Dean Reed


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Country & western music started losing some of its reputation as a bastion of right-wing ultra-conservatives with the outlaw movement but, even so, it is doubtful Nashville would ever be ready for this performer, whose chief and totally unusual claim to fame is that he was one of the few defectors who went to East Germany instead of leaving. For East Germany to have its own bona fide American country singer living there must have been good for propaganda points but, nonetheless, few listeners outside of his adopted country have ever heard of him. On the basis of the music on this album, there isn't that much reason to check out Reed purely as a country performer. The material here keeps heading over to the trite side of things, much the way an exhausted driver keeps wandering over onto the shoulder of the road. Recording in Prague during the era of the CSSR regime, Reed gets assistance from producer and arranger Jiri Svoboda. Clearly there was no possibility for an authentic-sounding Nashville band, so the rhythm section sound is plodding, with more of a light folk or pop sound than a really strong country rhythm. Unidentified sidemen -- such as the harmonica player -- do come up with a few nice touches.

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