Friday, December 25, 2009

Belafonte - To Wish You a Merry Christmas

Here’s the last Christmas album for the year. Nothing much to say because still enjoying my long holiday break.


Song List:


Side A - A Star In The East, The Gifts They Gave, The Son of Mary, The Twelve Day of Christmas, Where The Little Jesus Sleeps, “Medley : TheJoys of Christmas; Oh Little Town of Bethlehem; Deck The Halls; The First Noel”


Side B – Mary’s Boy Child, Silent Night, Christmas is Coming, Mary Mary, Jehovah The Lord Will Provide, “Medley : We Wish You A Merry Christmas; ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’; O Come All Ye Faithful; Joy to the World", I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Emmylou Harris - Light in the Stable

Emmylou Harris is a country and western singer as well as a song writer. I came to know her through the song, “The Boxer” in the early 80s. I have collected several LPs of Emmylou Harris since I started my LP collection hobby 3 1/2 years ago.


In this album, Emmylou Harris sang the Christmas songs with her usual crystal clear voice. I particularly like the second song on side B, “Little Drummer Boy” because she really sang the song with her unique Emmylou Harris’ style.


This album was released in 1980.


Song List :


Side 1 – Christmas Time’s A-Coming, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Angel Eyes, The First Noel


Side 2 – Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, Little Drummer Boy, Golden Cradle, Silent Night, Light of the Stable

Sunday, December 13, 2009

John Denver - Rocky Mountain Christmas

I think John Denver was the first country singer that I knew. During the cartridge era on the 70s, there was already a John Denver’s “Greatest Hits 1” album in my house. I liked “Take me Home Country Road” so much that I memorized that song by heart and could sing the entire song along when I played that song on cartridge. My second John Denver album was “John Denver’s Greatest Hits 3” CD which I bought in the 80s. O was again mesmerized by several songs namely “Some Days Are Diamonds”, Seasons of My Heart”, Shanghai Breezes” and “Perhaps Love”, in that album.


Rocky
Mountain
Christmas” was my first John Denver LP. I bought this LP in April 2007. When I replay this LP, I feel that John Denver is reciting poems and telling Christmas tales rather than singing songs. This is one of the albums that could keep me sitting on the sofa and listen with total relaxation.

Jim Reeves’ “12 Songs of Christmas”, Pat Boone’s “White Christmas” and this album are the 3 Christmas albums that I listen most often this year.


Song List:


Side 1 - Aspenglow, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire), Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Silver Bells, Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas), Christmas For Cowboys


Side 2 - Away In A Manger, What Child Is This, Coventry Carol, O Holy Night, Silent Night Holy Night, A Baby Just Like You.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Slim Whitman - The Christmas Album

I have been listening to Slim Whitman's songs for many years. In fact my brother told me that my father owned one LP of Slim Whitman during the 60s. However, I could not remember which LP did my father own that time.
I like to listen to Slim Whitman because he was a very good yodeler. his unique voice and the steel guitar which was the essential part of his music. However, the organ took over the place of his steel guitar as the main muical instrument in this album.
This album was released in 1969.

Song List:
Side 1 - Joy to The World, There's a Song in The Air, Long Ago There Was Born, The Bethlehem Star, The Silver Star

Side 2 - The Joy Bells Are Ringing, The Song of The Desert, Silent Night, Christmas, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, O Holy Night

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Song - An Old Christmas Card

Sung by Jim Reeves


(It's the mem'ry of an old Christmas card)
There's an old Christmas card in an old dusty trunk
And it brings back sweet mem'ries dear to me
Though it's faded and worn it's as precious as the morn
When I found it ‘neath our first Christmas tree
I thrill with every word every line guess I'm always sentimental round this time
Pardon me if a tear falls among my Christmas cheer
It's the mem'ry of an old Christmas card

You know I don't know why I get to feeling sentimental about this time every year
But every time I see a Christmas card I somehow can't help reminiscing
About the very first Christmas that you and I spent together
What a beautiful Christmas card you gave me that year
Why I know you must have looked through thousands of cards
To find that wonderful poem that still brings a tear to my eye

I thrill with every word every line guess I'm always sentimental round this time
Pardon me if a tear falls among my Christmas cheer
It's the mem'ry of an old Christmas card

* * *

This song is collected in Jim Reeves’ Twelve Songs of Christmas album. Personally I think this is more of a love song than a Christmas song. However, it stands out from the rest of Christmas songs in this album.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jim Reeves - Twelve Songs of Christmas


In an early post, here, I mentioned about my neighbour, Ah Beng, and the numerous weekends I spent with him to listen to English songs. I think Ah Beng’s family was the only Christian family in our neighbourhood. Ah Beng’s Christmas party was one event I was looking forward to attending every year in late 60s.

For several years during Christmas eves in the late 60s, my childhood friends like Su Bee, Su Kien, Su Long, Su Lee, Wei Lun, Wei Kien, my brothers and sister, Kien Huat (I think so) and some other kids were invited to his house. Although we didn’t understand the significance of Christmas but we were all thrilled by the festive mode, the games, the foods, the drinks and the presents. But the biggest thrill of all was the boys got to spend the night sleeping by the twinkling Christmas tree at Ah Beng’s house. We also got to hang our socks at the best spots on the Christmas tree. Ah Beng would then lead us to lie down and pretend to sleep. I can still remember vividly that when the REAL Santa Claus appeared, we held our breath quietly to wait for the Santa Claus to stuff some little presents into our socks. When the Santa Claus left, Ah Beng would then switched on the lights and we would continue jollying until early morning.

This fond childhood memory still lives in my mind till today. So when December comes, I never fail to retrieve my CDs and LPs on Christmas songs and replay them.

One of the CDs and LPs that I listen more often is Jim Reeves’ Twelve Songs of Christmas. This album contains many of the traditional Christmas songs that many are familiar with. With Jim Reeves’ smooth and silky voice, he has that little magic touch that brings out the Christmas mood in my heart.

