Lorne Greene

The Man

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"The Man" was Lorne Greene's second biggest hit after "Ringo," reaching the Top 20 on the easy listening charts. Greene sings, rather than speaks, the inspirational lyrics in his deep bass voice to the accompaniment of a heavenly choir. The accompanying album is billed as a "steel-drivin', mountain-movin' album," which pretty well sums it up. Greene's music is dramatic and lavishly produced, more similar to Dimitri Tiomkin themes, Western movie musicals, and Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" than traditional country, which is why he enjoyed most of his success on the pop charts. Fittingly, the liner notes for The Man were written by film music maestro Henry Mancini, who surely appreciated Joe Reisman's theatrical arrangements. Greene prefaces each song with a brief spoken introduction before launching into beefy interpretations of "Sixteen Tons," "Nine Pound Hammer," and more recent compositions. The newer songs are rugged tales of graveyard fillers and whiskey swillers, with interludes for square dancing ("Chickasaw Mountain") and abiding love ("Darling, My Darling"). Greene sometimes wavers off-pitch, but his voice is such a unique and appealing instrument that it hardly matters.