Faron Young

The Best of Faron Young [Impact]

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There are so many "best of" collections available from this type of country artist that one is tempted to try and create a "best of the best ofs." If so, this one can be skipped entirely, since it adds nothing to the situation other than yet another low-rent knock-off. This label created its own "best of" series of whatever was available for legal licensing, and in this area the Impact label is being given the benefit of the doubt. The only "impact" made here must have been cartons of these babies hitting the loading docks at truck stops. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the music, which includes some of this artist's greatest sides. Interested consumers could just do much better, either from the point-of-view of having some of the liner notes and photography that are available in other Faron Young collections or in terms of actual playing time. This album is over so fast one wants to retitle the great last song "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young."..and Play Quickly. Young has a great voice and manner of delivery, but that is only part of what is going on here. He also had a real knack for finding and encouraging the most fascinating new songwriters, and was able to add a sense of the dangerous and demented to each interpretation he created. Compare "Hello Walls" as sung by Faron Young with the song as it is done by its writer, Willie Nelson. In the latter case, the image is of good ol' Willie Nelson, a red bandana wrapped around his hair, chilling out at home and maybe missing his girlfriend a wee bit. With Young, on the other hand, there is really the sense of a hopelessly lonely, tormented individual walking the floors and staring at the windows and ceiling until his brain starts to crack. It is not a comfortable feeling, and neither is the sense of possessiveness displayed in the swinging "Country Girl" -- the way he sings the line "When you're on the dance floor and he holds you soft and sweet/Does he ever wonder, who put the shoes on your feet?" is haunting, a great moment in country music. Needless to say, none of the sidemen are credited, rendering one impotent in the ability to praise the creators of such great touches as the pedal steel licks on "Wine Me Up" or the rollicking, rolling rhythms of "Riverboat."

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