Classic Recordings

Marvin Rainwater

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Classic Recordings Review

by Bruce Eder

This four-CD set puts Marvin Rainwater's recording career from 1953 through 1969 into sharp relief, most notably his inability to fix on a sound, either country or rockabilly, and stick with it. In a fairer world, he wouldn't have had to decide, because he was good at both. Disc One opens with his earliest officially released sides, which ran the gamut from rockabilly to faux-western to upbeat comic country-pop to country-blues, and one good dog song ("Tennesse Hound Dog Yodel"). Rainwater's best numbers here, however, may be the raucous rocker "Hot and Cold" and the only slightly more restrained "Mr. Blues," both of which show off Roy Clark's lead guitar in the strongest light. Disc Two is more consistent, with fewer of the pop efforts of the prior years. The rockabilly sides, especially "(There's Always) A Need for Love," really spark this disc and provide the real drive around more convention pop/rock & roll numbers like "I Dig You Baby." Disc Three has its great moments, such as "It Wasn't Enough," amid a series of duets with singer Bill Guess that present Rainwater at his most commercial and accessible. Disc Four contains Rainwater's earliest sides, cut as demos in 1953 and 1954, and while the quality of the sound is a little shaky, the stuff goes to the core of Rainwater's music-making, freewheeling studio performances without looking for the next big hit or trying to catch the wave of public fancy. The real joy here, however, are five live numbers recorded in 1962 -- Rainwater, already gone from MGM and disillusioned, still loved playing to an audience, as these sides show, and the only pity is that there isn't more of this stuff, especially since the sound is unexpectedly good.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Marvin Rainwater 02:15 Amazon
2 Marvin Rainwater 02:23 Amazon
3 Marvin Rainwater 03:02 Amazon
4 Marvin Rainwater 02:31 Amazon
5 Marvin Rainwater 02:10 Amazon
6 Marvin Rainwater 02:10 Amazon
7 Marvin Rainwater 02:27 Amazon
8 Marvin Rainwater 02:17 Amazon
9 Marvin Rainwater 02:10 Amazon
10 Marvin Rainwater 02:28 Amazon
11 Marvin Rainwater 02:35 Amazon
12 Marvin Rainwater 02:45 Amazon
13 Marvin Rainwater 02:28 Amazon
14 Marvin Rainwater 02:52 Amazon
15 Marvin Rainwater 02:35 Amazon
16 Marvin Rainwater 02:22 Amazon
17 Marvin Rainwater 01:59 Amazon
18 Marvin Rainwater 02:48 Amazon
19 Marvin Rainwater 02:15 Amazon
20 Marvin Rainwater 02:24 Amazon
21 Marvin Rainwater 02:27 Amazon
22 Marvin Rainwater 02:21 Amazon
23 Marvin Rainwater 02:34 Amazon
24 Marvin Rainwater 02:19 Amazon
25 Marvin Rainwater 02:43 Amazon
26 Marvin Rainwater 03:05 Amazon
27 Marvin Rainwater 01:47 Amazon
28 Marvin Rainwater 02:10 Amazon
29 Marvin Rainwater 02:11 Amazon
30 Marvin Rainwater 02:26 Amazon
31 Marvin Rainwater 02:06 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Marvin Rainwater 02:09 Amazon
