BAKERSFIELD: THE HOTTEST NEW AMERICAN RELEASE
By Stewart Fenwick
The hottest new American release this time around, has to be the collaboration of VINCE GILL and PAUL FRANKLIN on “Bakersfield” (Universal). Vince is well known as a superb singer and songwriter, whilst Paul is one of Country music’s most honoured steel guitarists. Both are regulars in Music City’s best loved jam band The Time Jumpers, but here, the pair turn their attention to the Californian hotbed of music – Bakersfield. The city was put on the map when Merle Haggard and Buck Owens developed a sound there which stood out against the strings laden Nashville sound that was being developed in Nashville in the 60’s.
This wonderful new album really creates The Bakersfield Sound in 2013, with a selection of Buck & Merle covers. But, although, you will hear “Together Again” and “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down”, it’s more than a covers project for Vince & Paul. They really dig into the old LP’s to find the right songs for the album. Best example is “He Dont Deserve You Anymore”, from a 1966 Buck Owens album, that only the most devoted fan will know. “Holding Things Together”, written by The Hag, was an album cut on “His 30th Album”, in 1974.
The album kicks off with Buck’s blazing “Foolin’ Around” and closes with Merle’s “Fighting Side Of Me”. In between, another 8 tracks of pure bliss. Vince’s vocals sound as if they were made for these songs. I’ve never heard him sounding as good. Franklin’s steel just adds to the magic. This is Country music the way I like it. Brilliant stuff !
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