Two 1970s albums plus five additional cuts, two of which are duets with Sherry Bryce make up another bumper package released by the Australian reissue label Raven.
Tillis was one of country music’s biggest sellers during the 1970s and though he never made much of an impression outside the States the Florida-born act who is also the father of Pam Tillis was a top performer. A big name on the country scene, Pam during the 1990s alongside Alan Jackson and Brooks / Dunn became Arista records top act.
Stomp Them Grapes has its moments, one memorable occasion is his version of the Don Williams’ hit ‘Amanda’; one the late Waylon Jennings also made a terrific recording of plus, of course the title-track ‘Stomp Them Grapes’ (Ronal McCown). While a great singer, songwriter (be sure to check out his catalogue of songs) and entertainer, Tillis never recorded a piece of work of note akin to many of his contemporaries Waylon, Willie, Cash, Bobby Bare, Merle Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver or the likes. Who all made an indispensible album at least once during their respective careers? Despite him winning awards during the late 1970s Tillis never did so, that is not to say he recorded a number of wonderful songs of which a number can be found within this package.
Big songs from the Sawmill album include, the Ken McDuffie story-ballad ‘Leona’, his co-write with Horace Whatley, ‘Sawmill’ plus Mel Street’s ‘Borrowed Angel’ and from Jerry Reed Hubbard the neat shuffle ‘Remembering’. ‘Live In My Heart’ has a wonderful Don Gibson-esque feel to stand proudly alongside such fine cuts as ‘Hang My Picture In Your Heart’ infectious ode ‘Somebody Gave Lucy A Drink’ (McCown) and with flowing fiddle, country steel guitar etc ‘Second Best’ has it all. Jerry House’s ‘Last Time’ speaks of going off to war. Set back in the time of the American Civil War the lyrics, coupled with a little banjo in the mix tell of how he enlist in the Confederate Army and goes to meet Robert E. Lee and his last hours in the company of his great love, Jenny.
Among the five bonus tracks you have a fiddle and steel guitar aided ‘Brand New Mister Me’ and sprightly ‘You Are The One’, a duet with his singing partner of the time Sherry Bryce. Good, solid country music.
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