2 Marvin Rainwater 02:08 Amazon
3 Marvin Rainwater 02:25 Amazon
4 Marvin Rainwater 01:41 Amazon
5 Marvin Rainwater 02:34 Amazon
6
Marvin Rainwater 02:26 Amazon
7 Marvin Rainwater 02:19 Amazon
8
Marvin Rainwater 02:13 Amazon
9 Marvin Rainwater 02:00 Amazon
10
Marvin Rainwater 02:39 Amazon
11 Marvin Rainwater 02:16 Amazon
12 Marvin Rainwater 02:37 Amazon
13 Marvin Rainwater 02:42 Amazon
14 Marvin Rainwater 02:17 Amazon
15 Marvin Rainwater 02:06 Amazon
16 Marvin Rainwater 02:13 Amazon
17 Marvin Rainwater 02:09 Amazon
18
Marvin Rainwater 02:33 Amazon
19 Marvin Rainwater 02:34 Amazon
20 Marvin Rainwater 01:58 Amazon
21
Marvin Rainwater 02:41 Amazon
22 Marvin Rainwater 02:21 Amazon
23 Marvin Rainwater 02:39 Amazon
24 Marvin Rainwater 02:22 Amazon
25 Marvin Rainwater 02:19 Amazon
26 Marvin Rainwater 02:22 Amazon
27 Marvin Rainwater 02:02 Amazon
28 Marvin Rainwater 01:47 Amazon
29 Marvin Rainwater 02:56 Amazon
30 Marvin Rainwater 01:51 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Marvin Rainwater 02:18 Amazon
2 Marvin Rainwater 02:40 Amazon
3 Marvin Rainwater 02:11 Amazon
4 Marvin Rainwater 02:21 Amazon
5 Marvin Rainwater 02:37 Amazon
6 Marvin Rainwater 02:40 Amazon
7 Marvin Rainwater 02:49 Amazon
8
Marvin Rainwater 02:32 Amazon
9 Marvin Rainwater 02:31 Amazon
10 Marvin Rainwater 02:18 Amazon
11 Marvin Rainwater 02:38 Amazon
12
Marvin Rainwater 02:07 Amazon
13 Marvin Rainwater 02:17 Amazon
14 Marvin Rainwater 02:37 Amazon
15
Marvin Rainwater 02:21 Amazon
16 Marvin Rainwater 03:34 Amazon
17 Marvin Rainwater 02:31 Amazon
18
Marvin Rainwater 02:09 Amazon
19
Marvin Rainwater 02:20 Amazon
20 Marvin Rainwater 02:33 Amazon
21 Marvin Rainwater 02:23 Amazon
22 Marvin Rainwater 02:49 Amazon
23 Marvin Rainwater 02:17 Amazon
24 Marvin Rainwater 02:54 Amazon
25 Marvin Rainwater 02:58 Amazon
26 Marvin Rainwater 02:41 Amazon
27 Marvin Rainwater 03:14 Amazon
28 Marvin Rainwater 02:37 Amazon
29 Marvin Rainwater 02:24 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Marvin Rainwater 03:24 Amazon
2 Marvin Rainwater 02:27 Amazon
3 Marvin Rainwater 03:24 Amazon
4 Marvin Rainwater 02:15 Amazon
5 Marvin Rainwater 02:24 Amazon
6 Marvin Rainwater 02:19 Amazon
7
Marvin Rainwater 01:58 Amazon
8 Marvin Rainwater 02:33 Amazon
9 Marvin Rainwater 01:37 Amazon
10
Marvin Rainwater 02:00 Amazon
11 Marvin Rainwater 01:31 Amazon
12
Marvin Rainwater 01:53 Amazon
13 Marvin Rainwater 01:37 Amazon
14 Marvin Rainwater 02:20 Amazon
15 Marvin Rainwater 02:40 Amazon
16
Marvin Rainwater 01:55 Amazon
17 Marvin Rainwater 02:54 Amazon
18 Marvin Rainwater 02:15 Amazon
19 Marvin Rainwater 02:31 Amazon
20 Marvin Rainwater 02:03 Amazon
21 Marvin Rainwater 02:38 Amazon
22 Marvin Rainwater 02:45 Amazon
23 Marvin Rainwater 02:31 Amazon
24 Marvin Rainwater 02:54 Amazon
25
Marvin Rainwater 00:38 Amazon
26 Marvin Rainwater 02:21 Amazon
27
Marvin Rainwater 03:05 Amazon
28 Marvin Rainwater 03:49 Amazon
29 Marvin Rainwater 02:28 Amazon
30
Marvin Rainwater 02:37 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick