Picks and Pans Review: Today
updated 08/22/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/22/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Jimmy Fortune, 28, a local boy from the Statlers' home base of Staunton, Va., has replaced the retired Lew DeWitt as the group's tenor. That is the first personnel change in the easygoing Statlers' 18-year history, and it doesn't seem to have done any damage. (For those who've forgotten, the group got its moniker from a box of facial tissues that happened to be in their hotel room when DeWitt, Don and Harold Reid and Phil Balsley were looking for a name for their group.) The quartet still sounds relaxed, unpretentious and likable: nobody in country music has a warmer sound. But if harmonizing so well is so easy, why aren't we all doing it? This album, the Statlers' 24th, includes a couple of tunes written by Fortune—Promise and Elizabeth. Neither is exceptional, but there are some standouts on the album: Guilty, by the Brothers' brothers, Don and Harold; the happily nostalgic Some Memories Last Forever, written by Don Reid alone; and a gently spirited rendition of Sweet By and By. DeWitt? Fortune? A Statler by any other name sounds as sweet.