Review #229: The Ultimate Collection, Patsy Cline
#229: The Ultimate Collection, Patsy Cline
I never know what to make of Greatest Hits collections being included on a list of the Greatest Albums of All Time. I’ve discussed this before, so I won’t get too deep into it, but suffice it to say, it feels cheap.
I suppose the thinking is that the artist’s legacy is greater than the studio albums they released. In Patsy Cline’s case, “Walkin’ After Midnight” (which launched her to success) is on her debut, and “She’s Got You” (which is my new favorite shower song) is on her final release.
Her sophomore album, Showcase, seems to have the most hits, including “Crazy” (which by the way was written by a young Willie Nelson). But if Showcase was the only album included, you wouldn’t get her excellent cover of Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”
Anyway. Patsy Cline has two speeds: slow and peppy. The slow ones I had to come around to, but eventually I fell in love with her voice, how low it was, how she quite literally hugs some of the words. “I Fall To Pieces” has some lovely octave leaps, and try as I might, I can’t match her tone on “Leavin’ On Your Mind.” Her voice is expressive and conversational. Other excellent slow songs include: “I Love You So Much It Hurts,” “So Wrong,” “Someday (You’ll Want Me To Want You),” “Always,” “He Called Me Baby,” and “When You Need A Laugh.”
The peppy songs, on the other hand, I loved immediately. “Lovesick Blues” has already featured on Hank Williams’ 40 Greatest Hits (#132), but I honestly prefer Cline’s version. Her yodeling voice! I wish I could do that! “Foolin’ Around” has such a fun percussion beat, and “When I Get Thru With You (You’ll Love Me Too)” made me feel bad for Sue. Other excellent peppy songs: “Back In Baby’s Arms” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (made famous by Elvis Presley).
All that being said, listening to a Greatest Hits album several times in a row becomes a tad tedious, and there is definitely some bloat on here. I could have done without “True Love,” “Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blue),” and “Half As Much,” which are all essentially the same song. Modern music gets to have more sonic variation (stay tuned for Rihanna’s Anti!), which is something I have come to appreciate.
Patsy Cline died in a plane crash at 30. I don’t know whether this particular Greatest Hits album belongs on Rolling Stone’s list, but I’m glad I got to spend so much time with her music. I never got tired of her.
Other Highlights: “Strange” is one of the best efforts by the Jordanaires, the male quartet that backs her up. The pretty, pretty lyrics on “San Antonio Rose” and the bittersweet lyrics on “Why Can’t He Be You.” The harmonica on “Anytime.” The delightful walkup ending of “Heartaches” and the laugh at the end of “Imagine That.”
Other Songs That I Could Have Done Without: “A Poor Man’s Roses (Or A Rich Man’s Gold),” “Faded Love,” “Sweet Dreams (Of You),” and “Crazy Arms.”
IS RS FULL OF IT? Yes.