How nice if Ah Beng were to organize a Christmas party for all the childhood friends once more…

Song List:

Side 1- Jingle Bells, Blue Christmas, Senor Santa Claus, An Old Christmas Card, The Merry Christmas Polka, White Christmas

Side 2 – Silver Bells, C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Mary’s Little Boy Child, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night

Friday, November 27, 2009

Harry Belafonte - Streets I Haved Walked

This is an album where Harry Belafonte sang mostly traditional songs from several parts of the world. He even sang the traditional Japanese court song, Sakura, in Japanese language. Joining him in the recording of this album was the choir of Springfield Gardens Junior High School No. 59.

This album was released in 1963.

Side 1:
Sit Down – Early Negro Spiritual
Erev Shel Shoshanim - Israeli
Waltzing Matilda – Australian
My Old Paint – American West
Mangwene Mpulele – South African
This Land Is Your Land – American

Side 2:
Tunga – Portuguese
Sakura – Japanese court song
Amen – Negro Spiritual
The Borning Day – West Indian
This Wicked Race – Spiritual in Gospel Tradition
Come Away Melinda – A song for all children everywhere

Monday, November 23, 2009

Harry Belafonte - Belafonte At Carnegie Hall

In 1990, I was working in Singapore. At the time, I stayed with a few friends in a rented flat at Bukit Batok. During that time, one of my housemates, TC Loh, was an addict to watching video tapes movies. He rented a tape almost everyday. Normally after our dinner, we would watch the 8:30pm Singapore Broadcasting Corporation’s variety show on TV. Immediately after the variety show, TC would start to watch a video tape movie. On most occasions, I sat on sofa in front of the TV but I hardly watched the video tape movies as I preferred to read newspapers or computer magazines.

One evening, TC was watching movie while I was reading newspapers. I was suddenly attracted by some unique music from the movie. The movie was “Beetle Juice”, a horror/comedy show that adopted 2 Harry Belafonte’s songs, “Banana Boat Song” and “Jump in the Line”. I still remember that TC and I were greatly amused by the 2 songs. TC was definitely impressed because he continued to sing “Banana Boat Song” in Belafonte’s style for many months. I subsequently bought a CD of Harry Belafonte and I have been keeping that CD until today.

Harry Belafonte (1927 - ) was born in New York. His father was a Jamaican. His released his first album in 1954. Wikipedia listed that his album, “Calypso”, was the first album to surpassed 1 million mark in 1956. (Bing Crosby’s “white Christmas” and Tenessee Ernie Ford’s Sixteen Tons,” both singles had previously surpassed the 1 million mark.

Personally, I find that the sound of the album is superb. Moreover, Belafonte was so at ease in front of the audience. He cracked jokes, recounted his childhood days in Jamaica, talked about how did the British song “The Marching Saints” ended as a funeral song in Jamaica. The audience was simply captivated by Belafonte as the entire hall was dead silent when Belafonte when he spoke. I am captivated too!

To sum up how great is this LP album, AllMusic.com’s commented that “A digitally remastered but truncated single-disc CD reissue of the classic 1959 performance by Harry Belafonte was issued upon its 30th anniversary in 1989. Inexplicably, all of Belafonte's between-song patter and four songs were eliminated, no doubt in an attempt to fit the whole concert on one disc. The editing was done with a machete, and the concert loses all of its spontaneity and pacing. For those who are familiar with the original, magnificent double-LP set, the edits will make you cringe. For the record, the excised songs are "Take My Mother Home," "Man Piaba," "All My Trials," and "Merci Bon Dieu." Save your turntables and get the records. ~ Cary Ginell, All Music Guide”

Song List:

Side 1 – Introduction/Darlin’ Cora, Sylvie, Cotton Fields, John Henry, Take My Mother Home

Side 2 – The Marching Saints, The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), Jamaica Farewell, Man Piaba, All My Trials

Side 3 – Mama Look a Boo Boo, Come Back Liza, Man Smart (Woman Smarter), Hava Nagila, Danny Boy, Merci Bon Dieu

Side 4 – Cucurrucucu Paloma, Shenandoah, Matilda

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Song - The Way It Was In ‘51

Lyrics by Merle Haggard

Sixty-six was still a narrow two-lane highway
Harry Truman was the man who ran the show
The bad Korean war was just beginning
And I was just three years too young to go
Country Music hadn't gone to New York City yet
And a service man was proud of what he'd done
Hank and Lefty crowded every jukebox
That's the way it was in fifty one.

There's so much about the good old days I'd love to tell
And there's folks around I know still remember well
Slow dancin' close together when a ballad played
'Cause a thing called Rock and Roll was yet to come
It was a big year for a drive-in rest'rant carhop
That's the way it was in fifty one.

There's so much about the good old days I'd love to tell
And there's folks around I know still remember well
Slow dancin' close together when a ballad played
'Cause a thing called Rock and Roll was yet to come
It was a big year for a drive-in rest'rant carhop
That's the way it was in fifty one.

Yeah! Hank and Lefty crowded every jukebox
Oh Lord! That's the way it was in fifty one


* * *

This is the first song on side A of Merle Haggard's "The Way It Was In '51" album.

I am the type of person who likes to recount my good old days. And since Merle Haggard is a damn good song writer who wrote so many songs about his own good old days. I was instantly attracted to the musics and lyrics his songs on the very moment I listened to my first Merle Haggard's album. I bought that album, "Someday We'll Look Back", in December 2006.

Most of Merle Haggard songs are very rhythmic and catchy. I just could not help but to hum along. "The Way it was in '51" is a typical example of Merle Haggard's songs, so rhythmic, so catchy and more importantly, counting his good old days.

Here's the link to this song,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu_8M2L6kHY

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Merle Haggard - The Way It Was In '51


When I decided to post an album of Merle Haggard previously, I was so indecisive on whether to post “The Best of Merle Haggard” or “The Way It Was In ‘51”. After I posted the former, I then thought something would be missing if I did post the later. So here is Merle Haggard’s “The Way It Was In ‘51”.

I found that many country singers were influenced by 2 great country and western music legends, Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933) and Hank Williams (1923-1953). Hank Williams wrote so many great songs that many singers included Hank Williams’ songs in their albums. On side 1 of this album, Haggard sang 5 songs of Hank Williams and a song written by him, “The Way It Was In ‘51”.

