Time to browse through another selection of new releases and this month they vary from 1950 recordings at the Louisianna Hayride to the latest from Britain's newest record label Rosette.
I'll start with 3 CD releases, from 3 different artistes under the same banner.
THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION, SPECTRUM - UNIVERSAL RECORDS

(1)TANYA TUCKER
18 songs, 56 minutes, 3 No.1 hits, 12 top 20 hits and 1 duet with Glen Campbell, all recorded between 1975 and 1981, just a small part of Tanya's repertoire with MCA records back then. Some of today's female 'Country' singers could learn a lot listening to this collection. The Essential Collection doesn't include all her number one hits, but a good cross-section of some of Tanya's better recordings. Tap your feet to the @San Antonio Stroll', 'Don't Believe My Heart Can Stand Another You', 'Cowboy Loving Night', Dancing The Night Away' and 'The King Of Country Music'. Sing along with 'Texas When I Die', 'The Pecos Promenade' and 'Dream Lover'. Tanya sings a mean ballad too on 'I'm Not Lisa', 'Lizzie & The Rainman' and 'I'm The Singer You're The Song'. An enjoyable return down memory rain with Tanya Tucker on this one.Other Songs: 'Rodeo Girls', 'Travelling Salesman', 'You've Got Me To Hold On To', 'Here's Some Love', 'Makin' Love Don't Always Make Love Grow', Ridin' Rainbows', 'Can I See You Tonight'.

(2) HANK WILLIAMS JR.
18 songs, 50 minutes, in chronological order show Hank Jr. on his journey from "Son of Hank" to Country Superstar. Track 1 is from 1950 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues', and 'Your Cheating Heart' is from '53. 'Endless Sleep' is from '64, while the next 11 songs cover the 1960's. There're 3 narrations included, 'The Old Ryman', 'Standing In The Shadows' and 'I Was With Red Foley'(the night he passed away). 'Cajun Baby'(featuring twin fiddles), 'Be Careful Of The Stones That You Throw'(with full orchestra) and Haggard's bluesy 'I'd Rather Be Gone' from 1969 marked the start of the big change for Hank Jr. The CD is rounded off with 'Stoned At The Jukebox' and 'Living Proof' and Hank Jr was on his way to the greatness he deserved and achieved.
Other Songs: 'Nobody's Child', 'I Wouldn't Change A Thing About You','It's All Over But The Crying', 'Custody', 'A Baby Again', 'Rainy Night In Georgia', 'I'll Think Of Something'.

(3) PATSY CLINE
18 songs, 43 minutes featuring many of Patsy's hits and other successes make up this release. Apart from the 1957 recording of 'Walking After Midnight', all the tracks are are from 1961/62 and 63. 'Crazy' opens the CD which includes 4 Hank Cochran songs, 'She's Got You', 'Why Can't He Be You', 'You're Stronger Than Me' and 'When You Need A Laugh'. There're 2 Hank Williams songs included, 'Your Cheating Heart' and 'I Can't Help It' as well as the popular classics 'San Antonio Rose', 'Heartaches', 'Lonely Street', 'Leavingg On Your Mind', 'Love Letters In The Sand', 'Back In Baby's Arms', 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky'. The songs 'Anytime', 'I Love You So Much It Hurts and Harlan Howard's 'He Called Me Baby' rounds out the CD. Nice collection but you've probably got all these songs by Patsy already.


THE BEST OF DON WILLIAMS, SPECTRUM - UNIVERSAL
This is a straightforward re-issue of the 1994 CD on MCA Records with even the same packaging. It still looks great and sounds as good as ever. Don has that everlasting quality in his voice; it never seems to date. Maybe the songs or the styles may change over the years, but Don's recordings will remain popular for many years. The tracks here cover the years 1976 - 1984 and include 12 of his 17 Country No 1 hits. The other 8 tracks are 'I Recall A Gypsy Woman', 'Amanda', 'The Shelter Of Your Eyes', 'She's In Love With A Rodeo Man', 'It's Gotta Be Magic', Listen To The Radio' and 'All I'm Missing Is You'. If you haven't already got the songs in your collection, this one is a 'must buy'. (20 tracks, 63 minutes).
Other Songs: The 12 No. 1 hits are @Till The Rivers All Run Dry', 'Say It Again', 'Some Broken Hearts Never Mend', 'I'm Just A Country Boy', 'Tulsa Time', 'It Must Be Love', 'I Believe In [email protected], 'Love Is On A Roll', 'Stay Young', That's The Thing About Love', 'Love Me Over Again' and of Course 'You're My Best Friend'.


