I have not actually heard Helen Merrill's "American Country Songs" for a very long time - perhaps twenty-five years. The original vinyl album bought by my brothers, Donald and Eddie, both avid jazz fans - and now very scratched - is somewhere in London, England or Port Elizabeth, South Africa. But I remember very clearly the impact that hearing this record (and the other jazz records in my brothers' collection, including "Helen Merrill" with Clifford Brown, and Helen Merrill's "Dream of You,) had on me at the age of 13 or 14 growing up in South Africa.
I have also been looking out for it for a very long time in the record shops of London and the pages of Amazon. Then, finally, I saw it on Amazon - and immediately pre-ordered a copy even at the stupendous price of S34, to be sent to me in China - only to find on 27th November, it is still not yet in stock. Another wait! In frustration, the only thing I can do (besides wait) is to review it, in the hope it will spur a flood of orders and galvanise Amazon into getting this in stock QUICKLY!
I am reviewing it from a distant memory, but the marriage of Helen's warm, smoky vocals and country standards such as " I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", " Cold Cold Heart", 'I'm Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail, " You Don't Know Me" is electrifying.
If you are a fan of Helen Merrill (like I am) or a lover of country music(again, like I am), then order this album immediately!
I promise you, you will not be disappointed. It is a superb album by Helen Merrill, and a "country" album like no other.