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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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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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