Merle Haggard’s also idolized Lefty Frizzell. As a rebelious teenager, Merle Haggard landed in and out of reform schools many times. At the age of 14, he attended a Lefty Frizzell’s concert when he was out of the reform school. That concert left a great influence on Merle Haggard. Subsequently, Haggard followed Frizzell’s singing style very closely. I found both of them sounded very similar. In fact, I come to know Lefty Frizzell after searching for Merle Haggard’s information on Internet. On side 2 of this album, Haggard sang 4 songs of Lefty Frizzell and a song written by him, “Goodbye Lefty”.
I love the 2 songs written by Merle Haggard “The Way It Was In ‘51” and “Goodbye Lefty”. The 2 songs reflect the typical style of Merle Haggard. The rest of the songs are well known songs of Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell. They were simply superb.

Besides singing very well, Merle Haggard is also a very talented song writer. He has won countless music awards as a singers and song writer, including Grammy Awards for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, in 1984 and Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. He was also inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1994.

This album was released in 1978.

Song List:

Hank’s Side : The Way It Was In '51, Moanin' The Blues, My Heart Would Know, Lovesick Blues, I Saw The Light

Lefty’s Side : Mom And Dad's Waltz, It Meant Goodbye To Me, I'm An Old Old Man Tryin' To Live While I Can, I Never Go Around Mirrors, Goodbye Lefty

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Merle Haggard - The Very Best of Merle Haggard



Merle Haggard was born in 1937. Merle and his parents lived in an old boxcar that they converted into a home.

After his father passed away in 1946, Haggard’s world turned upside down and he turned rebellious. He also started to commit petty crimes. At the age of 13, he was caught shoplifting and was sent to a reform school. For the next few years, Merle would find himself in reform schools, sometimes making an escape, only to get thrown back in again.

In 1957, Haggard was sent to San Quentin Prison for 3 years after he was found involved in a robbery case. According to Wikipedia, “Merle attended three of Johnny Cash's concerts at San Quentin. Seeing Cash perform inspired Haggard to straighten up and pursue his singing. Several years later, at another Cash concert, Haggard came up to Johnny and told him ‘I certainly enjoyed your show at San Quentin.’ Cash said ‘Merle, I don't remember you bein' in that show.’ Merle Haggard said, ‘Johnny, I wasn't in that show, I was in the audience.’"

Merle Haggard released his first single in 1963. His singing style was very similar to his idol Lefty Frizzell. In fact, I admire Merle Haggard very much because of his vast talent, no just only in singing, but also in writing many of the songs that he sang. In this album, he wrote/co-wrote 13 out of the16 songs!

There is no released date stated in this album. However, I believe it was released around 1972 because the songs in this album were released between 1969 and 1972.

Song List:

Side A: Okie From Muskogee#, Hungry Eyes*, Workin’ Man Blues*, Swinging Doors*, Someday We’ll Look Back*, Branded Man*, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive, The Bottle Let Me Down*

Side B: Silver Wings*, I Wonder What She’ll Think About Me Leaving*, Today I Started Loving You Again#, Mama Tried*, No Reason to Quit, Every6 Fool Has a Rainbow*, The Fightin’ Side of Me*, It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)

* Songs written by Merle Haggard
# Songs co-written by Merle Haggard

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bobby Bare - This is Bare Country

During the initial period of my vinyl record collecting hobby, I bought different genres of music to listen. However, after 3 to 4 months of crazy buying, I found that I inclined to listen to classic country and western music most of the time and left other records behind to collect dust.

As my knowledge on country and western music was limited then, I started to search the Internet to find more about classic country singers (and yodelers). I also became a good friend of a vinyl record vendor whom always kept country and western records aside and gave me priority to select. Through these years, some of the singers recommended by him have become my favourite singers. Bobby Bare is one of the singers recommended by him.

Bobby Bare is quite a unique singer because he adds narration in between his songs quite often and I find the narration enhances what he tries to express in the songs.

Song List:

Side 1 : When I Want to Love a Lady, A Million Miles to the City, Darby's Castle, Jesus Christ What a Man, Just in Case (A Night Like This One Comes Again), City Boy Country Born

Side 2 : Roses Are Red, Lorena, After The Divorce, Lonely Street, Short And Sweet

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anne Murray - New Kind of Feeling


I first heard Anne Murray’s songs on radio in the late 70s. Songs like ‘Snow Bird’, ‘You Needed Me”, “I Just Fall in Love Again” and “Walk Right Back” were broadcasted on air quite frequently.
I only bought my first Anne Murray CD, “Anne Murray Greatest Hits”, after I started working. The year should be 1987 or 1988. I loved all the songs in that CD so much because it contained most of her chart toppers.

I own 7 LPs, including “Greatest Hits” of Anne Murray to-date. However my first Anne Murray’s LP that I bought was “New Kind of Feeling” in January 2007.

Song List:
Side 1 : Shadows In The Moonlight, You've Got What It Takes, I Just Fall In Love Again, Take This Heart, Yucatan Cafe

Side 2 : For No Reason At All, Raining In My Heart, That's Why I Love You, He's Not You, Heaven Is Here

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Song - My Old Pal

I'm thinking of you tonight old pal
And wishing that you were here
I'm dreaming of the times and the days gone by
When you filled my heart with cheer.

I remember the night when all alone
We sang Sweet Adeline
No other face can take your place
In my heart old pal of mine.

The old pals are always the best you see
New friends you can find every day
But they can't fill the places or ever be
Like the old pals of yesterday.

I'm wondering where you are tonight
And if you ever think of me
It would make my weary heart
So light sweetheart
Your face again to see.

But in this checkered life I find
Nothing comes right it seems
Still you'll always be a pal of mine
Though it may be only in dreams.

The old pals are always the best you see
New friends you can find every day
But they can't fill the places or ever be
Like the old pals of yesterday.

* * *

My Old Pal is a song collected in "Jimmie Rodgers - This is Jimmie Rodgers" album.

In this early Saturday morning, I am sitting in the living hall alone listening from one LP to another. When this song comes out from the speakers, my memory also races back to those passing days. I don't feel like writing much. I just want to listen to the song.

To all my pals out there - all the best to you.

Here’s the link to this song on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQsNIvAgF-Y

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jimmie Rodgers - This is Jimmie Rodgers


Jimmie Rodgers (1897 – 1933) was the first inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961. The other 2 inductees in 1961 were Hank Williams (singer and song writer) and Fred Rose (song writer).

