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Ronnie Milsap (Live)

Ronnie Milsap

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Album Review

Given Ronnie Milsap's sustained success as a country balladeer, it's a little surprising to revisit his eponymous 1971 debut and realize that he only dabbled in country at the outset of his career. To be sure, there are ballads and country music here, but the heart of this album is in Southern soul and R&B, indebted equally to Ray Charles' country-soul and Charlie Rich's soulful, bluesy blend of Southern sounds and how Elvis elaborated on Rich's innovations on his 1968 comeback. On this debut, Milsap isn't as distinctive a stylist as any of those three singers, but that's setting the bar pretty high; few interpretive singers are ever in the same league as Ray, Charlie, and Elvis. What is impressive on this LP is that Milsap is striving for that same kind of rootless roots music that combines bits of country, blues, soul, rock, and pop as these singers, often coming up with some remarkable music along the way. There are a few things here that Milsap would never try again — there's a pretty hard-driving version of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Rock and Roller" and Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham's "Blue Skies of Montana" has a corny cinematic sweep that sounds pretty unusual in Milsap's hands, plus there's Roy Orbison and Joe Melson's silly but melodic "The Cat Was a Junkie," which ranks alongside Neil Diamond's "Pot Smoker's Song" as a wonderful piece of post-hippie kitsch — but there are just as many moments that pointed the way to his future hits. In particular, there is a wonderful, sensitive reading of Kris Kristofferson's "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" and a sentimental cover of Orbison's "Crying," two styles that would treat Milsap well in the near future, while "Dedicate the Blues to Me" showcases his piano skills and "Sunday Rain" is a thickly layered AM pop gem that brings to mind such fine singles as "Smoky Mountain Rain." What's fascinating about this album is that it presents a gifted and versatile singer and pianist that could have pursued any number of paths based on this record — and that it's possible to hear the path he took and the one that he didn't within the confines of this debut. And what's doubly fascinating is that those two paths add up to a musically cohesive album in their own right, making this album an excellent debut on its own terms, even if Ronnie Milsap didn't make Ronnie Milsap into a star.

Customer Reviews

FINALLY!!!

I used to have the cassette tape, and still have it on vinyl. I am so glad iTunes finally added it. Hope to see his entire catalog added someday.

This album is pure magic. From Pure Love, to his incredible cover of Kaw Liga to Country Cookin', I Can Almost See Houston From Here is a beautiful song, even his cover of Honkey Tonk Women is impressive. And of course there's the Melody of hits That don't disappoint.

A HIDDEN TREASURE

It is amazing that this album is finally on I-tunes. I Love it. Mom used to play this one around the house growing up and when i moved out asked her to have the record. I have about got it wore out and could only listen to it on my stereo in the house. Now i can take it anywhere. I Love the song busy makin plans. Its not one of his most popular songs but if you never heard it before take a listen. Or just buy the whole thing , money well spent. Thank you Itunes for digging out these great country classic originals.....There are still a few of us out here who remember what country music REALLY is.

Ronnie Milsap live

A must have, Ronnie's great live!

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...
Full Bio

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Ronnie Milsap (Live), Ronnie Milsap
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