Country Music People December 2018 - Page 47

classics, reissues and compilations THE MAVERICKS Hey! Merry Christmas HANK COCHRAN Sally Was A Good Old Girl   Christmas Time Is (Coming ‘Round Again) / Santa Does / I Have Wanted You For Christmas / Christmas For Me (Is You) / Santa Wants To Take You For A Ride / It’s Christmas Without You / Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) / Hey! Merry Christmas! / One More Christmas / Happy Holiday Producer: Raul Malo Mono Mundo Recordings 31:26 I don’t think I’ve heard so many sleigh bells on a Christmas record since Wizzard. They are relentless on this festive offering from the one and only Mavericks but then I’m not sure I’ve enjoyed a Christmas record quite so much since 1975 either. Writing a Christmas classic is one of the most lucrative things any songwriter can ever do which makes me wonder why so many artists who turn to the songs of the season cut Silent bloody Night again. Thankfully, The Mavericks keep it mostly original, and very ‘Mavericksy’ on Hey! Merry Christmas. Even the title reflects the in-your-face and ever so slightly over-the-top presentation here. Lead singer and frontman Raul Malo shows his appreciation of the classics with his own vintage sounding original Christmas For Me (Is You). He probably could’ve pitched it to Dean Martin if he was still around. Most of the album is upbeat, goodtime, and party, all qualities that this band can deliver better than anybody. The ‘naughty’ Santa Wants To Take You For A Ride has a wonderful bass-line, a great middle-eight, and a punchy sax. It’s terrific. The album opens in fine style with the rollicking Christmas Time Is (Coming Round Again) and apart from the occasional change in tempo never lets up. It’s Christmas Without You sounds as if I’ve heard it every year for as long as I can remember yet completely fresh, and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) I actually have heard every Christmas for my entire life sounds equally fresh. This is the festive album I’ll be playing most this year and for many to come. The Mavericks may have made the definitive Christmas album, at least since Darlene Love and Phil Spector. Move over Mariah Carey, step aside Michael Bublé, I think the Mavericks have claimed the holiday season. Duncan Warwick Half of the Time / Everyone’s Laughin’ / Goofin’ Around (3 takes) /Left Out (2 takes) / Don’t Apologise / I’d Fight The World (2 takes) / A Little Bitty Tear / The Picture Behind The Picture / Sally Was A Good Old Girl / Lonely Little Mansion / Has Anybody Seen Me Lately / I Don’t Care Why (2 takes) / Funny Way Of Laughing / He’s Got You / Go On Home / You’re Stronger Than Me / I Remember / It’s Lonesome / Yesterday’s Memories / Just For The Record / A Good Country Song / Somewhere In My Dreams / Same Old Hurt / If She Could See Me Now / When You Gotta Go (You Gotta Go) / Lucy, Let Your Lovelight Shine / Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge / Private John Q Producer: Fred Foster, Joe Allison, Tommy Allsup and others Bear Family Records 1:19:14 Hank Cochran first recorded as part of a duo in Hollywood with Eddie Cochran, but he moved to Nashville in 1959 and quickly established himself as a ‘go to’ songwriter, often working with his bar buddy, Harlan Howard. I hesitate to say that this collection features his demo recordings of big hits like A Little Bitty Tear and Funny Way Of Laughin’ as they were recorded after Burl Ives had taken them into the charts. It seems likely that Liberty were going to issue an album of his songwriting successes and then changed their mind. Around the same time, Liberty recorded And Then I Wrote with Willie Nelson so they could have been considering a series. This collection includes three songs that Hank had in the US country Top 30 in his own right – Sally Was A Good Old Girl, I’d Fight The World and A Good Old Country Song. The first two songs are well known but the third is dated, quirky and funny: Hank is hearing the mashed potato and the twist on his radio and all he wants is a good old country song. Willie Nelson wrote Lonely Little Mansion and I’ll bet he wrote it the day before or the day after Hello Walls and then realised that Hello Walls was the better bet. Roger Miller wrote Private John Q which was one of the few country song to be written about the Cold War: it’s a neat little song but I prefer Floyd Tillman with This Cold War With You. In the comprehensive booklet – so comprehensive that it includes a biography of Eddie Cochran who is not on any of these tracks! – Hank Cochran says that the trick of country songwriting is “Make it short, make it sweet and make it rhyme.” With 33 tracks in 80 minutes, he keeps it short but I’m not sure about the rhyme. In Same Old Hurt, Hank Cochran sings, “Got a new vocabulary, Even bought a new canary, But I’ve got that same old hurt in my heart”. Spencer Leigh DECEMBER 2018 - cmp 47