ERNIE FORD -TENNESSEE ERNIE MEETS THE GIRLS
Jasmine Records - JASMCD 3518
Ford has always been one of my favourite singers because I like male
singers who sound like men; Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Ed Bruce
are more of the men who sound like men. If I want to hear a singer in
the top register I prefer it to be a female vocalist; falsettos make
me cringe almost as much as wobbly voices. Ford is generally regarded
as a country singer, but I that is mainly because so much of his early
output was hillbilly and a good deal of his later output was country
as well but his hit making period in the 50s was very much pop with
often a slight country flavour. Ford crossed over when the term was
confined to border crossings from one country to another. He's left
behind a legacy of top hits from "16 Tons" to "Give Me
Your Word" to "River Of No Return" but he's also well
remembered for his hillbilly hit "Shotgun Boogie".
You won't find any of these songs on this collection because it's dedicated
to the girls who sang with him on his radio shows in the early 50s.
That's the one piece of information that's missing from this collection;
where and when were these recordings made? I'll assume it's as above
and get on with it.
Of the eight girls joining Ernie only Sue Thompson is actually a country
singer, but the rest are all fine singers having paid there dues with
some of the top big bands of the late 30s and 40s and into the 50s and
they handle the country songs with ease.
Speaking of bands, Ernie and the girls are backed up by bandleader Billy
Liebert on accordion, Speedy West on steel guitar, Billy Strange or
Jimmy Bryant on lead guitar, Harold Hensley on fiddle and George Bruns
on bass. If you want to hear some excellent 50s style picking then it's
worth buying this album for the band. I'm not an accordion fan, but
Billy Liebert is brilliant. The other girls are Lou Dinning, Helen Forrest,
Jeanne Gayle, Roberta Lee, Kay St. Germaine, Helen O'Connell and Bucky
Tibbs and it's no easy task to single out anyone of them as being a
favourite so I wont.
JONES -THE GOSPEL COLLECTION "Sings the Greatest Stories Ever Told"
BNA Records - BNAO7863-67063-2
Jones pulled legendary producer Billy Sherrillout of retirement to help
him with this recording of gospel music on a double CD containing 24
of the best known songs of this genre. He also pulled in Patti Page
to join him on the classic "PRECIOUS MEMORIES" and she didn't
sound bad at all, in fact she sounded rather good for her 76 years.
Jonesy sounds pretty good as well considering he's turned 70. I think
the secret to voice longevity is to keep singing. If you retire for
a few years and come back, the voice becomes weak and is just too old
to strengthen up to the previous standard and Jones and Patti Page have
just carried on throughout their later years.
I'm not a big fan of George Jones, but I respect his ability and his
stand on country music and I'm not really turned on by gospel music.
I like a little now and then and I would never be able to play two CDs
of it back to back. But I have to say that this is class; excellent
production, of course, excellent vocals, of course again and a fine
selection of songs to please the discerning gospel fan. Leaving aside
the obvious songs like, Amazing Grace, Why Me Lord, Peace In The Valley
and The Old Rugged Cross, the album is awash with musical style and
grace and is a credit to both George Jones and gospel music.