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ROY DRUSKY —SMOOTH COUNTRY: THE MERCURY RECORDINGS (2CDs)

 

www.humpheadcountry.com 

 

50 songs no less adorn this compilation, and though Drusky was a crooner, the Perry Como of country music he still owned in the hearts of many traditionalists. Even though he was no honky tonk, sawdust floor country act, Atlanta, Georgia-born knew a good song when he heard it. He also had the ability to place his own unique spin on one it and wrote one or two himself.

Getting back to those he covered, he took a shine, as did a number of others to the compositions of singer-songwriters Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot and Joe South plus Nashville’s Dallas Frazier and was well aware of Ben Peters, Dennis Linde and even covers a song by Sonny Bono (of Sonny & Cher). Some tracks are bedded down, nicely in pedal steel, and with the likes of “Long Long Texas Road” and a truly fine version of Liz Anderson’s “(From Now On All My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” (an early hit for Merle Haggard; and from which he named his band!) he commands a listen. Others of note include his duet with Priscilla Mitchell (wife of Jerry Reed) “Yes, Mr Peters” and the likes of “Don’t It Make You Wanna Go Home” (South), a beautiful “Early Mornin’ Rain” (Lighfoot) and heart-tugging rendition  of Kristofferson’s “Jody & The Kid”. What a great song, and though Sammi Smith's version will always be my favourite Drusky makes an excellent fist. Going back to the duet aspect, he not only recorded an album with Mitchell but duets with Kitty Wells no less!  

 

You also have his splendid, happy go-lucky working of Bill Anderson’s “Peel Me A ‘Nanner”, and we are only halfway through this bumper compilation of Drusky’s finest. Among the six Kristofferson compositions featured he shines best on (apart from the above) one of KK’s lesser-known songs “When I Loved Her”. To go with it there's interpretations of “You’re The Only Good Thing” (Jack Toombs) and big favourite in the 1970s Lightfoot’s “Ribbon Of Darkness” and with his gentle tones (and strings) Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” flickers without fully igniting.   

 

                                                Maurice Hope     

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September 2018

1
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3
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