Country Jukebox Jury LPs: Dailey & Vincent and Jim Lauderdale

Dailey & Vincent – Let’s Sing Some Country!

Check that exclamation mark! Produced by the great Paul Worley, Dailey & Vincent have put together a fine tribute to hillbilly music, interpreting 11 songs.

A version of Hillbilly Highway by Steve Earle contains some fine close harmony singing, while there’s some jubilant organ on You Rescued Me. There’s an appreciable stomp and some excellent vocal throws on Those Memories Of You, and a fine key change on Dig A Little Deeper in the Well. Feels Like That Again has both a euphoric melody and a basso profundo anchoring the song.

Vince Gill, whose status as a living country legend will grow with every passing year, provides three tunes for the project: Colder Than Winter (‘every time the sun sets I shed another tear’), If I Die A Drinkin’ and Young Man’s Town, a mournful ballad about Nashville. As for Message From The Farm, where ‘pigs won’t even wallow in the mud’ because the lady of the house is absent, it is a delight to hear a proper song about rural matters that doesn’t involve perfunctory references to getting up at dawn to plough the fields with a tractor.

I hope there’s an audience for this, and I hope the pair show up for Country2Country next year.

Jim Lauderdale – Game Changer

You know how someone like Daniel O’Donnell or Tom Jones keeps cranking out albums that their fanbase will always hear? Jim Lauderdale is like the country version of that. His tunes have been recorded by George Strait, Elvis Costello and Patty Loveless, and like Willie Nelson (a far better analogy but I’ll keep the lede as it is!!), he puts out an album a year, mostly on his Sky Crunch label.

Over 12 ditties, Jim reminds us of his talent for great country music. The songs are served well by his unadorned vocal style that makes him more a songwriter than a singer. Friends Again, with a gorgeous antiphonal riff in the chorus, sounds like it could have been recorded in 1962. Ditto Wishbone (great title), with fiddle and pedal steel underscoring Jim’s melancholy.

There’s romance in the grooves, as on Keep It Real, Game Changer (‘I’ve been waiting all my life for you!’) and Lightning Love (‘history and electricity was in the making). You’re Hoggin’ My Mind (great title) is a more uptempo tune saying much the same thing, while Let’s Make Some Memories seems to have a ukulele as a dominant instrument in an old-fashioned arrangement.

Our Happy Hour sees Jim ‘get drunk on you way too fast’, and the music shifts time signatures and tempos in a similarly hiccupping manner. With its themes of universal brotherhood, we’re All We’ve Got comes off like a Willie Nelson song. Ditto closing track I’ll Keep My Heart Open for You (‘I won’t ever lock the door’), which is a delightful ballad in the tradition of the genre Jim has made his life working in. Not a quaver is out of place on another fine collection.

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