BILLY WALKER…JUST FOR THE HANK OF IT : TALL TEXAN RECORDS.
Take the best of the repertoire of 2 Country Hall of Famers, give them to a country singing star who should be a Hall Of Famer himself, use as many of the original musicians as possible and you end up with a classic tribute 20 track CD. Billy Walker pays tribute to his friends Hank Snow and Hank Williams with 10 songs associated with each star. The Hank Snow songs include Rumba Boogie, Yellow Rose, Movin` On, Fool Such As I, Trouble in Mind, In The Misty Moonlight, Golden Rocket, Stolen Moments and Let Me Go Lover. With Gene Chrisman on drums, Kayton Roberts on steel guitar, Norman Blake, Pete Wade, Mac Yusada and guest Marty Stuart on guitars, Tommy Vaden and Earl White on Fiddles, and Walt Cunningham on piano, the sound is as near to the original Hank Snow & The Rainbow Ranch Boys sound as you’ll get nowadays. Billy sings the song sincerely and the voice is never overstated. If you want to hear a real country album from Nashville go no further than this one. And that’s only part one. On the next 10 songs, 8 were written by Hank Williams plus Lovesick Blues and Take These Chains from My Heart. The sound is different from the Hank Snow sound, as there’s a different line-up of musicians who once again re-create the Hank Williams “sound” and arrangements. The 2 remaining members of the Drifting Cowboys are here, Don Helms on steel and Jerry Rivers on fiddle add the authenticity to the sound while Roger Morris on piano, Hoot Hester on Fiddle, Mike Doucette on harmonica and steel, plus bass drums and guitars make up the full line-up. Both CDs have Margie Cates, Jennifer O’Brien and Richard Dennison singing backup. Once again Billy Walker comes up trumps and gives a starved country audience “Country” like it was and sadly will never be again. The lovely sleeve notes include photographs of Billy with his heroes, and the photo of Billy with Hank W was taken just 13 days before his death. This is an outstanding tribute album and is available direct from Tall Texan Records, P.O.618, Hendersonville TN 37077 or you can e-mail [email protected] for more details.
OTHER SONGS…Cold Cold Heart-Kawliga-Mansion on a Hill-I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry- Hey Good Lookin`-You Win Again-Long Gone Lonesome Blues
.BILLY WALKER…BACK ON THE MOUNTAIN AGAIN…TALL TEXAN RECORDS
This is a 10 track CD of inspirational-country gospel songs, some new and some classic. The collection opens with one of Billy own songs “He & He Alone” a laid back bluesy feel. The up tempo “I Wouldn’t Miss Heaven for the World” is a toe tapper while the title track “Back on The Mountain Again” reminds us that there is great hope for the lingerers. “Where Could I go (but to the Lord)” gets a lovely lilting beat while the “Legend of Jake McCain” tells about a gunslinger without a gun who uses his bible instead. The version of “Beyond the Sunset” is one of the best I’ve ever heard. On “Falling Leaves” Mick Doucette leads off with dobro and Jesse McReynolds adds mandolin to the old Grandpa Jones classic. “For Me” is a mid-tempo “Calvary” song, “What Will You Do With M.E.” is a broken love affair song ,and the collection is rounded off is great style with a rousing gospel hand clapper “Jesus is s Soul Man“. Once again Billy delivers with a lovely album of 10 songs produced by Steve Mauldin who also arranged the strings on some songs. Lovely production and its available direct from Billy at Tall Texan Records, P.O.618, Hendersonville TN 37077 or you can e-mail [email protected] for more details.
