March 28, 1970: Country & Western special

With the Country & Western Caravan Of Stars due in town, it’s a big C&W release week. The reviews below are aimed more at the ignorant than at Country Freaks (who already know what they like), since many people, and especially fans of trendy Country-Rock, should enjoy some of these records.

BILL ANDERSON & JAN HOWARD: If It’s All The Same To You; I Thank God For You (MCA MU 1121).
This teaming of two well-known Country names has produced an almost Soulful slowie (it would convert to black singers very easily), with some telling fuzz-tone guitar and electric piano. Nothing mind-blowing, but do hear it. Beautifully corny, choking-voice recitations on flip, too!

LORETTA LYNN: Wings Upon Your Horns; Let’s Get Back Down To Earth (MCA MU 1118).
Lovely Loretta (she is rather attractive) is one of those traditional Country females with the vocal twang heard also in Jeanie C Riley and Brenda Lee, for instance. “Wings” is a fairly typical steel ‘n’ piano slowie, whereas the funky “Earth” has some great rhythms and is a lot of fun.

WILMA BURGESS: The Sun’s Gotta Shine; Only Mama That’ll Walk The Line (MCA MU 1122).
Folksy clear-as-a-bell chick on a quiet little song that keeps reminding me of something (Young Love” mixed with “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square”? I must be going mad!). Anyhow, rather nice.

CONWAY TWITTY: That’s When She Started To Stop Loving You; I’ll Get Over Losing You (MCA MU 1120).
Conway (“It’s Only Make Believe”….. remember?) Twitty is now a top Country singer, and this cleverly-worded slowie has just been a huge C&W smash for him.

DON GIBSON: Don’t Take All Your Loving; Pretending Everyday (London/Hickory HLE 10305).
Currently rising up the C&W Top 50, Don (“Sea Of Heartbreak”) Gibson’s lively newie has that dateless shit-kickin’ Country spirit, nifty geetar pickin’, a perky beat and a catchy chorus – it fair rollocks along, and could be the most commercial single here. Pleasant slow flip.

JACK GREENE & JEANNIE SEELY: Wish I Didn’t Have To Miss You; My Tears Don’t Show (MCA MU 1119).
Another big-name pairing on a jolly, inconsequential song that is made entirely by the good accompaniment and singing. Nice slow flip.

GLENN BARBER: She Cheats On Me; Who’s Taking The Picture (London/Hickory HLE 10306).
Glenn’s own song, this typical slushy Country slowie is somewhat Elvis-like (“Something For Everybody” era). Similar flip.

BOBBY LORD: Rainbow Girl; Do You Ever Think Of Me (MCA MU 1123).
Sing-along chorus beater, with just a trace of the “Gentle/Butterfly” thing….pretty square.

NANCY SINATRA: I Love Them All (The Boys In The Band); Home (Reprise RS 20890).
Nothing to do with that gay play, this is a none-too-special yet bright and bouncy Clodagh Rodgers-like song. As Nancy is always a chart contender (and especially as I goofed badly over Andy Williams’s latest!) I’d better be uncontroversial and say CHART CHANCE.

SMILEY LEWIS: I Hear You Knocking; Playgirl (Liberty LBF 15337).
Oh, yes indeed! From the same label that brought you Fats Domino’s “Fat Man”, here is his, late great, fellow New Orleans-ite doing two vintage early rockers – Smiley’s 1955 smash “Knocking” classic, a powerhouse slab of slow-driving bluesy rock, backed with a 1953 clapping jumper on the “Hound Dog” theme. I only hope that his new “Shame, Shame, Shame” album (LBS 83308), from which these are culled, will also include Smiley’s original of “One Night” – then Elvis fans who missed it in the ’50s will at last discover the censored words! Well done Liberty, these are truly GREAT.

EDDIE FLOYD: California Girl; Woodman (Stax 145).
Rather an attractive rumble-beat slowie, it is doing quite well in America and could be popular here too. Eddie gets quite Solomon Burke-ish at times, to keep it Soulful. Beatier good album track flip. (I’m sure Soul Freaks will be as sad as I am over the death of Tammi Terrell.)

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