Conway Twitty's first two albums for Decca, Conway Twitty Sings and Look into My Teardrops, netted him a couple of minor chart singles and some suspicious but middling praise from even forward-thinking critics. Decca's efforts to keep his music on the radio, put him in front of audiences as an opening act, and as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry, combined with Twitty's own work ethic, proved he was a committed to country, and he began to win over the public at large. Twitty and Decca doubled down for 1967's audaciously titled Conway Twitty Country and 1968's Here's Conway Twitty and His Lonely Blue Boys. Together make up the second entry in its Twitty reissue series. These two albums are fascinating. On the former, Twitty employs one of his greatest strengths to maximum effect. He and Owen Bradley decided on a collection of (mostly) ballads, utilizing his strong yet tender and evocative baritone on "Funny (But I'm Not Laughing)" -- the single-- "Things Have Gone to Pieces," "Walk Through This World with Me," and "I Threw Away the Rose" to name a few. The single reached higher chart positions that its predecessors, but still didn't crack the Top Ten. That feat was achieved in 1968 on the latter album with "The Image of Me." Here's Conway Twitty and His Lonely Blue Boys is, in its way, a truly revolutionary album in that it charts some of the many phases country music had gone through -- just as Nashville was trying to refocus itself as a new part of the pop tradition. There's the future of country pop in a fine reading of Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"; the historical past with Hank Williams' "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)"; hard nails prison balladry in Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home"; and a quick jump honky tonk with Joe Maphis' "Dim Lights Thick Smoke (And Loud Loud Music)." In other words, the song choices here are impeccable and canny. This second volume in the Twitty series is stellar from top to bottom, and presents a new historical view of the beginning of his career as the Prince of Country Music.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek