Monday, December 21, 2009

Faron Young

I can’t say much about Faron Young; I have a collection called Faron Young’s Greatest Hits, I got it on a prerecorded cassette and I have reason to believe that it was only ever released in that format. The label is Capital and it’s designated SM. There is no indication as to what that might stand for, or perhaps there is, but it’s too small to read. Special Marketing perhaps? Super Music?

Anyway, Faron Young. He had dozens of hits on the country charts, but only 6 on the pop charts, 5 of those on Capital between 1957 and 1961, 3 of them on this collection. Most of what he has here is pleasantly honky tonk, kind of like Ray Price, but not as morose.

Faron Young:

Alone With You – It’s a wish, not a fact, longing, expressed in the best country style. From the summer of 1958.
If You Ain’t Lovin’ – Real old fashioned country, from 1954. Nothing is worth anything, says Faron, without love.
Riverboat – In a drama worthy of Johnny Cash, our hero reminisces of the great years he spent gambling on the river, from his jail cell. This tale of murder (self-defence I would think, if one believes his story) is delivered very offhand, no atmosphere of tragedy about it. From the winter of 1960.
Live Fast, Love Hard, And Die Young – The country version of what would be a very rock and roll philosophy. Number 1 on the country charts in 1954.
I’ve Got Five Dollars (And It’s Saturday Night) – Little Richard sang Rip It Up – it’s Saturday night and I feel fine – and Faron Young does the same, but with a fiddle. From 1954. Nowadays 5 dollars wouldn’t even cover the tip.
Hello Walls – His woman left, what else is new, and he is so upset that he’s talking to his house. The fiddles are gone here, replaced by a chorus (answering “hello, hello, hello”) His only top 40 pop hit (it reached number 12, number 1 country), this is from the winter of 1961.
All Right – How many songs with this title? Most are rock and roll, this is hillbilly country, fiddles galore. All right, he says, I’ll set you free. He’s done something terrible, we’re not sure what, but in all his admission of responsibility, he still manages to throw it all back on her. From 1954.
Country Girl – Not the Neil Young song, which anyway is Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty). The tale of an innocent girl corrupted by city ways. I think of The Five Man Electrical Band – Country Girl Suite, different song, same story. From 1959, and the fiddles are gone, but steel guitar still up front and centre.
Your Old Use To Be – Another song of love lost, another song of not getting over it, this one from 1960.

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