Unbelievably there have been almost 400 compilation albums devoted to Patsy Cline. Unbelievable because her recording career only started in earnest in 1957 and ended with her tragic death just 6 years later. It also begs the question is yet another compilation required? Her work before 1960 was with the Four Star label which yielded a lot of indifferent material because she was only permitted to record the songs for which the label's president owned the copyright.
Well, when k d lang wanted to record the magnificent album Shadowland: the Owen Bradley Sessions
she managed to coax out of retirement the iconic Nashville producer, Owen Bradley, who was responsible for creating the lush orchestrations and textured arrangements that characterised Patsy's time at Decca. This was an inspired move by lang because Cline and Bradley forged the Nashville sound, perhaps closer to pop than country (shades of Patti Page and Kay Starr) and, with the Jordanaires, created the finest recordings of her career. They inspired a generation and her influence can be found in the work of The Judds, Loretta Lynn, Tricia Yearwood, Linda Ronstadt as well as k d lang whose "Shadowland" is the jewel in the crown of her career.
This album collects together, for the first time, all 51 masters that Cline recorded with Bradley between 1960 and 1963. And what wonderful songs they are: "I Fall To Pieces", "Crazy", "Walkin' After Midnight", "Back In Baby's Arms" and "He Called Me Baby". Delivered in Cline's emotion packed alto they convey the poignant moods of a different era: an era of gentleness and innocence and tabling the themes of love, breakup, loss, regret and reunion.
This is fabulous stuff and acts as a perfect legacy to a talent cut tragically short. Frankly, this is the only Cline compilation that matters.