BEST OF BRITISH 2002.VARIOUS ARTISTES : SILVER HEART RECORDS
Probably the hardest task Stuart Cameron of Country Hot Disc fame has is to compile the Best of British Country CD every October. He takes the best country tracks from British artistes who have chart success in Europe on the EMS Independent Country Chart via the Country Hot Disc. Starting in October the previous year he has to choose tracks for the annual compilation. Obviously the songs that make the top get in, then the top 20 and so on, and this year all 22 tracks made the top 30 . Only 7 of the songs are covers, so the is a wealth of original material, all sung by the writers. Tom Clelland aka the UK Cowboy has 2 songs while the rest have one song each. Broadcaster, The Bunch, The Rimshots, Speed Limit, Magic Car, and Burnt Water are duos, trios etc who made the cut, while the remaining artistes are solo performers Great variety too, from the line dance sound of Dave Sheriff & Dave Montana to the sweet sounding Paula MacAskill and Jo Fenn, Charlie Boston’s Fly Like a Swallow and Ced Thorose`s N19 sound alike (musically) and come from the same stable, (Lara Natural). John Douglas, Dane Stevens Jon Dean Foster and Clive John sing their nominated songs, while Susan Hedges and Jo Fenn add their female voices on the list of songwriters singing their own songs. Luke Guy Reed and John Miller show their vocal difference, with a nod to the sound-like scene. Its all top quality, good enough to put the “I Don’t Play British On My Programme” presenter to shame. Available direct from Silver Heart at 01896 751 703 or www.hotdisc.net
MERV & MARIA…CHASING RAINBOWS.. MJMUSIC
This is the latest from Father & Daughter Duo Merv & Maria, a 16 track collection of original songs and covers all produced by Merv & Wayne Golden. Merv & Maria share the vocal lead and harmonies and Merv also adds one new song (Falling is Easy), as well as engineering the sessions. Wayne Golden writes 2 new songs (I Know a Heartache and What a Memory You’ll Make), and also plays electric and acoustic guitars, and programming bass and drum parts. Les Wright plays steel guitar and John Permenter adds fiddle on some tracks. Scott Newstead and Richard Lockwood play keyboards and additional programming. Overall its another quality recording well produced, mixed and engineered, with a great cross selection of songs for the country listener and dancer alike. It’s a delightful album with the originals Falling is Easy and I Know a Heartache the standout tracks for me. The BPMs are added and all the tracks are phased with even bar counts to help the dancers etc. Its available direct on line from MJ Music at www.mjmsuicshop.co.uk or by telephone on 01553 617 546.
SONG; Sowin` Love--Smile--That’s the way love goes-- Falling is easy--Love me a little bit longer--Speed of the sound of loneliness--Somewhere in my broken heart--Well all right--Who were you thinking of--West Texas waltz--There’s no stopping us now--Oh lonesome me--I know a heartache--What a memory you’ll make-- Seeing my father in me
KELLY MAGUIRE…CLUB BLOND… REDFISH ISLAND RECORDS
Here is a new name to me and what a talent, great songwriter, great arrangements, great voice and overall an outstanding CD. There’s 15 songs and one reprise, (of the title tracks with an extended ending). There’s a duet with Lisa Morales (Sometimes You Still Cry), and his recent singles “I cried for Mama” and “Club Blond”. The musicians are a mixture of session players and his band members, like Greg Morrow on Drums ( recently on the Dixie Chicks Cds) Tammy Rogers on fiddle and mandolin, (Wayne Toups on accordion on Wasted on the Young) Pat Buchanan on guitars, Russ Pahl on steel and dobro and Kelly writes all 15 songs (one with co writer J.Shockey).Top songs for me include “Wasted on the young” (Cajun flavoured), “It’s Friday Night” (Texas Swing) “Full and runs for 37 mins approx.Moon In Texas” (a lovely waltz) “Sometimes you still cry” (love ballad). Recorded at various studios in Nashville, Texas and Arkansas the overall sound never falters and Kelly’s smooth delivery, particularly on the ballads is worthy of high praise. It’s available from www.redfishIsland.com or you can e-mail [email protected]
KYLE ESPLIN…TO MEMPHIS `N` BACK…
Billed as Scotland’s No 1 Boogie-Woogie Pianist - Singer Kyle made the trip to Memphis to record a large part of this Cd while the remainder was recorded in Glasgow. Forfar based Kyle first came to the notice of the country fan with a track on the Hot Disc and through Ken McLeod’s radio programme on Radio Tay. Unashamedly in the Jerry Lee Lewis style, his piano playing is outstanding as commented on by James Burton and BB Cunningham (Jerry Lee’s bass player ).Joel Schumacher leads the Memphis musicians Don Marrs, Randy Smith and Mike Lamm. The album of covers alternates between country ballads and out and out Rock `n Roll tracks, a great mixture again in the Jerry Lee mould. Its available direct from Kyle at 01307 465 972 or by e-mail at [email protected] (priced at £12 inc P+P).
