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DUSTY RELICS


Belmonts’ Teenager In Love, Chuck Berry’s Sweeet Little Sixteen (despite the fact he was in his thirties) and the gorgeous doo- wop of the Crests’ Sixteen Candles. But where’s Young Love, Holly’s Everyday or even Neil Sedaka’s Oh Carol, and what of the Everly Brothers … need I go on? For once Bear Family have messed-up! Alan Cackett


www.bear-family.com


The Be Good Tanyas A COLLECTION (2000-2012) Nettwerk HHHHI The label on the tin sums it up …old- timey traditional country of the highest quality Sometimes the most memorable


records drop in completely unexpectedly. Such was the case some dozen years ago with BLUE HORSE the debut album by The Be Good Tanya. This all-female British Columbia trio, much like kindred new traditionalist spirits such as Gillian Welch, explored a carefully chosen selection of deep country, early American folk, lonesome blues and soul, and performed it in a simple, unadorned, back-porch styling that was at once endearing and totally fresh. Perhaps a musical version of that girl just pretty enough to be ignored by random passers-by, BLUE HORSE presented itself as a treasure hiding in plain sight that required some real attention. Since then the three women—Frazey Ford, Samantha Parton and Trish Klein—have released two more albums; CHINATOWN (2003) and HELLO LOVE (2006) and toured all across North America and made several visits to the UK. Rather than release an album of new material, they offer this retrospective with 12 songs lifted off their previous albums and the addition of four new recordings— two of which are remixes of earlier tracks— Scattered Leaves and Folk Song For R. The core elements remain the same


throughout: mandolin, banjo, guitar, violin, fiddle, with their rich-yet-rugged harmonies filtered through an age-old songwriting sensibility. The memories started flooding back with the captivating The Littlest Birds, the darker Junkie Song, a slice-of-life reflecting Vancouver’s unseen drug problem penned by Frazey Ford and the well-known traditional Oh Susannah.


Rendered with a poignancy and beauty the Be Good Tanyas play and sing and emote this song as it surely would have sounded around countless campfires a century and more ago. Whether die-hard fans will want to fork out for just a couple of new songs is hard to tell, but for those new to the music, or maybe missed the Tanyas first time around, this is a pretty useful and timely release. Alan Cackett www.nettwerk.com


The Kendalls TWO PART HARMONY/ THANK GOD FOR THE RADIO Hux Records HHHI Re-release from the perfectly harmonised father and daughter two-piece The Kendalls—a country music duo


comprised of father and daughter, Royce and Jeannie Kendall—enjoyed chart success in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Often considered to be an unlikely pairing for a music duo, the Kendalls’—staying true to their country roots, fusing together elements of bluegrass, honky-tonk and country-gospel—had mediocre success with a version of John Denver’s Leavin’ On A Jet Plane on Stop Records in 1970, eventually hitting the big time in 1977 with Heaven’s Just A Sin Away on Brien Fisher’s Ovation Record label—the B-side to their single, Live And Let Live. Throughout their twenty-eight year


career, the uniquely harmonised duo spawned a series of hits, including Teach Me To Cheat, If You’re Waiting On Me (You’re Backing Up), Movin’ Train and chart-topper, Thank God For The Radio. This re-release of two original Mercury LPs (TWO PART HARMONY and THANK GOD FOR THE RADIO) celebrate eighteen long- forgotten songs by the Kendall two-piece, re-introducing their distinctive sound to a newer, appreciative audience, and gently reminding the original fans just why they became fans in the first place, and why the Kendalls were so successful. Album highlights include the


infectiously chorused Two Part Harmony— their harmonies, a delicious pairing, and one of my absolute favourites from the first collection of songs; the guitar-led bitter-sweet love song, I Don’t Know Any Better and Arthur Crudup’s My Baby Left


Me, which saw Jeannie’s vocals reach new, tingling heights. Others include the ear-pleasing My Own Sweet Time and the soulful The Dark End Of The Street; Movin’ Train, That’s What I Get For Thinking and I’m Still His Life-Long Dream all provide memorable foot-stomping, hip-shaking moments here. Certainly a must-listen for all those


with a liking for the yesteryear sounds of country music. If you’re not a fan, chances are you’ll be thinking about it by the end of this CD. I know I am. Emily Saxton www.huxrecords.com


Vin Bruce DANS LA LOUISIANNE Bear Family BCD 16895 AH HHHH A gem from a little- known Cajun-country singer of the early 1950s The rich blend of Cajun and classic


honky-tonk country by Vin Bruce caught me by surprise. Louisiana-born Bruce was still in his late teens when Don Law signed him to Columbia Records in 1951 and whisked him off to Nashville to record with the likes of Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, Grady Martin, Tommy Jackson, Don Helms and Jerry Rivers. By all accounts he was the first Cajun signed to a major record label, and even more astonishing, he recorded several songs in Cajun French, some of which he wrote. In a mature voice that belied his young years, there’s an assuredness of approach to these songs that are a cut above many of the country songs of the period. Unlike most Cajun singers of the time,


Vince never used an accordion, favouring instead fiddle (often twin fiddles), steel guitar and mandolin. His distinctive approach worked really well on both the English titles and the Cajun French ones. I particularly enjoyed Vin’s self-penned Dans La Louisianne and Je Laissez Mon Coer, but he also showed that he could nail songs by other writers. Boudleaux and Felice Bryant’s I’m Gonna Steal My Baby Back is straight country in the Earnest Tubb style, whilst Over An Ocean Of Golden Dreams sounds like the kind of a song that Hank Snow would have recorded. There’s even a Chet Atkins song, the plaintive I’ll Stay Single, pure straight country, but even better is the previously unissued Si Toi


Maverick 107


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