My sincere thanks to all who voted for me in the recent UK Country Radio Awards giving me the "British Country Single of the Year" Award for "Family Bible". Thanks also to all the Country Djs who nominated the single, The Internet Radio Show for a great voting site on the web and to Southern Country Magazine who are the sponsors of the awards.
My apologies to those not included this month, I will catch up next time. This months I have another selection of UK and US CDs that could grace any collection and first up my favourite bluegrass Cd this year...
RANDY KOHRS - I'M TORN - LONESOME DAY RECORDS LDROO5
SONGS;- I'm Torn-Take Me Back-It Looked Good On Paper-I See How You Are-Handmade Nails and Homemade Love- Hurry Back Jesus-Fifty Good Years-Passion's Price-Over You By Now-That's What I've Learned [From Lovin' You]-Mountain StoneTAMMY MALONE - HE'LL BE BACK - BSW RECORDS CD 2416
BSW records keep releasing solid country product much to the delight of the genuine country fan who likes country with steel guitar and fiddles. Heres a new name Tammy Malone, a singer songwriter who knows how to deliver a good country song. The album of 10 songs runs a little over 30 minutes. Tammy co-writes 3 songs with Blake Hottinger while Joseph C. Farris writes another 3."He'll be back" is a Hank Cochrane/ Red Lane/Dale Chris Dodson song originally done by Lee Ann Womack and this version is just as good. With Tammy positively smouldering her way through the song, this is probably the best track on the CD and a great single for radio. The Mark Sherill /TR Stewart song "Those were the nights" and Tammy own song "It Might Have Been Worth It" would make another couple of radio friendly singles while "Just for a moment" is a sultry laid back ballad that gets your attention. The musicians are all stone country players and Greg Cole deserves a special mention as his name appears behind drums, keyboard, background vocals, engineer and co-producer. Overall a good listen and worth looking out for. Check out www.tammymalone.com
OTHER SONGS:- Holding on to the good life-I believe-That's what a woman thinks-Midnight Magic-Wake Up -Cowgirl.
RICHARD PALMER - HEAVEN - DIAMONDROADS DRRCD003
JIMMY SCOTT - BREAD UPON THE WATER - COUNTRY ROAD RECORDS CRM 1002
OTHER SONGS:-What's your excuse-We've got a friend-Is it true-A thousand cattle-Cast your bread upon the water-Take a look in your heart-Walk beside me.DOC HOPKINS & HIS COUNTRY BOYS, VOLUME 2 - BRITISH ARCHIVE OF COUNTRY MUSIC -BACM CD0091.
Doc Hopkins was a fine singer , and it remains something of a mystery as to why he didn't have a great recording career. He made his first appearance on record for Paramount in 1931, and another six sides under his own name for Decca in 1941. His reputation, rests almost solely on the transcriptions he made in the 1940s for M. M. Cole, 30 of these recordings are reproduced here. Born in Kentucky on 26 January 1900, he played guitar, mandolin and banjo at an early age. He served with the Forces in France during WW1. He teamed up with Karl & Harty and began a regular broadcast in Louisville. In 1930 the trio moved to the famous WLS National Barndance, in Chicago and changed their name to "Cumberland Ridge Runners". Hopkins left the following year to try his hand as a solo artist but in 1942 he returned to WLS where he was to remain. He died on 3 January 1988. Although listed as "Doc Hopkins & His Country Boys" it is almost certain that on most, if not all, of the trackson the CD, it is in fact The Prairie Ramblers supplying the backing. There is a great fullness to the sound here with instrumentation you expect from that period. No drums, synths, electric guitars etc, just fiddle, bass, guitars and other acoustic instruments with the occasional small orchestra. Mountain songs, Cowboy songs, Home songs, Western songs and even Sacred songs are included in the 30 listed below and it runs for over 65 minutes. Thanks to Brian Golbey for the biography details reproduced here with kind permission. Another winner from the BACM. Check www.bacm.users.btopenworld.com for this and their catalogue and more of the same, or you can order direct by telephone at 01304 205000.
SONGS:-Going to little Creek-Honeysuckle time-Little Old log Cabin-My old Kentucky home-Sally get your hoe cakes done-Johnson Boys-Home on the range-Hold fast to the right-Bring back my blue eyed boy to me-Grandfather's clock-Little red caboose behind the train-I'll give you a paper of pins-Massa's in the cold cold ground-Put my little shoes away-Froggie went a courting-Where has my little dog gone-Whispering hope-We'll have a little dance tonight-There'll come a time-Get along down to town-The old folks at home-This train-'Tis sweet to be remembered-Moose meat-He's the lily of the valley-The vacant chair-When you and I were young Maggie-The last great roundup-Goodbye my lover goodbye.
