Joe diffieJOE DIFFIE - THE ESSENTIAL…LEGACY… SONY MUSIC EK89069
Here is another from the Legacy series this one on Epic all part of the Sony Group. Joe was a Nashville demo singer in the mid 80’s and in a great position to join the country revival at that time with Clint Black and Alan Jackson. Not just a singer in the Haggard Frizzell mould, his first single “Home” went to No 1 to kick start his great career now spanning 14 years at the top. “If the devil danced” followed to No 1 as did “Is it cold in here“ ”Third Rock from the Sun” “Bigger than the Beatles”, “Prop Me up beside the Jukebox” “Honky Tonk Attitude“, and “Pickup man” and others. They are all included here along with his outstanding duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter “Not Too Much To Ask “ which was Grammy nominated and the only track not from the Joe Diffie stable. Well presented with musician details, songwriters and other info., its another worthy for “The Essential” title

OTHER SONGS;-If You want me-Ships that don’t come in-John Deere Green-So help me girl-This is your brain.

Kris KristoffersonKRIS KRISTOFFERSON ...THE ESSENTIAL…LEGACY…SONY MUSIC…C2K 64992
Here is Kristofferson in full flow, with a 2 CD set of his songs, deserving the title “The Essential“. CD 1 has 18 songs, all written by Kris with only 2 co-writes, one with Fred Foster (Me & Bobby McGee) the 2nd with Shel Silverstein (The Taker).These were recorded back in 1968, 69 and 71 and were all produced by Fred Foster except “The Pilgrim: Chapter 33” produced by Nancy Carlen. Its only when you listen to the songs on these collections that you realise how many hit songs he wrote. Most, if not all of the songs, are now classics and not just in Country. “Help Me Make it Through The Night“, “Lovin’ Her Was Easier“, “Jody and the Kid“, “For the Good Times” and “Me & Bobby McGee” were all hits outside the country genre while “Sunday Morning Coming Down“, “Casey’s Last Ride“, “From The Bottle to the Bottom”, “The Taker” and “The Silver Tongued Devil & I “ and others gave country stars chart successes. CD2 (19 songs) takes songs from sessions through 1971, 72, 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84 and the late 90’s for the final track “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends“. This CD includes more great self-penned songs like “The Last Time”, “Jesus was a Capricorn“, “Nobody Wins“, “Stranger“, “If You Don’t Like Hank Williams“, “Here Comes That Rainbow Again” and “Why Me Lord“. The only song on the 2 CD set NOT written by Kris is Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman“, which includes the other stars in the Quartet. This disc also includes duets with Rita Coolidge on “I’d Rather be Sorry” and Willie Nelson on “How do you feel about Foolin’ Around“. (All the musicians are listed but not per track…too many) and the package is excellent. When Kris started writing hits back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, he gave country music something special, songs that have stood the test of time (and every other test too). The songs set him apart from all the rest and gave many a country career greater impetus just by recording a sure-fire hit written by KRISTOFFERSON.

OTHER SONGS;-To beat the devil-Just the other side of nowhere-Best of all possible worlds- Darby’s castle - Come sundown-Billy Dee -Breakdown-Border Lord-Sabre & the rose-Broken freedom song- Shandy -Sugar man - Don‘t cuss the fiddle -The Bigger the fool-Once more with feeling.

