Mickey Gilley

Room Full of Roses/Gilley's Smokin'

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Audium does it again, issuing the first and third Playboy Records albums by Mickey Gilley from 1974 and 1976. Room Full of Roses, notable for its use of Gilley's patented swinging honky tonk style, is the album on which his first number one single -- the title cut -- appeared. This pair of discs was among the three that introduced producer Eddie Kilroy's live-sounding style to audiences across the country music spectrum, with stellar results. Gilley scored 16 number ones during his career -- and a band that was as fine as any ever assembled in Nash Vegas. Guitarist Dave Kirby was fresh off his stint with Waylon Jennings, Bobby Dyson brought electricity to the country bass, Buddy Spicher was already a living legend on the fiddle, drummer Larrie London (a veteran of so many sessions) was anchored in with Gilley until he passed away, and Bobby Thompson (who defined the actual sound of the acoustic guitar on so many records in the 1970s) also helped out. In terms of material, the title track, the Carl Smith nugget "I Overlooked an Orchid," Merle Haggard's "Swinging Doors," "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time," Bert Kaempfert's "L-O-V-E," Willie Dixon's blues stomper "My Babe," Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," and Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home" offer a new perspective on R&B in the same way that Ray Charles offered it on country a decade and a half earlier. These sides offer Gilley as an ivory-tinkling honky tonk player and a piano-pumpin' R&B wild man, and both have enough high lonesome soul to be fantastic country records. As a package, this is damn near unbeatable.

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