At the age of 13, Jimmie Rodgers had already organized and begun his traveling show. As Jimmie’s father was a railroad foreman, he brought back Jimmie Rodgers from the road and sent Jimmie to his work place to work as a waterboy. As few years later, he became a brakeman.

In 1924, at the age of 27, Jimmie contracted tuberculosis. The disease forced him to stop working and began his traveling road shows. He returned to work as a brakeman once but his tuberculosis finally ended his working career in 1927.

Jimmie first singles was released on Oct 1927 with just modest success. He achieved great success when he released his second singles on Feb 1928. That singles that contained “T for Texas” and “Away Out on the Mountain” sold nearly half a million copies.

With his new found fame, Jimmie Rodger was so busy touring and recording. However, he body got weaker and weaker. In May 1933, he passed away. His singing career lasted just 7 short years.

I came to know Jimmie Rodgers from the LP “Wagon Wheels. Legendary Songs of the Old West” in Nov 2006. However, my search for his LPs yielded no results until Feb 2008. I found an LP with the album cover of “Tex Ritter – Just Beyond the Moon”. After I checked the LP’s conditions, I decided to buy the record. After I cleaned the LP at home and played, I was so surprised to hear anything but the macho voice of Text Ritter. I checked the LP immediately and to my pleasant surprise, the title of the LP was “This is Jimmie Rodgers Side3 and Side 4” It must be from a double-LP album. Anyway, I didn’t mind at all!

My favourite songs in this album are My Old Pal and Waiting For A Train.

Song List:
Side 3 - In The Jailhouse Now No 2, My Carolina Sunshine Girl, My Old Pal, My Rough And Rowdy Ways, Never No Mo' Blues.

Side 4 - Peach Picking Time Down In Georgia, Treasures Untold, Waiting For A Train, Pistol Packin' Mama

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Slim Dusty - Aussie Sing Song

Slim Dusty (1927-2003) was Australia’s foremost and most famous country singer-song writer. He spent his entire life promoting Australian country music to the world.

Wikipedia lists these achievements of Slim Dusty:
1. His 1957 hit “A Pub with No Beer” was the first Australian single to go gold.
2. Over the course of his career, he collected more gold and platinum albums than any other Australian artists.
3. In 2000, he became the first music artist in the world to release 100 albums
4. In 2000 Slim Dusty was given the honour of singing Waltzing Matilda in the closing ceremony of Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
5. He sold more than seven million albums and single.

I came to know about Slim Dusty when I saw him performing in Sydney Olympic Games. During that emotional moment, I resolved that I would find and buy his CDs. Perhaps due to my slackness and forgetfulness, I forgot about Slim Dusty totally just several months later.

In mid-September this year, I went for my usual round for LP hunting in Petaling Jaya. After found and bought” Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man” LP, I hopped over to another store to continue my hunt. From a stack of cheap and junk LPs, I pulled out this LP. According to the sayings, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, I quickly paid the man an amount equivalent to half a piece of McChicken and went home with this piece of “junk”.

This LP was released in 1962. It could be the earliest LP released by Slim Dusty. It contains mostly Australian folk and country songs and some European folk/marching songs. Most of the songs were with simple melody and were so catchy. I could not help but to download their lyrics from Internet so that I could sing along.

Do I like any song in this album in particular? No. Nothing in particular. I just like them all. Great album!!!

Song List:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Patti Page - Honey Come Back

I studied in Sin Min B Primary School from 1968 to 1973. Sin Min B is a Chinese primary school located in Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia. As the students of a Chinese school, all my classmates and I did not understand English well so we hardly listened to English songs. Even when I watched English shows on TV during those days, I only watched the actions but understood very little about what the actors said.

When I was in primary 4, I befriended a neighbour, Ah Beng, who was about 3 years older than me. As an English educated student, Ah Beng listened mainly to English songs. I remember that on many Fridays and Saturdays (my school closed on Fridays and Saturdays), I went to his house and spent time with him listening to English songs from a small radio belonged to Ah Beng’s father.

It was during that time that I came to know Cliff Richard, Beatles, the Beach Boys and other English singers. Ah Beng had some cassette/cartridge tapes(can't remember exactly) and one of them was Patti Page’s tape. It contained many of Patti Page’s greatest songs such as “Tennessee Waltz”, “I Went to You Wedding” and “How Much is That Doggie in the Window”. The last was my favourite then. I remember that Ah Beng and I replayed the song so many times in order to copy its lyrics so that we could sing (and bark) along with Patti Page.

When I started my LP collection, I also started to search for Patti Page’s LPs. I managed to find this LP in September 2006. This album was released in 1970. It did not contain the 3 signature songs listed above. Anyway, I was not disappointed because Patti Page delivered the songs in this album with her silky smooth voice. My favourite song in this album is “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”.

Song List:

Side 1 – I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, Come Saturday Morning, Wonderful World Wonderful People, A Brand New Me, Early in the Morning

Side 2 – La La La, Something, Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday, Winter World of Love, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, Honey Come Back

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Song - I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven
Oh what a beautiful sight

Last night I dreamed I went to hillbilly heaven
And you know who greeted me at the gate?
The ole cowboy-philosopher himself, Will Rogers.
He said to me, he said "Tex, the Big Boss of the riders up here has asked me to kinda show you around.
Now, over yonder are a couple of your ole compadres
My, was I glad to see them,
Carson Robison and the Mississippi blue yodeler Jimmie Rodgers

I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven

Oh what a beautiful sight

He introduced me to Wiley Post
And he showed me the Hall of Fame with all the gold guitars and fiddles hanging on the walls.
Then he said, "Tex, step over this way, there’re two more of your friends I knowyou'll want to see, they're waitin' for you."
There they were standin' side by side and smilin' at me
Hank Williams and Johnny Horton.

I met all the stars in hillbilly heaven

Oh what a star-studded night

Then I asked him who else do you expect in the next, uh, say a hundred years?
He handed me a large book covered with star dust
Will called it the Big Tally Book
In it were many names and each name was branded in pure gold
I began to read some of them as I turned the pages:
Red Foley, Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, Roy Acuff, Eddy Arnold, Tennessee Ernie, JimmyDean, Andy Griffith, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter

Whaaaatttt??? Tex Ritter?