GEORGE HAMILTON IV - BEYOND THE RIVER - SUNDOWN-TKO MAGNUM RECORDS
This is a fine collection of Gospel songs from George running for 54 minutes, with 16 listed tracks. However some of the tracks have 2 or more songs, so ther're 25 titles included. There are narrations from George on 'Safe To The Rock', 'The Ira Sankey Story', 'The Good Shepherd', 'The Ninety & Nine', 'The Lord Brings Back His Own', 'Peace Attendeth My Way' and 'The Slave Trader'. The music behind George's narration varies from 'Hiding In Thee' to 'Amazing Grace', with tuneful steel guitar from Bud Tutmarc on some tracks. George sings alternate songs between the narrations (some with a gospel chorus) and he's joined by A.G. and Kate Band on one track. Wes Davis, who has toured with George across GB on Gospel tours, produces the CD


ORIGINAL LOUISIANNA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES - CLASSIC COUNTRY RADIO VOLUME 1
SUNDOWN/TKO MAGNUM RECORDS

Here's a unique collection of radio cuts from the famous Louisianna Hayride broadcast from Shreveport between 1946 and 1969. Ther're 20 tracks on the CD with 2 songs each from George Jones, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash and Faron Young. Also included are songs from Hank Snow, Webb Pierce, Hank Williams, Slim Whitman, Ernest Tubb, Marty Robbins, Red Sovine, T. Texas Tyler, Johnny Horton and Charlie Walker. There're only 2 female singers on this CD, Kitty Wells and Lorretta Lynn with one song each. There's many a collector's piece included, Hank Williams "fluffing" the word of 'Jambalaya', Jim Reeves singing 'Red Eyed and Rowdy' (from an auditorium in Texas on one of those rare occasions that the Hayride didn't come from Shreveport), Johnny Cash doing train whistles and George Jones cracking up on 'The Race Is On'. The compere, Horace Logan introduces many of the tracks; he was also the main producer and MC for many years. This CD closes with a 1958 recording of Charlie Walker singing Harlan Howards forst No. 1 song 'Pick Me Up On Your Way Down'. Other songs include 'Careless Hands', 'Honky Tonk Man', 'She Thinks I Still Care', 'I Don't Care', 'Five Feet High' and 'Rising' and 'Making Believe'.

ORIGINAL LOUISIANNA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES - CLASSIC COUNTRY RADIO VOLUME 2
SUNDOWN/TKO MAGNUM RECORDS

More of the same on Volume 2, another 20 tracks, this time 2 songs each from George Jones, Johnny Cash and Jim Reeves. Apart from the 2 female voices with Jim Ed Brown (his sisters Maxine and Bonnie) there're no female Country singers on this one. Roy Acuff and his Smokey Mountain Boys make a rare appearance at the Hayride as does Carl Smith, Ray Price, Red Foley, The Wilburn Bros, Hank Snow and Hawkshaw Hawkins. These were all Grand Ole Opry stars and were only allowed to appear on the rival Hayride when they had a new record to promote. Great collector's fare on both CDs Volume 1 and 2, and I'll have a gospel CD from this series next time. The songs include 'Cattle Call', 'The Minute You're Gone', 'Slowly', 'Release Me', @Pan American', 'Texas Hambone Blues', 'Foggy River' and 'Why Baby Why'.


DANNI LEIGH - DIVIDE AND CONQUER - AUDIUM RECORDS (Koch Int)

Danni Leigh's latest single 'Sometimes' (a Jim Lauderdale/Frank Dycus song) is currently at No. 20 on the EMS European Country Charts as I write, and is included on this, her 3rd Country album release on her 3rd record label, through no fault of hers. This CD's got that current sound associated with chart successes in the USA. It is "Solid Country" at times, like on 'He Used To Say That To Me' and 'House Of Pain' (2 soft shuffles). It's folksy too, like on 'A Far Cry From Here' which opens with just acoustic guitar, and builds nicely to a lovely Country sound. 'Yesterday' is Country swing, with a great punch and tempo change. Danni co-writes 2 songs, Jim Lauderdale, who co-wrote 3 songs also sings BGV on 2 of them. Other songs are from Phil Lee, Malcolm Holcombe and Lucky Laurence, who also sings BGV on 2 songs. Pete Anderson plays a wide variety of instruments, arranges and produces with great taste. Overall a good modern Country album from a lady with a great Country voice. Danni is currently touring the USA with the Souveiers Band, which features the aforesaid Lucky Laurence, and if more success came her way chart wise in Europe, I'd say a visit here would be on the cards (10 songs, 36 minutes).


ACROSS THE BORDER - ON THE ROAD AGAIN - (Gig CD From Band)
Here's a 4-piece band putting their sound down on a 15 track CD recorded in Gateshead. The sleeve notes contain basic info only, the song titles and band members names only. There're 2 inside pages blank, surely the songwriters deserve a mention. The band members are vocalist Margaret Leitch; rhythm guitar Pete Brayshaw also shares the vocals ans sings harmony; Trevor Cassidy plays bass, keyboards and sings lead and harmony vocals and the newest member Stuart McNeil plays lead guitar and harmony vocals. I'll list the songs below, as this is an album of covers as far as I can tell. It lacks a little bit in production at times, but I appreciate that the band paid for this one themselves and probably worked to a tight budget. With this in mind it's a cracking album, a good mix of songs probably all taken from their stage shows. On this outing they can only achieve their ambition to "become a full time Country band playing all over the country and eventually overseas". The CD is available from the band on 01642 863290 - Mob 07761118966.
Songs: 'Mixed Up Mess Of A Heart', 'Shotgun', 'Adelida', 'Easy Chair', 'Tougher Than The Rest', 'Beatin' My Head Against The Wall', Now I Know', 'Gone Country', 'Walk To The Light', 'Neon Moon', 'The Bug', 'Winding Road', 'Your Good Girls Gonna Go Bad', 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', 'On The Road Again'.