FRANK & JAMES McCRAVY - OLD TIME HARMONY SINGING - BRITISH ARCHIVE OF COUNTRY MUSIC -BACM CD0085.Biographical details about the McCravy Brothers are rather scarce but they recorded for Regal, Brunswick Panachord and Zonophone between 1927 and 1935. In addition to working under their own names they also appeared as the Lonesome Pine Twins and the Mack Brothers. Frank and James McCravy came from South Carolina and began to develop their rather formal style of singing baritone and tenor at university. Much of their material was slanted towards gospel songs which were in keeping with their main work as evangelists. They also preferred to record their songs in New York City, where they used the more formal musicians employed by the studios. Among those musicians was Carson Robison who is on several of the selections here. Robison, often worked with visiting artists where his guitar, banjo, whistling and harmonica were used to good effect. Lou Raderman and Murray Kellner were the violinists on some of these tracks. The banjo player on Swinging on the Golden Gate was Robison, although it could well be Roy Smeck or John Cali on other tracks. The accompaniment varies with guitars, fiddle, banjo, piano and occasional brass and small orchestration. Many of the songs are well known from that period and while these are from 1927 to 1931 its pure nostalgia. Check out the web pages at www.bacm.users.btopenworld.com for this and their catalogue or you can order direct by telephone at 01304 205000.
SONGS:- She was bred in Old Kentucky-Let me hear the songs my mother used to sing-Sweet Genevieve-When they ring the Golden Belles-Sweet Marie-Trail of the Lonesome pine-When I wore my daddy's brown derby-Old fashioned photograph of mother-The vacant chair-When the rest of the crowd go home- Down where the cotton blossoms grow-When you are I were young Maggie-Swinging on the golden gate-Leave it there-These bones gwine rise again-No hiding place down there( Sister Lucy)-Six feet of earth-Till the end of the waltz-Stand by me-Ring them heavenly bells-Trundle bed.
PETE SCHLEGEL - STRONG STUFF - PS8143A
Pete is showing off his vocal ability well on this, his first CD of 9 songs running 30 minutes. The songwriters contributing songs here include Bill Anderson, Aaron Baker, Marty Brown, Chris Lindsey, Rich Fagan, Merle Haggard, Steve Young, and Paul Overstreet,( just to list the names I know).7 of the songs feature top session players including many from the top drawer of players in Nashville and I mean Richard Bennett and Chris Leuzinger on guitars, Bruce Bouton steel and dobro, Glen Duncan fiddle, Kirk Johnson harmonica and Clyde Brooks percussion ( and producer) who all give of their best.
His "LIVE" band play on 2 tracks, Haggard's "Swinging Doors" and Steve Young's "Lonesome Orn'ry & Mean" and they certainly know their stuff too. The single " Liquor To Like Her"( the Paul Overstreet song) is included here also. Overall a pleasant and interesting listen with "A Girl Like You", "Short for Gone", and the pacy racy "Gotta Get To Her Before My Reputation" being my favourites. He handles all the songs well with great delivery and the production is down to earth with nothing overcooked. It's a solid country CD with a modern sound that stays in the traditional vein. www.trusouth.com is the web address.
OTHER SONGS:-Leavin ain't as easy as it sounds-Something strong-That's the way I love her.BECKY HOBBS - SONGS FROM THE ROAD OF LIFE -BECKAROO RECORDS BR 2004
Its been a while since I've heard a Becky Hobbs CD and this makes the wait all the more worthwhile. 12 songs written by Becky , 4 with co- writers Dene Anton, Don Goodman and Kenny Royster covering a variety of styles and tempos. The single "No More War" which was on the Hot Disc last year is here along with her outstanding tribute to Johnny Cash "Another Man In Black" (which should be the next single for Europe).There are some lovely touches on this CD all enhancing the overall sound and while it was not recorded at one of the big studios, it has a quality that matches anything that was. "Time stands still" is another anti-war song while "Vienna" is a catchy up-tempo fiddles and steel love song as is "What are you doing in my Dreams" this one with a shuffle tempo. "Girls Night In" is just that with a rocking beat, "Live Until You Die" is western swing goodtime music at its best. The addition of the accordion from Becky on "Mama Saw Paris" is inspirational and "Heart " is the big ballad that Becky does so well. There's lovely steel guitar on 8 songs from Tony Paoletta while Rob Hajacos is drafted in on 3 songs to add great fiddle. Dug Grieve and husband Duane Sciacqua share the electric guitar work, Pat McGrath acoustic, Chris Nole piano, Steve Holland drums and other musicians added on different tracks. Duane produces the lot and the title of the album tells the whole story. Great songs, well performed, polished, top quality, and all the other adjectives that praise a CD, can be added to this one. More information on this and all Becky's recordings are available on her web site www.beckyhobbs.com and this is one you will be delighted at add to your country collection.