Oh, well, that's when I woke up, and I'm sorry I did
Because I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven

Oh what a beautiful sight

* * *

I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven is a song collected in Tex Ritter – Songs of the Golden West album. This song is quite hilarious.

The song described about Tex Ritter dreamed that he went to hillbilly heaven, a heaven that housed only western movie actors and singers.

There Tex Ritter met Will Rogers (1879-1935) at the gate of hillbilly heaven. Will Rogers then gave Tex Ritter a guided tour around the heaven where Tex met legends like Carson Robison (1890-1957), Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933), Wiley Post (1898-1935) (checked Wikipedia. He was an aviation pioneer who died together with Will Rogers when their small airplane crashed), Hank Williams (1923-1953) and Johnny Horton (1925-1960)

The curious Tex Ritter then asked Will Rogers about other actors and singers who would end up in hillbilly heaven upon their death. There went another list of legendary names and the last one was TEX RITTER himself!!!

Tex Ritter woke up at that instance. He then continued to narrate embarrassingly that “I'm sorry I did because I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven”. That was a gem!

Text Ritter first recorded the song in 1961. This song only listed 6 legends in heaven. The LP album that I own contains this version. Please view this version of the song on YouTube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eDhsdFdtGY

This song continued to evolve as there were more western actors and singers passed away. I found another version on YouTube, performed live by Tex Ritter presumably during the late 60s. Here’s the link to this version on YouTube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEL3GaEER_U&feature=related

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tex Ritter - Songs of the Golden West

When I bought this album in Oct 2006, I had never heard of Tex Ritter (1905 – 1974). However, I was attracted by its beautifully designed album cover that showed a deserted cowboy street flanked by some shops, a bank and a bar. This is a familiar movie setting where countless high noon duals take place.

From my research on the Internet, I realized that Tex Ritter was a cowboy movie actor and a singer. Wikipedia credited him with over 70 movies.

Tex Ritter has a deep and macho voice. He was the first country and western singer signed with Capitol Records in 1942. He was also the fifth person and first singing cowboy to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This album contains 12 tracks. The songs that I like most in this album are “I dreamed of Hillbilly Heaven” and “There’s a New Moon over My Shoulder”

Song List:
Side 1 - I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven, Green Grow the Lilacs, Love Me Now, High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me), Deck of Cards, Jealous Heart

Side 2 - Have I Stayed Away Too Long, Ol' Shorty, We Live In Two Different Worlds, There's a New Moon over My Shoulder, Jingle Jangle Jingle, Pledge of Allegiance.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sons of the Pioneers - Wagons West

The Sons of the Pioneers were the foremost vocal and instrumental group in country and western music. They group was well-known for its harmonious singing.

The group was formed in 1933 by 3 members, Leonard Slye, a.k.a Roy Rogers (1911 - 1998), Bob Nolan(1908 – 1980) and Tim Spencer (1911 - 1976). Hugh Farr (1906 - 1980) joined the group in early 1934. The group was joined by Hugh Farr’s brother, Karl Farr (1909 – 1961) in 1935 and Lloyd Perryman (1917 - 1977) in 1936. Besides singing, the Sons of the Pioneers acted in many cowboy movies. When Leonard Slye became so busy in his acting career in 1938, he was replaced by Pat Brady.

The Sons of the Pioneers’ popular cowboy songs are Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool Water, Happy Trails, Ride Ranger Ride and Ghost Rider In the Sky.

In this album, the sons of the Pioneers sing with their typical harmonious voices. The sounds of guitars and other musical instruments gel so well at the background.

I love to listen to this album late at night. Whenever I placed this LP onto the platter and when the stylus started to glide through the groove, I found myself riding freely on the great wide grassland under the western sky and with cattle roaming around (minus the gun-fighting part, of course!). Sometimes, I wonder am I a cowboy reincarnated.

Song List:
Side 1- Land Beyond The Sun, Santa Fe New Mexico, Teardrops In My Heart, Wagons West, Cowboy Camp Meetin', Hundred And Sixty Acres
Side 2 - Down Where The Rio Flows, Will There Be Sagebrush In Heaven, Moonlight And Roses, Calico Apron And Gingham Gown, Waltz Of The Roses, Whiffenpoof Song

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Country Side of Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers (1911-1998) was a very famous cowboy actor. He acted in over 100 cowboy movies. From his nickname “King of the Cowboys”, we could imagine how famous he was as an actor. Actually, Roy Rogers started his career in 1934 as a singer by forming a cowboy music group called Sons of the Pioneers. He filming career only started a year later at 1935. However, when Roy Rogers became very popular as an actor in 1938, he had no choice but to leave Sons of the Pioneers.

Although Roy Rogers had sung as part of the Sons of the Pioneers group, the note at the back cover describes this album, The Country Side of Roy Rogers, “ is the milestone because it represents the very first time Roy Roger – “King of the Cowboys” - has recorded an album of contemporary country music”.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Roy Rogers yodeled in the song “The Night Guard” although his yodeling skill was not as good as Jimmie Rodgers and Slim Whitman.

Song List:

Side 1 - Money Can’t Buy My Love, I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew, The Blizzard, Down Home, Okie From Muskogee

Side 2 - The Fightin' Side of Me, Green Green Grass of Home, The Night Guard, Vision at the Peace Table, You and Me Against the World

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wagon Wheels. Legendary Songs of the Old West - Part 2

I could say that this is one of my most treasured LP albums. The conditions of the LPs are very good, the quality of the recording is very high and the songs are simply superb.

