Rodney Crowell

Platinum Collection

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While it's true that this edition in WEA's budget Platinum Collection series is early Rodney Crowell, and perhaps unfamiliar to those that came to his music in his middle and latter day periods, it is nonetheless full of solid hits from the 1970s and '80s, and the music hasn't dated a bit. Crowell was playing around with rock & roll early on, and it shows in "Ain't Livin' Long Like This," his reading of Hank DeVito's classic "Queen of Hearts," and "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" (not the Stones tune but his own). Out of 19 cuts, there is only one semi-dud, and that's his version of Dallas Frazier's "Elvira," and that's only because he was outclassed on the tune by the Oak Ridge Boys in the early '80s. Crowell's recorded versions of his own songs which have become other people's hits -- and scored for him, too -- are unassailable, from "Ashes by Now," "'Til I Gain Control Again," two of the three songs mentioned above, "Shame on the Moon," "Stars on the Water," and "Baby Better Start Turnin' Em Down." Crowell is a contemporary performer who has had a thirty-year run, and he still has one as a songwriter, but these songs from his early period are not bona fide country music standards; although they've been performed by many, only Emmylou Harris has come close to topping his own versions, and he was writing for her as part of her Hot Band. Rodney Crowell's Platinum Collection is a necessary purchase for any serious country music fan.

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