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DUSTY RELICS


singing voice, but a wry sense of humour and a well-timed delivery, too. This comes through strongly on Bobby Braddock’s Look Away. He always had a winning way with a sensitive, earthy love ballad as he slows the tempo down for I Wish I Could Have Been There and Let Go Of The Stone. The roots of Anderson’s country


tenaciously gripped a rapidly eroding South, best exemplified in the magnificent Seminole Wind and Where I Come From. His unmistakable Florida drawl conveys resignation in Last Night I Laid Your Memory To Rest. Characteristic of one of the most enlightened careers in country music history, he delivers the goods in grand style. Throughout Anderson holds proudly to his country roots—the wellspring that has fed so much of the past century’s popular music—while also turning convention on its ear at every corner. A genuine masterpiece, this is the kind of Nashville mainstream country that should appeal to both the Americana and alt.country crowd, if only they’d discard prejudices and listen to people like John Anderson with open minds. Thrilling. Alan Cackett


www.t-birdamericana.com


Johnny Duncan THINKIN’ OF A RENDEZVOUS: COLUMBIA COUNTRY HITS 1969-1980 T-Bird Americana TBIRDAM 036 HHHH Underrated Texas balladeer with a long- overdue hits collections Texas-born Johnny Duncan (not to be


confused with the Tennessee-born singer who settled in the UK and had the skiffle hit Last Train To San Fernando), was one of the most distinctive country vocalists of the 1970s. His route to country stardom was a long one. Related to Dan Seals, Brady Seals (Little Texas), Troy Seals (successful Nashville songwriter) and Jimmy Seals (Seals & Crofts), Duncan’s early life was steeped in West Texas music. For a time he worked with Norman Petty (Buddy Holly) before moving to Nashville in 1964 to pursue a country career. Veteran producer Don Law signed him to work with producer Frank Jones at Columbia Records. His first single, Hard Luck Joe, made it to the Top 60 in 1967, but it was a duet with label mate


102 Maverick


June Stearns of Jackson Ain’t A Very Big Town that reached number 21 that was to be his biggest hit of the 1960s. His chart successes levelled off until producer Bob Montgomery took over. In 1971, Duncan’s There’s Something About A Lady made the Top 20, and his third single of the year, Baby’s Smile, Woman’s Kiss, reached number 12. Duncan joined forces with famed producer Billy Sherrill in a long-running partnership and had his first Top Ten hit with Sweet Country Woman in 1973. Strangely, it was Larry Gatlin that


produced Jo And The Cowboy, his first duet hit with fellow Texas singer Janie Fricke in 1975. Then Sherrill took over for a series of classic hits, the new team found the perfect formula matching Johnny’s smooth baritone styling with the quality of songs which best suited his sexy voice, Some like Stranger, Thinkin’ Of A Rendezvous, It Couldn’t Have Been Any Better were duets with Fricke, as Duncan scored one top ten hit after another, including three chart-toppers. By the early 1980s the hits suddenly dried up, and though Johnny Duncan continued performing, mainly in Texas, until shortly before his death in 2006, he never returned to a major record deal. Like many country artists of his era he’s been poorly treated when it comes to reissues on CD, so it’s great to see this hits collection—maybe soon some of his classic albums could be made available on CD for the first time. Alan Cackett www.t-birdamericana.com


Juice Newton COME TO ME/ WELL KEPT SECRET/TAKE HEART BGO Records BGOCD1045 HHHI Early Capitol albums finally reissued on CD I first became hooked on the music


of Juice Newton back in 1975 when she was known as Juice Newton and Silver Spur. This 3-LPs-on 2-CDs takes us back to those days when I classed Juice in the same league as Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Gail Davies in bridging the gap between country and rock and helping to bring country music to a much younger crossover audience. Initially signed to RCA’s West Coast division in 1975 Juice & Silver Spur released a couple of albums, but failing to make much of an impact they


were dropped and moved over to Capitol releasing COME TO ME in 1977. Produced by acclaimed country-rock producer Eliot Mazer, recordings took place in San Francisco and London in the summer of 1977. The songs were mainly penned by Newton and fellow band members Otha Young and Robbie Gillman, though they also included a couple of songs by Bob Seger, the rootsy power ballad Good Luck Baby Jane and the twangy The Fire Down Below. Despite the quality country-rock


material, the album failed to ignite much interest and Silver Spur disbanded. In 1978 came WELL KEPT SECRET, issued as just by Juice Newton. Co-produced by Young, Newton and John Palladino and recorded on the West Coast, several of the musicians such as Paul Leim, John Hobbs, David Hungate, Billy Walker and Fred Tackett were or became well-known Nashville session players. Newton took a back seat with the songwriting, with Otha Young penning five of the ten songs by himself. There were revivals of Bruce Chanel’s Hey Baby, the much recorded Motown song A Love Like Yours and Parker McGee’s I’ll Never Love Again. Though it failed to make a big impression, Capitol stuck with Juice and 1979’s TAKE HEART proved to be the turning point in her career. There were more outside songs this time including a fine reading of Jonathan Edwards’ Sunshine, Tom Waits’ San Diego Serenade and Smokie’s Lay Back In the Arms Of Someone. But the jewel in the crown was her superb rendition of Chip Taylor’s Any Way That You Want Me. It’s been a long time since I last heard these three underrated LPs, so it’s good to finally get them on CD. Alan Cackett


www.bgo-records.com


Lacy J Dalton SURVIVOR/ LACY J. Morello Records MRLL4 HHHI Lacy J’s final major label releases reissued Lacy J Dalton burst upon the country


music scene in 1979, her soulful hillbilly vocals being at odds with the smooth country-pop warbling of the likes of Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrell and Anne Murray who were the top charting females at the time. Signed to Columbia she scored a


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