Song List:

LP1 (Sony Music)

Side 1 – Back in the Saddle Again (Gene Autry), Cherokee Maiden (Bob Wills), High Noon (Tex Ritter), Pistol Packin’ Mama (Al Dexter), Mule Train (Frankie Laine), I’m an Old Cowhand (Patsy Montana), The Streets of Loredo (Marty Robins), Down in the Valley (Slim Whitman), El Rancho Grandee (Gene Autry), Jingle Jangle Jingle (Tex Ritter), Wabash Cannon Ball (Roy Acuff)

Side 2 – Home on the Range (Gene Autry), Bury Me Not in the Prairie (Tex Ritter), New San Antonio Rose (Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys), Have I Told You Lately That I Loved You (Gene Autry), I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart (Patsy Montana), That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine (Gene Autry), I’m Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes (The Carter Family), Red River Valley (Slim Whitman), Jealous Heart (Tex Ritter), Deep in the Heart of Texas (Bob Wills),

LP2 (RCA Record)

Side 1 – Wagon Wheels (Sons of the Pioneers), Cattle Call (Eddy Arnolds), Along the Santa Fe Trail (Bing Crosby), Take me Back to my Boots and Saddle (Jimmy Wakely), Cool Water (Sons of the Pioneers), South of the Border (Patsy Cline), Goodnight Irene (Red Foley and Ernest Tubb), The Last Roundup (Rex Allen)

Side 2 – Don’t Fence Me in (Bing Crosby), Whopee Ti-Yi-Yo (Sons of the Pioneers), Blue Yodel No 1 (Jimmie Rodgers), Empty Saddles (Sons of the Pioneers), Nobody’s Darling but Mine (Jimmie Davies), The Shifting Whispering Sands (Jim Reeves), Riders in the Sky (Vaughn Monroe & Sons of the Pioneers)

LP3 (RCA Record)

Side 1 – Tumbling Tumbleweeds (Sons of the Pioneers), It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angel (Kitty Wells), Sioux City Sue (Bing Crosby), Along the Navajo Trail (Sons of the Pioneers), Someday You’ll Want Me to Want You (Elton Britt), The Prisoner’s Song (Vernon Dalhart), Old Shep (Red Foley)

Side 2 – When It’s Springtime in the Rockies (Montana Slim), You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davies), Teardrops in My Heart (Sons of the Pioneers), Mexicali Rose (Jim Reeves), Beautiful Brown Eyes (Jimmy Wakely), Twilight on the Trail (Sons of the Pioneers), Happy Trail (Roy Rogers and Dale Evans)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wagon Wheels. Legendary Songs of the Old West - Part 1


During the CD era of 80s 90s, I listened to Mandarin pop/oldies, Cantonese pop songs and English pop/rock/rock n roll/folk/country n western/oldies. In short I listened to almost all types of songs. When I started collecting LPs in June 2006, I started by buying LPs of different genres. However, I soon found that I was attracted to country and western more than other genres. So I started to pay more attention to country and western LPs whenever I went to search for old records. I even informed a vendor to segregate his country and western albums for me.

One day in November 2006, when the vendor saw me during one of my excursions, he quickly pulled out an album from a tub and proudly announced to me that he had a “mother of all country and western albums” for me.

The title of the album is “Wagon Wheels. Legendary Songs of the Old West”. It contains 50 classic country and western songs!!! It is also a very unique album because it is made up of 3 LPs, 2 of them are RCA records and another one is Sony Music record.

Having bought that mother of all country and western albums, I declared my hunt for the day done and drove back home immediately. When I reached home, I quickly performed my ritual of water-washing/drying/anti-static solution rinsing/drying the LPs. Then I started to spin the LPs and searched the Internet for those cowboy singers who sang in this album (partially listed below).

Eddy Arnolds (1918 – 2008). Issued the first single in 1943
Gene Autry (1907 – 1998).
Jim Reeves (1923 – 1964). Issued the first singles in 1949
Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933). Issued the first singles in 1927
Sons of the Pioneers. Formed in 1934
Roy Rogers (1911 – 1998). and Dale Evans (1912 – 2001)
Tex Ritters ( 1907 – 1973). Issued the first singles in 1932
Wilf Carter (1904 – 1996). Issued the first singles in 1933

I enjoyed listening to almost all the songs in the 3 LPs. I immediately scribbled the names of those singers I liked in a little notebook. For many months, the little notebook became my guide whenever I went hunting for country and western LPs.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Song - If I Give My Heart To You

Lyrics Jimmy Brewster, Jimmy Crane and Al Jacobs

If I give my heart to you
Will you handle it with care
Will you always treat me tenderly
And in every way be fair

If I give my heart to you
Will you give me all your love
Will you swear that you'll be true to me
By the light that shines above

And will you sigh with me when I'm sad
Smile with me when I'm glad
And always be as you are with me tonight

Think it over and be sure
Please don't answer till you do
When you promise all those things to me
Then I'll give my heart to you

* * *

I don’t know when was this song written and who was the original singer. Since Doris Day recorded it in 1954, It must be written in 1954 or earlier.

The song describes about a woman who is about to accept a man’s love. So she has to be convinced that the man “will always treat her tenderly”, “will be true to her” and “will sigh with her when she’s sad and smile with her when she’s sad”, then she’ll give her heart to him. Oh, so much dream, hope and anticipation !!!

I own an LP of Miyoshi Umeki wich contains this song but I could not find the video clip of “If I Give My Heart to You” sung by Miyoshi Umeki on YouTube. Here’s a link to the version performed by Dorothy Collins,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0HKEty9_is&feature=related

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eddy Arnold - The Greatest of Eddy Arnold



Eddy Arnold was a country singer who performed from 1940s to 1990s. He was very popular from 1940s to 1960s where he had 28 singles that hit the number 1 position in Billboard’s Top Country Chart.

According to Wikipedia, “Eddy had 147 songs on the Billboard Magazine music charts, second only to George Jones. Though Jones had more individual hits,
one authoritative study ranks Arnold as the all-time leader for hits and their time on the charts. Arnold sold more than 85 million records from 1943 to his death in 2008”.

In this album, Eddy crooned the songs in pop style rather than belted them out in country fashion. The song I like most in this LP is “Cattle Call”. This is my second LP that contains my favorite song, “Cattle Call”.

Song List:

Side 1 – Bouquet of Roses, Make the World Go Away, Here Comes Heaven, Somebody Like Me, Anytime, Lonely Again, But For Love

Side 2 – Turn the World Around, Cattle Call, The Tip of My Fingers, Here Comes My Baby, I Want to Go With You, I’ll Hold You in My Heart

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ernest Tubb - Honky Tonk Classics

Ernest Tubb (1914-1984) was a pioneer of country music. His musical career spanned all the way from his first radio appearance in 1933 to his death in 1984. It was a whopping 50+ years of singing, recording and performing on the roads. Ernest Tubb wrote over 150 songs himself and sold over 20 million records.

