‘SONGS OF JOHN D. LOUDERMILK, VOL. 1’
Canetoad International CT1-011 Playing Time: 75 minute, 41 seconds
Marvin Rainwater (‘The Pale Faced Indian’)/The Canadian Sweethearts (‘Half Breed’)/The Browns (‘Heaven Fell Last Night’, ‘Halfway to Heaven’ and ‘This Time I Would Know’)/Mark Dinning (All Of This For Sally’)/The Lennon Sisters (‘Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)’)/Bob Gallion (‘You Take The Table (And I’ll Take The Chairs)’)/David Houston (‘Loosing You Is Something New’)/The Chordettes (‘We Should Be Together’)/George Hamilton 1V (‘Tremble’)/Johnny Duncan & The Blue Grass Boys (‘Tobacco Road’)/Little Jimmy Dickens (‘Hey Ma (Hide Your Daughter)’)/The Country Gentlemen (‘The Little Grave’)/Betty McQuade (‘Midnight Bus’)/Bob Luman (‘Interstate 40’)/Skeeter Davis (‘Sunglasses’)/Chet Atkins (‘Boo Boo Stick Beat’)/Jimmy Newman (‘Grin And Beat It’, ‘Angels Cryin’ and ‘Walking Down The Road’)/Margie Bowes (‘Break My Mind’)/Arnie Derksen (‘I’d Like To Be Alone’)/Ernest Ashworth (‘Talk Back Trembling Lips’)/Ramsey Kearney (‘Google Eye’)/Jana Louise (‘Why Not’)/Norro & The Nor-Folks (‘Blink away’)/The Everly Brothers (‘It’s My Time’)/Roy Acuff Jr. (‘Blue rain (Of The Heartbreak Line)’, ‘I Wish It Were Me’ and ‘The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian’).
This is an interesting – and most enjoyable - concept in that the compilation takes 31 of the compositions from the pen of John D. Loudermilk performed by various artists. It clearly demonstrates the writing talent of Loudermilk and it is obvious from the extensive liner notes that it has been issued with his agreement and buy-in. There is a commentary from John on many of the titles but he also confesses that he was previously unaware of some of these recordings.
There is a co-incidental similarity between Loudermilk and Don Gibson in that the majority of their successful compositions were written whilst each of them was locked into an unhappy marriage. As to the music, there are some wonderful moments, none more so that the quasi rockabilly leanings from Little Jimmy Dickens on ‘Hey Ma (Hide Your Daughter)’ and the pulsating rockin’ instrumental ‘Boo Boo Stick Beat’ from Chet Atkins.
Where this set really scores is that, in numerous instances, the compilers have included a more obscure recording of a song but that does not lessen the impact of this set as they generally stand up extremely well. Take ‘Midnight Bus’ by Australian songster Betty McQuade who is better known to rockers around the world for her pulsating version of Wanda Jackson’s ‘Tongued Tied’. Originally by Billy Graves of ‘The Shag’ fame, here it is served up with ‘Endless Sleep’ overtones and was a big hit for the lady down under. All in all, a killer track, and singularly makes this release an essential purchase.
One recurring theme in certain of the songs is the nation of Cherokee Indians. Indeed, ‘Pale Faced Indian’ by Marvin Rainwater and ‘The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian’ by Roy Acuff Jr. are the same song and precede the hit recordings by Don Fardon and Paul Revere & The Raiders of this tune. This version by Acuff cooks whilst his other two inclusions, ‘Blue Train (Of The Heartbreak Line)’ and ‘I Wish It Were Me’ are good examples of sixties country rock. ‘Half Breed’, better known by the recordings from Marvin Rainwater and Bobby Wayne is served up in an equally quality version form Bob & Lucille, The Canadian Sweethearts.
Occasionally, the set goes off the boil and this is demonstrated best with ‘Sunglasses’ by Skeeter Davis which is basically teen pap. Thankfully, however, this is one of the few exceptions to the rule of good music.
As will be gathered from the artist listing, this set does focus on the country tinged recordings of Loudermilk’s compositions. We are advised that Volume 2 will concentrate on rock ‘n’ roll versions of his songs but this one will be hard to beat. Go to the web site www.canetoadrecords. for more information.
© Tony Wilkinson