Dixie ChicksDIXIE CHICKS....TOP OF THE WORLD TOUR LIVE....COLUMBIA…C2K 90794

This is it! In my opinion one of the finest “live” albums ever, 2 cds, 22 songs, running for 42 minutes on CD 1 and 56 minutes on CD2.Its got all the hits and then some, with cracking pace and great music. They only speak on 4 occasions through out the performances, (they intro 3 songs and say goodnight).The musicians are great, the sound perfect with the screaming and applause in the right places and none of it EVER over a vocal. The Dixie Chicks are the epitome of the “modern” country success story and their sound while “ modern” and contemporary is like bluegrass at times, that great throwback that comes along when we don’t want to admit its nearly “pop”. But then Pop music only means its popular, with more than just country fans who want the success, but are maybe afraid of it, as it will dilute the music. Not here, country prevails, and the girls are more than up to it , even with the attitude they are supposed to have. Great musicians, production and obviously great singing of some great hit songs. They choose their material from top songwriters and even add some of their own songs here too, as they do on all their albums. This is a smashing cross-section of their Cds and worthy of adding to any collection, even for non-country listeners. If you have about an hour and a half to spare and fancy a drink, then pour a long one and put this on the player. You could even get to like country music. Outstanding!

SONGS:-(CD1)Goodbye Earl - There’s your trouble-Long time gone - Tortured, Tangled Hearts - Travelling Soldier - Am I the only one-Hello Mr. Heartache-Cold day in July-White trash wedding- Lil Jack Slade (CD2)A Home-Truth No2-If I fall you’re going down with me-Mississippi- Cowboy take me away-Godspeed (with Emmy Lou Harris) Landslide-Ready to run-Wide Open Spaces-Top of the world-Sin wagon.

HANK WILLIAMS JR ...I’M ONE OF YOU ...CURB RECORDS CURCD 154

Hank Williams Jr., has never failed to impress me with his recordings over the years and every CD has that something special on it. Hank is raunchy, cheeky, rough and ready and very clever as he caters to most, if not all the music listeners in the USA. His choice of covers mixed with his own songs have always been his format when recording and he treats us to some great revivals here. Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses” and Joe South’s “Games people play” could have been written exclusively for Hank Jr, and the white collar turned redneck songs “What’s on the bar” and “Just enough to get into Trouble” are his stock in trade. There’s the autobiographical “Guitar Money” and “Devil in the Bottle “ which could be.

His tribute to Waylon Jennings in “Waylon’s Guitar” is very personal, as he pay tribute to guitar players in general and says of Waylon “he was ‘bout the nicest guy I ever met on the road” His peace song “Why don’t we all just get a long neck” is infectious and the additional of “Jambalaya” with the double beat is inspirational to say the least. He does sing a good ballad too but then his stock in trade is the half back beat tempo he’s popularised as with the tongue in cheek Paul Overstreet song “Liquor to like her”. “American Offline” is one for the computer nerds among us, and the patriotic title track “I’m one of you” will become a showstopper in the states without doubt. Great album from one of the best and as Hank Jr himself says “THAT’S MORE BETTER THAN GOOD”. Released in the UK on 21st June last, so should be easy to get.

Royal Wade KymesROYAL WADE KIMES .....COWBOY COOL.....WONDERMENT RECORDS…RWK889

Back in April I recommended Royal Wade Kimes’ CD “Dying Breed” to you , and just as the review was published this new Cd was released in the USA. Following on from the success of his last one and using nearly all the same musicians, (he adds Clinton Gregory on Fiddle and changes the keyboard player to Paul Hollowell) and production team. He writes 10 of the 12 tracks while the CD opens with a Jeff Bullock song “Ponies” and ends with Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s door” his current single. This certainly continues the cowboy and western theme, which he does so well and the future of country & western music is certainly safe in his hands. “Modern day drover” is the comparison between the trucker & the cowboy,” “The White Horse” is a gunfighter ballad in true Marty Robbins Style (and he dedicates it to The Man in Black now riding a White Horse). “Lost Soul Looking for a Grave“ is a real lost love story, he just killed his lover and her lover ,“The Shooting star “ another gunfighter story. “Lonesome Cowboy“, “I’m a Cowboy” and “Cowboys only cry in the rain” all stay within the mould and Wades sings them all with great feeling. The musical backing is never overstated and compliments Wades laid-back rendition of his songs and the great opener “Ponies“. The album holds story songs of bull riders, greenhorns, red-blooded Americans and guys who keep fighting for what they believe in. However I did find the final song a little out of context for the album but well performed and sure to be a hit . If you like your country with a western feel but with a modern sound, then I can once again highly recommend Royal Wade Kames. His web site is at www.royalwadekimes.com

OTHER SONGS: Wild Love-Feelin Stud-Ruth Ann.

