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Kevan James "yeskev"
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34 Number Ones
34 Number Ones
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great One For The Car!, 24 Jan. 2011
This review is from: 34 Number Ones (Audio CD)
You can't seem to escape from 'best of' compilations by country artists - I'm sure this must be the 5th or 6th collection of Alan Jackson's hits. And I ask myself, as I always do, who are these collections aimed at? The obsessive collector who must have everything? The person who has never bought a Jackson CD but fancies a 'best of' collection? Someone in between? Or all of them? Who knows! But at the price, for me, this is a great collection to keep in the car.

Wow, what a great back catalouge this guy has! I read a review elsewhere (the US Amazon site possibly) where the reviewer complained that just including the hits meant that many classic songs from other albums that are better than some of the singles were being ignored. A good point, but this collection has so many great songs I can imagine many new comers to Jackson's music using it as springboard to other parts of his output.

So, lots of classic songs. It's difficult to pick particular favourites but "She's Got the Rhythm (I've Got the Blues)" always makes me smile for it's slightly ironic 'Yeehaw', "Midnight in Montgomery" is a homage to Hank Williams, and "Good Time" ..... well, yeah, good time music!

As for the new tracks, his take on "Ring of Fire" is OK but the original is so iconic, it's difficult not to compare any new version. The track with the Zac Brown Band, "As She's Walking Away", is a great single (from a great album!).

So, does the world need another Alan Jackson compilation? When it's as good as this one, and at that price, my answer is yes! If you've never heard Alan Jackson before, this is the ideal place to start!


The Best of the West Rides Again
The Best of the West Rides Again
Price: £19.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Introduction to the Riders!, 1 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For over 30 years Ranger Doug (guitar and yodel), Too Slim (bunkhouse bass), and Woody Paul (fiddle) have been treading the boards as Riders in the Sky, America's (and possibly the World's) Favourite Cowboys*. This is one of two compilations featuring an hour of highlights from their first five albums.

If you haven't heard Riders in the Sky before they're three (later four*) guys who dress up as cowboys (1930s and 40s Hollywood cowboys, not the Clint Eastwood style) and sing three and four part harmonies, with a large number of yodels thrown in, and some superb instrumentation, probably best known for the work on the "Woody's Round-up" part of "Toy Story 2".

Lots to enjoy on this collection, which features a variety of classic old cowboy songs and originals, and I'm sure you'll be surprised how many of those classic songs you'll know without realising it! And although the thought of listening to someone yodelling might seem odd, it fits in so well with the style of music, that you soon begin to listen out for it.

I would highly recommend this album if you've not heard Riders before, along with its companion piece "Best of the West", and then suggest you try "A Great Big Western Howdy", one of my favourite albums ever!!

*Latterly they've been joined by Joey the Cow Polka King on accordian, but he doesn't feature on these recordings.


Best of the West
Best of the West
Price: £5.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Way to Meet The Riders!, 1 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Best of the West (Audio CD)
For over 30 years Ranger Doug (guitar and yodel), Too Slim (bunkhouse bass), and Woody Paul (fiddle) have been treading the boards as Riders in the Sky, America's (and possibly the World's) Favourite Cowboys*. This is one of two compilations featuring an hour of highlights from their first five albums.

If you haven't heard Riders in the Sky before they're three (later four*) guys who dress up as cowboys (1930s and 40s Hollywood cowboys, not the Clint Eastwood style) and sing three and four part harmonies, with a large number of yodels thrown in, and some superb instrumentation, probably best known for the work on the "Woody's Round-up" part of "Toy Story 2".

Lots to enjoy on this collection, which features many classic old cowboy songs, and I'm sure you'll be surprised how many of them you know without realising it! And although the thought of listening to someone yodelling might seem odd, it fits in so well with the style of music, that you soon begin to listen out for it.

I would highly recommend this album if you've not heard Riders before, along with its companion piece "Best of the West Rides Again", and then suggest "A Great Big Western Howdy", one of my favourite albums ever!!

*Latterly they've been joined by Joey the Cow Polka King on accordian, but he doesn't feature on these recordings.


Ghost Riders In The Sky
Ghost Riders In The Sky
Price: £12.13

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Brief Introduction to the Riders, 1 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Ghost Riders In The Sky (Audio CD)
Love the Riders and would recommend them to anyone who loves a bit of old time western music but what a very strange release this is - 10 tracks and a running time of about 30 minutes. Look a bit longer and you will probably find "Best of the West" and "Best of the West Rides Again" for about the same price, two compilations of Riders in the Sky first five albums for Rounder Records, each featuring over 20 tracks each and running times of over an hour.

