Thursday, May 21, 2015

CD: Faron Young - You Don’t Know Me


“You Don’t Know Me”
Faron Young


Make no mistake: this is not a collection of re-re-re-released tracks that turn up from time to time, and are often of dubious quality, when someone licenses the songs of a legendary artist.

There’s no doubt that Faron Young is a legendary artist, but this album is indeed a rarity: literally a brand new collection from the beloved singer who passed away back in 1996. As Faron’s son, singer-songwriter Robyn Young, says in the liner notes, the CD is a collection of very rare, one-of-a-kind recordings that most people never knew existed. They are from live performances, old radio broadcasts and old unreleased studio cuts. The tapes sat around, lost and forgotten for years.

Many of the tracks were cut on acetate pressings that were intended for a single play on the radio and were then discarded or destroyed. As such, several of the tracks were in extremely poor condition, and have been painstakingly repaired and modernized to contemporary standards by the dedicated people at Country Rewind Records.

Scott Oliver is the producer who was charged with the task of taking these songs and making them sound as if Young had recorded them today. As Oliver points out, this is not a re-mastered album, but essentially a brand new multi track project utilizing the resources and audio quality of the type available to current artists today. Understandably, all of the original recordings were one-track mono. Oliver has been totally faithful to the original sound while adding guitars, vocals and orchestral arrangements to breathe new life into tracks that would otherwise have been left for dead forever.

All of the tracks were originally recorded in one take, a single shot to get it right, recorded ‘live’ to acetate without ‘punch-ins’ or endless re-takes and tweaks. As a result, the tracks capture not only Young’s talent and faultless professionalism in his dedication to his craft, but also communicate a sense of fun and spontaneity that gets lost by the third (or thirtieth) take.

On some of these tracks, we here the radio announcer’s banter with Young at the start of the track, or the spontaneous applause from those in the studio at the end of a song. Every cut showcases Young’s magnetic personality and his crystal clear diction and pitch. The album features unique versions of his familiar hits such as ‘Goin’ Steady’ and ‘Hello Walls’ but perhaps the standout cut is the title track, “You Don’t Know Me.” The song was a hit for Eddy Arnold (and recorded by many other artists including Ray Charles, Jerry Vale and Elvis Presley) but Young’s version has a plaintive quality that could have given him a major hit if it had ever been released. Now we get to hear it all these years later.

The fifteen unique tracks on “You Don’t Know Me” will bring the voice of the “Hillbilly Heartthrob” to a new generation of listeners and will be a thrill to longtime fans who still love the legendary Faron Young.

 Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine
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