Dottie West

RCA Country Legends

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Like other volumes in Buddha/BMG Heritage's RCA Country Legends, the Dottie West disc contains a mixture of big hits, album tracks, and singles that didn't make the upper reaches of the charts, all compiled with the intention of capturing the purest country of her recordings for RCA. West was with RCA from 1963-1976, but this doesn't attempt to chronicle all 13 years (and, of course, it overlooks her urban cowboy hits of the late '70s and early '80s for United Artists and Liberty). In fact, it bypasses her first hit, the Jim Reeves duet "Love Is No Excuse," and goes no further than 1973's "Country Sunshine." There are other singles that are missing, most of which are featured on the previous CD-era compilation, 1996's The Essential Dottie West, which was out of print by the time this was released in 2001. There is a good deal of overlap between the two collections, actually, as they share eight tracks, all hits: "Here Comes My Baby," "Would You Hold It Against Me," "What's Come Over My Baby," "Paper Mansions," the Don Gibson duet "There's A Story (Goin' Round)," "Country Sunshine," "Country Girl," and the Jimmy Dean duet "Slowly." There are two minor Billboard hits here not on that collection -- "Careless Hands" and "If It's All Right With You" -- but if hits are what you're looking for, The Essential is what to find, since all but two of the songs were charting hits. Here, there are ten hits and six interesting also-rans, ranging from the heavily echoed reading of Willie Nelson's "Night Life," another Gibson duet on "Lock, Stock and Teardrops," another Dean duet with "Sweet Thang," and excellent sides like "Let Me off at the Corner," "The Cold Hand of Fate," and "Before the Ring on Your Finger Turns Green," all of which prove that West was one of the most reliable straight-ahead female country singers of the '60s. That's why this RCA Country Legends is a good overview and introduction, even if it doesn't have all the hits.

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