THE BEST OF BRITISH COUNTRY 2003 - VARIOUS ARTISTES SILVER HEART RECORDS Cat No;-SSHR 1002
The annual resume of the British Country Music recording scene for last year has arrived. This is the 5th year of its production and the 20 tracks (65 plus minutes) reflect the successful singles on the now defunct European Independent Country Top 30 Charts for last year.15 of the 20 tracks are by British songwriters, and the 4 singles of the year and 3 of the songs of the year, nominated in the Radio Awards, are included. There's great variety as you would expect, from the group sounds of Western Union to the bluegrass sound of Charlie Boston, the Nashville sound of Geordie Jack & Caledonia to the totally British sound of Marietta Station and from the Irish sound of Roisin and Paula MacAshill to the bagpipes with Speed Limit. There are 2 songs from Stu Stevens, Geordie Jack and Caledonia, and Charlie Boston and other performers include Vanessa Barrett, Scott Perry, Luke Guy Reed, Highway Dave & The Varmints, Frank Jennings, Blue Orchid, River Gibbs, Magic Car, and Marston Ferry. It shows the wealth of song writing and recording talent from the British Scene and its one for your collection if you support British Country (or if you don'to then start now). Its available from all the usual outlets and check out the web site at www.hotdisc.net
SONGS:-Nothing could've prepared me for you / Ten long nights (with Rhonda Vincent)/Mountain man / Thanks to you / Winds of change/It's you/ Voices of the highlands/One more bar/ Tangy honey thang / Say you love me / My sweet senorita/Room for a boy/Red is the rose/Slow down for a while/(I'm checkin in )At the lost & found / Night so blue/Do you want to make love/ Missing you again/Making Friends (with George Hamilton IV) / Hello pretty lady

.DOLLY PARTON - FOR GOD AND COUNTRY WELK MUSIC GROUP Cat No;-70756-2
Probably only Dolly could get away with this mix of material, country gospel, country standards, bluegrass, MOR songs popular with country fans, inspirational songs and loads of the old "I Love America" patriotic songs. Now I'm as patriotic as the next person but really, another version of "The Star Spangled Banner" even sung by Dolly, just doesn't travel well overseas. This is a lovely collection, great production, excellent musicians, and the undoubted outstanding vocal ability from one of the most loved country (and pop) stars of our generation. The re-recording of "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" could grace the charts, the a cappella version (with choir) of "Whispering Hope" and "Peace in the Valley" with the Fairfield Four are inspiring . "Red White & Bluegrass" could well become a bluegrass standard and should. Her version of the "Ballad of the Green Beret" and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" gives the songs a new lease of life. The CD closes with "Colour me America" for the patriotic and lastly "The Glory Forever" is her version of The Lord's Prayer. Overall a most enjoyable Dolly Parton CD, 18 tracks (with Dolly introducing some of them) lets this run for 73 minutes. One of the new songs "Welcome Home" sums up the whole album and is one the best story songs Dolly has written and recorded in many years.(Thanks to Michael Skouse in Forres.).
OTHER SONGS;-The Lord is my Shepherd/God bless the USA/When Johnny comes marching home/Gee Ma, I want to go home/My country 'tis/I'm gonna miss you/Go to hell/Brave little soldiers.

WILLIE NELSON & RAY PRICE - RUN THAT BY ME ONE MORE TIME LOST HIGHWAY Cat No;-0602498603130)
A Willie Nelson CD is always welcome here and when one arrives with Willie & Ray Price I'm doubly pleased. Just last year the 1st Willie Nelson-Ray Price CD was reissued. This one is a real country gem from the first fiddle and steel guitar notes on "Deep Water" to the end note on "I'm still not over you". Both stars have nothing to prove as vocalists or singers of country songs or even as country singers, and their voices, (while getting along into their senior years) have certainly not lost any of the resonance or quality that took them to the top in their chosen fields. Willie writes 3 songs, "I'm so ashamed" "Something to think about" and "I'm still not over you" while Ray writes "Soft Rain" and they share the song "I've just destroyed the world I'm living in". They take 3 Fred Rose standards "Deep Water", "It wouldn't be the same without you" and "Home in San Antone" along with Floyd Tillman's classic "This cold war with you" and bring them up to date without drowning them in musical instruments. And there lies the secret of this album, basic country backing well played and produced with the 2 great voices sitting right on top. The musicians are David Zettner bass and pedal steel, Bobby Floores Fiddle, Freddy Calderone drums, Joe Gracey Rhythm guitar, Gabe Rhodes guitar and Willie playing his usual acoustic lead. Joe Gracey also mixed engineered and mastered in Texas and Nashville and while you may have lots of Willie Nelson Cds in your collection you really do need to get this one, it's the one they will call his "most country" sounding CD ever.

