Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Me and Pepper
Genres: Country, Pop
Pepper would be the name of Mel s horse, who s pictured on the front cover, and 'Me And Pepper' would be the name of Mel s smash 1980 debut for Elektra, boasting two Top Ten hits in 'Blind in Love' and the quintessential c... more »
Pepper would be the name of Mel s horse, who s pictured on the front cover, and 'Me And Pepper' would be the name of Mel s smash 1980 debut for Elektra, boasting two Top Ten hits in 'Blind in Love' and the quintessential cheatin ballad 'Lying Time Again!' That's Jimmy Bowen supplying the sublime production work, and Mel s daughter Pam on background vocals, too
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Slick kickoff to country hitmaker's run with Elektra
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 06/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Country music hall of famer Mel Tillis had five very successful careers at once. His songs, starting with Webb Pierce's 1957 hit "I'm Tired," continued to find placement with top stars into the `80s. His recording career yielded hits throughout the `70s and into the early '80s, while his live performances drew an audience on the road and at his theater in Branson for decades after the chart entries stopped. In parallel, his stutter-studded humor made him a popular TV performer, and he appeared on the big screen in films like "W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings," "Every Which Way But Loose" and "Smokey and the Bandit II." With all that going on, it's not surprising that Tillis' latter-day releases for Elektra receded into the background, even as they yielded his last sustained string of chart hits of. The first three of his five Elektra LPs have been given their first-ever CD reissues, and though they don't quite measure up to his earlier work for MCA and MGM, neither do they document an artist in decline.
In 1979 Tillis closed out his contract with MCA after waxing the chart-topping "Coca-Cola Cowboy." Shopping for a new label he ended up following his producer, Jimmy Bowen, to Elektra, and "Me and Pepper" was his label debut. Bowen pulled together some rock royalty, including James Burton, Glen D. Hardin and Sonny Curtis, and the legendary steel player Buddy Emmons, but you'd hardly know it from the restrained countrypolitan-styled productions and the overproduced drum sounds heard here. Even more surprising is that Tillis, an ace songsmith, wrote none of the ten titles. The arrangements vary widely, including the crooning, string-backed soul of "Blind in Love," the bouncy `70s country bass on "This is Me" and the funky soul-sister backed "Black Jack, Water Back." Tillis is appropriately remorseful on "Lying Time Again," and though his sentiment is undercut by treacly strings and cooing background vocals, Buddy Emmons' steel solo brings on the tears. There's steel and fiddle on the sorrowful two-step "Uphill All the Way," and the folk-country "Let Me Be the Keeper" sounds like it could have been written by Tom T. Hall.
Despite having been recorded at Tompall Glaser's Hillbilly Central, where Waylon Jennings waxed many of his greatest outlaw works, Bowen wove a strong thread of mainstream sound. "I'm Sorry" sounds like Ray Price's post-honky-tonk balladry, and though the guitars actually punch through, more often than not they glisten with late-70s processing. The album yielded top-10 hits with "Blind in Love" and "Lying Time Again," and reprised Mundo Earwood's minor 1978 hit "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" (not to be confused with Elvis Bishop's pop hit of 1976). Tillis still sounds vital here, but surrounded by the Nashville influences of the late-70s, several of the album tracks came out quite soft. Tillis' earlier hits are a better place to start, but fans will enjoy the opportunity to hear this later work. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]"