February 4 2018 is the 1st International House Concert Day, The European House Concert Hub and FSR are celebrating by organising the 1st International House Concert Festival. Talk to Rob Ellen if you would like to be involved.

 

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Presenting Davy Cowan's "Little Town" our 2017  Christmas Song

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MERLE HAGGARD —BIG CITY / GOING WHERE THE LONELY GO (BGO)

www.bgo-records.com

Here we have yet another splendid 2-for-1 album from BGO. Merle Haggard has to be in the running as the greatest country music act of all-time, and not just the fifty years. Yes, it is almost that long, because he first charted in December 1963. Though Merle no longer troubling the charts he is still making first-class albums. As in his most recent release, Working In Tennessee (Vanguard) Merle’s standard of work is still up with the best. At the time, 1980-81 of the releases here he had only just cut his ties with MCA and was charting big-time (solo and soon after via duets with Willie Nelson and George Jones). Two songs from Big City, the title track and ‘My Favorite Memory’ both topped the singles charts and he all but did it with the reflective ace ‘Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver’. A song typical of Merle, it laments the passing of an era, that of the train is another he is most partial to. 

Two songs on the record are covers, Leona Williams’ ‘Texas Fiddle Song’ that owes much of it’s melody to ‘Old Joe Clark’ and ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’ as fiddle, piano, bass and lead guitar help out Merle plus, there is golden oldie (Waylon Jennings, Johnny & Jack, Susan Raye and Donny King all charted with it) ‘Stop The World And Let Me Off’ that enjoys horns. One of the most interesting tracks is Merle’s co-write with Freddy Powers, ‘I Always Get Lucky With You’ that two years late saw George Jones top the American country singles with it. A nice enough song but it tends to drag along —more in keeping with his jazz come swing influences. Only there isn't much of a swing to it. 

 

‘Going Where  The Lonely Go’ starts off in sombre mood as he speaks of rolling with the flow on the chart-topping title track and drinking on ‘Why Am I Drinkin’. Not the most inspiring fare, but the songs mirrored Merle’s personal life and his state of mind of the time. Among my favourites you have ‘Shopping For Dresses’ and his versions of Willie Nelson's ‘Half A Man’ and Jimmie Davis’ ‘Nobody’s Darlin’ But Mine’ to go with easily his best vocal performance ‘For All I Know’. For this is classic Haggard song, the vocal intonations and gentle swing make it irresistible.  

All in all the collection is a couple of notches above average (for him) but below vintage Haggard despite some excellent tracks on Big City. For apart those noted you also have railroad song ‘Good Old American Guest’ (that features Tiny Moore on electric mandolin, Mark Yeary, piano and Leona Williams on harmony vocals) and the likewise, entertaining ‘I Think I’m Gonna Like Forever’. Classic Haggard!   

 

                                                     Maurice Hope

 

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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www.euroamericanachart.eu

1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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