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 ‘My Heroes Have Always Been Country‘ (Fourteen Carat Music, 2014), as published in the June 2014 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’s ‘My Heroes Have Always Been Country‘ (Fourteen Carat Music, 2014) by Duncan Warwick was published in the June 2014 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)
‘A tribute to your influences is not the newest idea for an album, but that’s what Gene Watson has done for his latest release. Of course, it helps that Watson is one of the finest singers ever to wrap his tonsils around a country song, and the title says it all.
Gene Watson appreciates a good country song better than just about anybody, and it shows here.
Many of the songs will be familiar to country fans of a certain age, but even if you have these songs many times over, I’d suggest you still need this CD, for you won’t have heard them done any better, and even the way over-recorded ‘Long Black Veil’, benefits from a Watson treatment.
I think where Gene Watson has really scored in recent years is that, despite being unable to secure mainstream country radio play and not being on a major label, he hasn’t compromised the quality of recording, production, or musicianship he was used to in his hit-making days. This sets his recordings head and shoulders above many ‘heritage’ acts that sometimes scrimp on such details.
I loved the arrangement on the George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013) monster ‘Walk Through This World with Me’, and I’ll never tire of hearing Paycheck’s ‘Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets’, but possibly the least known song here is Merle Haggard‘s ‘I Forget You Every Day’. A great song to begin with, here Watson turns it into a stone country slice of perfection.
Yes, it’s better than the Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) recording, mainly due to the wonderful arrangement, with some great steel and piano. It doesn’t hurt that Watson’s vocals are perfection either.
‘It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)’ is also a Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) song, and a chart-topping one at that, but almost unbelievably only spent one week at the top. It too is a great choice of song, as is the Marty Robbins (Saturday 26 September 1925 – Wednesday 8 December 1982) hit (No.14, 1966) ‘Count Me Out’, which Watson absolutely nails.
Some of the songs – ‘Here Comes My Baby Back Again’, and ‘Make The World Go Away’ – I am most familiar with by Ray Price (Tuesday 12 January 1926 – Monday 16 December 2013) despite having originally been hits for Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 – Wednesday 4 September 1991) and Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008) respectively, while ‘Don’t You Believe Her’, a personal favourite from the Ray Price (Tuesday 12 January 1926 – Monday 16 December 2013) catalogue, stays pretty close to the Price arrangement.
Ultimately, what all this means is that, if you like your country to be ‘real’ country, you won’t be in any way disappointed with this release, even if personally I would have preferred Watson to switch ‘Long Black Veil’ and Buck’s ‘Hello Trouble’ for something a tad less hackneyed.
However, neither detracts from what is a wonderful and classy album by a guy who is still one of the finest singers out there and someone to whom you should turn if you ever need reminding what a country record should sound like’.
Country Music People