SONGS; Why you been gone so long--She sure makes leaving look easy,--Sweet little 16--Making Whoopee--Folsom Prison Blues--You don’t know me--Drinking wine spo-dee-o-dee---The bigger the fool the harder the fall--Great balls of fire--One for the moon--I’d rather be sorry
.DEANNNE…IF ONLY…THATCH RECORDS
Deanne has been touring as part of the duo “Leather & Lace” with keyboard player Paul Chesterton for some years mainly in Southern England. With the launch of this her first solo album Deanne is now turning professional and commencing a solo career also. This cd has 11 tracks, all songs written by British songwriters, and sung with great poise and clarity. Rob Childs plays acoustic, bass electric & steel guitars plus mandolin and dobro, percussion and even adds harmony as well as writing the song “In My Dreams“. Brian Roost plays acoustic, lead, bass, percussion and also adds harmony and contributes the “If Only” song. Paul Chesterton plays organ ,bass keyboards, and accordion. Ian Humphrey plays bass percussion and sings harmony while also sharing a duet on “Got it all wrong” a song he also wrote. Neil Cordery, David Jewell and Toby Darling write 2 songs each while Davy Riley and Jeff Dunn wrote the last 2 songs. This is a strong first solo album, and her new single “That Cadillac” on the Hot Disk, could launch her career . You can contact Thatch at www.thatchrecordsuk.com
THE HILL BILLIES…TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE…BACM RECORDS.
Now for this months helping of cowboy nostalgia. It comes from The Hillbillies, a 4 piece “Cowboy” group, from the 1930`s.Their story is unusual, in as much as the founder, Ted Ford came from Liverpool. He met another Brit Ben Evans in New York, and they in turn were joined by Lefty Calnan and lead vocalist Ezra Sirett. Between them they played guitar, fiddle, harmonica, jews harp, banjo and accordion and Ezra and Ben also sang close harmony. They started recording for Regal in in 1934 and their recording of Ole Faithful sold 80,000 copies. Ben died at the height of their popularity and by 1939 the band was wound up. This CD is 20 tracks taken from their career, but their biggest song Old faithful is now here??? Many of the popular cowboy classics are here, just check out the song list below for titles. Once again full marks to Brian Golbey for his detailed sleeve notes, and to the Archive of British Country for resurrecting this cowboy gem. P.S. the reason the first cowboy is in italics is that none of the band were cowboys and never pretended to be. Its available direct from the Archive Of British Country on the web at www.bacountrymusic.fsnet.co.uk. Or Tel No; 01304 205000
SONGS; Trail of the lonesome pine--Night falls on the prairie--The range beyond the sky--The sunset trail--Ragtime cowboy Joe--Twilight on the trail--Ride tenderfoot, ride--Empty saddles in the old corral--cowboy--Covered wagon home--In ole Oklahoma--Riding the range in the sky--Moonlight on the prairie--Blazin` the trail--Little mountain cabin--Memories of an old cowhand--Ridin`home--Paradise trail--Underneath a western sky--sing, you cowboy
KENNY BUTTERILL…JUST A SONGWRITER : NO BULL SONGS.
Kenny’s last CD “No one You Know” came out in early 2000 and with his first single from that CD he burst onto the Country Charts in Europe. Last Year he made No 1 with “How far Can We Go” from that same CD. Now his new CD has arrived for review and he continues his song writing journey with mainly the same musicians and studio etc. His new single “My Austin Angel” has also just arrived on the January Hot Disc and should do really well in Europe. The well crafted songs, all written by Kenny are one of the main features of the CD. 14 songs, plus 2 extended versions give the CD almost 60 minutes playing time. The other most distinctive feature is undoubtedly his voice, quality with a softness and sureness at times it’s almost a loud whisper and with the subtle backing of acoustic instruments his voice is never overshadowed. Norton Buffalo on harmonica is outstanding on his tracks, a perfect foil to Kenny’s voice. The acoustic guitars, harmonica, bass, occasional piano, mandolin, and electric guitars all have a laid back feel giving the overall album a late night, candlelight martini-time feel, and bound to be another winner for Kenny. The bluesy, folksy, rootsy sound gives this fine collection of Americana music the right to stand alongside the Guy Clarks/ JJ Cales and Tony Joe Whites and others .“My Austin Angel” “The E-Mail Song” and “Felton’s Place” are just 3 of songs that I particularly liked.
OTHER SONGS: Just a songwriter--Canadian road trip--Gotta find a woman--Are you surprised?--Makin love in L.A. -- Joanne -- A couple of lines -- If we were alone --Vegetarian Dead Cow Blues--Is there more--The Townes you left behind.
