Cacthing up on some new releases
Lately, the major labels have been using small promotional companies to get their new releases mentioned on audio blogs such as the Old Blue Bus and other fine blogs listed in the panel on the right side of this page. I have a few problems with this arrangement. First, it is the RIAA and its music conglomerate membership that is raising such Hell and stalking people who post and download music via the internet. Second, there is very little contemporary commercial music that I like and I would venture that the riders on the Bus have a similar taste in music, or you wouldn’t be here. Third, thanks to a cozy arrangement with the massive conglomerates that have taken control of our airwaves, only the music of the major labels gets heard on the radio in 99% of the markets in the U.S. And lastly, I make arrangements with each artist about posting their music here on the Bus. I have never been granted permission to post any music from a major label release and seeing how courtroom-happy their RIAA is, I wouldn’t even consider asking.
Recently, I have gotten a couple of emails asking why I have not posted a review of the CDs that were sent to me weeks ago. So, here goes. The following are CDs that have arrived at the Bus in the past few weeks and my thoughts on each. No mp3 files will accompany these reviews since I was not given permission to post any. Of course, if you want to hear any of these new releases, just turn on your radio and spin the dial, they are sure to be playing on every other station you come across.
Reba McEntire - Reba Duets (MCA Nashville)
Pop-country veteran, Reba McEntire has released a new CD of duets with a somewhat odd assortment of collaborators including LeAnn Rimes, Trisha Yearwood, Carole King, Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Rascal Flats, Ronnie Dunn, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Chesney, Don Henley, and Justin Timberlake. The result is what you would expect of a contemporary commercial country record with soaring strings, driving guitars and tear-jerking lyrics. There is one song on the album that sounds like a real country song (before the CMA blended country with pop to suit a wider audience) and it is the only song written by Reba (with Ronnie Dunn). “Does The Wind Still Blow In Oklahoma” is a beautiful song that harkens back to when country was ‘Country & Western’ music. With such a powerful voice, Reba would do well to return to her roots. Reba Duets is current #1 on the Billboard Country charts.
Crystal Gayle – Greatest Hits (Capitol)
The small record label, Curb Records, released a CD entitled “Crystal Galye’s All-Time Greatest Hits in 1990. Of the twelve songs included on the album, I recognized one, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. Now Capitol Records has found 25 songs to include on this new release, and yes, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” is on this one too.
Gene Watson – In A Perfect World (Shanachie Records)
Another country veteran, Gene Watson is best known for his ballads. He had a string of top 40 hits in the 1970s and early ‘80s. His music was classic ‘70s country until the folks at Capitol, then Epic and finally, Warner Brothers molded his sound to suit the more modern country sound. Now signed with Ireland’s independent Shanachie Records, Gene Watson once again has control of his music. This album of '70s style country ballads is a pleasing alternative to the other CDs reviewed here today.