OTHER SONGS:-Woman getting older-Let there be peace-Kiss my ashes.REBEL HEARTS - RUNNING WITH A RENEGADE HEART - HOUSE OF TUNES
Rebel Hearts is a 3 piece vocal group Don Mc Dowell, Darren Castle, & Kody Anderson. They combine to create a blend of country & rock, where the influences of Elvis, the Eagles and Garth shine through. Rebel Hearts was formed in 1997 by singer & songwriter Don McDowell. He added lifetime friend & lead singer Darren Castle to front the group and they began creating great records. They became the 1997 & 1998 independent country group of the year with their debut CD "Runnin' Free". They had seven consecutive No 1 independent radio country hits through 2003 and they even broke into the Billboard charts in August 2000. In 2003, they recorded six new songs, with new member Kody Anderson and these six included a duet with Christy O' Driscoll, and one with "BoyzNiteOut" released as a compilation plus 6 from the "Runnin' Free" titled "Collectibles". In late 2004, they finalized this all-new CD "Runnin' Wild with a Renegade Heart", a two CD set. The "Runnin' Wild" CD features Kody & Don singing ten new country songs while the "Renegade Heart" section has seven new songs with vocal by Darren plus the 2 duets making 19 tracks in total. It's a great CD showing the band to perfection with Don writing or co-writing 8 of the songs and former member Duane Sousa co-writing four. Their first single "Good to go" entered the Independent Country Chart in the USA in January at No 8. It's available in April and the promotional copy I received does not list other details. It has a great variety in country sounds leaning to the country-rock side a little at times, great musicianship, harmonies and vocals and a super collection from a great trio.There are some great songs included here that could do well for the group as most of the material is radio friendly with a tight modern sound. Check out their web pages at www.hotrebelhearts.com
SONGS:-Colorado-Hard Rock Hotel-Jesse Dunn-Baby Doll-Good To Go-Wrangler Walk-Everything To Me-Hero's -When Will I Be Loved-Leavin' You-Lovin' You - Mountain Country - Forever & Always-Too Young-Broke The Mold -Sixty Years Ago-Daddy's Dream-Stole That Kiss-Don't Tell-That Girl.DEBBIE WHITE - FLAME OF LOVE -TEXAS DIAMOND RECORDS TD 101
From the opening notes of "Flame of Love" you just know you are in for a feast of "steel guitar & fiddles" traditional country. Debbie's voice is a rich blend of Texas and Tennessee sitting on top of a tight blend of the musical talents of just six musicians, keyboards, steel, fiddle, bass, drums and guitars all admirably produced by Phil York which gives the whole Cd a lovely rich, clean, top quality recording. Debbie is equally at home singing the up-tempo "Flame of Love" "Don't You Know" and "Cowboy Cute Cowgirl Crazy" or the bluesy "Nobody loves me like the blues". Her version of the standards "Somewhere over the rainbow" or "At Last" are good covers. She does great versions of the Chris Waters /Holly Dunn song "As Long As You Belong to me" and the Wendy Waldman /Reed Nielsen song "Half Enough" originally recorded by Lorrie Morgan in 1992. She also covers Shania Twain's "God Bless The Child". The songs "Feel Good Look Good" and "Don't You Know" are girls night out songs in true Texas tradition. "Feel Good" along with "Flame of love" and "Cowboy Cute" are my picks from the Cd as radio friendly singles that could do really well in Europe. This may be Debbie's first CD but certainly not her last . Most enjoyable country fare for the traditionalist. Check out the web site at www.debbiewhitemusic.com
RONNIE MC DOWELL - THE ELVIS COLLECTION -CURB RECORDS CURCD159Ever fancy singing with the Jordanaires, or having Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana play for you with Millie Kirkham also singing backup. Well if you like Elvis songs then you should rush out and get a copy of this 2 cd set on Curb Records .On Disc 1 you can listen to the voice of Ronnie McDowell singing the great Elvis hits along with original members of Elvis' band, Scotty Moore (lead guitar), D. J. Fontana (drums) and members of The Jordanaires who all backed Elvis from 1956 through most of the 60's. There's 13 Elvis hits plus new recordings of Ronnie's "The King is Gone" and the triple tribute to Elvis, Kennedy and Jesus, "Who Did They Think He Was" written by Richard Leigh and Pat McManus making 15 tracks in all running over 40 minutes (see list below for the hits).Then after listening to the songs you can put on CD 2, which is all the backing music as on CD 1 and then add your own voice, and sing along Elvis style. The words to all the songs are included in the sleeve notes. For the Elvis fan this is a must, probably the only chance ever for you to "Sing Like The King" .every day if you wish. in the privacy of your own home. and never mind the neighbours. Great idea and sure to be a big seller.
