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Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England)
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Heart Trouble - The Best of
Heart Trouble - The Best of
Price: £9.99

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Generous compilation of Steve's MCA recordings, 29 May 2015
This compilation contains all of Steve's solo hits that he recorded for MCA, all of the other tracks from Life's highway and a great selection of tracks from his other MCA albums, although omitting one of my favorites, Hey alarm clock. That omission is not important, but I am disappointed that his duet with Nicolette Larson, That's how you know when love's right, is missing. It was a top ten country hit and also won a Grammy award. I thought about knocking a star off for the omission, but the song is still available on Very Best of Nicolette Larson as well as ...Say When / Rose Of My Heart, the latter being a pairing of her two MCA albums.

Steve had eight number one country hits and many other top ten hits with MCA. He deserved all the success he had with his wonderful voice, with music that should appeal to most country fans except the most ardent traditionalists. I love the traditional stuff too but I enjoy Steve's music too. This compilation contains most of hid hits, but he also had hits on other labels, notably Holes in the floor of Heaven. Look elsewhere for those tracks but this is the strongest compilation of Steve's music yet released.

Tracks

CD1

1. Back Up Grinnin' Again
2. Heart Trouble
3. I Got Dreams
4. Baby I'm Yours
5. One Good Night Deserves Another
6. Precious Thing
7. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (with Glen Campbell)
8. Life's Highway
9. Starting Over Again
10. Small Town Girl
11. Lynda
12. The Weekend
13. Some Fools Never Learn
14. I Should Be with You
15. Hold On (A Little Longer)
16. Where Did I Go Wrong
17. When I Could Come Home to You
18. The Domino Theory
19. There for Awhile
20. What I Didn't Do

CD2

1. Why Do Heroes Die So Young
2. You Can Dream of Me
3. She's Crazy for Leavin'
4. In Love and Out of Danger
5. It's a Crazy World
6. Somewhere Between Old and New York
7. The Flower That Shattered the Stone
8. I Can See Arkansas
9. Where Fools Are Kings
10. Language of Love
11. She's Leaving Me All Over Town
12. The Heartland
13. While I'm Holding You Tonight
14. Caught Between Your Duty and Your Dream
15. When Times Were Hard
16. You Can't Cut Me Any Deeper
17. I Let a Keeper Get Away
18. If I Could Make a Livin' (Out of Lovin' You)
19. Natural History
20. The Loser Wins
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2015 6:38 PM BST


Country Charley Pride / The Country Way / Pride Of Country Music
Country Charley Pride / The Country Way / Pride Of Country Music
Price: £12.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First four albums full of quality, 27 May 2015
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These albums contain a lot of covers of hits for other people. Although I don't mind that, and actually enjoy it, I know that others think differently

The first album contains no hits, but two singles were released, these being The snakes crawl at night (almost certainly an original song) and Before I met you (a cover of a Carl Smith country hit in the fifties). I think the final track, Got leavin' on her mind, may also be an original song, but the remainder of this album is filled with covers, all performed superbly by Charley Pride.

The next album here, completing CD 1, was Charley's third album, The country way. It contains two country hits, these being Does my ring hurt your finger and The day the world stood still, as well as the song he is most famous for outside America, Crystal chandeliers, which was a cover of a Carl Belew country hit. The covers here include Act naturally, a Buck Owens song that the Beatles also covered.

The asecond CD begins with Charley's second album, Pride of country music. It also contains two country hits, these being Just between you and me and I know one. \the covers include The last thing on my mind, Apartment #9 and Touch my heart.

The fourth and final album is Make mine country, which includes one of the earliest versions of Before the next teardrop falls. This song had already been a minor country hit for Duane Dee, who I've never otherwise heard of. Several other artists including Jerry Lee Lewis also covered the song, but it only became a big hit when Freddy Fender covered it in 1974. Other notable covers include Banks of the Ohio (a country hit for Porter Wagoner and eventually a UK pop hit for Olivia Newton-John) and A girl I used to know (originally a country hit for George Jones, later a top ten country hit for Porter and Dolly as Just someone I used to know.

