Don Gibson

Songs by Don Gibson

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This was the second album of Don Gibson's career, but for many years -- until Bear Family Records began plundering his early catalog -- it also represented Gibson's earliest extant recordings, as well as the first body of his recorded work to reflect the songwriter that listeners would come to know across the succeeding decades. Ironically, Gibson had been without a recording contract for over a year when he was signed by Acuff-Rose publishers as a songwriter, on the strength of an original of his called "Sweet Dreams," which was heard by Wesley Rose. Acuff-Rose, in turn, got him a contract with MGM Records, which was how he came to record the dozen songs on this album across three sessions in 1955 and 1956. Seven of those songs were originals, marking a new phase in Gibson's career -- beginning with these sessions, he would be a songwriter who also recorded rather than a singer who also wrote songs, and composing would come to be the center of his musical activities. The mix of material here is beguiling, not to mention thoroughly entertaining, with the outside songs as well chosen as the originals are well written. The album intersperses serious ballads with lighthearted fare such as "Ah-Ha" and rhythm-driven numbers such as "I'm Gonna Fool Everybody" and the bluesy "I Ain't Gonna Waste My Time," plus the rocking "I Ain't A-Studying You Baby" (which could have been a single in its own right). Gibson is in excellent voice throughout, and considering that the players on these sides -- cut at RCA's Nashville studios -- are completely anonymous, they do a credible job supporting the still somewhat neophyte Gibson. The album never sold in serious numbers, but the song in the leadoff spot, Gibson's own rendition of "Sweet Dreams," had reached number nine on the country listings, the first chart hit of his career, in the early spring of 1956. (Concurrent with Gibson's record, a competing version of the same song by Faron Young hit number two.) His RCA Victor sessions with producer Chet Atkins would achieve greater polish, but this is a good place to start a collection of Gibson's work on vinyl, and is a prime part of the Bear Family box The Singer -- The Songwriter: 1949-1960.

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