was a singer-songwriter and close to 50 year veteran of the Grand Ole Opry.  From 1949 to 1971, he had 70 charting singles.  This was a greatest hits album that appears to be a series from Design Records.

This album was released in 1962.  A good chunk of his hits are on here but the album is notably missing a few including “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” and “Geisha Girl”.  Perhaps this is due to licencing issues.

I bought this album for Locklin’s big hit and perhaps signature number which would be covered by many in both country and pop music as well as referenced by Morrisey, “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On”.  I liked this song so much I started playing it myself but I have kind of modified it.  I changed the vocal structure a bit as well as one of the lines.  I never liked the chorus line “I still care for you”.  If a guy is going to sing about heartbreak, he needs a stronger emotion than caring.  I switched it out to ” I’m still in love with you”.  Due to these modifications, I can no longer listen to the original versions.  But this still is a great song and the blueprint to what I am doing so here it is as a sample.

As of late, I have been going back thru the blog’s musical archives and I believe this is probably the most posted song besides “Brazil”.  As far as the album, meh.  Could have been a better compilation.  No strike against Locklin.

Hank Williams- Sing, Sing Sing /The Angel of Death 45

This week is Hank Week so you know Sr would be here in some form.  Well, actually he is here twice.  I was one Hank short when I planned this blog.  I went out two weeks ago to get another Hank but fell short.  Instead, I got about 30 other records with 0% Hank content.  Oh well.  For the most part, I think I only went shopping for records a dozen times in 2016.  Probably will do the same of less in 2017.  Just too many records right now.  But back to this, this was $5.

From what I have been told, this was one of the last songs Hank Williams wrote and recorded before his death in 1953.  This 45 was released thereafter in 1954.  The A side was actually a hymn, written by Williams, ” I’m Going to Sing, Sing, Sing”.  “Angel of Death was the B-side.  The single did not chart.

Normally, something like this would fall thru the cracks but luckily this song was covered by Shane MacGowan while he was on hiatus with the Pogues.  He recorded a version live with his backing band, The Popes. There is also a more stripped down version from Williams floating around.  I am on the fence over which one I like better.  The backup band, the Drifting Cowboys,  is a nice touch but there is a certain stillness in listening to Williams sing this unaccompanied.

Due to its foreshadowing of what was to come for Williams, I am posting the B-side- “The Angel Of Death”, which despite its gruesome title and connotation, is actually a quite pretty song.


Hank Williams Jr- Rowdy

Still rolling with Hank Week this week.  Here is an album from Jr.  This was $3.  I kind of liked the cover.

I wrote a blog post on Hank Williams Jr early on on one of his early albums, when he was pushed into being an imitator of his father.  This brought much discouragement to the singer who most desperately wanted to have his own voice.  By the time  this album came out, in 1981, he had well established that voice and had was well on his way to being accepted in country music on his own terms.

This album went to # 2 on the country charts.  Two singles, “Dixie On My Mind” and “Texas Women” both went to #1.  This album was the beginning of a very successful run of records in the 1980’s, six of which that would go to #1 in a row.

When I bought this album, for some reason or another, I thought “Ramblin’ Man” was the Allman Brothers’ version.  When I listened to the record and found out it was his father’s version, I was elated.  I am not sure why I did not put the two together at time of purchase.  I guess it was that whole distancing himself from his father’s music.  I assume that at this time in his career, Jr was comfortable honoring his father’s catalog as well as in new songs such as “Are You Sure Hank Did It This Way.”  Therefore, I am using “Ramblin’ Man” as a sample.

Satisfactory Record.


Barbara Mandrell- Midnight Angel

Happy Boxing Day.  This was 80 cents.  I really like Barbara Mandrell.  I watched her show as a kid. A pal of mine came into to town Christmas Eve.  we had a couple of drinks and what not .  When I woke, my apartment was trashed.  Records and power cords everywhere.  So I got to clean for Christmas.

One of the things I keep trying to do while in Amsterdam but for some reason keep missing is the Brouwerij Brewery.  I believe it the largest craft brewer in the area.  Located kind of out of the way down on the Eastern Docklands, the Brewery has been growing in popularity as craft beer has also become more popular.  I went their twice.  The first time, I was too early so I had a drink at the nice cafe next door.  The second time, I was too late.  Way too crowded.

This was Mandrell’s sixth album.  It was released in 1976.  At the time, Mandrell as have modest success in country music.  Bigger success was on her horizon.  Decent album.  I liked it enough.  The title track was the lead single.  I also liked “Partners” and “I Never Said I Love You”.

For a sample, I went with a song off the album that would be a single for her next album, “Married…But Not To Each Other”.