Welcome to another dose of country medicine from your friendly practitioner and reviewer of all things “Good `n Country”.
This month I`ll be delving back to Gene Autry,and working towards tomorrow with reviews on releases from country singers as diverse as Hal Ketchum and Slim Whitman, Kenny Rogers and Rayburn Anthony, Darren Busby and Circuit Judge and the ladies too, with Cds from Lisa O`Kane and Rustie Blue.
Thank you for your comments from around the world about the reviews. I prefer e-mails (saves postage and opening envelopes) and I do reply when I have the answer to your enquiry.Most if not all the cds reviewed are available direct from the record company and I usually give their web site address where appropriate.
So here goes once again, and I`ll start way back when............

This 20 track CD covers the years 1937 to 1942 when Gene was probably at the peak of his popularity both as a “silver screen cowboy” and “singing star”While much is made of his singing,and performing ,Gene`s songwriting ability was certainly overlooked,but on this outing his name is behind 13 of the songs.The distinctive Autry sound is very evident on every song here and its a treat to listen to it once again.Lovely fiddles and early steel guitar with rhythm section and guitars and sitting just behind the voice.You`ll love the easy listening songs with stories of lost love. cowboy sweethearts, nights on the lonesome trails and days on the never ending trails.As usual well presented,informative notes from Brian Golbey .It runs for 53 minutes and is available direct from the Archive Tel : 01304 205000 or at www.bacountrymusic.fsnet.co.uk
SONGS:We`ve come a long way together / Blue Montana Skies /There ain`t no use crying now / End of my roundup days / When I`m gone you`ll soon forget me / That little kid sister of mine / You waited too long / Little Pardner / I`m gonna round up my blues / I`m comin` home darling /There`s only one love in a lifetime / Sweethearts or Strangers / Angel Song / I guess I`ve been asleep / I`ll be true while you`re gone / Bible on the table / Don`t send me your love by mail / I don`t belong in your world / Sail along silv`ry moon / You are the light of my life

Now heres a talent that recently exploded on the European scene with her first single release from her first album.”Little Black Cloud” was the song that started the ball rolling for Lisa O`Kane, taken from this album “Am I Too Blue”..The 1st single climbed to No 1 in just a few weeks,stayed at the top for 3,dropped to no 2 and stayed there for 4 weeks and has only just been replaced by her NEW single “My Sweet Love Ain`t Around” which is at NO 3 this week (24th Oct) and sure to reach No 1.The CD has 12 songs,the first and last written by Lisa while the remainder are basically covers,but with a difference .The song selection is great,Lucinda Williams poinent “Am I Too Blue” is followed by an exceptional cover of Hank Williams` “My Sweet Love Ain`t Around”.The folksy ballad Lovin` You Again is chased along by the fast paced K.T.Oslin song “Wall of Tears”,which in turn is followed by a gentle version of the John Prine ballad “All the Way With You”.Theres a haunting version of the Sandy Denny song “Like and Old Fashioned Waltz” which is contrasted in style by the old Bill Munroe classic” Old Cross Road is Waiting” Self financed and over a year in the making, this album was certainly worth that wait.The musicians are certainly never overstated, with mandolin, fiddle and acoustic instruments to the fore.The predominant feature on this CD is certainly Lisa`a voice,crisp and clear like a mountain spring,you could bottle it and sell it and they have done just that on this CD.Check out www.lisaokane.com or E-mail [email protected]
SONGS :Romance & Finance/Little Black Cloud/Am I Too Blue/My Sweet Love Ain`t Around/Pineola/Lovin`You Again/Wall of Tears/All the Way With You/Wanting Wanting You/Like an Old fashioned Waltz/The Valley.2.

