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 ‘Ultimate Collection‘ (Universal / Hip-O Records, 2001) by Craig Baguley was published in the May 2002 issue of Country Music People, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publishers.
Album Review by Craig Baguley
(***** out of 5)
‘Without his signature song, ‘Farewell Party’, and the glorious ‘I Don’t Need A Thing at All’, this may not be the ultimate Gene Watson collection but, I kid you not, you will never hear better country music anywhere than on this CD.
Gene’s most recent original release, ‘From The Heart‘ (RMG Records, 2001), was one of the most welcome events of 2001, and this compilation of hits from his Capitol, MCA, Epic and Warner Bros. years is a further treat for followers of one of the finest voices to ever grace the country music scene.
‘Love In The Hot Afternoon’ was the smash that started it all for Gene Watson back in 1975. Originally released on the independent Texas label, Resco, it was re-issued on Capitol and made it to the Top 3. I had always assumed that Capitol signed Gene on the strength of ‘Afternoon’, which had become a regional hit; however, it’s implied in the accompanying booklet that ‘Bad Water’, a prior minor chart entry on Resco (not included here), was the song that attracted the major’s interest.
The interview also tells us that Gene was sceptical about recording ‘Paper Rosie’, written by Canadian Dallas Harms (Thursday 18 July 1935 – Saturday 12 October 2019), but did so at the urging of his record company, although he had to record it twice before he caught the magic that made it one of his biggest hits.
Another Canadian writer, albeit Nashville based at the time, who worked with Watson was Ray Griff (Monday 22 April 1940 – Wednesday 9 March 2016), an association that produced the impeccable ballads, ‘Where Love Begins’ and ‘Between This Time & The Next Time’.
This was in the mid ’70s when Griff (Monday 22 April 1940 – Wednesday 9 March 2016) was one of the hottest writers and performers in country music, scoring with his own recordings such as ‘If I Let Her Come In’ and ‘I Love The Way That You Love Me’. It was a loss for 16th Avenue when he relocated back to Canada.
Another loss is that of Watson from the country radio airwaves. Like other brilliantly gifted singers of a certain age, he has been sidelined in favour of youth and image. Gene Watson once said that, if he was ever forced to sing anything but country music, he’d get out of the business.
Luckily for us, Gene has never wavered and, despite some recent tough times with his health, is still delighting us with the majesty of his voice.
If you’re a Gene Watson fan, you’ll be in hog heaven.
If you’re not, buy ‘Ultimate Collection‘ (Universal / Hip-O Records, 2001) immediately and become one…’
Country Music People