I love Ernest Tubb’s distinctively twangy and nasal singing style very much. Although I own only 1 LP of Ernest Tubb, I have searched Youtube and found quite a number of Ernest Tubb‘s song and downloaded them for my own listening pleasure.

Ernest Tubb’s biggest hit song is "Walking The Floor Over You". His other hit songs include "Tomorrow Never Comes", "Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello", "Slippin' Around" and "Two Glasses Joe".

You can watch the video clip of Walking The Floor Over You to hear the legendary Ernest Tubb yourself at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCFVR7cPbbA

Song List:

Side 1- Blue Eyed Elaine, I Ain’t Going Honking Tonkin’ Anymore, Try Me One More Time, You Nearly Lose Your Mind, Answer To Walking The Floor Over You, There’s Gonna Be Some Changes Made Around Here

Side 2 – Filipino Baby, That Wild And Wicked Look In Your Eye, Letters Have No Arms, You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry, I Need Attention Bad, Jealous Loving Heart

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Miyoshi Umeki - Miyoshi Sings For Arthur Godfrey


This album was released in 1956.
The note at the back of this album mentioned that "Godfrey first introduced Miyoshi to American audiences on his CBS-TV show "Talent Scout" at the beginning of 1956... Miyoshi astonished both the famous red-head (Godfrey) and his audience by singing a sultry version of "How Deep Is The Ocean" in perfect English, enhanced by the merest trace of an exotic accent" It was definitely a stunning debut for Miyoshi.
In this album, Miyoshi sang the songs in English/Japanese. Although I like many the songs in this album, I would like to single out "If I Give My Heart To You", "China Nights" and "Hanna Ko San" as 3 songs that I like most.
Song List:
Side 1 - If I Give My Heart To You, China Nights, I'm In The Mood For Love, My Baby's Coming Home, How Deep Is The Ocean, Slowly Go Out Of Your Mind
Side 2 - Teach Me Tonight, Hanna Ko San, Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man, S'Wonderful, Over The Rainbow, Sayonara

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pat Boone - Moonglow

I was working in Singapore during the late 80s. For about 1 year during that period, I had to go to Orchard Road twice a week to attend a part-time course. Although I have forgotten about the venue of my class, I still remember that after the end of the class at 10pm, I had to walk past an open-air beer garden (on the same row as Centre Point but a few lots away??) that had live band performances.
Since I loved listening to music but did not have much S$ in my pocket, I normally stopped at the walk way for a while to get a free dose of music. On quite a number of occasions, I knew that I was in for a treat when the guitarist started a new number by strumming then plucking his guitar followed by the lead vocalist's narration, "It was a moonlit night in old Mexico...". That's how I got to know about Pat Boone and the song, Speedy Gonzales.
This Pat Boone's album, Moonglow, does not contain Speedy Gonzales. However, the 12 songs in this album reflects the typical healthy, wholesome and very easy going styles of Pat Boone.
Song List:
Side 1 - Moonglow, San Antonio Rose, Hands Across The Table, You Always Hurt The One You Love, The Very Thought Of You, Girl Of My Dreams
Side 2 - Again, Who's Sorry Now, We Love But Once, It's a Sin To Tell a Lie, Imagination, Unchained Melody

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Song - Cold Cold Heart

Lyrics by Hank Williams

I tried so hard my dear to show that you’re my every dream

Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme
A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue
And so my heart is paying now for things I didn’t do
In anger unkind words are said that make the teardrops start
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

You’ll never know how much it hurts to see you sit and cry
You know you need and want my love yet you’re afraid to try
Why do you run and hide from lies, to try it just ain’t smart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me
But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory
The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart
Why cant I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

* * *

Cold Cold Heart was written and sung by Hank Williams in 1951.

Wikipedia aptly describes that “the song achingly and artfully describes frustration that the singer's love and trust is unreciprocated due to a prior bad experience in the other's past”.

With Hank Williams’ slightly coarse voice, I can’t find any singers who can sing this song better than him. Every time I listened to this song by Hank Williams, my heart felt the pain and frustration of the Hank too.

Here’s a link to Hank Williams’ Cold Cold Heart in YouTube,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUuzrB_TGyk

Sunday, July 26, 2009

KL Internation AV Show 2009

Kuala Lumpur Internation AV Show 2009 was held from 24/7 to 26/7 at JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
I spent about 4 hours at the show this year. There were quite a number of top end audio names at the show. Here are some pictures taken at the show:
The crowd at one of the big rooms

Sales, sales, sales

Impressive lineup

My favourite loudspeakers

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hank Williams - Greatest Hits

Hank Williams lived a very short life, from 1923 to 1953. However, many of his songs such as Your Cheating Heart, Jambalaya, Cold Cold Heart and many more became classics. Together with Jimmie Rodgers and Fred Rose, they became the first of the 3 inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Hank Williams is a legend.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Emmylou Harris - Roses in the Snow

In 1979, I was a student in Sekolah Menengah Ibrahim, Sungai Petani, Kedah. In that year, my school held a school concert. A stage was even built for students to perform. I remember that they were quite a number of students who went up to the stage to perform. However, there was a band that was made up of 3 student guitarists who performed the song "Boxer". Their performance left a lasting impression upon me until today. I could still remember 1 of the students was Ong Chee Keong.
I found and bought a cassette that contained this song performed by Simon and Garfunkel soon after the concert. 2 years later I went on to study in Singapore. One day, I found another cassette that contained this song. However, the singer was Emmylou Harris. That was the first time I came to know about Emmylou Harris. I bought the cassette.