PHILOMENA BEGLEYTODAYSHARPE RECORDS (Cat No n/a)
It hardly seems like 10 years since Philomena Begley released her last solo album, despite her continued popularity in the UK and Ireland. This one is certainly worth the wait with Philomena singing and sounding as good as ever. Currently celebrating 40 years "On the Road" this is certainly one to help her celebrate that event. It's a mixture of Country, (British and American) MOR songs, a little Irish and even Scottish too and includes her latest single "Blue House Painted White". The songs run from the oldies like "The Gambler" and "Que Sera Sera" to newer songs by Bobbie Cryner "Leaving Houston Blues" and Fred Knobloch's "Woman in the Moon". There's the up-tempo and the ballad, the waltz and the two-step among the 15 songs which run for approx 47 minutes). Recorded, arranged, mixed and produced by Clive Culbertson in Coleraine, Clive also played bass, keyboards and even backing vocals. Theres steel guitars and fiddles, dobro, keyboards, accordion and mandolin with trumpet & sax recreating the "Showband" sound on "The songs from way back then". Lovely sound and a great mix from Philomena, (when did she ever make a bad one).If you can't get a copy locally, try by e-mail to [email protected] or telephone/fax 02866 323238 during office hours
OTHER SONGS: Still feeling blue/Just because I'm a woman/The cottage on the old Dungannon Road/ Scotland again/I love you enough/Why can't he be you/Only yesterday/Don't tell Mama (I was drinking)/Go on & go.

WAYNE AUSTINBY SPECIAL REQUESTAUSTIN'S WEST (Cat No:-AW 10303
Due to a near fatal fight with lung disease, from which he is still recovering, Wayne Austin was unable to record a new CD for release last year. To meet a demand from friends, fans, Djs and the general public he has put together a 14 track CD featuring selected tracks from his earlier Cds plus 2 unreleased tracks and his 3 singles enhanced & re-mastered. The CD is another fine collection of nostalgic country & western songs with sparse backing, guitars, bass and steel & fiddle on some tracks. The vocal is mainly Wayne with the occasional added vocal harmony recreating the cowboy-group sound from the early western movies. Just look at some of the song titles below and you will understand what I mean. Traditional songs like "I ride on old paint", "Dear Evelina" "Strawberry Roan" and "Jesse James" along with "The Arizona Cowboy", "Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie", "Kentucky Moon" and "Out where the west winds blows" conjure up visions of the wild west and cowboys round a campfire. The newer songs by Wayne are written and arranged by him with great reliance on the past and he has stayed true to tradition as witnessed on "By the Old San Joaquin", "Sierra Timber Wind", "After All" and "Riding on the old S.P". The CD opens with "Texas Plains" and the 3rd single added here is "Bandanas & Chaps". The concept is excellent and value for money and you can hear sound samples from this Cd and buy it direct on the internet at www.CDbaby.com/wayneaustin2

TREVOR JAMES12 GOSPEL FAVOURITESJMB MUSIC (Cat No;-CD004)
Trevor follows his last 2 secular Cd releases in short order due to their successes with this 12 song country gospel CD. Theres no doubt that the songs are gospel favourites, the song titles tell you that. They include "Swing down sweet chariot", "Where could I go", "It is no secret", "Wings of a dove", "Peace in the valley", "Lead me guide me" "Daddy sang bass" and "Sweet bye & bye". He also writes one song "Remember what He's done for you". The remaining songs are probably lesser known but favourites just the same, like "There is no God but God" "If that isn't love" and "This is just what Heaven means to me". The musicians and backup singers are not credited due I understand to the fact that Trevor has taken American backing tracks and added his voice. The songwriters and publishers are also not mentioned so I can't see this Cd getting much airplay as Djs like the details for their returns. It's a pity, as his voice is remarkably like Presley's at times and lots of airplay usually means lots of sales. This won't stop him selling them at gigs as the general public really don't care about the written details, they just like the songs. You can get a copy at his gigs or by telephone at 01542 841559

HERMANN LAMMERS MEYERTHE GOOD OLD DAYS DESERT KID RECORDS (CAT NO:-DK 2004-16)
It's a long way from Germany to Hilltop Studios in Hendersonville just outside Nashville to record this CD but well worth the journey. Lets start with the 17 songs, Hermann wrote 5 of the songs and co-wrote another with Gerd Jansen, while the remaining 11 are mainly country standards. The Gibbs "Don't forget to remember" (as a duet here with Michele Voan) gets a country backing with great success, as does Joe South's "Games People Play" (another duet this time with Sandy Posey). Both these tracks hit the charts in Europe recently and his latest single "Highway Heroes" made No 2 in the Euro Charts just before Christmas. The other duets include Texan Annie B on two songs "Keep your promise Willie Thomas" and "Barstool Paradise", while Lois Johnson duets on "Just when I needed you most". Johnny Bush duets on "What's wrong with the way we're doing it now". The remaining songs are Bobby Braddock's "Country Music Lover", Cindy Walkers "I'd rather be", Guy Clark's "Instant Coffee Blues" and the novelty song "Another Magic Moment in Showbiz". The musicians Buddy Emmons on steel guitar , Buddy Spicer on Fiddle, Pete Wade guitars, David Smith bass, Gene Chrisman drums, Gordon Mote piano, Jimmy Capps acoustic guitar Mike leech bass and Frisco Lucht strings, all give their country best. As I said at the start the journey was worth the end result. This is a real country album well sung by Hermann with his rich and resonant deep vocal sound. The Cd runs nearly 56 minutes and it's on line from www.hermannlammersmeyer.de or drop an e-mail to [email protected] for more details.

