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 & Rhonda Vincent‘s ‘Your Money & My Good Looks‘ (Upper Management Music, 2011), as published in the July 2011 issue of Country Music People.
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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 Gene Watson & Rhonda Vincent‘s ‘Your Money & My Good Looks‘ (Upper Management Music, 2011) by Jon Philibert was published in the July 2011 issue of Country Music People, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publishers.
Album Review by Jon Philibert
(***** out of 5)
‘There is fantastic news for anyone with withdrawal symptoms from not getting their fix of classic hardcore country duet music. Apart from ‘event’ tracks, there seems to be less and less duets in our music than there used to be.
However, a new album from that superb neo-traditionalist – and long-time favourite of this magazine – Gene Watson, together with ‘The All American Bluegrass Girl’, multi-instrumentalist Rhonda Vincent, has just been released.
‘Your Money & My Good Looks‘ echoes all those terrific albums by pairings so good one only need mention first names, Conway Twitty (Friday 1 September 1933 – Saturday 5 June 1993) & Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022), Porter Wagoner (Friday 12 August 1927 – Sunday 28 October 2007) & Dolly Parton, and George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013) & Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 – Monday 6 April 1998).
The pair initially came together for a proposed live TV portion of The Grand Ole Opry. The story has it that a plane delay forced the couple to sing without rehearsal, never even having met before. The chemistry we learn was such that a joint tour ensued with Watson and his band and Vincent and hers and that this project was a natural progression.
The resultant album couldn’t be more country if it tried. Watson and Vincent sound fabulous together, the pickers are top flight guys and the material has been intelligently screened with no really hackneyed songs nor any publishing tie-in makeweights.
It’s true that Rhonda Vincent herself has written a couple of songs here (and a reworking of a previously recorded instrumental, ‘Ashes of Mt. Augustine’), but they stand up really well with the rest of the material, Vincent proving she can write a damn fine straight country song as well as instrumental vehicles.
Indeed the opening cut and the title track, ‘Your Money & My Good Looks’, is hers and harkens back to those humorous duet country knockabouts like George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013) & Tammy Wynette‘s ‘We’re Not The Jet Set’, Porter Wagoner (Friday 12 August 1927 – Sunday 28 October 2007) & Dolly Parton‘s ‘Run That By Me One More Time’ and ‘Did You Ever’ by Charlie Louvin (Thursday 7 July 1927 – Wednesday 26 January 2011) & Melba Montgomery.
Rhonda Vincent‘s other song contribution, ‘Making Everything Perfect Tonight’, is a little more up and is a rueful look at a long term marriage that has survived despite the odds, a situation that is also examined in the rock hard shuffle ‘It Ain’t Nothin’ New’, an item first cut by Vincent in duet with Randy Travis on her 1996 album ‘Trouble Free’ (Giant Records, 1996).
Perhaps the most recorded song in the collection is Hank Williams’ ‘My Sweet Love Ain’t Around’. At over five minutes, it is easily the longest track on the album and with its echoey and yearning vocals, there is a particularly haunted atmosphere to it.
Others songs that have seen action before include a redo of Gary Stewart’s stark cheater ‘Out of Hand’…‘you’re my kind of woman, I’m your kind of man’ (interestingly penned by two writers not normally associated with country music, Brill Building stalwart Jeff Barry and folkie Tom Jans), and Nat Stuckey’s mischievous and irrepressible ‘Sweet Thang’ divvied up a-la the Ernest Tubb (Monday 9 February 1914 – Thursday 6 September 1984) & Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022) single from 1967 with Watson and Vincent taking the verse and chorus respectively.
Also on the lighter side is a Billy Yates / Ashley Monroe / Terry Clayton three-way, the buoyant ‘Alone Together Tonight’, about a barroom encounter consisting of some snappy couplets and which develops somewhat inevitably yet satisfyingly effectively.
Harder edged fare comes with the deeply melancholy ‘Till The End’ and the longing ballad ‘This Wanting You’ with both singers excelling, on songs previously cut respectively by Vern Gosdin (Sunday 5 August 1934 – Tuesday 28 April 2009) and George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013), two singers whose repertoire you need to be massively brave to tackle.
However, Watson and Vincent are supremely successful in bringing the songs off with soul, style and panache.
The album ends with the whirlwind instrumental ‘Ashes of Mt. Augustine’, a nice little bonus allowing the musicians to stretch out like mad – and, boy, do they.
Not that you’d really need them, but there are celebrity endorsements from George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013): ‘It’s the real deal!’ and Bill Anderson: ‘It doesn’t get any better than this!’
All I can humbly add is that Jon Philibert says: ‘indispensible – buy immediately’.