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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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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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