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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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December 2018
1
Malford Milligan
75 pts.
Life Will Humble You
Royal Family Records
JF,FB
2
JD McPherson
61 pts.
Socks
New West Records
CVL,DHO,MVP,MB
3
Rosanne Cash
50 pts.
She Remembers Everything
Blue Note Records
WR,BP,JSM,HB
4
Ad Vanderveen
45 pts.
I Was Hank William
Blue Rose Records
TK,LM,BM,JB
5
John Hiatt
44 pts.
The Eclipse Sessions
New West
FC
6
The Yearlings
41 pts.
Skywriting
Lonely Sounds Records
EZ
7
Tip Jar
40 pts.
Onward
Independent
FS
8
Nathan Bell
39 pts.
Loves Bones & Stars
Angry Stick Recording Co.
RB,SZ,PG
9
The Brother Brothers
38 pts.
Some People I Know
Compass Records
BK
10
Richard Dobson
30 pts.
I Hear Singing
Brambus Records
JS,NC
11
Steve Forbert
29 pts.
The Magic Tree
Blue Rose Music
PR
12
J.P. Harris
28 pts.
Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
Free Dirt Records
TJ
13
The Bottle Rockets
24 pts.
Bit Logic
Bloodshot Records
GS,PKO
14
Rodney Crowell
23 pts.
Christmas Everywhere
New West
 
15
Christian Kjellvander
22 pts.
Wild Hxmans
Tapete
 
16
Erin Costelo
21 pts.
Sweet Marie
Compass Records
PJ
17
Colter Wall
20 pts.
Songs of the Plains
Young Mary's Record
 
18
The Hillbenders
19 pts.
The Hillbenders
Compass Records
FH
19
Eric Bibb
18 pts.
Global Griot
Stony Plain
 
 
Karine Polwart
18 pts.
Laws of Motion
Hudson Records
HH,KG
21
Carson McHone
17 pts.
Carousel
Nine Mile Records
 
 
Malcolm Holcombe
17 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
MF
23
Ben Bedford
16 pts.
The Hermit's Spyglass
Cavalier Recordings
SP
 
Craig Moreau
16 pts.
A Different Kind Of Train
Independent
MP
 
David Olney
16 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music

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