Ove StoylenOVE STOYLEN ..DUSTY BOOTS ...KULTER RECORD KS 0303

Ove is at the top of his game in Norway, one of their current top country music performers. This 12 track Cd is stone-country and could pass for a Nashville recorded country album with a nice modern sound similar to that of Alan Jackson. Steel guitar well to the fore and the lead guitarist is no mean picker either. The band line-up of bass, piano, drums, lead guitar, rhythm, and steel with mandolin, fiddle, banjo and accordion added on some tracks, give the album a great overall sound which never varies throughout the 42 minutes. When you consider that this recording was completely made in Norway with Ove writing and performing all the songs, the session players, studio production and even the manufacturing, it shows how far country has moved In Norway over the years, and adds much to their credit.. Available direct from Norway via the web at www.countrymusic.no

Or www.ovestoylen.com or you can telephone Ray at 01384 411178.

SONGS:- Like a deck of cards-Tonight’s the night-Hopelessly-Man of Complications-Dusty Boots-Take me as I am-Is it just me- Redneck fancy boots-Lost & found-100%absolute woman-Running around-Lost his ways

sons of PioneersSONS OF THE PIONEERS ..Western Harmony And Hot Swing Vol. 1 .
BRITISH ARCHIVE OF COUNTRY MUSIC..BACMCD0078.

The history of the Sons of the Pioneers started over 70 years ago and in 1933 the trio of Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Len Slye were the mainstay. Personnel changes and additions take us to 1934 when they signed to Decca Records. They started in the movies with Gene Autry in 1935. Lloyd Perryman joined to replace Tim Spencer the year before but stayed on when Tim rejoined. Pat Brady joined in 1937 to replace Len Slye who went to the movies to become Roy Rogers. It is this early post-Slye group - Nolan, Spencer, the Farr Brothers Hugh and Karl, Perryman and Brady - that is heard in these two CDs from the BACM (0078 & 0079), which are devoted to early 1940s recordings for NBC Thesaurus Orthacoustic Radio Transcriptions made in Chicago. Over 200 selections were made, many of them not recorded by the band elsewhere, and almost a third of these are heard in these 2 volumes. They capture the Pioneers in every mood - western ballads, good time romps, comic tunes, spirituals, breakdowns, jazz workouts, and much more. The Farr Brothers are the instrumentalists playing fiddle and lead guitars and on these 2 cds play 13 instrumental tracks. Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Lloyd Perryman sing lead vocals with Pat Brady occasionally singing lead, but their 3 and 4 part group harmonies are the highlight of the recordings. The history of country & western music is here for you to listen to with the emphasis on western. You can check out their web pages at www.bacm.users.btopenworld.com or you can order direct by telephone at 01304205000.

TRACKS:-RISE AND SHINE-LONE BUCKAROO -RIDING THE ROCKY RANGE-GET ALONG PINTO PONY-COTTAGE IN THE CLOUDS-CIELITO LINDO - SUNSET ON THE TRAIL-SALLY GOODIN' (INSTR.) -COME AND GET IT-WHERE THE RIO ROLLS ALONG -RIDIN' THE RANGE WITH YOU-CODY OF THE PONY EXPRESS-RIDIN' ON THE SUNSHINE TRAIL-I BELONG TO THE RANGE-ON THE RHYTHM RANGE-SHE'S THE LILY OF HILLBILLY VALLEY-WHEN THE PRAIRIE SUN SAYS GOOD MORNING-BOGGY ROAD TO TEXAS (INSTR.)-CURLY JOE FROM IDAHO-BLUE MOUNTAIN SWEETHEART-NO GOOD SON OF A GUN-COWBOY'S PRAYER-GREAT BIG TATERS IN THE SANDY LAND (INSTR.)-WHEN A COWBOY STARTS TO COURTIN' - WONDER VALLEY BON TON SCHOTTISCHE (INSTR.) - WE SAT BENEATH THE MAPLE ON THE HILL-THE QUILTING PARTY - WHAT WONDERFUL JOY- MOONLIGHT ON THE TRAIL-WHAT YOU GONNA SAY TO PETER -ROCKY ROAD IN THE ROCKIES

