Faron Young- I’ve Got Precious Memories

Although we are well into the month of February, as far as administrative purposes go, here begins yet another month of Donkey Show.  For February’s past, I have done themes, namely soundtracks for Oscars and music celebrating Black History month.  Well, this month is just plain old February with an odd week highlighting a special topic.  Well, no better way to kick off this month’s posts with an artist who is quickly becoming one of my new favorites, Faron Young.  I watched the Hank Williams biopic again the other day , I Saw The Light.  I was still largely unimpressed but I am starting to warm up to it a bit.  Anyway, the scene where Williams steals Young’s girlfriend is in the movie and made me think of this record, which I bought for a dollar.

A  Shreveport, LA native, Young was originally wanted to become a pop singer until he saw Hank Williams on the Louisiana Hayride.  Well pops loss is country music’s gain.  Frequent blog subject and fellow North Louisianan Webb Pierce discovered him and the rest as the lazy writer will say, is history.

This album, released in 1969 by Mercury records, came out about mid-career for Young.  It would reach #38 on the country charts.  The title track would serve as the chief single, reaching #25. Pretty decent little album.  Young is like the rest of the old school country stars.  You know what you are getting when you buy their albums.  If I was to give any criticism, I would say all the songs kind of sound the same, but you an easily get away with that when all your songs sound good.

For a sample, I went with “When All I Need Is You.”  For the record, “Drinking Champagne”, “One Man World”, and “You Bet Your Sweet Life” were close contenders.

Satisfactory.

Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers- Houston to Denver

Starting another week of the Show in this new year , this time with no overt theme.  This was one dollar.  I am not going to pass anything up with a home town reference.

Larry Gatlin, born in Seminole, Texas in 1948, is a country singer/song writer of considerable success, having 33 Top 40 singles.  After playing football as a wide receiver for University of Houston, he joined the gospel group, The Imperials.

It was during a tour with the group that he met Dottie West, who after recording two of his songs, set him up in Nashville. After a stint as a background singer, he eventually recorded two albums before enlisting the aid of his two brothers Steve and Rudy.  And from here, the trio enjoyed a widely successful period in the late 70’s/early 80’s before calling it a day in 1992.

This record, released in 1984 yielded three big hits, “The Lady Takes The Cowboy Everytime’, “Denver”, and “Houston” which would go #1 on the US country charts.  I remember hearing it at baseball games in the Astrodome as a kid as well.  Overall, the album is a pretty good representation of early 80’s/Urban cowboy style country.  Not my favorite era of the genre but still pretty good.

 

For a sample, I went with “A Dream That Got A Little Out Of Hand.

Satisfactory.

 

Tom T. Hall- New Train, Same Rider

We are continuing this week with records that a bought only to discover a different record inside. I know. Perhaps I should do a better job of checking these out before I buy.  Well when they are only a buck, I just roll the dice. It is not worth my time to insect every album.  Well, I got this for a dollar.  I am not an overly huge Conway Twitty fan but felt that it would be a good addition to the site and I could learn more about his catalog.

What I got when I got home was a record by country singer/songwriter, and novelist Tom T. Hall.  Hall wrote such country songs such as “Harper Valley PTA” and “Hello Vietnam”.  Hall, born in Olive Hill, Kentucky in 1936 has written 11 #1 songs as well as another 26 that made the Top Ten. Known as “The Storyteller”, Hall is still kicking it today.

 

This record, New Train Same Rider, was Hall’s 16th if I can count right.  Released in 1978 in RCA, it is actually a pretty good album.  I liked it.  Perhaps I liked it more than I would the Twitty album.  It features songs written by Hall such as “Come Back To Nashville”, “No One Feels My Hurt” and “Mabel, You Have Been A Friend To Me” as well as tunes written by others such as “Whiskey”, and “Dark Hollow”.  Pretty straight forward 70’s country.  In all, a pretty good album.

 

However, there was this one song that I felt was quite hokey. Released as a single that went #13 in the US and #5 in Canada, “May The Force Be With You” no doubt is a novelty gimmick designed to take advantage of the massive success of Star Wars.  This song is like a train wreck.  It is ugly but I can not dare to look away.  So here it is as a sample.  I would like to say that there are much better songs on this album, but this is the one that stuck.

 

Overall, despite this number, this is a really good album and as stated before, I believe I made out better with this than the original purchase. Satisfactory.

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.

Satisfactory

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.