May 19, 2007
Straight From the Heart
Album Review by Paul W. Dennis
Daryle Singletary never managed to become a megastar, mostly because he has too much soul and integrity for today’s Nashville. Simply put, Daryl is “too country”.
This album picks up where Daryl’s 2002 album That’s Why I Sing This Way left off, with one original song, the humorous “I Still Sing This Way”; one cover of a recent song, the Larry Cordle-penned Rebecca Lynn Howard cut “Jesus and Bartenders”; and ten classic country covers sung with feeling.
The cover songs are as follows:
“The Bottle Let Me Down” – a Merle Haggard hit from 1966.
“Black Sheep” (w/John Anderson) – a #1 for John Anderson in 1983.
“Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” – a #1 for Don Williams in 1977.
“Promises” – a minor Randy Travis hit which Randy co-wrote.
“I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” (w/Ricky Skaggs) – a Buck Ownes classic from 1965.
“These Days I Barely Get By” – a top ten George Jones record.
“Miami, My Amy” – Keith Whitley’s first top twenty record from 1986.
” Lovin’ On Back Streets” – a #5 record for Mel Street in 1973. Like Daryle , Mel Street was ‘too country’, and like Daryle, he was a fine, emotive singer.
“Fifteen Years Ago” – Conway Twitty’s immediate follow up to “Hello Darlin’”, I always thought that Conway’s performance was better than the song’s rather maudlin lyric. Daryl also handles it well, although it’s still a silly song.
“We’re Gonna Hold On” (w/Rhonda Vincent)- a George & Tammy classic from 1973 that comes off very well. No surprise, really since Rhonda is a better singer than Tammy ever was, and Daryle hold up his end of the bargain.
The presence of legendary pianist Hargus “Pig Robbins” lends a strong sense of authenticity. Best of all no electronic keyboards or synthesizers, but plenty of fiddle and steel guitar – this is real country music played on real country instruments. Darren Vincent and his sister Rhonda provide vocal harmonies throughout .
I’ve heard a bunch of good albums this year and this is my favorite album so far this year, better even than the Nelson – Haggard – Price collaboration. This is not to say that Singletary is quite in their league as a singer, but his pipes are at least 30 years younger and in better shape. It’s also better than the new David Ball album of classic country songs, mainly because Daryle has a significantly better voice than David Ball (I urge readers to purchase both, but if there’s money only for one of the two, then this should be the one purchased.