Don Gibson

Hurtin' Inside

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This is an exceptionally fine little budget album, a ten-song LP issued in 1966, a time when country music had begun to be pushed outside of the mainstream it had helped to define in the previous decade. More's the pity that a wider public didn't hear this record, which successfully crosses over into other genres at various points. The title track opens the album on a strangely compelling note, its catchy, uptempo hooks running counter to the downbeat lyric. But with the second track, "Lonely Street," Don Gibson takes on the serious tone one expects. He does lighten up a bit more on the ebullient gospel tunes "That Lonesome Valley" and "Satisfied" (the latter closing the LP), while elsewhere he plunges into some fine country blues ("Midnight"), and even a ballad with a beat ("Won't'cha Come Back to Me"). And everywhere on this record there's superb playing, including some hot electric guitar to complement Gibson's acoustic playing, and all to support his fine, subtly understated intonation; and there's some great backup singing as well. Gibson's beautifully expressive voice and approach -- which, at different times, almost crosses into Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly territory -- could easily have sustained a record with five more songs on it, and anything on this album could have been a single. But RCA Victor was content to dole out his work as thinly as possible, to make as many long-players as they could -- whatever the logic behind it at the time, it's 22 minutes of pure, golden-voice country-pop that ought to be known by a bigger audience.

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