When I started to collect LPs, I found this LP and bought it in August 2006.
As Emmylou Harris is a guitarist, guitar becomes the most popular musical instrument in many of her songs. Coupled with the crystal clear voice of Emmylou Harris, the songs in the albums are all very very country-oriented. The songs I like most are "The Boxer" and "I'll Go Stepping Too".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

望春风

I love Melaka food, particularly Tian Chee's mother in-law's superb nyonya food. I love the old charm of Melaka building architectures. I also love Jonker Street.
During one of my many trips to Melaka, I went to a second hand LP shop at Jonker Street to look for LPs. When I reached the shop, there was no other customers and the shop owner was sipping Chinese tea relaxingly with his 3 friends.
After I flipped through the stacks of records. I finally selected just 1 EP titled "Staring at the spring breeze (望春风). All the songs in this EP are sung in "Hokkien", a Chinese dialect. When I handed the LP to the shop owner for quotation, he became so excited and took this EP to his friends. He explained in such excitement to his friends and me about how did he first listened to this song and how good could he sing the song.
He quickly offered me a cup of Chinese tea and started his rendition of 望春风. Wow, he could really sing well! His friends and I clapped along as he was singing. At the end his grand performance, he offered me this EP for free. Anyway, I put some money on his table, thanked him and bade goodbye to him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

John Denver - Back Home Again

I enjoy listening to music. When I listen to good music, I listen with my heart and soul. It's like I have been elevated to a different place, time or even dimension. It's like a kind of meditation. John Denver's Back Home Again is a song that can give me that kind of feeling.
The album cover depicts John Denver and a woman, presumably his wife. In back-cover is a gem i design. It shows John Denver with a group of men and women, all dressed casually in country-style clothing. Very warm and homely.

This album of John Denver revolves around home and family too. I like the song Back Home Again very much. This song is about a truck driver who is driving under a very cold and rough weather. Although he is yet to reach home after 10 days on the road, his longing mind has already raced back to his farm and his home to his loving wife, softly burning fire place, hot supper. Oh, my heart resonates with every word of the song!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wilf Carter - 40th Anniversary Special

After I bought my LP player, I spent a lot of time listening to my small collection of LPs. Of my collection of LPs, I found that I loved Slim Whitman's yodeling songs very much. So I started to turn to Internet to find out more about yodeling. After weeks of research, I noted down names of yodelers in my diary. Wilf Carter was one of the yodeler I got to know from Internet.
I found Wilf Carter - 40th Anniversary Special in Nov 2006. I felt elated because I thought I would never be able to get any yodeling albums besides Slim Whitman.
The above pictures were extracted from a piece of note found inside the album.
Wilf Carter was a born in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1904 and passed away in 1996. He was a true blue cowboy. In fact he worked as a cowboy during his youth.
In this doubled LP album, Wilf yodels in many songs. The songs that impressed me most is "Yellow Rose of Texas" and "My Nova Scotia Home".
For those of you who want to have a taste of yodeling. Here's a link to Youtube's Wilf Carter's "Yellow Rose of Texas", http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnu6ui_8nI0

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pro-ject Xpression II

When I bought my first LP in June 2006, I did not even own a LP player. However, that handicap did not dampen my desire to acquire more LPs. I continued to go to Amcorp Mall at Petaling Jaya, Selangor, to buy more LPs on every subsequent Sundays.
Besides buying LPs, I also went all over the places to audition on LP players. I finally made up my mind to buy a LP player in August 2006. The LP player, Pro-ject Xpression II, is made in Prague, Czech Republic.
The player is solidly built. The sound quality is also among the best that I could find at the price point that I paid. Anyway, I have no regret of having this player as it has been providing me with so much enjoyment from countless hours of music listening.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

蔡琴 - 遇见

I am a big fan of CaiQin. I am also a loyal fan of CaiQin. I have been listening to CaiQin since early 80s. I still can't get enough of listening to her.
CaiQin started her career as a folk song singer who performed in folk song pubs in Taiwan. She possesses a natural and magnetically rich vocals. I am totally swept off my feet whenever I hear her sings. When I saw this album displayed at a music shop, I just could help but to fork out almost RM200 to take possess of this album.
Chris Barbida arranges all the songs in this album. As usual, CaiQin belts out song after song effortlessly.
I would like to highlight song number 2 on side B - Leave Your Worries Behind ( 张三的歌) in this album. Whenever I was driving with my wife and kids in the car. If this song was played, all of us would sing along. At the end of the song, one of the kids would call out, "Daddy, please replay the song", then we would start singing the song all over again.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Skeeter Davis - Here's The Answer

In my previous post, I mentioned about a CD that I played very often in my granduncle's house during my 2-year stay in Penang.
Well, this is the album - Skeeter Davis' Here's the Answer.
In fact this is a very unique/one-of-a-kind LP. This album contains 6 songs made famous by RCA artists Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Ray Peterson, Don Gibson, Floyd Cramer and Hank Locklin. After each song is sung by the male artist, there comes the reply (by a song with the same tune but different lyrics) by Skeeter Davis.
The titles of the songs are also very interesting:
Side A
He'll have to go (Jim Reeves)
He'll have to stay (Skeeter Davis)
Last date (Floyd Cramer)
My last date (with you) (Skeeter Davis)
Tell Laura I love her (Ray Peterson)
Tell Tommy I miss him (Skeeter Davis)
Side B
Please help me, I'm falling (Hank Locklin)
(I can't help you) I'm falling too (Skeeter Davis)
I really don't want to know (Eddy Arnold)
I really want you to know (Skeeter Davis)
Just one time (Don Gibson)
I want to see you too (Skeeter Davis)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jim Reeves - Distant Drums

I first listened to Jim Reeves in 1980.
I was studying in Penang then. As my house was in Sungai Petani, I had to stay in my granduncle's house in Air Itam during the weekdays.
My granduncle was very kind to me. He treated me like a grown-up and imposed no restrictions to me at all. So I could watch TV or listen to cassette tapes whenever I liked. My uncle had a good collection of cassette tapes. I particularly liked a tape which contained a song "He'll have to go" sung by Jim Reeves followed by another song "He'll have to stay" sung by Skeeter Davis.
Wikipedia describes that "Jim Reeves is a crooner because of his warm, velvety voice. His songs were remarkable for their simple elegance highlighted by his rich right baritone". What an apt description.
When I started to collect LPs, I also started to look for Jim Reeves' album. "Distant Drums" is the first Jim Reeves album collected by me. I bought it in July 2006.
At the height of his singing career, Jim Reeves was killed in a small aircraft crash in July 31, 1964. Cindy Walker, the author of "Distant Drums" wrote this at the back of the album cover:
"The words sound almost mystically prophetic as sung by the late Jim Reeves-
'I hear the sound of distant drums
Far away, far away.
And if they call for me to come,
then I must go and you must stay'"