Cal Smith

My Kind of Country/I Just Came Home to Count the Memories

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Cal Smith was just past the peak of his commercial success when the albums My Kind of Country (from 1975) and I Just Came Home to Count the Memories (from 1977) came out. They're combined onto one CD with historical liner notes on this reissue; although they didn't come out consecutively, the 1976 album Jason's Farm coming between the pair. Smith isn't going to win big critical accolades (nor should he), but these albums are slickly produced vehicles for his calm vocals, which are almost the prototype of the low, almost-spoken, drawling style common to many successful male country singers. My Kind of Country was the more commercially successful of the two, reaching the country Top 20, about half the material coming from Don Wayne or Conway Twitty (who wrote "Linda on My Mind" and "Games That Daddies Play"). Sentimental ballads alternate with more palatable earthier, fairly upbeat tunes, "Linda on My Mind" almost sounding like a down-and-dirty blues in this context. Wayne and Twitty also penned tunes, though to a lesser extent, on I Just Came Home to Count the Memories, which might be a bit looser and less glossy, even making room for an Eagles cover, "After the Thrill Is Gone." The Tex-Mex-ish "Anita You're Dreaming," co-written by Waylon Jennings, is a highlight of another set that verges on the low-key in the extreme.

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