Skeeter Davis

Blueberry Hill/The End of the World

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In 2004 Collectables combined Skeeter Davis' 1965 album Blueberry Hill and her 1973 album The End of the World on one disc. Blueberry Hill finds Davis firmly in country-pop territory. Her strong vocals are surrounded by strings and syrupy arrangements and many of the songs are simple and corny ("The Little Music Box," "Lost to a Geisha Girl"). Davis sounds fully invested in the songs, though, and her aching sound manages to overcome the less than invigorating surroundings. The best songs are those that she wrote or co-wrote herself. "Somebody Else on Your Mind," "Homebreaker," and the bleak "Give Me Death" are the least over-produced and therefore most honest sounding tracks here, and unsurprisingly perhaps Davis sounds the most honest too. Not a great album by any means, but there are glimmers of Davis at her best. The End of the World shows how Davis' earnest, almost childlike vocal approach didn't fare very well when straying outside the realm of country. She turns in a fine version of the chestnut "Am I That Easy to Forget," sweetly harmonizing with herself, and her take on the country-pop "Angel of the Morning" is okay, though no patch on Marrilee Rush's original. The rest of the album is fairly dire, over-produced, and uninspired product that is easy to forget. The remake of her classic hit "The End of the World" is pretty pointless as it comes nowhere near the majesty of the original, same with a new version of the Davis Sisters' hit "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know." "Son of a Preacher Man" is truly terrible with a weird arrangement replete with a male backing chorus, kazoos, and trilling flutes. "Little Arrows" is a cutesy tune with wah-wah guitars that Davis sings like a 12 year old with a lollipop, at one point threatening to break glass as she hits some wild high notes. Her take on Johnny Nash's "Hold Me Tight" suffers from a slapped-together arrangement and stiff-as-a-corpse background singers, not to mention her amateurish singing. Davis sounds just plain bad on many of the songs; her signature double-tracked style falls flat as she often is out of synch with herself. This album is not a representative work for her as her records were usually well put together and at least you could count on some fine singing, like there is on Blueberry Hill. Collectables' pairing of the two albums is unsuccessful. They probably should have left The End of the World in the vault and dug up an early record. Anyone looking to discover Skeeter Davis should stick to a hits collection.

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