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Album Review

Red Sovine is basically a dependable, middle-of-the-road country artist. Since he comes from the old school, he has mastered certain wonderful country grooves such as the so-called Ray Price shuffle, which drives along "More From Habit Than Desire." Of course, Sovine has been practically elevated to the status of a kitsch icon for his maudlin and sometimes bizarre song stories. "I Think I Can Sleep Tonight" is a letter from a young boy to his father, and it is this album's portion of this type of Sovine specialty. It is a sad and solemn discussion of this child's seperation, and although some listeners may feel its power comes from sheer sentimentality, those with more experience in life will hear the lyrics as surprisingly realistic. It is followed by "Long Night," some of this artist's fine trucker country in the style of Dave Dudley, complete with grunting guitar licks. Then the western swing is back for the superb "Don't Let My Glass Run Dry." This sequence is described to indicate just how much fun this album is, and it is pretty typical of the output of this artist. The fact that he is also a co-writer on a good share of the tunes adds to the growing respect. He doesn't create an irrestible aura of hopelessness or tear the walls down and his brand of country and western would never be considered deep philisophically. But he sings with great skill, over mystery session men tracks that are full of clean surprises. On "Too Much," a bass is subtly doubled on the piano, while on the hilarious "Nobody's Business," featuring an unidentified female vocalist, there is both a madly swinging beat played with brushes and Collins Kids-style electric guitar insanity. This label was an adjunct of Starday, one of the few labels country fans might buy just on the basis of so-called "label identity." On the back cover there is an offer to get an illustrated Starday catalog; that combined with the $3.00 sticker price from the used record pile could by itself inspire serious sentimentality about the good old days. Don't get too excited about the bargain aspect, since this entire album could have fit on one side of vinyl easily.


Born: July 17, 1917 in Charleston, WV

Genre: Country

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Though he had a long, distinguished career in country music, singer/songwriter and guitarist Red Sovine is best remembered for his earnest, funny, and at times highly sentimental recitations that took the cab of an over-the-road truck for their settings. Born Woodrow Wilson Sovine into an impoverished family in Charleston, WV, he was inspired as a child by WCHS radio musicians Buddy Starcher and Frank Welling. Sovine and his childhood friend Johnnie Bailes joined Jim Pike's Carolina Tar Heels and...
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Anytime, Red Sovine
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