JOYCE-MERE - PACK UP MY DREAMS AND GO HOME - COUNTRY ON BROADWAY

Over the last few years the name Joyce-Mere has been appearing on the Country HotDisc with great regularity. Far as I can figure out she's had 6 releases on single on the HotDisc with some successes across Europe. 4 of those singles are on this CD which includes her latest single 'Gonna Steal You Away'. Her husky voice is complimented by the musicians and she writes all her own songs for this CD. 12 tracks over 54 minutes is well worth a listen. It was recorded in San Diego, California with a wide variety of instruments including the usual rhythm section, various keyboards plus lead guitars, dobros and even fiddle at times. Nice production and I'm sure it won't be long before her 2nd CD is released here. Available from Country on Broadway on 01494 776877
or [email protected]


DOMINIC KIRWAN - UNDER YOUR SPELL - ROSETTE RECORDS
Like his stable mate Daniel. Dominic moves to Rosette Records and his first album for them was released on 1st April to coincide with his current round Britain tour. Once again he follows the pattern set some years ago, Country, middle of the road and easy listening light-pop songs. So why change a successful pattern, they don't. THEY JUST KEEP IMPROVING ON IT. This CD was recorded in Nashville, produced by Ronnie Light and features top session players and singers. 16 songs (mainly Country I hasten to add) with lots of fiddle and steel guitar. There're some lovely arrangements too, like on 'Under Your Spell', 'Kiss An Angel Good Morning' and 'Last Waltz'. He does a great version of Isla grant's 'Listen To The Children', Harlan Howard's 'Gone Gone Gone' and John Berry's 'Walking In The Sun' (both taken from Glen Campbell's "Walking In The Sun" CD from 1990?). He rounds of the CD with an outstanding version of 'He Stopped Loving Her Today', which I'm sure will be a showstopper in his "Live" show. It is an album of covers, but Dominic does them all justice. (16 songs - 51 minutes) Other Songs; 'Darling You're The Best Thing', 'Never My Love', 'Sweetheart Darling Of Mine', 'Live Laugh Love', 'Just Out Of Reach', 'Concrete And Clay', 'I Don't Want This Night To Be Over', 'Not That Strong', 'Arms Of Mary'.


HARVEY CUMMINS - OUT OF THE SHADOWS - UNIVERSAL SOUND RECORDS

Harvey is a newcomer! Now there's a statement meant to deceive. Well technically he is, as this is his first album for Universal Sounds in Nashville, although he did record his first album back in the 80's. Now don't be fooled when someone tells you they don't record Country in Nashville anymore, just have a listen to this CD, Country through and through. Recorded at Mark Moseley's studio in Nashville, this was engineered, mixed and mastered by Mark who deserves full marks. There's a comparison to Marty Robbins recommended by the record company and yes, there is that quality to his voice on the ballads like 'Don't Worry 'bout Me' and 'My Woman My Woman My Wife'. I also enjoyed the uptempo songs, '3 Days Out Of Texas' and 'All The Good Ones Weren't Taken', and the shuffles like 'Between A Rock And A Hard Place' and 'Heavy Construction'. There's a pathos to his voice too well suited to 'Savin' Up My Pennies' and 'I'm Only Going Crazy'. With this album Harvey can move 'Out Of The Shadows', (11 tracks in all 38 minutes.

PAUL ALAN COONS - EVERYTHING SHE TOUCHES TURNS TO LOVE - UNIVERSAL SOUND RECORDS
Just listening to the opening track on this CD is enough to convinve you that you're in for a Country treat. Paul opens the 11 song CD with one of his own songs 'I'm Free' which showcases the musicians to a tee. Twin fiddles open the old Walter Haynes song that gives the CD its title track, a great ballad. Song 3 is a slightly heavier than usual version of 'I Recall A Gypsy Woman' while song 4 is even heavier, but then it's a cover version of 'The Eagle', originally recorded by Waylon back in 1990. He also pays tribute to Hank Jr with 'Country State Of Mind'. I liked the ballad 'Even The Bad We Had Was Good', a lovely song written by Roger West and Aaron Boswell. 'I'm It' is another cracking up-tempo dance tune. The album closes with another 2 good songs from Pauls pen, 'Goodbye Old Friend' and 'When'. Paul is a good Country singer with quality in his voice and sure to find success again. He charted on StarGem Records back in 1989.

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