So, it's five stars for the music but minus two for the brevity of the album.


Sinners & Saints
Sinners & Saints
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.63

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Mixed Bag of Styles From Malo, 30 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sinners & Saints (Audio CD)
I loved Raul Malo's last album, "Lucky One", and couldn't see how he'd be able to better it. Well, he hasn't quite managed it with this album but that doesn't stop it being a great collection of songs.

Whilst I don't think this is going to be my favourite album of the year (but easily in the top ten), the first two minutes of opener and title track "Sinners & Saints" is easily the best start to an album I've heard in many a year, with a fantastic trumpet line - think an Ennio Morroconi western theme and you'll get the idea! And then a minute or so further in there's a great guitar solo from Malo. Great track!

It's a real mixed bag of styles, with 60s sounding "Living for Today", a Mavericks sounding Tex-Mex flavour in "San Antonio Baby", a Cajan tinged "Superstar", and a Spanish torch song in "Sombras" (and watch out for Malo's UK only EP "This is Raul Malo" which features a superb Spanish version of "Man Without Love" ("Cuando Me Enamoro")Rodney Crowell).

The middle of the album features two great tracks, a stunning cover of Rodney Crowell's "'Til I Gain Control Again", which I'm sure will bring a lump to your throat, and "Staying Here", which features a chugging "Gentle on my Mind" sounding rhythm with a great pay off line of "For now I'll be right by your side, And hope things will turn out right, But I'm staying here with leaving on my mind". Excellent stuff!

Really good album, highly recommended.


They Call Me Cadillac
They Call Me Cadillac

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Country Music For People Who Don't Like Country Music!!, 15 Oct. 2010
This review is from: They Call Me Cadillac (Audio CD)
Don't like country music? Try this one for size!

I would never presume to take credit for likening Randy Houser to Jamey Johnson, since Country Music People magazine made the comparison in their 5 star review of this album, but the likeness is definitely there - both released debuts which were serviceable but not earth shattering and then followed up with second albums which were (are) so different you can't help but take notice, and both make really effective use of sparse instrumentation. And both manage to blur the line between country and rock sufficiently to draw in those who would normally avoid country music, rather like the southern rock sound of the 1970s.

There is just so much to like on this album - a great mix of sounds ranging from out and out country to southern rock to outlaw country to blues, wonderful instrumentation (listen out especially for that steel guitar), and a soulful voice holding notes much longer than you would expect.

I'm generally enjoying the slower tracks more than the rockers presented here, with "Addicted" and the bar room lament "Will I Always Be This Way", with its mournful steel guitar backing, standing out. Of the faster tracks, I like opener "Lowdown and Lonesome" and the title track. The only song that I'm unsure of is "Whistlin' Dixie", simply because it sounds slightly too much like a Hank Williams Jnr song.

It's been a great couple of months for country music fans, with strong releases from Dale Watson, Jamey Johnson, and Darius Rucker, and this one joins those three in being one of the best new releases I have heard this year.


The Guitar Song
The Guitar Song
Price: £14.02

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Album but ......., 13 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Guitar Song (Audio CD)
Although this collection is far from perfect, it's possibly the best new country album I've heard this year.

Sprawled across over an hour and a half Jamey Johnson returns to the successful formula of his previous album, "That Lonesome Song", presenting a mix of originals and inspired covers. The pre-release blurb talks about the two discs - the white album and the black album - being, "A tale. The first part of it is a very dark and sordid story. Everything after that is progressively more positive, reassuring and redemptive." Hmm, possibly ..... but I don't get that feel myself - especially as the first album opens with the quite amusing and jolly "Lonely at the Top".

This is an album that could easily appeal to those who don't normally listen to country music, veering in a number of places into a very definite southern rock vibe, especially on the tracks that feature extended instrumental play outs ("Don't Cash My Checks", "Heartache", "By The Seat of Your Pants", and "California Riots").

Johnson seems to like to pay tribute on his albums and this one is no different. And his choices are inspired! His version of "Set `em Up Joe" is excellent, and his take on Kris Kristofferson's "For The Good Times" is kind of ironic - he's always being compared to the country outlaws of the 1970s, Waylon etc., but here on this album he reminds me more of Kristofferson than anyone else. And that can never be a bad thing!

The playing throughout is excellent, though special mention must be made of steel player "Cowboy" Eddie Long. His playing is all over this collection and almost worth the entry price by itself!

