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KITTY WELLS —I HEARD THE JUKEBOX PLAYING (Jasmine Records) 2 CDs Mono

www.jasmine-records.co.uk

Made up of 1950s albums The Winner Of Your Heart, Lonely Street (released in 1956 and 1958, respectively) and After Dark (a collection of eight previously released 45s plus, four new ones) plus, you have Golden Favorites that has five duets with Red Foley, and four others plus as a bonus two duets with long time king of country music, Roy Acuff. If you like traditional country music then this is something you should seriously look at or if you simply have a curiosity for the origins of country music. You too should take a listen. Wells' singing voice was one of the sharpest and most distinctive ever, and when it came to duets she was one of the finest exponents. 

Her work with Foley was outstanding, and I am always up for an excuse to play some Roy Acuff (and though I rarely do these days), and with her plaintive tones and emotional strength as she sang songs about slipping around, barrooms and how true love isn’t always easy to hang onto. Such the temptations dangled in front of those of weak resolve. Wells’ handling of the likes of “I Heard The Jukebox Playing”, “After Dark”, “Lonely Side Of Town” and such classics as “Lonely Street”, “Honky Waltz” and “A Mansion On The Hill” coupled with such warning pieces as “(Don’t Hang Around) He’s Married To Me” is top class. 

Her prowess as a duet partner is heard in great splendour on “One By One”, “Long As I Live” and skip-along “No One But You” plus “Broken Marriage Vows”. On getting back to her solo recordings you are spoilt for choice what to look at first; with the likes of “Right Or Wrong” alongside tender tunes “Sweeter Than The Flowers” and “Waltz Of The Angels”; and with the songs loaded in pedal steel guitar, fiddle and harmony vocals the Kitty Wells sound is fully capture. Sometimes haunting and piercing, and always full of soul she set the benchmark / example for female country acts that followed. 

    Maurice Hope   

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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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