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高老头

乡村音乐

 
 
 

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Harland Howard - All Time Favorite Country Songwriter  

2012-03-07 18:11:34|  分类: Harland Howard |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Harland Howard - All Time Favorite Country Songwriter - 高老头 - 高老头
 
Harland Howard - All Time Favorite Country Songwriter - 高老头 - 高老头
 
  • Audio CD (May 21, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Koch Records
  • ASIN: B000001SM3
  • Track Listings
    1. Busted 
    2. Heartaches By The Number 
    3. Too Many Rivers 
    4. I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today 
    5. Above And Beyond (The Call Of Love) 
    6. I've Got A Tiger By The Tail 
    7. The Everglades 
    8. Mary Ann Regrets 
    9. Pick Me Up On Your Way Down 

    10. Call Me Mister In-Between 
    11. I Fall To Pieces 
    12. The Blizzard 

     Greetings from Asheville, THE happening place of the South. Here, there’s always good music on the turntable, in the CD, or on the MP3. Today, we look at an album that features the music of one of Country music’s greatest songwriters, Harlan Howard. Twelve songs that Harlan wrote and each one became a big hit for the top artists of the day. However, on this album, you are not getting the hit versions, but rather Harlan, himself, behind the mic. “All-Time Favorite Country Songwriter” was a 1965 release, both in stereo and mono, by Monument Records. It was actually Harlan’s second album, having recorded one for Capitol in 1961. Produced by Monument founder Fred Foster, as well as singer Bobby Bare, the album did not chart, but it’s a fascinating look at some of the biggest hits to ever come from Harlan Howard’s pen, with Harlan as the tour guide.
    The album opens with “Busted”, a 1963 hit for both Ray Charles and Johnny Cash. Now let me say this, Harlan was not a great vocalist; his specialty was writing, but his hard-driving version of this classic isn’t bad, at all.
    1959 was the year that Ray Charles and Guy Mitchell topped the Country and Pop charts, respectively, with “Heartaches By The Number”. I love the tempo on this track, though Harlan’s vocals are off-key in a couple of spots. Still, not a bad version.
    As you look through the track list, it’s amazing to think that one person wrote all of these songs. Next, “Too Many Rivers”, a 1965 Pop hit for Brenda Lee, and later a Country hit for The Forester Sisters in 1987. Great song, simply put. I really like the haunting guitar in the background on this track. Harlan doesn’t have a great vocal performance, but you certainly can hear the connection between the man and his song, as he sings.
    In 1960, “I Don’t Believe I’ll Fall In Love Today” climbed into the Country top five, giving Warren Smith his biggest hit. That same year, Ray Price also scored a top ten hit, but with the title “I Wish That I Could Fall In Love Today” (also the title Barbara Mandrell used on her last top ten hit). Warren Smith’s version is my fave, but you know what? Give some love and kudos to Harlan’s recording, not bad, at all.
    The final two cuts on the first side are songs that would climb the charts for Buck Owens. First off, is “Above And Beyond (The Call Of Love)”, which hit number three for Buck in 1960. On this version, producer Bobby Bare used a rather funky beat that gives the song a whole different feel than Buck’s or for that matter, the later Rodney Crowell version. I’m liking the different sound, here.
    The other song was actually co-written by Harlan and Buck and is the song that may well be Buck’s most famous; “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail”. It’s not Buck, but it’s fun, it’s catchy, and it’s not a bad recording.
    Side two opens with a song that became a minor Pop hit for the Kingston Trio in 1960, “Everglades”. This may be Harlan’s best actual vocal performance on the disc. Great song; one of my Kingston Trio faves! This is a really good version, though.
    “Mary Ann Regrets” is one of those songs that seems like everyone of that era recorded at some point. As a single, it was a 1963 top fifteen hit for Burl Ives. Not his best performance on the disc, but not bad.
    One of Harlan Howard’s first successes as a songwriter was 1958′s “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”, that provided Charlie Walker the biggest hit of his career. One of the great, underrated songs of Country music history. Great melody and lyrics, just an all around outstanding song. Harlan’s version is more than acceptable.
    Another hit for Burl Ives from the pen of Harlan Howard was “Call Me Mister In-Between”. A fun little song, listening to this track, I can actually detect a little similarity in the vocal styles of Howard and Ives. One of the best recordings on the disc.
    The other song on the album that is actually a co-writing, is the Patsy Cline classic “I Fall To Pieces”, which Harlan wrote with another songwriting legend, Hank Cochran. My favorite Patsy Cline song, it’s one that I don’t think anyone can sing as good as she did. Harlan’s vocals on this track are a little off-key. But in fairness, despite the simplicity you hear in the sound, I’ve always thought this to be a tough song to sing, given the range needed.
    It was 1961 when Jim Reeves cracked the top five with “The Blizzard”. The final cut on this disc, this version is quicker paced and has more of a folk feel to it, thanks to the arrangement, which has a sound more than slightly reminiscent of Bobby Bare’s records of the day. Not surprising, since he produced this track.
    Not currently on the market, this album has been reissued on CD. I found a few new copies still for sale, but at very premium prices pushing $100. Even the used ones are no less than $25. As for used vinyl, I only ran across one copy, at $20. If you find it, you will likely pay a few bucks.
    Overall, it’s not a bad album to listen to. Again, Harlan’s vocal abilities are very limited, but the highlight, here, are the songs, as well as Harlan Howard’s songwriting ability. No question that Harlan Howard is one of Country music’s five greatest songwriters, as far as I’m concerned. Given what this album is actually about (in a way, a tribute) and the incredible quality of the songs, even with Harlan’s limited singing I still have to go 5 out of 5. Simply an amazing songwriter. (http://ultimatetwang.com/blog/?p=3970#.T1cyvKWSDKM)

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