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Am I That Easy Easy to Forget?

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Album Review

Faced with a career that was going nowhere fast on a treadmill of gigs, booze and oldies, Gene Vincent re-grouped in 1966 and with the help of an all-star team of Southern California studio whizzes, recorded a batch of songs that stand out as some of his best work. Challenge Records assembled some top-notch session cats like Glen Campbell, Al Casey, Jim Seals, Dash Crofts and David Gates, rounded up some good songs, and let Gene loose. The songs aren't rockabilly, though, not even a little. Instead they are solid mid-'60s fare with a folk-rock-meets-garage sound. He is in fine voice throughout, sounding tough and ready on hard rockers like "Bird Doggin'," "Ain't That Too Much" and "Words and Music," sensitive on sweet ballads like "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo," and heartbroken and blue on desperate songs like "Hurtin' for You Baby" and "Am I That Easy to Forget." He shows off his country side on a rock-solid cover of Merle Haggard's "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," gets loose and swinging on a boppy "Poor Man's Prison," and on what may be the album's best song, the chiming folk-rocker "Love Is a Bird," which sounds very much like Gene Clark. In fact at times the record sounds like (with some 12-string guitar added) the Byrds, but mostly the results are not too far from what the Everly Brothers were doing around the same time. Sadly, Vincent had even less commercial success than the Brothers as his Challenge singles sank without a trace and were never collected as an album in the States. In 1992 Charly rounded up the 12 songs Vincent recorded for Challenge on Am I That Easy to Forget?. While it is a good collection, Sundazed's Ain't That Too Much!: The Complete Challenge Sessions trumps it by having superior liner notes and a bunch of outtakes.


Born: 11 February 1935 in Norfolk, VA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Gene Vincent only had one really big hit, "Be-Bop-a-Lula," which epitomized rockabilly at its prime in 1956 with its sharp guitar breaks, spare snare drums, fluttering echo, and Vincent's breathless, sexy vocals. Yet his place as one of the great early rock & roll singers is secure, backed up by a wealth of fine smaller hits and non-hits that rate among the best rockabilly of all time. The leather-clad, limping, greasy-haired singer was also one of rock's original bad boys, lionized by romanticists...
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