Gene Watson has been singing professionally since the late 1950s and has been a country music album recording artist since the late 1960s.
Gene Watson’s contribution to the country music genre is immeasurable.
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Country Music People have long ago nailed its colours to the mast where Gene Watson is concerned.
CMP has rigorously championed Gene Watson’s cause down through the years and have published a number of reviews of his album releases.
All reviews have been reproduced with the kind permission of Country Music People.
This review of ‘At Last‘ (Warner Bros. Records, 1991) by Craig Baguley was published in the April 1991 issue of Country Music People, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publishers.
Album Review by Craig Baguley
(** out of 5)
‘A new album from one of the greatest honky tonk singers in the world, a voice so pure and soulful that one wonders what it takes to get Gene Watson back up there where he belongs.
If veteran Vern Gosdin (Sunday 5 August 1934 – Tuesday 28 April 2009) can re-launch his career against a backdrop of stetson hats and pretty boy faces, why not Gene?
Watson’s last album, ‘Back in the Fire‘ (Warner Bros. Records, 1988), was a fine piece of work that failed to ignite and I certainly don’t see this release helping any – there’s a lack of heavyweight songwriters and the material is much weaker than on that last outing.
There’s just nothing in this set that makes one sit up in awe and say ‘Jeez, what a song’. There’s no ‘Chiseled in Stone’, no ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’, no ‘Where Love Begins’, nothing, apart from that perfect, passionate voice, to raise this album above the mundane.
And the inclusion of the pop ballad standard, ‘At Last’, seems cock-eyed. Although Gene sings the heart out of it, it’s more suited to Jack Jones than a true blue country boy.
There are just too many good songwriters in Nashville for the need to revert to this, unless it was a tryout for a new direction in Watson’s recordings. Or maybe Gene can’t get the monster songs because he’s not hot enough and Music City songwriters are nothing if not royalty-minded.
That’s not to say there isn’t some pleasant listening here. The ballads ‘A Gifted Hand’ and ‘Only Yesterday’ are quite appealing, while the fast-paced ‘You Can’t Take It With You When You Go’ has a walloping backing track. ‘You Can’t Get Arrested In Nashville’ is probably a little too close to Gene, telling of an old country music star who can’t get a record deal any more.
A rethink and an appeal to writers like Buddy Cannon, Max D. Barnes (Friday 24 July 1936 – Sunday 11 January 2004) and Troy Seals is urgently required’.
Country Music People
March February 1991