Classic Recordings 1951-1957 is the subtitle; as regards the classic bit they pretty much have it right. Locklin’s easy flowing tones wrapped in pedal steel guitar and country guitar the Florida-born and raised country act’s elevation to the upper echelons of the genre may not have been the quickest as he struggled at gain a solid foothold, but he eventually did courtesy of RCA records.
”Let Me Be The One” in 1953 saw him top the charts for the first of the two occasions he did during his career. Although the Four Star release isn’t on this collection, subsequent hits on RCA are. His cover of George Jones’ much covered “Why Baby Why” was to open the way for Locklin, and those accompanying him; Chet Atkins (guitar), Owen Bradley (piano) etc. Locklin makes a good fist of it too, and with the likes of the fiddle and pedal steel plied “I Like To Play With Your Kisses” and versions of “You Can’t Never Tell” and “Seven Or Eleven” (both songs are from rockabilly act Luke McDaniel) trademark pedal steel gets to me every time. Like with the records, no matter how old or whether they were old radio broadcasts complete with hiss and crackle it does it almost every time for me! Among the finest illustrations of this can be heard of “Whispering Scandal”, and with fiddle also to the fore “I’ll Always Be Standing By”. While with electric country guitar and a little funky rhythm “Why Don’t You Haul Off And Love Me” likewise it too is rather special. Plus there is among the 30-tracks (all mono) two of his most popular recordings “Geisha Girl” and “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On” to go with barrel house organ, honky tonker “Down Texas Way”. There’s more too as in the Hank Williams-esque opened “I’m Tired Of Bummin’ Around” as he sings about searching for that elusive lady of his dreams. While he is looking you had best lie back, and absorb the peerless lonesome pedal steel guitar and more amazing country fiddle on both it and the following track, “She’s Better Than Most”. If 1950s country is your love, or you don’t posses a sampling or two of the era here is a good excuse to increase your quota.
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