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The Essential Dottie West

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Album Review

This Dottie West collection is truly overdue. Most of these tracks have been long out of print even prior to the CD revolution. The set opens with a smooth duet between crooner Jim Reeves and West on "Love Is No Excuse." It must have been difficult to decide on 20 songs for what will probably be the only release on West in this series. In addition to recording several big original hits, she left a body of excellent cover songs, such as her haunting rendition of Don Gibson's "A Legend in My Own Time," which is sadly absent here. Two upbeat but so-so Gibson duets are presented here, "There's a Story (Goin' Round)" and "Rings of Gold." Barring those couple of tracks, the song selection is flawless. Hank Cochran's slightly honky tonk "Me Today and Her Tomorrow" is featured, as is a warm duet with Jimmy "The Sausage King" Dean on "Slowly." There are three songs from what may well be West's best album, 1966's Suffer Time. Two superb B-side singles show up — the quiet "Childhood Places" and the up-tempo "Reno," which carries a storyline similar to Linda Ronstadt's "Desperado" or Judy Collins' "Someday Soon." West's stellar rendition of "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" is simple and seemingly divinely inspired. When she pays homage to her rural roots on "Country Girl" or bemoans her role of absentee mother on "Six Weeks Every Summer (Christmas Every Other Year)" it's hard to imagine West ever topping these records in substance or passion.


Born: 11 October 1932 in McMinnville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Dottie West was one of the most successful, and controversial, performers to rise to popularity during the Nashville sound era; like her friend and mentor Patsy Cline, West's battles for identity and respect within the male-dominated country music hierarchy were instrumental in enabling other female artists to gain control over the directions of their careers. Born Dorothy Marie Marsh outside McMinnville, TN, on October 11, 1932, she was the oldest of ten children; after her abusive, alcoholic...
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The Essential Dottie West, Dottie West
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