Sons of PioneeersSONS OF THE PIONEERS ..Western Harmony And Hot Swing Vol. 2
BRITISH ARCHIVE OF COUNTRY MUSIC ...BACMCD0078.

TRACKS:-YOU DON'T LOVE ME BUT I'LL ALWAYS CARE - HOPPIN' HIGH (INSTR.) -CRAWDAD- FARR INTO THE NIGHT -WHISTLE AND WAIT FOR KATY - CLOSE To HEAVEN -THEY DREW MY NUMBER - DON'T You WISH YOU HAD SOMEONE (INSTR.) - WHEN WE GET OLD AND GREY - MORE FRIED CHICKEN, UNCLE JOE (INSTR.) - BLUE EYED LITTLE NELL OF NARRAGANSET BAY -I LOVE THE PRAIRIE COUNTRY - JIM JAM JIGGIN' (INSTR.) - MOONLIGHT MELODY - SHADOWS OF THE WILDWOOD - COMIN' THROUGH THE KORN (INSTR.) - I AIN'T A-WORRYIN' - WHEN THEY RING THOSE GOLDEN BELLS - CLIMBING UP THE GOLDEN STAIRS - - TOM AND JERRY (INSTR.} - HILL COUNTRY - BLUE FOR YOU - LI'L LIZA JANE - SWEET AND LOW - FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE (INSTR.) - THE CAPITAL SHIP - WHERE IS MY WANDERING BOY TONIGHT - DREAMY REVERIE (INSTR.) - THE GYPSY'S WARNING - UNDER THE WILLOW SHE'S SLEEPING - - SILVER THREADS AMONG THE GOLD - - SOMEONE LIKE YOU (INSTR.) .

Tanya DennisTANYA DENNIS .. APARTMENT#9...PALOMA RECORDS

Tanya was a new name to me back in early June when the Country Hot Disc arrived and I played Apartment No 9 her new single. It entered their chart at 27,jumped to no 7 then no 4 and by the time you read this is should be Number 1, and deservedly so. Far as I can tell this is Tanya’s 2nd Cd release, her first was a few years ago a Cd of all her own songs. This time Tanya takes a u-turn into an album of covers, and there’s nothing wrong with that I heard you say. Her choice covers the gamut of Nashville songwriters from Harlan Howard /Matraca Berg “98.6 Degrees” to Hank Cochran/Vern Gosdin /Mack Vickery hit “Right in the wrong direction” to the Connie Smith /Marty Stuart “Love’s Not Everything” and the Gram Parsons classic “Luxury Liner“. The ballads include her own “I can’t feel a thing” and Tom Padin/Clint Bullard song “Love don’t even know my name” which open and close the CD. Tanya is also a fiddle/mandolin player of distinction having played on the road with Bill Anderson, Eddie Raven, Faith Hill and others over the years and she has also sang backup with the stars. Right about now though she is walking to the centre and headlining herself, and I’d say about time too. Here's a talented lady that has made it with traditional country. Good musicians, good songs, great voice, good production, In fact everything that recommends a good country CD.

