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20 / 20 Vision

Ronnie Milsap

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Album Review

Oh yeah, Ronnie Milsap circa 1976. A contemporary of Mickey Gilley in spirit and Conway Twitty in pure emotion and dedication to the early rock sounds of the late '50s, Milsap was a monster when he was this on. 20/20 Vision is one of the — if not the — finest records he ever cut. It perfectly balances his strengths, a honky tonk singer's repertoire, a rock & roll vocalist with a taste for doo wop and countrypolitan, and a delivery that was seamless due to possessing a gorgeous, silky baritone voice. With longtime producer Tom Collins and a band that included Pig Robbins, Chip and Reggie Young, Charlie McCoy, Larrie Londin, Kenny Malone, the Jordanaires, Nashville Edition, and of course himself on piano, they couldn't miss with this collection of songs by Kent Robinson, Cindy Walker, John Schweers, and Geoffrey Morgan, who wrote the title track. True to tradition, however, there's also a completely rocked-up version of the classic "Lovesick Blues" that's more suited to Jerry Lee Lewis than Hank Williams. In addition, Milsap does a devastating cover of Leon Payne's "You've Still Got a Place in My Heart." Side one, with the title cut, Walker's awesome tearjerker "Not That I Care," and "Lovesick Blues," is already worth the price of admission, but side two is a killer. It opens with a pair of Schweers tracks that are devastating in their heart-rending emotion: "Looking Out My Window Through the Pain" tells the story of a man who watches his wife go out to cheat with an old flame, over and over again as he watches. The track is countered with a honky tonk love song called "What Goes On When the Sun Goes Down." Along with a deep read of the Payne jewel is Wayne Kemp's slippery honky tonk nightmare, "I Got Home Just in Time to Say Goodbye," with Pig Robbins' signature upright plunking along in pure beer-garden style next to Lloyd Green's sweeping pedal steel. The set closes with Robinson's "I'm a Stand by My Woman Man," a bluesy answer to Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" (it quotes a few notes of the tune in the refrain), and as on virtually every Milsap album, love wins in the end and all is redeemed, right out of the barroom and into the barroom where everything is resolved. This is country music at its best.

Biography

Born: January 16, 1944 in Robbinsville, NC

Genre: Country

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

Ronnie Milsap was one of the major figures of country music in the 1970s, developing a hybrid of country and pop that brought him a large audience. Milsap was born in Robbinsville, NC, and was raised by his father and grandparents following his parents' divorce. He was born blind from congenital glaucoma, and when he was five, he began attending the Governor Moorhead School for the Blind. When he was seven, his instructors noticed his extraordinary musical talents and he began to study classical...
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20 / 20 Vision, Ronnie Milsap
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