Gene Watson’s ‘Best of The Best: 25 Greatest Hits’ (Fourteen Carat Music, 2012): Country Music People Review: February 2012

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.

It is here where you have an opportunity to read a review of Gene Watson’s ‘Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits‘ (Fourteen Carat Music, 2012), as published in the February 2012 issue of Country Music People.

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Covering the latest country music news, the hot new releases, as well as older classics and favourites, Country Music People is the specialist expert on country music – past, present and future.

Country Music People have long ago nailed its colours to the mast where Gene Watson is concerned.

 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.

Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits‘ (Fourteen Carat Music, 2012)
Country Music PeopleFebruary 2012

This review of Gene Watson’s ‘Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits‘ (Fourteen Carat Music, 2012) by Duncan Warwick was published in the February 2012 issue of Country Music People, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publishers.

Album Review by Duncan Warwick
CD of the Month
** out of 5)
‘There have been Gene Watson ‘Greatest Hits’ collections before: there’s an ‘18 Greatest Hits‘ (Tee Vee Records, 1999) still available, and there was a twelve tracker on Curb some years back, as well as an ‘Ultimate Collection‘ (Universal / Hip-O Records, 2001) and most likely others, but with hits that spanned four record labels, none has been truly comprehensive…until now.

For this truly ‘ultimate’ collection, aptly named ‘The Best of the Best‘ (Fourteen Carat Music, 2012), Watson has re-recorded his greatest hits and is set to release it on Valentine’s Day (the irony of which I love, when so many of the songs are of hurtin’, cheatin’ and love gone wrong).

This year also happens to be his 50th year in country music, and two things on which I will accept no argument is that Gene Watson has made some of the greatest records ever to grace the genre and has one of the finest voices of all time.

Not only that, but he sounds as good today as he ever did, and on these new recordings of his classics you’d be hard pushed to distinguish them from the originals.  The mix is a little more ‘punchy’, but Watson has gone to great lengths to recreate the sound of his 70s and 80s cuts.

Sonny Garrish reprises the steel-guitar playing he performed during the original recording sessions and even the cooing backing vocals that were so in-vogue at the time are recreated beautifully.

Watson himself says, ‘I wanted these to sound as close to the originals as could be done.  All of these songs are in the same keys.  I just thank the good Lord above that He’s let me keep my voice intact.  In fact, I can probably hit the notes better now than I could back then.  Whenever there was a question when I was re-recording these, we went back and listened to the original recording’.

I can quite understand why singers re-record their old hits (because the recordings remain the property of the record company even though the artist pays for the recording time from their royalties), and over the years, I’ve been frequently disappointed by many legendary artists, who have re-recorded their best known work, so that they own the recordings.

On the whole, they just sound ‘wrong’, kind of like those ‘Top of the Pops’ LPs that were around in my childhood and, as a general rule of thumb, experience has suggested that it is always better to go for the ‘original recordings’, but, like I said, that was until now.

It is difficult to pick out highlights, every one of these 25 tracks is an essential part of country music history, and each performance is perfect.

If you’ve never heard Gene Watson, you are missing out on a master class in how to make a perfect country record, how to pick a great country song, just how it ought to be delivered, and should put this album at the top of your shopping list.

Just listen to ‘Fourteen Carat Mind’, ‘One Sided Conversation’, ‘Farewell Party’, ‘I Don’t Need A Thing At All’ or ‘Should I Come Home’, which have been such a huge influence on the likes of George Strait and Alan Jackson, as well as newer artists like Joe Nichols.

Even if you’ve been a Gene Watson fan for years, I think you’ll find this release equally essential’.

Duncan Warwick
Country Music People
February 2012