These four albums provided a great start to Charley's career and should prove popular with his many fans.


Storyteller: The Anthology 1960-1983
Storyteller: The Anthology 1960-1983
Price: £19.36

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great compilation despite a notable omission, 27 May 2015
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This is a multi-label collection spanning Bobby's career from 1958 to 1983. As such, credit for all inclusions and blame for all omissions goes to whoever compiled this set. He or she did not just pick the obvious tracks based on chart positions but included a good spread of minor hits and album tracks.

The game of triangles" (with Liz Anderson and Norma Jean) is the only top ten hit that is omitted - a surprise, but you'll find it on Heaven Help the Working Girl (Norma Jean)

That aside, there is plenty to like about this set. Among the less obvious tracks are Redneck hippie romance (a minor hit), The gambler (recorded before Kenny Rogers recorded his version), No memories hangin' round (a top 20 duet with Rosanne Cash, recently revived by Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris on The Traveling Kind) and Song of the south (later covered by Alabama, whose version became a #1 country hit.

Any Bobby Bare fans or fans of sixties and seventies country music generally should seriously consider buying this one.


Me And The First Lady / We're Gonna Hold On / Golden Ring
Me And The First Lady / We're Gonna Hold On / Golden Ring
Price: £11.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three excellent albums first time on CD, 27 May 2015
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With the release of these albums on CD, all of George and Tammy's duets have now been released on CD except for the album they did with Tammy's daughter Tina.

Their country hits featured here are The ceremony, We're gonna hold on, We're not) the jet set, Golden ring and Near you.

To some extent. their music tells the story of their marriage although the earliest album here includes A lovely place to cry (was this a clue that things were already beginning to deteriorate?) while later tracks include I'll be there if you ever want me (a great song, but their marriage had already fallen apart by the time it appeared on the album).

There is plenty of original or little-known material here, but apart from I'll be there if you ever want me, there are also covers of Roll in my sweet baby's arms, Never ending song of love, Crying time and Did you ever? Their recording of Even the bad times are good is NOT the Tremeloes song, but a country song that I've heard before (as a duet by Connie Smith and Nat Stuckey).

These are three excellent albums that all fans of George and Tammy will appreciate.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2015 9:10 PM BST


Pilgrimage to Dollywood: A Country Music Road Trip Through Tennessee (Culture Trails: Adventures in Travel)
Pilgrimage to Dollywood: A Country Music Road Trip Through Tennessee (Culture Trails: Adventures in Travel)
by Helen Morales
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ex-pat British woman travels across Tennessee, 26 May 2015
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I didn't have any particular expectations of this book, but it left me feeling that it is better for me to dream about Tennessee than to actually go there. The author's original plans were altered because of exceptional floods, but once the journey proper got underway, she and her family learned that Tennessee is not how they imagined it to be.

The surprises for them started in Memphis, which contains shrines to Elvis Presley (Graceland) and Martin Luther King (National Civil Rights Museum). Th family visited both, and the author was shocked at some of what she learned. While I find some of it disturbing, I can't say that any of it comes as a complete surprise to me. As this book is really about Dolly, I won't dwell on the issues raised here.

The book gets better with a visit to Loretta Lynn's place about halfway between Memphis and Nashville, although I don't think that I'd want to try the replca coal mine even if I were to visit. Another stop in Nashville enables the author to visit Dolly's shop, Trinkets and Treasures.

Finally, the family arrive in Pigeon Forge, the home of Dollywood. This is a massive theme park that I've read bits and pieces about. Again, the author found things that she wasn't too keen on, but I suspect that I would enjoy it more than she did.

If you are a Dolly Parton fan, you will probably like this. I'm not sure what readers who are not Dolly fans will make of it. I am an Elvis fan too, albeit Dolly is my favorite singer. I suspect that among his fans, those who are not Dolly fans will not like this.