SONGS:-That's all right -Mama-Don't be cruel- All shook up-Blue Christmas-Let me be you Teddy Bear-Wear you ring around my neck-My wish came true-Stuck on you-It's now or never-Are you lonesome tonight-Good luck charm-Can't help falling in love-An American trilogy.ROBERT ALLAN - SOMETHING TO REMEMBER ME BY -RAS RECORDS
Robert is a new name to me as I only heard him when his new Cd of 12 self-penned song on his own record label arrived. Robert has led a varied musical career since his first performance aged seven singing "Happy Trails To You". He formed various bands over the years and spent 3 years as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville fronting Stonewall Jackson's band. He has moved to Atlanta, Georgia where this was recorded. It's a fine collection of personal songs many other people will associate with, like the love songs "Till I Found You" "Did You ever fall in Love" "Walked Out" "Never Knew Love" "Love on her mind" and "Picking up Pieces". There's a lovely novelty bluegrass song "Bucket in the Sky" (a great tribute to Col. Saunders Kentucky Fried), a little Rock 'n Roll with "Boogie Woogie Rock & Roll", a tribute to all the Georgia Ladies in that song while "It's a cat's life" has a great bluesy feel, looking at life through the eyes of an alley cat. The song "Sure been missing you" is a family tribute to his Mom and Uncle who influenced his early musical days. Robert plays rhythm guitar, and percussion, while Barry Thrasher plays lead electric, Kenneth Head keyboards, Ricky Fargo on drums, Tim Hamilton on steel, Mike Steel on bass on 6 songs, Buddy Carvalho on bass on 4 and Gary Land on upright bass on "Cats Life" and "Bucket in the sky". Randy Smith adds fiddle, banjo & mandolin on Bucket and Raquel Rae sings backup on 3 songs. It's a fresh country album touching all the bases connected to country (except gospel) and worthy of seeking out. I enjoyed the CD immensely and he should start working on his next CD soon. More details on www.songwritershow.com BOOT SCOOTIN' FEVER 1 - VARIOUS ARTISTES - HTJB-RECORDS HTJB06
20 songs running for 69 minutes is the latest offering for the line dancer in the UK, featuring some of the better known British artistes in that genre plus some US artistes favoured by the dancer. It opens with the US contingent consisting of Billy Yates, Brendon Walmsley, Joni Harms, Dallas Wayne, and Barry Amato. The UK artistes Easy Rider, Dave Sheriff and Paul Bailey have 2 songs each, while Country Kittens, Honky Tonk Heroes, Boots 'n Gunn, Double Take, Billy Bubba King, Jaime Lovett, Ian Miller, The Deans, and Sharon 'B' all have a song apiece. It's a radio friendly CD that requires song publishing details and times for Djs to include regularly in their programmes. It also needs biographical details on the lesser known , in fact on all the artistes, to further their careers with radio play . The recordings all vary in sound quality (as it is a compilation) but in the main it's of a very high standard. The pink-mauve-purple cover doesn't add anything to the CD, in fact it detracts and cheapens what is otherwise a good CD that showcases many artistes not heard regularly on radio. This great sampler of what is available for the line dancer and country music fan who likes his music with a beat, comes from a host of talented artistes.
SONGS:-As the crow flies-Speak to the sky- We work it out-Tex-tosterone-The beat goes on-Backyard Barbeque-From tense to loose to slack-Mama said-Easy Tiger-Eyes of Texas-Boot Scootin' Boogie-Bad case of loving you-Beer for my horses-But for the grace of God-Do you still wanna buy me that drink?-I need a breather-Sundown in Nashville -Sweet sweet smile-Wave on wave-who wouldn't wanna be me.