Here's another all British CD from the Mervyn J.Futter stable, and another “walk-away” winner.Theres 14 songs, running 49 + minutes.Theres 12 covers and 2 original songs written by Wayne Golden.Wayne also plays all the guitars, sings harmony with Maria Futter, plays drums and bass on all the tracks (except track 8), arranged all the songs and produces. The other musicians include Scott Newstead keyboards, Les Wright Steel guitar and Stuart Payne bass & drums on track 8. The songs are written by Hal Ketchum, Don Cook, Bob McDill, Bill Anderson, Rodney Crowell, Michael Martin Murphy, Merle Haggard, Eddie Raven, Bernie Taupin / Elton John song “Sad Songs and track 14 is “The American Trilogy”. The recording is top quality,well produced and overall a great listen.Darren`s voice wavers on the odd occasion but never detracts from the overall sound and quality.The future of country is certainly safe in this recent newcomers hands, and as a ballad singer he is outstanding.His warm personality endears him to his audiences and a bright future is promised .His single “If we can`t have forever” is at No 9 on the European Charts as I write.Come awards time I bet this CD is among the nominations and maybe the winners. It is available direct from www.mjmusicshop.co.uk
SONGS;You can`t walk this road alone--Old soldiers--This heart--When only love will do--You can`t take it with you--If we can`t have forever--The tips of my fingers--Loving all night--Land of enchantment--Only Heaven Knows--When the feeling goes away--Island--Sad Songs( say so much)--The American Trilogy.

Still with MJ-Music stable and its a poinant release,the last from the popular trio CIRCUIT JUDGE. Pat Judge, son Craig and Stuart Payne travelled all over the country singing their own brand of popular country songs for the listener and the dancer.They found a special place in the Line dancers hearts,but never deserted the country style that Pat has performed for many years.Sadly his passing came just as this Cd was completed and ready for release.Pat only sings 3 of the songs,while Craig sings the rest and it`s a pity he has now retired from the scene due to his Dad`s passing, as he had a bright future as a vocalist.The trio play all the instruments used on the CD between them,with Pat & Craig singing and playing acoustic guitars,and Stuart Payne excelling by playing ALL the remaining instruments. Gemma Fairwearher and Maria Futter sings harmony. Its a Circuit Judge/Mervyn J.Futter production, and another CD that the British Country Scene can be proud of.Its available direct from www.mjmusicshop.co.uk
SONGS; I just want to dance with you-Don`t try to find me-Live Laugh Love -Meanwhile-Loving all night-Vertical Expression-Deep in the heart of texas -Husbands & Wives-Take these chains /the bottle let me down--His latest flame--Blame it on texas -- Southbound train.

Country music fans in the UK will remember Rayburn Anthony from his touring back in the 80`s. A stylish vocalist and accomplished songwriter Rayburn started his career playing with Carl Perkins ,recorded at Sun Records, & toured with Billy Walker who had a country No 1 hit with Rayburn`s song “Sing Me A Sad Song For Baby”.He played bass and fronted bands for Bobby Bare & Melba Montgomery in the USA and Europe, recorded a duet with Kitty Wells, & was signed to Mercury Records at the same time as Reba McIntyre.(Iknow that fact because Rayburn introduced me to Reba with the comment ”heres a girl with a great future”(honest).His songs have been recorded by a host of country stars including Melba /Conway Twitty/Loretto Lynn/Charlie Pride/Jerry Lee Lewis/Vern Gosdin etc and I recorded 2 of his songs.This album was recorded inTexas using great musicians but its the songs that grab you.All 14 are co-written by Rayburn with Jerry Hunter.There`s great variety in style and sentiment .The subject matter runs the full spectrum, funny, sentimental,an elvis tribute,a little texas swing,big ballads,a tex mex flavoured tune,and even a rockabilly throwback.Country through and through with fiddles,dobro,steel piano and guitars and loaded with talent.Its available direct from: [email protected]
S ONGS:You can`t go wrong with love/The truth is you lied/Y-e-s-L-o-v-e/Don`t keep looking back/Betty Ruth/Thank God it`s monday/Guess what-guess again/Everything`s bigger in Texas/Pushin`/For a minute there/Why don`1t you shut up/Thank you -thank you very much/Women/The Auction.