The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain's Railways
The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain's Railways
by Michael Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia with a slightly different twist, 26 May 2015
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I've read and reviewed plenty of books about lost lines, sometimes focusing on their days in active service, sometimes looking at their subsequent usage as footpaths, cycle ways or whatever, or their derelict remains. I've also read and reviewed books about lost railway architecture and former named express trains. This book covers all of those aspects to some extent, but also other things, at least some of which have been covered elsewhere.

Here, there is a chapter on dining cars - a relatively recent loss, although the author notes that some train operators, particularly First Great Western, still operate them. To be honest, I rarely used them in any form - standard or Pullman, though I do remember travelling on the Blue Pullman for some part of the journey between Paddington and Bristol. I can't remember if I travelled alone or with a family member, or whether we used the Blue Pullman for both outward and return journeys, but I definitely used the service.

Another chapter is devoted to British seaside holidays. The peak for the railways was in the fifties, after which traffic gradually switcched to the roads until the onset of package airline traffic, which killed the traditional British seaside holidays. This chapter discusses Blackpool in particular but other places too.

Experimental and one-off locomotives also get a chapter. I've read about most of these elsewhere, but not the massively unsuccessful Leader class. I'd heard of it, but not read anything that stuck in the mind.

Ghost trains (more accurately called parliamentary trains) also get a chapter. The author selected the service from Leeds to Goole via Pontefract, a route now served by buses. The trains continue running just enough to avoid the need to officially close the line, which would require a tedious bureaucratic process. More famous is the shuttle service between Stockport and Stalybridge, which became superfluous when Trans-Pennine services were re-routed to run via Manchester Piccadilly instead of Manchester Victoria. The author briefly mentions this service but does not explain why it is no longer needed. Like the Leeds to Goole service, the train operators would rather provide a minimal service than go through the closure process.

Two lost services notable by their omissions spring to mind, these being sleeper trains and parcel services. Earlier this year, I learned that East Coast sleeper trains ceased in the eighties. I am planning to visit my relatives in Montrose and would have considered joining an overnight service from Peterbough for the northbound journey, but it was not to be. I could go via the West Coast route, but the extra changes involved make a sleeper service pointless. In the case of parcels, I remember wanting to send a parcel via Red Star Parcels from Birmingham to Swindon in the nineties and being quoted a higher price than a return passenger ticket. I eventually took the parcel myself, and Red Star Parcels no longer exists - apparently a victim of privatization.

About half the book is devoted to lost railways, although the author has mostly avoided the most frequently cited ones, though he included the Stainmore and Waverley routes. The northern end of the Waverley route (about 30% of the total length) is due to be re-opened, but there are no plans just now to go further. The Stainmore line seems destined to remain part of history and no more, but it seems that the author would like to rehabilitate Thomas Bouch, who designed the Belah Bridge. I've read enough about the first Tay Bridge - the one that fwll into the estuary in 1879 - to know that Bouch is beyond redemption. The author's support for Bouch mars an otherwise excellent book, but this is still a five-star book despite that.


All Time Greatest Hits
All Time Greatest Hits
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £16.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding songwriter sings with conviction, 19 May 2015
This review is from: All Time Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
Kris was never blessed with a great singing voice but his voice is good enough on his own songs, which he sings with a conviction and honesty sometimes (but not always) lacking in cover versions by others. In that way, he may be compared with Bob Dylan, another outstanding songwriter with vocal limitations. As somebody who regards the human voice as the most important musical instrument of all, I cannot say that Kris is one of my favorite singers, but he has just enough to make me want to listen to his music every now and again. Perhaps it is the desperation with which he sings Help me make it through the night, or his attempt to find spiritual answers in Why me lord.

