Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Very Best of Shelly West
Genres: Country, Pop
New Compilation Disc Brings Out the Best of West
T. Yap | Sydney, NSW, Australia | 11/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Prime Cuts: If I Could Sing Something In Spanish, Now There's You, Another Motel Memory
Shelly West is a victim of caricature. In terms of pedigree, Shelly West has often been overshadowed by her larger than life mother, the late Dottie West. In terms of her career, she has often been known as the other half of David Frizzell when the pair soared to the heights of the charts with hits such as "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma," "A Texas State of Mind" and "Husbands and Wives." However, the spotlight has never been shed upon West's own solo career. Such atrocity is most evidenced by the fact that none of her three solo albums are now in print. In fact the only products that are shelved these days are her duet compilations with Frizzell. Thus, this highly anticipated newly remastered "The Very Best of Shelly West" is reason for rejoicing. After all this time, it's refreshing to have West on disc for the first time. Culling 6 tracks from West's most successful solo debut "West by West," this is chronologically followed by 4 tracks each from her subsequent two albums "Red Hot" and "Don't Make Me Wait on the Moon." However, most disappointing is that there are no newly recorded songs, unreleased demos, or her singles (such as "What Would You Do" and "Love Don't Come Better than This") that were not canonized into any of her albums.
Despite these songs being a couple of decades old, they sound like they were recorded yesterday. West's begrimed and yet spry alto still sound so fresh and engaging. Thematically, these tracks cover the surfeit of issues of wine, cheating and heartbreak--topics so prevalent during the post urban cowboy days of the early 80s where Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette were reigning on the charts. "Jose Cuervo," West's most successful hit, follows in the footsteps of the avalanche of drinking songs of the 80s such as "You Must Not Be Drinkin' Enough" (Earl Thomas Conley), "Hey Bartender" (Johnny Lee) and "Drinkin' and Dreamin'" (Waylon Jennings). What sets West's number one hit apart is that turns the gender tables around by telling the story of woman who had too much fun drinking over an infectious pop country melody. Following in her peer Barbara Mandrell's footsteps, West indulges in a few cheating numbers, most outstanding is her sad midtempo "Another Motel Memory," the power ballad "Now I Lay Me Down to Cheat" and the sleazy "Sweet Sixteen." Interesting how illicit motel affairs seems to be the setting of many of these cheating numbers.
Heartbreak has also been perennial topic: most affecting is the sensuous "Sexy Song" -a haunting song about a desperate woman trying to win back her husband's affection. Listen especially to how West nuances the shades of loneliness in this song--it is just so heart breaking. "Flight 309 to Tennessee" has all the earmarks of the Urban cowboy era--an over produced pop-country ditty that has all the cheesy 80S synth riffs. Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable ball of fun that will get one humming in a few listens. Yet West has not been completely sold out to the pop-country fold, purists will find much joy with the delightful fiddle-led "I'll Take the Two Step." And the helpless romantic will simply adore the cross cultural romance of "If I Could Sing Something in Spanish" and the never dying love tribute of "Now There's You."
Sadly, Shelly West disappeared from the music scene sometime in the later part of the 80s. This is such a tragic loss to country music. If given the chance, she could have made it as big as Barbara Mandrell or even Tammy Wynette. West has such a sonic presence that she has the ability to break and mend hearts with her emotive delivery. Furthermore, she is adventurous enough to tackle the whole gamut of country music from two steps to pop-country to big power ballads. After such a long time of shortage of any music from West, this collection is such a welcoming delight!
T. Yap | 03/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shelly West had a spurt of popularity in the eighties and the best of her career is showcased here. No Shelly West collection would be complete without her signature "Jose Cuervo" and my personal favorite "Flight 309 To Tennessee". This is a great addition to any CD collection."
+1/2 -- Solo sides from mid-80s country hit maker
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 11/29/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Shelly West, the daughter of country legend Dottie West, had a run of hits from the early to mid-80s, most notably in duet with David Frizzell, but also as a solo act. Her pairings with Frizzell are anthologized on the separate collection The Very Best of David Frizzell & Shelly West, leaving this set to present her solo sides. Included are nine singles running from 1983's "Jose Cuervo" through 1985's "Now There's You." Also included is the B-side "Sexy Side" and four album tracks; missing are her last two singles from 1986, "What Would You Do" and "Love Don't Come Any Better Than This." These are all original recordings from the Warner/Viva label, just as listeners will remember have heard them on radio in the 1980s.
West's voice is powerful, but producer Snuff Garrett (who'd made his name with pop acts like Gary Lewis, Bobby Vee and Cher) vacillated between styled arrangements of steel guitar, fiddle and bent-note piano, and pop productions filled with studio-tuned drums and crystalline guitars. These sounds fit easily into early `80s country radio playlists that featured Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, Anne Murray and others, but in retrospect they sound overly processed and polished. West bowed out of the music industry in 1986 just as the neo-traditionalists were stripping away much of Nashville's crossover gloss, so we'll never really know how her huskily powerful voice would have sounded without the studio-contrived production.
There are twangy tunes in "Jose Cuervo," "Somebody Buy This Cowgirl a Beer," "I'll Dance the Two Step" and "Now There's You," but many of the collection's country lyrics are undermined by heavy-handed crossover arrangements whose country instrumentation is little more than ornamentation. "Flight 309 to Tennessee" is marred by flecks of power guitar chords, tuned drums and by-the-numbers strings. West is more of a crooner than a roots singer, and combined with Garrett's production, these singles are often more adult contemporary than country. Taken on the premise that these records didn't intend to draw heavily on country music's roots, fans of early `80s country will be happy to have these original sides available on CD. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]"