Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jeannie C Riley|
Harper Valley Pta: Very Best of
Genres: Country, Pop, Christian
Listen to Samples
Much more than Harper Valley PTA
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 07/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeannie couldn't handle fame and stardom, which is a pity. Had she been able to, she might have had a much longer career. This is the strongest available collection of her music.Harper Valley PTA is a classic story song of a type which used to be much more common in country music than it is now. It's writer, Tom T Hall, made a career out of story songs (and every true country fan should have some of his music). Jeannie didn't record anything else quite like Harper Valley - the nearest she came was with The girl most likely, but she recorded many excellent songs.This compilation contains all her important country and pop hits, plus many other excellent songs, nearly all originals, but with nice covers of Before the next teardrop falls and Help me make it through the night. The Varese compilation, which has fewer tracks, actually has more covers.If you only buy one compilation of Jeannie's, this is the one to buy. Jeannie was, briefly, the hottest name in country music - this collection shows why, and what might have been."
Jeannie sang with such feeling that she could make you happy
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 05/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Harper Valley PTA: The Very Best of Jeannie C. Riley gives is a great CD by this fantastic songbird who has been forgotten much too early--she should never be forgotten! Jeannie C. Riley proves on this album that she was and still remains one of the better singers of the twentieth century; and the sound quality is wonderful. The artwork is very nicely done as well.
The CD starts off with Jeannie's best known hit entitled "Harper Valley PTA;" "Harper Valley PTA" has a great country beat that also has a pop music flavor to it that is absolutely irresistible and the melody is catchy. "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" is a wonderful cover of this classic country love song; it's more beautiful than ever to hear Jeannie C. Riley perform this with so much sensitivity! Her performance also conveys a sense of vulnerability to her audience and that's really very memorable and exceptional at once. In addition, "Duty Not Desire" features Jeannie C. Riley singing squarely in the spotlight--right where she belongs! "Duty Not Desire" tells the story of a love gone awry and Jeannie aces this easily.
"A Real Woman" sounds fantastic when Jeannie C. Riley sings it; and the melody is very pretty. The electric guitars, drums and percussion enhance the music that fits in so well with Jeannie's vocals! "A Real Woman" is easily a major highlight of this CD. In addition, "Help Me Make It Through The Night" stuns me with its classic beauty; Jeannie sings this with all her heart and soul and once again this draws in her listeners and makes them feel that she is singing just to them. "I'm The Woman That Belongs To Her Man" is a solid number that explores a triangular love relationship; the somewhat upbeat melody belies the seriousness of the lyrics.
"My Man" has Jeannie C. Riley performing this with great passion; and it's a pleasure to hear this tune from Jeannie! "Tear Drops On Page Forty-Three" shines equally bright when Jeannie C. Riley delivers this with heart and soul; "Tear Drops On Page Forty-Three" has great keyboard work and the guitars work wonders for this ballad as Jeannie sings her heart out. Listen also for "That's How It Is With Him And Me;" this tune also has a catchy melody that I predict you'll appreciate very much even if the lyrics aren't all that happy. There's also "I'm Only A Woman;" this fine country ballad proves just how great a country singer Jeannie C. Riley really was. Jeannie sings this with feeling and it amazes me just how well she delivers this ballad. "There Never Was A Time" has another fine musical arrangement; and the CD ends strong with Jeannie C. Riley performing "Macon County Bad Girl." "Macon County Bad Girl" has Jeannie singing at her best and this makes a good last number for this CD.
Jeannie C. Riley could really sing a country tune better than most anybody ever could; and again this CD proves it. I highly recommend this for her fans and people who enjoy classic country music. People just discovering the artistry of Jeannie C. Riley would do well to buy this CD.
The Country Music Kitten With A Whip
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 05/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By all accounts Jeannie C. Riley greatly disliked "The Harper Valley P.T.A." and was mightily annoyed when her managers flatly insisted that she record it. When she at last agreed, she did the song in a single take--and was then even more vexed when told to do it one more time. Her anger rang through her voice, and as she approached the end of the take she did something she thought would spoil the take: she changed a lyric, using the then-popular but very un-country-music expression "socked it to."
From Riley's point of view she had done what they asked and that was that and it was over. But "The Harper Valley P.T.A." proved a monster hit and made her the first female country artist to hit number one on both country and pop charts. The marketing men moved in and Riley suddenly found herself in a miniskirt and go-go boots and belting out tough-gal songs with a sexy edge.
It was not exactly what Riley had in mind when she began her career, and throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s she also recorded a great many more songs that had a more traditional sound--songs like "Oh Singer," "Country Girl," and "Duty Not Desire." Very often these too were hits, but they seldom hit as big as songs that catered to the "country kitten with a whip" persona that "Harper Valley P.T.A." created. Increasingly disenchanted with both the industry and her public image and increasingly prone to depression, she walked away. She would eventually re-emerge as an equally fine gospel singer.
Like most vocalists of her era, Riley's albums were essentially collections of songs rather than cohesive packages, so you are not missing much by going with a "best of" collection--and this twenty-four track collection covers all the high points and then some. Then as now, "the" Jeannie C. Riley track remains "The Harper Valley P.T.A.," a wickedly clever take on small-town hypocrisy penned by Tom T. Hall; similar songs include "The Girl Most Likely" and "The Generation Gap," both remarkable for their acid sarcasm.
Riley may not have fancied herself in this mode, but there's no denying that she has what it takes to make the pieces work: her voice possesses an incisive snap that puts them well over the top, and it's impossible to imagine any other country singer who could get away such material; even Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynett, both of whom did plenty of "tough gal" material, sound tame by comparison.
Riley also had a way with pure honky-tonk material like "The Backside of Dallas," and she makes the most of songs like "Good Enough To Be Your Wife"--but although they were hits at the time, the sharp edge of her voice has a way of undercutting her more traditional efforts. Even so, songs like "Country Girl" and "O, Singer" have tremendous charm, and when all is said and done it is very easy to understand why she was such a greatly popular vocalist in her heyday.
All the songs could stand a remaster, but if you want 1960s and 1970s country music with a social edge and plenty of attitude, Jeannie C. Riley is the gal for you--and I would consider this particular collection the best of the several available.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"