Picks and Pans Review: Friendship
Country music stars are always sitting in on their pals' recording sessions; it's the Nashville equivalent of a barn raising or quilting bee. If the visits sometimes seem on the pro forma side, the practice in general is a congenial one and this is a particularly good-natured example of the genre. Charles sings with 13 different people on this album, counting the four Oak Ridge Boys, with largely happy results. The highlight is the title cut, the whimsical Cole Porter tune from his show Du Barry Was a Lady, which Charles spins off with Ricky Skaggs. Two Old Cats Like Us, with Hank Williams Jr., Crazy Old Soldier, with Johnny Cash, and Little Hotel Room, with Merle Haggard, also provide felicitous matchups for Charles' sly, gutty approach. The album's first single, Rock and Roll Shoes, with B.J. Thomas, seems a little on the lightweight side by comparison. Ray is in great voice and apparent good spirits, in any case. Nobody can ask for anything more entertaining than that. (Columbia)
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