December 25, 1971: Jimmie Haskell, The Ventures, Freddie Hart, Charley Pride, Don Gibson

JIMMIE HASKELL: William Tell Overture (Probe PRO 547).
From the soundtrack of ‘Zachariah’, which was a better movie than most people made out, this treatment of the famous galloping opus pales when compared with that ballsy classic, ‘Piltdown Rides Again‘ (same toon, different vintage).

Talking of movies, ALL rockers and nostalgicats will get a big kick out of seeing Albert Finney in ‘Gumshoe‘, the first “proper” film to quote from Rock ‘n Roll lyrics in the dialogue, and to include a rockers’ reunion scene purely for the joy of it. Oh yes, and the same crowd should try sampling the oldies but goodies that Ted Carroll sells every Saturday at “Rock On”, 93 Goldborne Road, off the top end of London’s Portobello Road. Cool Yule, y’all.

THE VENTURES: Theme From ‘Shaft’ (UA UP 35316).
Hot news of the year dept.: look who’s covered Isaac Hayes. Fine for Ventures fans, and fine in its own right actually – it’s just that they don’t deserve much credit for hitting all the right notes.

FREDDIE HART: Easy Loving (Capitol CL 15703).
Here’s this year’s big award-winning Country song, a relaxed slinky slowie made rather appealing by its subdued organ and steel guitar backing, and emphasised by a slipping and slurring girlie group on the title words. Sugary stuff for sure, but it is the real thing (instead of Country-yawn-Rock) and it is good.

CHARLEY PRIDE: Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’ (RCA 2143).
A recent visitor here, Charley is the sublime contradiction, a black C&W star (and you’d better believe he’s a star). His latest U.S. hit, both Country and Pop, is this jog-along steel, fiddle and humming-backed ditty, which Country-Rock fiddle freaks might like.

DON GIBSON: Country Green (London HLE 10351).
The ‘Sea Of Heartbreak’ fella may be a stranger here now, but he’s no stranger to the U.S. C&W Charts, where he’s currently Top 10 with this perky bouncer which has – sigh! – yes, steel, fiddle and humming backing … plus some plonking piano and a brief lead guitar lick. Though on paper it may not look anything unusual, it is quite zestful and fun.

HANK SNOW: (As Love Goes) So Goes My Heart (RCA 2133).
The veteran Country star who, with partner Tom Parker, put money behind Elvis Presley in the mid-’50s, is still making U.S. C&W hits, and treats us to a mournful nasal slowie which features steel, fiddle, humming and some dainty guitar picking in the background. Oh well, R&B usually features brass, guitar, heavy bass and a funky rhythm backing, all of which go without saying. This is good “real” Country.

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