So on this compilation you will find his original recordings of songs that have become classics across several different genres of music, including pop, rock, country, soul, R+B and reggae. The most successful song of all is Help me make it through the night, which has charted for several different singers. Sammi Smith was first, selling two million copies in the USA, topping the country charts and reaching the top ten in the pop charts. John Holt, a fine reggae singer, took it high up the British charts. Another popular song, For the good times, was a country hit for Ray Price and a pop hit for Perry Como. Among the other singers who have been successful with his songs are Janis Joplin (Me and Bobby McGhee), Johnny Cash (Sunday morning coming down), Waylon Jennings (The taker) and Brenda Lee (Nobody wins), but this is by no means a complete list.

This, then, is a fine collection of music by an outstanding songwriter who, despite his vocal limitations, is worth an occasional listen.


The End Of The World
The End Of The World
Price: £9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All her music from 1957 to 1962, 9 May 2015
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This review is from: The End Of The World (Audio CD)
The first CD contains all the A and B sides of Skeeter's solo singles from 1957 to 1962, but not the earlier duets that she recorded as the harmony singer in the Davis Sisters.

The second CD contains all the tracks from Skeeter's first solo album (I'll sing for you and harmonize too), all the tracks from her album of duets with Porter Wagoner and the six answer songs that Skeeter recorded for an album that also featured original recordings by other artists, but those are omitted. (A release on Sepia records features the answer song album in its entirety, coupled with the Porter duets album.)

All very well, but five of the A sides and one of the B sides (The Devil's Doll) on CD 1 also appear as album tracks on CD 2, the A-sides being I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know (a solo re-recording by Skeeter), Set Him Free, Am I That Easy to Forget , (I Can't Help You) I'm Falling Too and My Last Date (With You). If you play the two CDs back-to-back, you may find it irritating, but others will be happy that Jasmine did it this way.

An American reviewer is disappointed that there is nothing here that was recorded after 1962, but Jasmine stick to releasing what is in the public domain under European copyright law, and music recorded in 1963 won't enter the public domain until 2033.

This is every bit as good as I expected. I have most of the tracks elsewhere, but maybe I can dispense with one or two CDs.


The Sensational Charley Pride/Songs Of Pride…Charley That Is/In Person/Just Plain Charley
The Sensational Charley Pride/Songs Of Pride…Charley That Is/In Person/Just Plain Charley
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four excellent albums, 9 May 2015
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This double CD contains all the tracks from Charley Pride's fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth albums. His eighth album was a Best of, but the next album following the four here was called his tenth album. His first four albums have been put on another double CD, released not long after this one.

These four albums each yielded one major hit, these being The easy part's over, Let the chips fall, Kaw-Loga and I'm so afraid of losing you again. During this period, Charley also had a big hit with All I have to offer you is me, which appeared on that Best of Charley Pride compilation mentioned above. It would have been nice if that track had been included as a bonus, but let's not be greedy as there are four albums here, and if you're a Charley Pride fan, you've probably got that track anyway.

The booklet notes by John Tobler don't say as much about Charley Pride as you might expect, but they say plenty about other people and the songs. I was surprised that John Tobler omitted to mention that Carl Belew had a #12 country hit in 1965 with Crysyal chendeliers. Charley Pride covered the song and it is now the song he is best known for in Britain and many other places, I've never heard the original version, but I hope to buy some of Carl Belew's music sometime (he also recorded the original version of Am I that easy to forget).

John Tobler also suggests that the most famous version of Cotton fields might be the one by Creedence Clearwater Revival . I like their version, but the Beach Boys had a major international hit with it and I always think of their version as the definitive cover of this Leadbelly song. My favourite version is actually the French version by Petula Clark, but I've heard many great versions of Cotton fields including Charley Pride's live version featured here.

Overall, the four albums here offer a wonderful selection of music by Charley Pride, who is now getting some long-overdue attention from reissue labels.


