Mel Tillis

Life's That Way

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Mel Tillis' recording of the classic Harlan Howard composition "Life Turned Her That Way" barely missed the country Top Ten and bubbled under the pop charts, becoming one of his most successful singles during his late-'60s term on Kapp. The album Life's That Way contains that song and several notable originals by Tillis, including his version of "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)," which is excellent except for the audible residue of a reference vocal or scrapped vocal take. That song became a hit for Johnny Darrell, and "Unmitigated Gall," which is presented here in a driving, bass-heavy performance, was a hit for Faron Young. Tillis may have repaid Faron Young for recording his song by covering the 1958 hit "Alone With You" (which Young co-wrote) for this album. Tillis didn't usually devote much space on his LPs to covers of recent hits, but he picked two good ones on Life's That Way with Kenny Price's "Walking on New Grass" and Nat Stuckey's "Sweet Thang." "That's Where My Money Goes" is practically a sequel to Tillis' hit "Sawmill." Life's That Way is a typical Mel Tillis album in that it features a respectable percentage of originals and maintains an above-average level of quality while showing everyone that even when his own records weren't selling a million, his songs were definitely going places.

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