As I said at the start, this collection isn't perfect. Whilst I couldn't point the finger at any particularly tracks to cull, I feel it's too long. I can't help thinking that it would have worked better as a single 80 minute album. Hence four stars rather than five. And I do wish he'd simply present the songs and not feel the need to have little bits of background noise and studio chatter between the tracks.

Finally I've got to say something about the way this album is packaged - an awful card sleeve with little slots for the discs. I've only had it two days and it's already looking like it's not going to last - the disc slots have already started to tear and I can see that taking the discs in and out is going to mark them. There are two booklets in the front fold of the sleeve and every time I open it they flop out!! To be honest I wish I'd simply downloaded it!!

But whinge over - it's still a great album!!


Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions
Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions
Price: £7.09

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic Steel Drenched Collection, 25 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was lucky enough to be in Nashville for the CMA Festival in June where this album was unveiled to the music press. Though I wasn't at this event I heard a lot of positive noises from those who were there, with one person even describing it as 'the best country album I've heard for years!'. High praise indeed! Since then I'm sure I've heard every track on various country music shows on the radio - it's certainly a popular album!

There's no doubt, this a superbly produced album with some fantastic playing - Marty's backing band, The Fabulous Superlatives, are (excuse the pun) fabulous, and really shine on the instrumental "Hummingbird". There's a number of different steel players featured, including Ralph Mooney who co-wrote the old Ray Price song "Crazy Arms" and here features on a short instrumental version of that track. There's some amazing steel playing on this album - listen out for the train noises on "Ghost Train Four-Oh-Ten" and the wonderfully mournful backing towards the end of the half-recited "Porter Wagoner's Grave".

I'm sure much will be made of "Hangman", a song Stuart co-wrote with Johnny Cash just four days before he passed away. It's a suitably doomy number reflecting on an executioner's life and would certainly not have been out of place on one of Cash's 'American Recordings' series.

I had been looking forward to hearing Stuart's duet with his wife Connie Smith on "I Run To You" but came away feeling slightly disappointed, since she seems to feature more as a harmony vocalist than an out-and-out duet partner. Still, it's a strong song, as is their other co-write (and possibly my favourite track on the album) "Drifting Apart".

All in all it is indeed a superbly produced, if somewhat eclectic, collection. It reminds me in quite a number places of other things - shades of Buck Owens (or more precisely The Derailers, who always sound very much like him) are all over the place, not that that's a bad thing! It's probably going to be one of those albums where I flick through certain tracks rather than play it in its entirity, hence 4 instead of 5 stars.


Carryin' On
Carryin' On
Price: £13.11

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Dale's Best Album??, 11 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Carryin' On (Audio CD)
Though this album has a release date of late August (in the US) and early September (UK) it's actually been available as a download from a certain (legal) site for some weeks!!

What a fantastic collection! I was slightly disappointed with Dale's "Trucking Sessions 2" album from last year because it featured a fair number of songs from previous albums, albeit rerecorded. So this set of new recordings, though a number of the songs have been part of his live act for some years, is a real treat.

The whole album's got a slightly dated sound, and believe me, that's a good thing!! I'm not sure whether his usual backing group, The Lonestars, appear on these recordings (no such details on the download) but I do there's fantastic playing from the wonderful Lloyd Green on steel guitar and Hargus Robbins on piano, and some fiddle too (though again I don't know who it is!). There's even a girlie chorus on a number of tracks - which remind me of some of Willie Nelson's 60s recording with Chet Atkins!

Lots of high points - opener "Carryin' On This Way" is a laid back start, but with a kick in the tail; "Tequila, Whiskey and Beer, Oh My!", which he sometimes announces as "The Honky Tonk Wizard of Oz" when playing live, is very clever, with musical references to well known songs from the 'Oz' film popping up; and "I'll Show you" is possibly the fastest song he's ever recorded!!

I can imagine "Hello, I'm an Old Country Song" being the track that gets the most attention, where Dale returns to a subject close to his heart - how country music has changed over the years.

All in all, a great album and possibly the strongest collection of songs he's released. A definite contender for my album of the year!!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2010 6:47 PM GMT


Texas Fiddlers
Texas Fiddlers

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Americana?? Nope - Western Swing!!, 28 July 2010
This review is from: Texas Fiddlers (Audio CD)
Ignore what the comments say about this album - Americana?? Nonsense, this is Western Swing through and through, and well worth a listen. And it's also worth noting that although the same comments mentions close harmonies, this is actually a totally instrumental album! Makes you wonder if the person who wrote that even bothered to listen to it!!

Still, excellent stuff. Catch them live if you get the chance. And whilst you're there just watch that guitarist - he's one of the best I've ever seen!!


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