Johnny Tillotson

The Very Best of Johnny Tillotson: The MGM Years

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You may well wonder what distinguishes this "Very Best of" Tillotson compilation from other best-of Tillotson collections, especially since one of those other best-ofs, Poetry in Motion, is on the very same label (Varese Sarabande) as this one. The answer is that this concentrates on his 1963-68 MGM recordings, when he largely moved into MOR country-pop after establishing himself as a pop teen idol artist in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Indeed, only four of the songs from Poetry in Motion are duplicated on this 17-track disc, and two of those ("It Keeps Right on a Hurtin'" and "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On") are re-recordings of the originals. A few of these MGM cuts were small hits, like "Heartaches by the Number," "You're the Reason," the Chip Taylor-penned "Then I'll Count Again," and "I Rise, I Fall"; the biggest item, "Talk Back Trembling Lips," made the Top Ten. Tillotson was a mild, mediocre country-pop singer, which makes this a disc of slight interest at best. One of the better cuts, the Fred Rose-composed "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," was previously unreleased.

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