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DICKEY LEE —NEVER ENDING SONG OF LOVE — ASHES OF LOVE (Hux Records)

 

www.huxrecords.com

 

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this collection. For some reason I hadn’t heard in depth, the early country releases from Dickey Lee other than a little later in his career. It was at the time of his biggest country hit (late 1970s) and “9, 999, 999 Tears” as he has always done, cleverly combine country with pop. If not on my essential list Dickey Lee knew a good song when he heard it and loved to record them! His ability to select a good a song should not be a surprise because over the years he’s written his share; and had them recorded by everyone from Emmylou Harris to George Strait by way of Joe Cocker, Don Williams, Tracy Byrd, Doug Stone, Reba McEntire and George Jones (who had a hit with arguably his best ever creation “She Thinks I Still Care”, a co-write with Steve Duffy it figures among the songs included).  

 

Back to this collection, released in 1971 – 1972, respectively Lee’s songwriting is supplemented by superb material from Tom T. Hall “The Year Clayton Delaney Died”, “Take Me Home Country Roads” (I don’t think I’ve heard many better versions), Johnny Russell hit “Catfish John”. Written by two of my favourite songwriters of the time, Bob McDill and Allen Reynolds it enjoys tasty banjo, pedal steel and a general stylish production) and with his heart pinned to the mast “Got Leavin’ On Her Mind”, and for good measure he eases, seamlessly through “It’s Four In The Morning” (a hit for Faron Young).  

 

As for his own songs, “Weekends” it has to come close to being my favourite, but it has keen competition with others, which like it were co-writes with another famed songwriter Allen Reynolds. Not least among them you have wry ballad,  “Mahogany Pulpit” (hits of the song “Deck Of Cards”) and sad-eyed ode “(There’s) Nobody Home To Go Home To”, opening track “Never Ending Song Of Love” and the excellent piece of writing “Southbound”. By now I was starting to realize how much I have missing all these years! 

 

Back to the covers and what a fine job he does of Jimmie Rodger’s “Waiting For A Train”, Gove Scrivenor’s “I Saw My Lady” and with darting fiddle, pedal steel, harmonica and harmony vocals “Sparkling Brown Eyes” rounds off this totally enjoyable release. Well-spotted Hux Records in giving the music of Dickey Lee, who happened to start his career at Memphis’ famed Sun Studios as a rock’n’roll act added exposure. 

 

                                                Maurice Hope    

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
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EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
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12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
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BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
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41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
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41 pts.
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HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
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BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
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38 pts.
Real Midnight
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LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
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Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
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FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
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33 pts.
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25
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32 pts.
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