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Memories of home and family
on 16 May 2009
The Irish duo of Mick Foster and Tony Allen have had a highly successful career spanning a quarter of a century, many of their albums being filled with covers of popular songs. In recent years, they have released double albums based on particular themes featuring some newly recorded material along with previously released recordings.
This particular release is a single CD budget release so I doubt if there is any new material here. I don't have many of their albums, so while I'm familiar with plenty of these songs by other artists, I don't have Foster and Allen's versions of many of these songs elsewhere. Nevertheless, I enjoy the duo's relaxing style so I always enjoy listening to their music. Sometimes they record songs that I'm not familiar with, which adds to the listening pleasure.
The mood of the collection is set by the opening track, Back home again. This John Denver song is one of all-time favorite songs, whoever sings it (though my favorite version is the one by Dottie West). I'll admit that if I come across a version that I haven't heard before, I may be tempted to buy the album. The mere presence of this song usually indicates that the rest of the album will appeal to me, and this one is no exception, especially as it sets the theme of the whole compilation.
Elsewhere on the album there's a cover of Take me home country roads, another John Denver song and a huge American pop hit for him, although it was Olivia Newton-John who made the song into a British top twenty hit. You'll also find covers of other famous songs such as Try to remember, Scarlet ribbons, Green green grass of home and What a wonderful world.
Of the other songs, some are better known than others, but my favorite here is Cottage in the country, a song that I don't remember hearing elsewhere. Another outstanding song is Between the two of them, which I have come across before although I don't think the song is especially well known. It was the outstanding track on Tanya Tucker's otherwise weak album by her standards, Fire to fire. (Most of Tanya's albums are brilliant but everybody is allowed an occasional off-day.) The song also appeared on Alabama's album, American pride. I don't know where Mick and Tony found the song, but I'm glad they did because their version is wonderful.
If you enjoy Foster and Allen's easy listening but country influenced style of music, you will surely enjoy this collection. If you are unfamiliar with their music and are thinking of giving them a try, this is as good a sampler as any, especially if you don't want to hear too many covers of famous songs.