THE ORIGINAL BROTHERSCURB RECORDS (CAT NO: N/A)
Here comes the Pop Idol-Fame Academy "Country Style" winners from Northern Ireland "The Original Brothers" who were the outright winners of the "Country Cool" contest held in the province last year. They were given a recording contract with Curb Records, and this is their debut album. (I've been given a promo copy so details are a little sketchy). Jonathan, Stephen and Robert Milligan from County Fermanagh make up the trio, as singer songwriters and play a dozen instruments between them. This album also features. "some fine musicians who have played with Van Morrison, The Corrs, Eddie Reader and Jools Holland to name but a few.". It is a country album by any standard, fiddle, dobro and guitars in an acoustic setting, with great vocal harmonies in a "nearly bluegrass" line-up at times. Its all in the marketing, and I'm sure that Curb will be aiming this at more than just the country fan. The songs include "Man of Constant Sorrow" "I'm on Fire" (both good cover versions, true to original) "Heartbreak Hotel" & "Lay Down Sally" both given an up-tempo bluegrass feel, The Beatles classic "I feel Fine" with dobro and banjo works well as it did in the final of the contest. The ballads "When you say nothing at all" and "Have I told you lately that I love you" are also good covers . I found the 4 new songs written by the brothers refreshing "Sweetest of all" "You told me baby", "Tiny Broken Heart" and "A Lot of years ago", (2 ballads and 2 up-tempo) and their version of "Karma Chameleon" and "Rockin' Robin" gives both songs a whole new outlook .The Cd closes with a remix of "Man of Constant Sorrow". On this showing the Original Brothers have a great recording future ahead of them, and as I said it will be to a larger than country audience.(14 songs and runs for 42 minutes). Great debut.

THE WALLACE FAMILYTEXAS SERENADEWFM4368
Let me introduce The Wallace Family, Paul (Dad) plays rhythm guitar and Christy (Mom) sings sometimes. Brook is 15 years old and an award-winning session playing fiddler , guitarist and vocalist. Next is Sally Ann, who, at 13, is a multi-instrumentalist playing fiddle, tenor banjo, mandolin, guitar, tenor guitar, 5 string banjo, bass and non-pedal steel guitar and also sings. Next is Bethany at 11 years old, she yodels plays tenor guitar and fiddle. Then 11 year old Caleb plays fiddle and bass and sings. Madalyn is 8 and also plays fiddle, yodels and sings too. They add Chris Booher on piano and bass and Nathan Coates on drums and that's the musical line-up on this 15 track 41 minute CD. Talented children all and they certainly sound like they are having fun singing and playing here. You won't find this one on the charts but no doubt this will sell by the barrow load at their gigs. The voices need maturing by a few years, but then an early start can be a great advantage in later years. You can't buy the experience that they are getting now, both on the road and in the studio. Theres 8 instrumentals, and Brook sings 2 songs, while the others sings one song each. Produced by Brook with Chris Booher it is a family CD, and its available from www.wallacefiddlers.com or by e-mail to [email protected] for details. It is a delight to listen to. (P.S. Mum doesn't sing on the CD, she was too busy looking after the other 2 children on the sleeve photo
TRACKS: Texas serenade/Roly Poly/Steel guitar rag/You are my sunshine/Jesus loves me/Rocking over river/Sweet Georgia Brown/I met Jesus in Texas/Arkansas Traveller/Miss oily/12th Street rag/Miles & Miles of Texas/Wayfaring stranger/ Time changes everything/Star spangled banner.

BOB CHEEVERSSNAPSHOTSINBRED RECORDS
Singer songwriter Bob Cheevers has certainly paid his dues to the music business with a long and successful career that's started in his hometown Memphis and takes him to Nashville 40 years later. He started playing with bands in various musical genres from age 14 and he remembers waving to Elvis after school. Inspired by Elvis, Cash and Jerry Lee he progressed through the 60`s 70`s and 80's with various record labels and varying degrees of success. Over the last 6 years he recorded 4 Cds and this release is a compilation of 3 songs from each, plus 2 new songs, running a full 60 minutes. This is not your "sweet moon in June" lyrics, but songs from life as viewed up close by Bob Cheevers. Currently labelled as "Americana" his music is country with subtle fiddles, steel guitar and mandolin. Selling point here is the strong song lyric and the bluesy earthy delivery, sounding a little like Willie Nelson at times . The story songs demand your full attention and his haunting voice grabs at you. A real pleasure to listen to and while you may have missed his earlier releases its not to late to listen to this and seek out the earlier Cds. Check out www.cheeversongs.com or [email protected]
SONGS:- Once in a lifetime ride/Annalee Saint Pierre/ River gonna rise/Living Proof/We are all naked/The bottom line/That's what I'll do tomorrow/Me & Dan & the spoonman/Small town/The promise & the promised land (duet with Kami Lylke)/Old Soul/The ballad of Caleb Leedy/Under the Bayou Moon (Duet with Joy Lynn White)/Popsicle man.

© 2004 Country Music & Dance Scotland