Hank Locklin

Foreign Love

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Hank Locklin's first album grew out of his hits "Fraulein" and "Geisha Girl," which rode the country charts for a big chunk of late 1956 and 1957, the latter also finding its way onto the pop charts. It's a winner almost all the way around -- beyond the two hits, there's the surprisingly rocking (country-style, described in the trades at the time as a "rockahula") "Blue Grass Skirt," the sentimental "Filipino Baby," and the bouncy yet romantic "Foreign Love." Locklin's twangy tenor is ideally suited to this mid-tempo material, and he even acquits himself well on the awkwardly fitting "Lili Marlene," included so that the potential German-based G.I. audience for his records would have something to relate to. He gets through "Mademoiselle" well enough, with help from Grady Martin's tasteful guitar embellishments under each verse, and Chet Atkins also participated on guitar for this album, in addition to producing the session. The only weak moment comes on "My Wild Irish Rose," where Locklin seems uncomfortable, and that is more than made up for by his bouncy renditions of "Mexicali Rose" and "Blue Hawaii" and the deeply expressive "Anna Marie."

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