This was released to coincide with Slim`s Farewell Tour of Britain in October.Its a collection of Slim`s appearances at the Louisianna Hayride,plus his first recordings made in Florida, plus 2 tracks recorded in South Africa.There are 14 tracks running for over 47 minutes. It opens with a 1948 recording of “Way Down In Florida” with the Variety Rhythm Boys, Slim`s very first recording.Then “Whippoorwill Yodel” from1951, “By the Waters of the Minnetonka” from 1952, “Dear Mary” from 1956, and “Careless Hands” from 1958 all recorded at the Louisianna Hayride.The next 2 songs ”Sunrise” and “Whispering Hope” were recorded in South Africa in 1965 with Slim singing in Afrikaans.”Indian Love Call” on this Cd is a live version from 1967 and the 5 remaining songs "I`m Casting My Lasso","The Twelth Of Never","I remember You","Cattle Call" and "Rose Marie" are all from 1968 from the Hayride. The last track (11 minutes) is for reminiscences by Frank Page who is also the announcer on some of the Hayride tracks.This is certainly a collector`s CD with some great tracks.The 6 page booklet with notes by Horace Logan, one time main MC at the Hayride are very informative.

Heres another in the Starburst Series, the 3rd of 3 albums by Kenny Rogers featuring his early recordings originally out on Reprise Records late 60`s early 70`s.This is basically the First Edition tracks recorded then with Kenny taking lead vocal , including the chart hits ”Reuban James” ”Ruby” ”Somethings Burning” and “She even woke me up to say goodbye”.The other 13 songs include “Shine On Ruby Mountain”,”Sunshine”,”Tulsa Turnaround”,and the title track “The Way it used to Be” as well as other songs from the Reprise albums.This is Kenny as he made the jump from being a New Christy Minstral to First Edition to Stardom as a solo performer and these recordings are pivotal in his career.A fine album with 17 tracks in all, running for nearly 50 minutes.Its not a country album as such,more a Kenny Rogers & The First Edition album with country influences, folky and progressive even for 1969/70.
OTHER SONGS...Run through your mind--Shadow in the corner of your mind--Sleep comes easy--Tell it all brother--Ticket to nowhere--Trying just as hard--We all got to help each other--What am I gonna Do--Where does Rosie Go.
Both the above CDs are available direct from Magnum Direct,Tel 01494-450606, or on the web at www.tkomagnum.co.uk.

Singer-songwriter Stu Stevens (once called the Voice) and singer-singwriter and DJ Mick Smith get together on this CD to sing together,and each others songs,and its a “wee cracker”.
Stu sings lead on 8 tracks,Mick sings lead on 4, and they guest on each others songs singing harmony.Stu writes 3 songs,plus one with Mick,who also writes 6 songs,and theres 2 others “Oh How I Miss You Tonight” and “Good Old World”.There's no fiddle or steel guitars here,but it has a lovely country feel to it,with pianoand guitars,and its a little folksy at times.As I have a promo copy the musicians are not listed and theres no details about producers,but the overall sound and recording is excellent.”Wiser Than Me”,”Words Of Youth” and “Gospel Songs” are the standout songs for me,but the whole CD is well worth seeking out for a listenn.
It`s available from Ash Records at Tel No: 0116 260 3464,or you can e-mail Mick direct [email protected]
OTHER SONGS...Cressbrook/Jesus is my comforter/Unlucky me/Big house by the river/Go away/Actors fools and clowns/Yvette.

