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Pop country by a wonderful singer
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first of four twofers released in Britain in the late nineties containing her three Columbia and five Warner albums. Here you will find the first two Columbia albums - Miss the Mississippi (from 1979) and These days (from 1980).
Although Crystal's style of music had pop influences in her United Artists recordings, these two albums showed a greater pop influence and alienated a lot of country fans. Listening to these albums now, there is more of a country feel to them than a lot of the music you hear now on American country radio although in each album, there is only one real country recording.
On the first album, the real country recording is, of course, the title track, a classic Jimmie Rodgers track that Emmylou also revived on her album, Roses in the snow. The big American pop hit here is Half the way (it didn't chart in Britain although it got plenty of airplay) but there are other great songs too, including It's like we never said goodbye, The blue side and A little bit of the rain as well as great covers of The other side of me (Neil Sedaka) and Dancing the night away (Amazing rhythm aces - also covered by the Oak Ridge Boys and Tanya Tucker).
The real country song on the second album is Help yourselves to each other, a cover of a Don Williams song. The rest of the album is further removed from country than its predecessor but is a very interesting album to those with broad tastes. It includes Lover man and What a little moonlight can do, two songs that were new to me when I originally bought the vinyl version of this album, but which show Crystal's interest in the Great American Songbook, something that has become much clearer in her more recent albums. Other outstanding tracks include If you ever change your mind and Take it easy (a cover of a Delbert McClinton song).
While I prefer Crystal's music with United Artists, these two albums are interesting in their own way and, judged on their own merit, are well worth hearing. Just don't expect to hear much country music here."