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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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.
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