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Hank Thompson-Cab Driver-The Hits Of Nat King Cole  

2012-05-14 20:44:23|  分类: Hank Thompson |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Hank Thompson-Cab Driver-The Hits Of Nat King Cole - 高老头 - 高老头

 

Hank Thompson-Cab Driver-The Hits Of Nat King Cole - 高老头 - 高老头

 

Hank Thompson-Cab Driver-The Hits Of Nat King Cole - 高老头 - 高老头

 

Greetings from Asheville, where good things always seem to be on tap. Here, good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD, or on the MP3. I think today’s selection is one of the more interesting releases that we have looked at, so far. June, 1972, the date; Dot Records, the label; Hank Thompson, the singer. The album is “Cab Driver”, and is Thompson’s salute to one of the greatest singing groups in music history, The Mills Brothers. For those who’ve never experienced the pleasure of hearing the Mills Brothers sing, they were some of the smoothest, best-blending Pop, Jazz, or R & B sounds ever laid to vinyl, shellac, or magnetic tape. Their hit-making career spanned from 1931′s “Tiger Rag” to 1968′s “Cab Driver”, and they were active musicians their entire lives, even as each brother passed away. As for this album, this would be the last of three top ten albums that Hank Thompson enjoyed in his career, as it peaked right at number ten. Singles-wise, two can be found, here.

The second of those two singles opens things as we get Hank’s take on the Mills’ classic “Glow Worm”. A modernized Western Swing sound that is reminiscent of the Texas Playboys’ days when they were a larger band. Of course, bouncy, just like the original. Unfortunately, the time just wasn’t right for this song as a single, as it only peaked at fifty-three, far lower than the number one Pop peak enjoyed by the Mills’ version in 1952. That said, I like this version, as it’s catchy and simply enjoyable.

“Lazy River” was their follow-up in 1952, just missing the Pop top twenty. Here, Hank starts it out in a slow tempo, before completely cutting loose, letting it all hang out. Pretty good version, but I have to admit, my favorite is actually Bobby Darin’s version.

The Mills Brothers’ biggest hit was “Paper Doll”, a six million seller in 1943. I really like Hank’s vocals, here, very good. Also, his version has a bit more tempo than the original. I do wish they had turned down the level on the background singers, though, as they nearly overpower Hank in a couple of spots.

“Be My Life’s Companion” is a track that is one of those that can be classified as a nice song. Nothing fancy, here. An easy swing, with again, good vocal work by Hank Thompson, though again, it wouldn’t hurt to turn down the background singers a little bit. This was a top ten Pop hit for The Mills Brothers in 1952.

“Gloria” wasn’t as big of a hit for the Mills, though it was a top twenty hit in 1948. A nice ballad, here. Hank could really be considered an underrated singer. When we think of him, we tend to think of his Honky-Tonk and Western Swing songs, of which there is no question of his great abilities to handle. But one has to take into consideration how well he could handle songs like these with his twang-tinged deep baritone voice. He was Country, no doubt, but unlike some Country singers, he could easily (at least sounds easy) take songs from other genres and not only perform them, but perform them very well. “Gloria” is a perfect example of that.

Side one ends with a cover of a 1947 Mills Brothers hit, “Across The Alley From The Alamo”. This one really lends itself well, as it is a song that fits very well into the Western Swing genre. In fact, Bob Wills even had a version of this song. As for Hank’s version? No complaints.

Side two opens with a song that I have always liked, be it Hank Thompson or the Mills Brothers singing, “Cab Driver”. For the Mills Brothers, it’s number twenty-three peak in 1968 would be their final Pop top forty appearance. For Hank Thompson, it would enter Country’s top forty in May, 1972, and peak at sixteen. Great swinging song, here, one could argue that he really nails this one.

I really like the guitar riffs, as well as the soft fiddle intro, and the steel guitar work on “I’ll Be Around”. This is simply a great song. The song, itself, had the misfortune of being on the same 78 as “Paper Doll”. In fact, for the Mills, “I’ll Be Around” was meant to be the A-side, and it did make the top twenty, but it got lost in the immense popularity of it’s flip side.

I’ve known the song “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” pretty much since I’ve been breathing, having heard Dean Martin’s version, while still a toddler. And Dean’s version continues to be my favorite, though many would vote for the Mills Brothers. As for the version, here, by Hank Thompson, it’s a decent version. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the rest of the disc, though. His vocals aren’t quite dead-on, here. It’s almost as if he struggles a bit with the melody. Still, though, not bad.

Don’t worry, it’s only a blip, though, as Hank is fine on “Till Then”. Another Mills Brothers classic, this one from 1944. I really like how Hank handled this one, a good track.

The album wraps with one more classic, “You Always Hurt The One You Love”. A number one Pop hit for the Mills Brothers in 1944, Hank Thompson’s version is stellar. This one really swings! And it puts the wraps on a really nice tribute to a legendary group from a legendary singer. The only thing I miss, here, on this track? The sound effects that Spike Jones used on his version. Okay, maybe not.

This album does not appear on CD or MP3 download, but I did find a few used vinyl copies going between $5 and $15.

“Cab Driver” gets my Standout Track, while the Hidden Gem could be any number of tracks; my pick is “You Always Hurt The One You Love”. If I had to give a Weakest Track, I guess I’d go “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You”, but that’s only because I felt his vocals were just a little off, here.

Overall, this is a really good album. First off, all of the songs are strong; secondly, it really sounds like he was enjoying singing these songs to the point, where you can pick up that enjoyment from the speakers. Hank didn’t try to do anything groundbreaking or daringly different with these tracks, he simply presented them as a salute to and testament to the greatness of The Mills Brothers. I go 4.5 out of 5.(http://ultimatetwang.com/blog/?p=4399#.T7D3taUtglk)

 

Hank Thompson – Cab Driver - A Salute To The Mills Brothers


Label:Dot Records – DOS 25996
Format:Vinyl, LP, Album
Country:US
Released:1972
Genre:Folk, World, & Country
Style:Country


Tracklist
A1  Glow Worm 2:37
A2  Lazy River 2:37
A3  Paper Doll 2:39
A4  Be My Lifes Companion 3:00
A5  Gloria 2:53
A6  Across The Alley From The Alamo 2:16
B1  Cab Driver 2:21
B2  I'll Be Around 2:49
B3  You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You 2:48
B4  Till Then 2:30
B5  You Always Hurt The One You Love 2:45

 

12. Too Young
13. It's Only A Paper Moon
14. A Blossom Fell
15. Pretend
16. Ramblin' Rose
17. The Gypsy
18. That's All There Is, There Isn't Any More
19. Answer Me My Love
20. Oh Mary Don't You Weep
21. Mona Lisa
22. If I May

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