The Definitive Collection
The Definitive Collection
Price: £9.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the hits and much more including Old toy trains, 7 May 2015
Another reviewer doesn't think this is the definitive collection, but it's as near as you are ever likely to get on a double CD. It contains all his hits from 1963 onward. His three early American country hits are not here as they were on a different label, but two are here via re-recordings, these being You don't want my love (re-titled In the summertime) and When two worlds collide.

As a singer, his earliest successes were with novelty songs like Dang me, Do-wacka-do and Chug-a-lug. Perhaps his most memorable novelty song to my ears (though less successful than those three) was You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd.

When Roger started recording more serious songs, he really hit the jackpot. The song he is best remembered for, King of the road, describes a man who needs somewhere to sleep overnight. He hasn't got any money but he is willing to do two hours' work to pay for his bed. Another of his classic songs, England swings, describes his image of London as he saw it in the sixties. I don't think London was really as he describes it even then but it's a great song. Walking in the sunshine is another joyful song.

Contrast those songs with Last word in lonesome is me (title is self-explanatory) and Husbands and wives (about marital problems) - two very sad songs.

Having been grateful to others who recorded his songs while he was struggling, Roger did his bit for those that followed. He helped Kris Kristofferson by being the first singer to record Me and Bobby McGee (even before all the lyrics were completed), a song that has since become a country standard but also made the pop charts when covered by Janis Joplin. He also recorded Little green apples, written by Bobby Russell.

Roger had five hits on the British pop charts (King of the road - a number one hit, Engine engine number nine, Kansas city star, England swings and Little green apples). He had an even greater number of hits on the American pop charts and more still on the country charts.

One track included here that didn't chart is Old toy trains, which is a favorite Christmas song of mine. I have a huge collection of Christmas music, but this compilation is the only collection on which Roger's own version of the song appears. As such, I would have bought this to just get that track, but of course there is so much else to enjoy here too. (Oddly, I do have the original B-side, Roger's take on Silent night, on a multi-artist Christmas compilation; it's not here but I don't mind.)

So here are all the classics, some rarities and Roger's versions of songs that he wrote but others had hits with, often before Roger started hitting the charts with his own recordings. This will very likely remain the strongest Roger Miller compilation for a long time to come. A Bear Family compilation seems unlikely as they released a single CD of his music King of the road a while ago. I bought that and will keep it as it has tracks that aren't here, but this is much stronger.

Tracks

CD 1

1. Dang Me
2. Chug-a-Lug
3. Do-Wacka-Do
4. King of the Road
5. Engine Engine #9
6. One Dyin' and a Buryin'
7. It Just Happened Just That Way
8. Kansas City Star
9. England Swings
10. The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me
11. In the Summertime
12. Husbands and Wives
13. I've Been A Long Time Leavin'
14. You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd
15. My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died
16. Heartbreak Hotel
17. Billy Bayou
18. Train Of Life
19. Walkin' in the Sunshine
20. The Ballad of Waterhole #3 (Code of the West)
21. Old Toy Trains
22. Little Children Run and Play
23. Vance
24. By The Time I Get To Phoenix
25. Little Green Apples

CD 2

1. Swiss Cottage Place
2. Jody And The Kid
3. Where Have All the Average People Gone
4. Me and Bobby McGee
5. Darby's Castle
6. Boeing Boeing 707
7. Tall, Tall Trees
8. Half a Mind
9. When Two Worlds Collide
10. The Tom Green County Fair
11. Don't We All Have The Right
12. My Ears Should Burn (When Fools are Talked About)
13. When a House is Not a Home
14. South
15. Invitation to the Blues
16. Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
17. Tomorrow Night in Baltimore
18. Rings for Sale
19. Sunny Side Of Life
20. We Found It in Each Other's Arms
21. (The Day I Jumped) From Uncle Harvey's Plane
22. Hoppy's Gone
23. River in the Rain
24. Some Hearts Get All the Breaks
25. Tolivar
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 11, 2015 9:40 AM BST


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