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Fifty tracks span this ideal collection of work from hisMGM years. Mel Tillis (1932-2017) first brush with success on the country music charts was in 1958, (he was still performing right up until 2015). Tillis wasn’t only a successful recording artists (75 country hits, and 50 albums), but a top notch songwriter. One of his biggest songs “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” was a monster hit for Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, plus you had the likes of “Detroit City” and “I Ain’t Never” (hits for Bobby Bare and Webb Pierce respectively) that was also a number one country hit for him. Plus you had “Honey Open That Door” (Ricky Skaggs), “Snakes Crawl At Night” (Charley Pride) etc. Mel also starred in a few the films in the 1970s, and was the father of country girl, Pam Tillis; his legacy lives on in more ways than one.
Tillis might never have caught the imagination of the UK audiences like it might if he had toured here. Other than an appearance at the Wembley International Festival I can’t recall much on that front, but here you can catch up on a prolific period in his career, and one where he scored numerous hits. He also does credit to a number of songs that were hits for some of his fellow country recording artists. His vocals steeped in tone, and honesty ease him through in faultless fashion.
Among the highlights you there is his version of Waylon Jennings (Jennings repaid the favour when he recorded his song, “Mental Revenge”) “Rainy Day Woman”, and there is a live version of “Detroit City” (his co-writer of which, Danny Dill was likewise no slouch with a pen), and with great humour, another song recorded live is “Who’s Julie”. “Anything’s Better Than Nothing” a duet with Sherry Bryce isn’t far behind it!
Tillis’ style of country music was as comfortable as a worn shoe, and though he did not have the bark of Jennings or grit of some when it came to covering a song and doing it justice he was always close to the mark. As heard on the likes of Jessi Colter’s superb “Storms Never Last” and Mel Street’s “Borrowed Angel”; Tillis was an incredible act, and entertainer as his live tracks demonstrate.
How about Humphead releasing a live collection from some of country music’s greats
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