Friday, August 10, 2007

Forgotten Artists

(originally posted 12-29-06)

I’ve got many, many songs ripped to my computer. When I’m relaxing after a hard week, I scroll through the songs to find something to listen to that fits my mood. Often I marvel at the quality of music that I stumble upon by accident. And I think, what a shame that these artists are probably long forgotten. Some of them are no longer with us, but damn! They sure made some good music.
So, here’s a few of my recent finds (and some people that you’ve probably never heard of):

David Houston ~ Anyone who has listened to country music for as long as I have (hmmm…….40 years?) will remember David Houston. He is one of the artists who is no longer with us, but he had a great voice, and a great vocal range! The songs that I rated as 4 stars or more are “You Mean The World To Me”, “Baby Baby (I Know You’re A Lady)”, and “After Closing Time”, which he recorded with Barbara Mandrell.

Brenda Lee ~ Well, happily, Brenda Lee is still alive and kickin’. “Fool #1″ ~ she has a great smoky quality to her voice on this song. She sang the hell out of it. She was produced by Owen Bradley, which accounts for the great arrangements, but she is one helluva singer. Other recommendations include “Break It To Me Gently” (yes, she did it long before Juice Newton), “All Alone Am I”, and “Too Many Rivers”.

Connie Smith ~ Yup, Connie’s still around, and married to Marty Stuart, I might add. Was there anything she sang that wasn’t great? Connie was a major influence on me as a singer. The young whippersnappers probably won’t remember Connie Smith, but at one time, she was the biggest selling female country artist, and rightfully so. Bill Anderson discovered her and wrote a lot of her songs, and it’s really difficult to single out any of her recordings as the “best”. I’m partial to “Just One Time” (written by Don Gibson), and “Ain’t Had No Lovin’”, which was a great country torch song.

Lynn Anderson ~ well, she’s actually a distant relative of mine (according to my mom’s tales); a second or third cousin or something. BUT, before I knew that, I LOVED Lynn Anderson’s songs. Her Chart records are the best, before “Rose Garden” came along. Geez, didn’t we just grow to hate that song? Sadly, I’ve lost all my albums, but I had a bunch of Lynn’s. I think her version of “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues” (a Rodney Crowell song) is better than Emmylou’s. “Sing A Sad Song” is very, very sweet. Hard to top Merle’s version, but she comes close. And yes, she was on the Lawrence Welk Show, but hey ~ Lawrence was from North Dakota, just like me, so there.

Charlie Rich ~ Well, Charlie just happened to record one of the all-time best country songs ~ “Behind Closed Doors”. One of my favorite Charlie memories was watching him on the CMA awards show, setting fire to the slip of paper that announced John Denver as the “country” male vocalist of the year. I think he made his point. He was truly a country blues artist. Listen to “Sittin’ And Thinkin’”, which he happened to write. I’ve got the Essential Charlie Rich, which is a two-disk set, and it’s awfully difficult to narrow down the best songs.

Del Reeves ~ My husband thinks “Girl On The Billboard” is the funniest/cheesiest country song ever. He happened to discover that song on his own, and he put it on one of his compilation tapes. “A deedle-do-do-do”…. ha ha. But actually, Del recorded some very good songs. An obscure recording of his, “Landmark Tavern”, that he recorded with Penny DeHaven, is one of my faves. And none other than George Strait covered “Good Time Charlie’s”.

Faron Young ~ Well, don’t get me started. At one time, Faron was my ultimate favorite country singer. Well, let’s start with a Willie song, “Hello Walls’, and let’s just continue on. “Wine Me Up”, “Step Aside”, “Your Time’s Comin’” (a Kristofferson song), “If I Ever Fall In Love (With A Honky Tonk Girl)”, written by Tom T. Hall, “Alone With You”, which would be one of my choice songs to cover. There’s just too damn many to mention. Faron Young was the George Strait of his day.

Johnny Bush ~ Well, damn if “Undo The Right” isn’t one of THE best country songs of all time. I think Johnny Bush was unfairly labeled as a “Ray Price Wanna-Be”, but I think ole Ray loves Johnny’s recordings, too.

Mel Tillis ~ Okay, “Heart Over Mind” with those twin fiddles. He wrote it; he did the best recording of it. And you gotta admit, he was one of the best writers on Music Row. He launched Kenny Rogers’ career with “Ruby”. And he made Webb Pierce the number one artist of his day. This guy wrote some classic songs.

Eddie Rabbitt ~ Eddie Rabbitt is more than just “I Love A Rainy Night”, although I like that one! I bought his first album (and yes, they were albums back then) and my favorite of his is “Two Dollars In The Jukebox”, but of course, I’m a sucker for that honky tonk music. Sadly, Eddie is gone, too.

Marty Robbins ~ Well, okay, Marty deserves a topic of his own. And I’m going to write about him when I feel like I can do it justice. Marty left us in the ’80’s, and probably a lot of younger people don’t know anything about him. These people are FOOLS. I’m gonna save my words for another topic, but let’s just say, for now, “Don’t Worry About Me”.


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