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Country Masters: Jimmy Dean

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Album Review

Portrait of Jimmy Dean, the follow-up to Big Bad John and Other Fabulous Songs and Tales, offers a similar variety of styles ranging from historical story songs ("PT 109") to pop ballads ("You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You") to straight country ("Kentucky Means Paradise.") Dean started out in country music before dabbling in pop in the late '50s and finally found his place with vivid story songs like "Big Bad John." It would have been better if he had stuck with the latter kind of material since songs like "Steel Men" and "Pt 109" are much more satisfying than his homely ballads. On the other hand, his narrative streak could take him too far in the other direction, with recitations like Stuart Hamblen's "Old Pappy's New Banjo" and the mildly humorous "Please Pass the Biscuits." On the other hand, there used to be an audience for recitations and Dean had hits with a few of them. Several of the songs on Portrait of Jimmy Dean were minor hits and all are included on Bear Family's anthology Big Bad John.


Born: 10 August 1928 in Plainview, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The average man on the street would most likely recognize Jimmy Dean from the line of smoked sausage that bears his name, but prior to entering the pork products business, Dean was a successful television personality and a country hitmaker noted for his half-spoken narrative songs. Dean was born near Plainview, TX in 1928 and grew up poor, often working on farms as a boy to help make ends meet. His mother taught him piano starting at age ten, and he went on to pick up guitar, harmonica, and accordion....
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Country Masters: Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
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