Burl Ives

Sweet Sad & Salty

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AllMusic Review by

Omni Recording Corporation specializes in digging out the oddities in an established veteran's catalog, and their 2012 Burl Ives compilation Sweet Sad & Salty is no exception. Concentrating on his Owen Bradley-produced Nashville sessions of the '60s, this 31-track collection samples from eight different LPs released between 1961 and 1973, adding four previously unreleased tracks -- "Time to Bum Again," "Born for Trouble," "Unemployment Check," and "Hobo Jungle," none given specific copyrights in the liner notes -- to the mix. Many of these songs were written by Nashville heavyweights -- there's a ton of songs credited to Harlan Howard, and many more to Hank Cochran, Jack Clement, Boudleaux Bryant, Hank Cochran, and Mel Tillis -- which, combined with the role of Bradley and the omnipresent Anita Kerr Singers, goes a long way in explaining how firmly entrenched this music is within Music City, no matter what the candy-colored psychedelic artwork suggests. Only a handful of these cuts date from the back half of the '60s, and if the songs sometimes address the shifting tides (granddad Burl reads a "Girlie Magazine" in his easy chair; he sings a ditty about the "longhair boys and screaming females" on "The Sixties"), the bulk of the record consists of amiable country-pop performed with panache and a sly wink. Bradley's productions are a little more adorned than Ives' early folkier work, but this is still in that vein -- it's just that the songs are a little more varied musically and thematically, the productions a bit fuller. It's enjoyable and sometimes curious, but not revelatory.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:28
2 2:32
3 2:49
4 3:07
5 2:22
6 2:13
7 2:40
8 2:06
9 2:28
10 2:06
11 2:49
12 2:33
13 2:29
14 2:30
15 2:13
16 2:20
17 1:56
18 2:59
19 2:15
20 2:33
21 2:05
22 3:02
23 3:02
24 2:57
25 2:48
26 2:16
27 2:01
28 2:08
29 2:55
30 2:35
31 2:38
blue highlight denotes track pick