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 ‘Greatest Hits‘ (Curb Records, 1990) by Craig Baguley was published in the February 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)
‘Between 1975 and 1984, Gene Watson’s pure brand of honky tonk balladry enjoyed immense success on the country charts via the Capitol and MCA labels.
Then, despite a Top 5 entry in 1985 with his debut single on Epic, ‘Memories To Burn’, the Texan’s career went into a dive.
The country music world ignored him and Watson admits he gave serious thought to quitting the game for good.
In 1988, Lib Hatcher (of Randy Travis fame) appeared on the scene like a guardian angel and took Watson under her wing, gaining him a new record deal with Warner Brothers. Alas, that relationship has now soured with the news that each has issued a suit against the other over management fees.
Although he has a new album out on WB, I hope his problems with Hatcher don’t hang a question mark over his label contract.
Gene Watson, by an accident of birth, just happens to be one of the greatest exponents of honky tonk this li’l ol’ world has ever seen and those in power should be thoroughly ashamed of having allowed the artist to slip from grace these past few years.
This compilation of hits includes some of Watson’s greatest recordings. No-one can question the classic status of the lengthy ‘Farewell Party’, or the erotic duo of ‘Love In The Hot Afternoon’ and ‘Where Love Begins’ (the line ‘c’mere, let me take down your hair’ always floors me), while on the plaintive and tenderly-delivered ‘I Don’t Need A Thing At All’, the singer raises country vocalising to the level of high art. And that standard hardly falters throughout this formidable set.
I always remember the first time I saw Watson live. It was at Nashville’s Exit Inn in the mid 70s and, resplendent in a sparkling green Nudie creation, the man put on a killer show that I’ve never forgotten.
I hope for my sake and for all true country music fans that Gene Watson can regain the status that is deservedly his’.
Country Music People
March February 1991