TIM MC GRAW AND THE DANCEHALL DOCTORS. CURB RECORDS
Entertainer of the Year 2002 with total record sales of over 25 million albums, 19 number one singles and 6 multi-platinum, all in the last 10 years is Tim McGraw’s claim to fame. And what a claim! and what a reputation to live up to with every new album. This one is just a shade different from the previous releases in as much as this one was not recorded in Nashville with the cream of session players. So what’s new? this has been done for many years now, ever since Willie Nelson laid the groundwork and moved to Austin. But Tim & Producer Byron Gallimore go another step away from the norm, they took a 53 foot truck, loaded a studio into it and moved to the Catskill Mountains to record the 15 track CD. So who are the players? well it’s his road band the Dancehall Doctor’s who probably know more about Tim’s music than any session player. Clever move I’d say, and as you listen to this CD I defy you tell the difference. The songs are well crafted too, from an array of top song writers. His guests include Don Henley & Tim Schmit from the Eagles, plus Kim Carnes. The country content is overshadowed at time with the effort to crossover, but deep down it is a country album at heart, and his latest hit single “Red Ragtop” is included. I’m sure this album will keep Tim of the charts for another year and among the awards come October - November. With 15 tracks (many over 4 minutes long) the total running time is over I hour and 6 minutes.
SONGS: Comfort me--Tickin` away--home--Red ragtop--That’s why God made Mexico--Watch the wind blow by--Illegal--Sleep tonight--I know how to love you well--Sing me home--She’s my kind of rain--Who are they--Real good man--All we ever find--Tiny Dancer
CHRIS McLERNON…HANDS OF TIME… DASH RECORDS
It takes great courage to select 12 songs from a repertoire of 70 or 80 songs you have written to make your first album. Then it takes more courage to say you don’t want to include cover, so you have to stand alone. This CD from newcomer Chris McLernon is just that, a CD to stand on its own, and every song on the CD could stand alone too. The songs are all written by Chris and they range from slow love ballads through the mid tempo beat songs favoured by line dancers Western swing styled songs, up tempo good rocking country songs, and in between a vocal sincerity usually only found in voices more mature. There’s are some great songs here, some that could be HIT songs for well known country artistes, always assuming the songs arrived on their CD player. Sadly the CD is on a small record label, probably lacking distribution and loads of money to spend on publicity. Pity as all this needs is loads of radio & TV exposure. Chris is from Northern Ireland and the CD was recorded by Clive Cuthbertson in Coleraine, using a fine collection of session players there. There’s fiddle, harmonica, pedal steel, bass. keyboards, drums and guitars, all giving the lilting country songs a push along. Great CD very enjoyable and I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Chris. You can contact Chris by E-mail [email protected] or telephone DASH records at 028703 43054.
(FOOTNOTE--Four of Chris’s songs are on Joe Moore`s “Catalogue of Dreams” CD).
SONGS; What you’ve done to my heart--gotta have some fun--Summer storm--Back in our hometown--Getting good at getting by--Steal my heart away--Who`s the fool--I won`t look back again--Hands of Time--Maybe that’s the reason--Someone to turn to--No more lonely fools.
ALLEN DOBB…BOTTOMLAND…SKIPPING STONE MUSIC.
Heres a Canadian singer/songwriter in the roots bracket, bordering on contemporary folk country and soft rock. If he was in the US they would call this Americana Music but I feel that that’s all just an excuse. This CD crosses lots of musical borders and once again if “country” music DJs don’t play this CD who will. It’s a quality recording, good songs, musicians, voice, arrangements and its got such a lot going for it. Its in the Steve Earl/Bruce Springsteen mould and all this need is exposure. There’s 10 songs running nearly 40 minutes and Allan writes and sings the lot. There is steel guitar and mandolin at times but its mainly lots of guitars with bass drums and keyboards. The main strength of this Cd is the song writing. “Like an Angel” “Bottomland” and “Big wide open” are believable because Allan write from his own experiences with the eye of a good poet. Worth seeking out and available from 01760 756 394 or try www.allandobbs.com for more details.
SONGS: Bottomland--This day--Rocks to pick--Beer bottle Chandelier--Big Wide Open--Jimmy Roy--Like an angel--The Ballad of Willie Holmes--Road Song for a Sailor--Bellingham Rain.
As ever KEEP ON KEEPING IT COUNTRY,