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The Best of Tommy Collins

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Album Review

Tommy Collins was one of the first major artists to emerge from the Bakersfield country scene in the 1950s, and while his work lacked the resonance and staying power of the Buck Owens and Merle Haggard hits that defined the Bakersfield sound, Collins cut a few solid weepers and a bunch of likeably upbeat comedy numbers, with solid picking behind him and a good ear for compatible covers. While Collins scored most of his hits in the 1950s, he landed "I Can Do That" and "Shindig in the Barn" on the country charts in 1968, which launched a short-lived second career for him and (more importantly) re-established him as a songwriter. The Best of Tommy Collins was culled from the two albums Collins cut for Tower Records in 1966 and 1968 and features both of those latter-day chart entries, but ignores his better-known sides for Capitol and Columbia. As a career assessment, it's flawed to say the least, but as an overview of the man's musical personality, it fills the bill rather well — Collins is in upbeat and spunky form on these tunes, and while "If I Could Just Go Back" and "Take Me Back to the Good Old Days" generate more groans than chuckles these days, "A Hundred Years from Now" and "Don't Let Me Stand in His Footsteps" show the guy could really connect with a song when he played it straight. This is no substitute for Koch's The Capitol Collection, but loyal fans looking for Collins' later hits will enjoy it.


Born: 28 September 1930 in Bethany, OK

Genre: Country

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

Along with his contemporary Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins was one of the first country musicians to establish a distinctive Bakersfield, CA, sound. During the course of the '50s, he released a series of hit singles that lightened up the tone of honky tonk with bouncing backbeats, novelty lyrics, and electric guitars. Collins explored a more serious side with his ballads, yet they continued to sound slightly different than his peers -- though they weren't as polished as the countrypolitan coming out...
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The Best of Tommy Collins, Tommy Collins
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