Search - Sammi Smith :: Best of

Best of
Sammi Smith
Best of
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

So much gets made of countrypolitan's expansive, pop-influenced sound that it's easy to forget that it was also a medium of great singers. Few of them were as good as Sammi Smith. Blessed with a deep, husky voice that was ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Sammi Smith
Title: Best of
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Varese Sarabande
Release Date: 10/22/1996
Genres: Country, Pop
Style: Outlaw Country
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 030206557428

So much gets made of countrypolitan's expansive, pop-influenced sound that it's easy to forget that it was also a medium of great singers. Few of them were as good as Sammi Smith. Blessed with a deep, husky voice that was nevertheless soft and tender, and breathing soulfulness, Smith had her best-known moment with 1970's "Help Me Make It Through the Night," a Top 10 crossover smash that she invested with a smoldering sense of emotional and physical need. On all of her best recordings, Smith's voice invites the listener into an emotional world so revealing and familiar that it often seems as if she's right there beside you, whispering into your ear. Such remarkable intimacies are only enhanced by their often breathtaking countrypolitan settings. --David Cantwell

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CD Reviews

A toast to Sammi
A. Hickman | Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria | 02/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I read today that Sammi Smith had died. She was 61. I'll never forget the first time I heard "Help Me Make It Through the Night." It was on a jukebox at a bar-b-que restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas. What a marvelous sound! What a marvelous voice! I was hooked from that moment. I bought all her records, including "The Toast of '45" and "Today I Started Loving You Again," both of which spawned minor hits. But she never had another hit like "Help Me Make It." She won a grammy for that one and seemed firmly set on the road to fame. But all too soon she was gone from the charts. She resurfaced in 1991, with "Here Comes That Rainbow Again," and she still sounded great. Then there was the "best of" compilation on Sarabande, followed by--silence. The obituary I read on the Internet claims she was part Apache, from Oklahoma. She was always a rebel. A note on one of the albums links her to Willie Nelson and dubs her the "Country Janis"--Joplin, that is. I never got to see her in performance, but I met her once, at another restaurant in Fayetteville, and she autographed my napkin. I think her voice might have been too nakedly sexy for country, and her Brenda Lee beehive and Dusty Springfield panda-eyed makeup probably cost her points with the rock 'n' roll set. But she could sing anything, and she left her permanent stamp on a handful of songs, sixteen of which are collected here. Little did anyone know at the time, but it was also Sammi's swan song. She'll be missed."
One of country's great might-have-beens
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 02/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You might think that beginning a career by selling two million copies of her first single would bring lasting fame and superstardom, but Sammi Smith remains, to most people, a one-hit wonder. Of course, that's not really true, because she had several hits on the country charts, but even there they did not make enough impact to build her career. Part of the reason may be that she was signed to Mega, a small independent label, but even when she switched to a major label, her success was limited.

This collection contains the best of her Mega recordings, including (of course) Help me make it through the night. A top ten pop hit and number one country hit in America, the song was eventually a hit for reggae singer John Holt in the UK. I doubt if Sammi's version was ever released outside the USA - Mega could hardly cope with the domestic requirements.

Of the other tracks, the biggest country hit (number nine) was Today I started loving you again. Merle Haggard wrote this song - it would have probably been a big hit for him, except that his version was tucked away on a B-side. The song has often been covered, but Merle really likes Sammi's version.

Other great songs here (some hits, some just album tracks) include He's everywhere, Then you walk in, I've got to have you, The toast of '45, The rainbow in Daddy's eyes and Long black veil. Indeed, the whole album is very enjoyable.

Sammi's strength is her heartfelt singing, although she can do more upbeat songs too - this set includes her version of City of New Orleans that was a minor country hit for her. Sammi's version is among the best of many I've heard, although Willie Nelson's is the best of the lot - he has made that song his own,

If Sammi had been on a major label when she recorded Help me make it through the night, things might have been a lot different. As it is, anybody who enjoys heartfelt country music of the seventies should give Sammi a listen."
Legendary Performances by a Very Non-Legend
Joe Taylor | 07/24/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sammi Smith hit it big with HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT. Sadly, although many recognize the song, they couldn't tell you who sang it. And that is their loss! Sammi Smith's earthy, emotion filled voice rivals Tammy Wynette and the haunting musical presentations here will be with you always. Sammi Smith seldom did "simple songs". As the material here reveals, the songs that she brought to life were complex, powerful and emotion packed. Starting off with the despair of HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT, Smith sings of the inability to let go of love (HE'S EVERYWHERE and THEN YOU WALK IN0, the slow burning desire (I'VE GOT TO HAVE YOU) and even dips Wynette-like with a kid-classic (FOR THE KIDS). When you listen to Smith sing about a lost childhood in RAINBOW IN DADDY'S EYES as well as lost love in THE TOAST OF 45, you will feel each beat of the music in your soul. Her cover of Merle Haggard's TODAY I STARTED LOVING YOU AGAIN was touted as the best re! cording of the song. This could easily be said for her version of LONG BLACK VEIL as well. It's just too bad that Sammi Smith never became a superstar. We would be a lot better off with we had a lot more of her material to mesmerize us. Sammi, as the song says, I MISS YOU THE MOST WHEN YOU'RE RIGHT HERE on my stereo!"