This is Hal Ketchum`s 6th release which featureshis new single “Everytime I Look in your eyes” which also opens the CD of 15 songs.(The single will be included in the forthcoming Sylvester Stallone movie). All the songs are written by Hal who is now dubbed “the poet laureate of country music”.This is another winner for Hal and should increases his 15 top ten singles to date.The songs seem to follow a common thread,between the love of his wife,his children,his life,his relationships, his belief in God and his fellow man.You can`t fault the album in any way,its got strong songs,great musicians,great vocal,great production and should keep Hal on the charts for at least 4 singles.Loved the” Bo Diddley”effects on the title track “The King Of Love”,the sentiments in “God Makes Stars” (God makes them fall),the waltz tempo on “The Carpenter`s Way” where Guy Clark joins Hal for a duet. Great songs, great musicians, great production and a great voice, all come together for a great album. Hal should be up there with the award winners and getting his share of their accolades and with this CD he will be around for another 4 singles at least.Maybe next year will be his year,on the strength of this recording his time is not for away.
OTHER TRACKS...Run Loretto run--As long as you love me--On her won time--The ruby & the rose--Taking my time--The way she loves me--Evangeline--Prisoner of love--Too much of nothing--The skies over Dublin--The angel song.

Heres a real rockabilly singer songwriter with 11 songs on his new CD for the Independent OSI Records in California.Sounding a lot like Johnny Cash,dressing like him and playing his songs gets you noticed particularily in Europe and thats where Rusty will find great success.The songs include 4 covers,Couple More Years,Everybody`s Talking,The lady Came from Baltimore and Singing the Blues,and Rusty wrote the other 7.The basic rockabilly sound is captured with the addition of steel guitar on some tracks,a little fiddle & dobro on others accordian,cello and harmonica are also added and the overall sound is true to the genre. It`s a delight to listen to, nothing overstated,good songs,good music and a real memory jerker.Rusty`s been around the block a few times over the years, he met Buddy Holly & Bob Dylan in his early years and has recorded for a host of record companies.He now tours with a 3 piece band “RING OF FIRE” and I think could do well over here.Rusty can be reached at [email protected]t

This is Jerry`s 3rd cd for RAM Records in Nashville and includes his recent top 20 Euro Chart single “Another day Another Dollar”. Theres 12 covers on this one with out and out country songs,country musicians and production. It opens with Terry Fells evergreen “Truck Drivin Man,and includes Harlan Howard`s “Sally Was A Good Old Girl”,”I Don`t Believe I`ll Fall In Love Today” and” I`ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” Theres 3 WynnStewart songs, “Big Big Love”, “Another day Another Dollar” and “Love Ain`t Worth A Dime”.Theres also 2 Haggard classics “Working Man Blues”& “Today I Started Lovin You Again”.The recording is rounded out with the Mel Tillis-Buck Peddy “Honky Tonk Song”, Larry Deans “Barrooms Broken Hearts and Beer”, and “My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You” with lovely twin fiddle intro. If you`re looking for country with a capitol “C” its here.A real pleasure to listen to,and who says all good records have to be all new songs. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or check out www.nashvillecdstore.com

10 songs,recorded at Mike Headricks studio and produced by RD Keister with a full range of country musicians, steel, electric, acoustic and bass guitars, fiddle, piano, mandolin and drums,(theres even a little sax on 3 of the songs) all come together on a fine recording.The songs are all covers as far as I can see.Theres 2 Bill Anderson songs,”I`m not going til I`m gone” and “On & on & on”,Frank Meyers “Who`s She To You” Lonnie William`s “So Close So Far” Leiber & Stollers “Trouble”and “In Care of The Blues” a hit for Patsy Cline. While I did enjoy the CD I felt that Rustie`s vocal capabilities were stretched at times, the odd note on the flat side. Its available from [email protected] or www.nashvillecdstore.com
OTHER TRACKS;;Who`s she to you--We built an all night fire--Enter at your own risk--take these memories--looking back.

Thats the lot for this month, in fact for this year, sorry I wasn`t able to include more, but I`ll catch you the other side of a "Very Merry Christmas and a “Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year”.

‘till next time, Gerry Ford

I always look forward to and welcome your comments about the reviews and releases and you can contact me by e-mail at:
[email protected]
© 2003 Country Music & Dance Scotland