Tag: 1960

Johnny Cash – Now There Was a Song

ARTIST: Johnny Cash                                  220px-JohnnyCashNowThereWasASong

TITLE: Now There Was a Song

YEAR RELEASED: 1960

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Seasons of My Heart (#10 Country)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I Feel Better All Over, Transfusion Blues

LINEUP: Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, Johnny Western, Don Helms, Marshall Grant, Buddy Harman, Gordon Terry, Floyd Cramer

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Johnny cuts 12 of his favorite country songs, from Hank Williams to Ernest Tubb, to George Jones, to Bob Wills

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Johnny Cash was a prolific songwriter in the early days, but he still loved to perform his favorite country songs from the era. This record showcases 12 of those, all done with Cash in fine voice and his band backing him like the pros they were.

The selections would be noticeable to country fans from the time, for the most part. There are a couple of standards (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “My Shoes Come Walking Back to You”). Cash unearths some nuggets like the George Jones B-side he took to the top 10.

He even recorded a song written by THE Kenny Rogers (“I Feel Better All Over”) (not that anyone knew who the hell Kenny Rogers was). This collection of country songs gives an insight to Cash’s taste, and as you could guess, he’s got great taste.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Transfusion Blues” is actually the infamous “Cocaine Blues”, best known from the Folsom Prison shows later in the decade. Even though there had been many versions of this known by the proper title, Cash and company decided to change it for this record.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A: One of the best early Columbia albums for Cash.

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The Everly Brothers – It’s Everly Time

ARTIST: The Everly Brothers                                 Itseverlytime

TITLE: It’s Everly Time

YEAR RELEASED: 1960

CHART ACTION: #9 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: So sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) (#7 US, #4 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not now, no.

LINEUP: Don Everly, Phil Everly, Chet Atkins, Sugarfoot Garland, James Clayton, Floyd Chance, Floyd Cramer, Buddy Harman

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First set for Warner Brothers by the Everly Brothers is a bit more polished than their Cadence Records, but still has the same feel as their 50’s work.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While there was only one hit single on this album (released to fight off some singles from their old company), this 12-song set from the Everly Brothers is every bit as quality as their older material.

The close harmonies, the spare-ish production, and the heartfelt feel of the songs are all there. The brothers show their penchant for love songs, happy and sad, but also faster numbers like “Just In Case”. Warner’s could have presented most of these songs as singles and made bank.

It’s only 27 minutes long, but well worth the effort to stream or buy.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their old record company had released a hits package in 1959, and then another record of older material right when this was coming out.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A: A hidden gem in the Everly Brothers’ catalog.

Johnny Cash – Ride This Train

ARTIST: Johnny Cash             220px-johnnycashridethistrain

TITLE:  Ride This Train

YEAR RELEASED: 1960

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Going to Memphis

LINEUP: Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, Johnny Western, Shot Jackson, Marshall Grant, Gordon Terry, Floyd Cramer, Buddy Harman

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A concept album about a train trip through rural America, with each song prefaced by an anecdote recited by Cash.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Johnny Cash was one of the first artists to realize that albums and singles were totally different mediums, and that albums could be constructed with a theme and concept. So, many of his 60’s albums didn’t have singles, but revolved around a concept.

This is about a train ride through the US, and each of the eight songs is prefaced with a story by Cash. He tells these in the first person, but it’s obvious these are just tall tales (or at least didn’t happen to Cash himself).

The songs and performances are first rate, but the tales get in the way at times, and one wishes they were separated in the tracks.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: There is obviously another performer in “Going to Memphis” but he is uncredited.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few bonus tracks about the West.

GRADE: B-:  Sometimes the anecdotes are endearing, but they get in the way of some good music at times.

 

Johnny Cash – Sings Hank Williams

ARTIST: Johnny Cash        220px-JCSingsHankWilliams

TITLE:  Sings Hank Williams

YEAR RELEASED: 1960

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: No original ones

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Several, thanks to recycling by Sun Records.

LINEUP: Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, Marhsall Grant, session singers

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A Sun Records project, made up of previously released songs and others left ‘in the can’.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: By this time, Sun Records was trying their best to still make themselves a player in the Johnny Cash market, but the company only had so many cuts to work with. So, they tried their best, and released this album capitalizing on his fame.

First, only four songs were written by Hank Williams, despite the title. Second, many of these songs had been released on album already. Third, the material isn’t sequenced well.

The appearance of the brilliant “Mean Eyed Cat” and “Give My Love to Rose” pretty much saves the album from the refuse bin. There are two big hits here, but they were released on earlier, better albums.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The recordings spanned a three year period from 1955 through 1958.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Five extra cuts – and two more written by Williams in there.

GRADE: C-: It’s sloppy work by Sun.

BB King – The Great BB King

ARTIST: BB King                  MI0000496046

TITLE:  The Great BB King

YEAR RELEASED: 1960

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Sweet Sixteen (#2 R&B), Sneaking Around (#14 R&B), Ten Long Years (#9 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Whole Lotta Love

LINEUP: BB King and his sidemen and orchestra.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A record company production of various singles, B-sides and tracks recorded over a three or so year period of time. Don’t let that fool ya.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s not as if BB King came into the studio with cutting albums on his mind. He recorded sides, tracks, masters, whatever you wanna call ‘em, and poured what he had in every take. Some were hits, and when there was a good quantity around his record company packaged a few together and called it an album.

Sometimes the records are minor, and sometimes, like this one, are packed with great tracks. Starting off with “Sweet Sixteen”, a huge R&B hit (and not the Chuck Berry song), these 10 tracks are classic King. There’s a horn section, but it’s not as obtrusive as on some cuts (it’s prominent on “Sneakin’ Around” though, and King’s voice is sweeter than normal.

What does stand out is King’s work with his guitar. On these cuts, his playing shines. There are some interesting twists, like “Someday Somewhere” with vibes being put forward along with guitar and horn section, adding a kind of spooky touch.

King’s good nature also shines. You can tell he’s having a great time in the studio with his band, his songs and his guitar.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was an album of spirituals that I skipped.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few unreleased cuts and a couple of minor singles..

GRADE: A-: Yeah, the blues. One of the BB King records that casual fans should have.