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CHARLEY PRIDE —YOU’RE MY JAMAICA: ROLL ON MISSISSIPPI: CHARLEY SINGS EVERYBODY’S CHOICE: CHARLEY PRIDE LIVE (2cds)

http://www.bgo-records.com

Here we have yet another twin-CD release on BGO from country music act, Charley Pride. Consisting of four LPs the Sledge, Mississippi-born Charley Pride is a country music legend. Originally released between 1979-1981 the music found within might not have been his purest traditional country set of work, but with Charley Pride Live among the quartet it offers what he is best at, entertaining his fans. Featuring a handful of country classics in “Kiss An Angel Good Morning”, “Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone” and stellar versions of Hank Williams’ “Kaw-Liga” and George Jones – Darryl Edwards’ 1950 composition “Why Baby Why” to go with the likes of “Tennessee Girl” plus, with a Caribbean feel to it “I Discovered You” the sophisticated and bigger productions took much away from his incredible voice. He was one of the finest of the era, at his peak in the 1970s there was a spell Pride when as a vocalist he out on his own. But country music like life doesn’t stand still, and with the poppy sounds of the early 1980s and a new set of artists set to come along soon afterwards, Charley Pride was put out to grass by RCA and left to survive on scraps. Just as well his live shows were some of the best!

As for the other three albums; the finest material can be found in songs “Missing You”, killer ballad “Let Me Have A Chance To Love You (One More Time)” (warmed in country lead guitar, pedal steel and piano and harmony vocals it has all the ingredients), “I Want You”. All come from You’re My Jamaica and there are still the hit title-cut, “You're My Jamaica”. Maybe I was a little harsh and too quick to write off the album. As for Roll On Mississippi with pretty much the same writers and musicians used and also produced Jerry Bradley and Pride they tend to stay with the tried and trusted. Hence they come up with a sound that is less than inspiring. Too commercial and dare I say it, poppy.

As for Charley Sings Everybody’s Choice Pride as ever is in fine voice, and has in the likes of “I Don’t Think She’s In Love Anymore” and bouncy hit song “Mountain Of Love” and “I Hope (You Never Cry Again)” fine vehicles for his rich warm, fabulous voice.

While for his best work you would have to go back to his earlier recordings for RCA this twin-set is still an excellent listen.

Maurice Hope

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May 2018

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