CD Review – Real: The Tom T. Hall Project

Real – The Tom T. Hall Project

Sire Records

Sire Records has just released an incredible new CD of classic Tom T. Hall songs recorded by some of todays most versatal artists. Titled “Real – The Tom T. Hall Project,” it collects 17 of his songs. Hall, easily one of the most successful and prolific songwriters in Nashville, has over 1,000 songs to his credit. Artists like Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Dave Dudley and Perry Como have recorded his songs.  Seventeen of Hall’s songs are covered here, all with suprising results.  Opening with a solemn version of “I Washed My Face In The Morning Dew” by Johnny Cash, recorded at his log cabin in Hendersonville, Tn. Kelly Willis does an amazing version of “That’s How I Got To Memphis,” which was a hit recently for Buddy Miller. Rocker R. B. Morris covers one of Tom’s best songs, “Don’t Forget The Coffee Billy Joe.” Another rocker Jonny Polonsky does a solid take on “Old Enough To Want To, Fool Enough To Try.” Songbird Iris Dement tackles the hit from 1970, “I Miss A lot Of Trains.” Tom T’s biggest hit, “Harper Valley PTA” is cranked up a notch by “Syd Straw & The Skeletons.” Mammoth recording artist Joe Henry does a fantastic version of “Homecoming,” one of Hall’s most personal tunes. Hot newcomer Mary Cutrufello handles “Candy In The Window.” Easily the best cut on the collection is by country rockers Whiskeytown. They do a blistering seven minute version of “I Hope It Rains At My Funeral.” The album ends with Mark Olson and Victoria Williams doing a duet on “It Sure Can Get Cold In Des Moines.” After one listen, you’ll be tempted as I was to search out the originals and see for yourself why Tom T. Hall is considered by many to be the finest songwriter of this era. The Pine Valley Cosmonauts: Salute The Majesty Of Bob Wills Blooshot Records is another label that has chosen to honor an important figure in musical history. On their new collection, “Salute To The Majesty Of Bob Wills,” a wide variety of talent has combined forces to record their favorite versions of classic tunes first made famous by Wills and the Texas Playboys. With backing music on each track provided by the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, vocals are handled by a rather diverse bunch of musicians. I must be honest here and admit that the majority of them are unknown to me. However, this didn’t stop me from dropping the CD in and giving it a listen.    For a bit of history on the Cosmonauts, they are based in Chicago, where they are regulars in the music scene, playing music by some of their heros like Wills and Johnny Cash. Of the vocalist I am familiar with, Jimmie Dale Gilmore is an excellent choice for “Trouble In Mind,” while Chris Mills does an incredible job on “Home In San Antone.” Austin sensation Alejandro Escovedo easily handles the beautiful “San Antonio Rose.” The Meat Purveyors put their trademark on the classic “Take Me Back To Tulsa.” The collection ends on a haunting version of   “Faded Love” by Jane Baxter-Miller. This collection goes the full length to confirm what Waylon said so Eloquently back in the ’70s. It don’t matter who’s in Austin, Bob Wills is still the King.

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