Red Foley

Red Foley

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Country star Red Foley had great success on Decca Records during the '40s and '50s, selling close to 25 million records. Red Foley contains songs recorded during the first years of this fruitful period (1946-1952); it was released as a reissue compilation in 1966 on the Decca subsidiary Vocalion, but is unfortunately out of print. Still, there is a fine cross section of Foley material here, including the 1951 hit "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," a duet with then-wife Judy Martin (born Eva Overstake). (Ironically, Martin committed suicide reportedly upon hearing of Foley's infidelity shortly after this single came out.) Other selections feature Foley with performers who appeared on his famous Ozark Jubilee show, like the Cumberland Valley Boys ("New Pretty Blonde") and his daughter and a country star in her own right, Betty Foley ("Cross of Gold"). To complete the "variety show" feel the album has, there are the comedic numbers "Playin' Dominoes and Shootin' Dice" and "Cincinnati Dancing Pig," which comes complete with hog grunts. Overall, though, the mood of Red Foley is low-key and the sound superb: Accordion, violin, and pedal steel all blend in nicely with Foley's commanding, honeyed baritone. Beyond MCA's Country Music Hall of Fame hits package, there are not many Foley titles in print. So, if you find this one at your local used record store, make sure to pick it up to hear some prime and very enjoyable Foley sides.

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