OTHER SONGS:-Breaking it-Afraid to love you-Another chance at love-Ring around the moon-He feels guilty

Blue CountryBLUE COUNTRY ...BLUE COUNTRY ...CURB RECORDS…CURCD 153

How do you become an overnight success in country in Nashville? Well you could meet up with a new friend at a video shoot, develop a friendship, start writing songs together, do some gigs, demos, adverts, auditions, work as a support act and 5 years later walk into Curb Records offices, do a simple audition and walk out with a recording deal. That’s what Aaron Benward and Scott Reeves did and they have now been nominated as the Top Vocal Duo of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. Now that’s overnight! Producer Dann Huff gathers some great musicians around, adds songs written by Aaron (4 including 2 with Scott) other songs by top songwriters from the current crop in Nashville and before you can say Blue Country they are toping the charts with their single “Good Little Girls”. There’s a little comedy with “Sunday Driver” and “Nothing But Cowboy Boots” and “Time Well Spent” adds a little pathos along with “Ride on”. “Hollywood California” is a love song with a twist and so is “What’s not to love”. Two strong voices that blend and harmonise exceptionally well and they have now found the formula to success. Hopefully there will be more that just a debut album as on the strength of this one a good future could be built on strong foundations.

OTHER SONGS;-That summer song-That’s cool-Sounds like home- Losing at loving- walk on water

The HaleysTHE HALEY SISTERS ... TO BE WITH YOU TONIGHT ...COMET RECORDS …CD002

I’ve known and admired the Haley Sisters since them came on the country scene in the early 90’s and despite some set backs along the way they have developed into one of the most popular trios/bands/groups on the scene. Over the years Becky, (she’s the tall cheeky one) started writing songs along with help from her husband Brian Smith. Now the Haley's (we can’t call Brian a sister now can we?) move on to their next venture and its this CD. All the songs on this release are written by Becky and Brian. The girls play rhythm and bass guitars while Brian plays lead guitar, harmonica, percussion and all programming. They add Bob Dixon on steel guitar and Sara Curran on piano to great effect and that’s the sound. The production is never overstated but the highlight is still their voices. Pure clear and distinct they are always note perfect. The songs are quality songs with lovely sentiments and themes, but stronger songs are always welcome and will come when they perfect their craft. This is certainly their best recording to date (yes you’ve heard that line before) but there is little they can do now to perfect the recording side. This is one of the best British made recordings I’ve heard this year and watch out for it in the awards. Can’t praise it enough. Its available from Good ’N Country in Maidstone Kent on 01622 765014 or www.cometrecords.net

SONGS;-To be with you tonight-Somewhere along the road-I got it anyway-Sometimes-Can’t walk away from the blues-It’s hard to carry on-Ain’t no substitute for love-Time is a moment-Love is-Same old everyday.

Shelby LynneSHELBY LYNNE ... RESTLESS ...CURB RECORDS…CURCD152

Shelby had led a varies career since she started singing country. Imagine your first single hit is a duet with George Jones, how’s that for starters (If I Could Bottle This Up) Her debut album 'Sunrise' was released and two more albums would rapidly follow: 'Tough All Over' and 'Soft Talk'. Shelby's music was well received critically, and in 1991 she was awarded the Country Music Association's Horizon Award for Best Rising Talent of the Year. Her next album, 'Temptation” experimented with Western jazz and swing and proved to be Shelby's biggest commercial success to date, selling 200,000 copies. Her creative experimentation continued with her fifth album, 'RESTLESS', which was well received both critically and commercially. The video for the albums first single, 'Slow Me Down', was chosen by Country Music Television as Independent Video of the Year. Shelby has a powerful and versatile voice that can deliver a touching ballad as well as a fast- paced swing number, all without uttering one single off-key note. On 'Restless' her undeniable vocal talent shines through. This gets a British release 19th July 2004 ( released back in 1995 in the USA) but never been available here until now. Great country songs on this one like “Restless”, “Slow me Down” “I’m not the one” “Hey Now little Darling” and “Talking to myself again”. again another country gem. The albums closes with the swing songs “Swing Town” which was the taste of things to came back in 95. This is a great album, underestimated, understated and a little nugget .

OTHER SONGS:- Another Chance at love-Just for the touch of your hand-Reach for the rhythm-Wish I knew

© 2004 Country Music & Dance Scotland