Country Music People December 2018 - Page 57

W Words: Kelly Gregory hen it comes to classic Connie Smith records it’s usually Once A Day, Tiny Blue Transistor Radio, and Then And Only Then that come to mind. The early years. The Bill Anderson songs. The cute young singer of Cute’n’Country or the Miss Smith who went to Nashville to plunder the titles of two of her earlier albums. Basically, the RCA years. Her recordings from the 70s, when she moved across to Columbia Records (and later Monument), are all too often overlooked, but that has now been corrected with a new compilation of Smith’s later material on My Part Of Forever: The Ultimate Collection 1972-2018. Teasingly titled ‘Volume One’, it includes 50 tracks from the period across two CDs with the first concentrating exclusively on the 1970s. All the songs were personally chosen by Connie and hubby Marty Stuart. With a couple of box sets, 34 studio albums, collections, and 48 charting singles behind her, Connie admits to still getting excited by a new release. “I do, and especially this one because it’s got a mixture of stuff and most of it has never been out on CD. But it’s a mixture of several albums and some of it the folks may not have heard.” Choosing the tracks was not hard insists Smith. “For one thing, Marty is so great to work with and he and I... We’ve worked together for a long time now, and he knows my heart and I know his, so we kind of think alike in these areas. So we would talk back and forth and Marty worked so hard in helping me do this so it was…He gets the credit.” The tricky bit, she says, was deciding what not to include. “We’d say, ‘Okay, now we’ve got too many. What do we have to delete?’ And that was the hard part.” Talking to Connie Smith, the love that she and Marty share constantly shows. They obviously dote on one another, but it’s hard to imagine them at home listening to one another’s records with headphones on, let alone listening to their own records, albeit for research purposes. Connie laughs at the suggestion. “No, but actually I needed to [listen to my own records]. It was good for me. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the music and the memories that come back when you record them and things that happened and musicians that were on the record and all that stuff. So no, it was really a really great experience for me and I really value Marty’s opinion so we had a good time. It was great. “I enjoyed it because it had been so long. Some of the songs I had forgotten. If he told me the title I didn’t ever remember recording a song with that title because I’ve got like what 53 albums, something like that. So it was great, I really enjoyed it and I’m so thankful to be able to do it and to present it to the people on CD. My kids are all excited about getting it all on CD.” Safe ground when it comes to choosing music in the Stuart household is apparently Merle Haggard. “When I want him to play something it’s, ‘Oh, we don’t need to hear that’ or he’ll want to play something of mine and I’ll say, ‘Oh, let’s play Merle Haggard’.” In the liner notes of the new collection, Alan Cackett suggests that it’s unfair of fans and critics to compare Smith’s Columbia recordings with her later RCA recordings. “Yes,” she agrees. “Every time you change producers or companies it’s a different thing because they all go by their own set of standards and their set of rules and how they operate. Of course from day one they really wanted me to go more modern and more what they called ‘middle of the road’ back then, and I always thought it was because I’m such a hillbilly and liked being a hillbilly. I love country music. Just pure old country music, and I love any good music, but my heart races when I hear George Jones or Merle Haggard or Ray Price or Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline or Kitty Wells or Tammy Wynette. Those are the ones that… Of course everybody knows that Loretta Lynn is my favourite girl singer and George was my favourite male singer, although it’s hard to differentiate between he and Merle because they were both equally as great in their own way.” • • • • • • • • Stats Real name: Constance June Meador Chart debut 1964, Once A Day, written by Bill Anderson, spent 8 weeks at number one and was the first debut single by a female country artist to reach number one Joined the Opry in 1965 Inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2012 Married Marty Stuart in 1997 48 charted singles on the Hot Country Singles chart Spent 377 weeks on the album chart Nominated for 11 Grammys DECEMBER 2018 - cmp 57