Picks and Pans Review: Sweet Dreams
The Jessica Lange film about singer Patsy Cline focused new attention on one of the great lost talents of country music. Cline, who died in a 1963 plane crash, had a voice that was one of those natural wonders—rich, true, resilient, brimming with emotion. Lange had sense enough to use original Cline recordings on the sound track and lip-synch them, so this album is vintage stuff. Some of the backgrounds have been redubbed, to mixed effect. Back in the '40s and '50s Hank Williams had some crossover success, but nobody knew then exactly what to do with country musicians who had mainstream aspirations. So Cline's ballads, such as I Fall to Pieces, Walkin' After Midnight and Crazy (written by Willie Nelson long before he became Willie Nelson), were backed by lame-sounding backgrounds, as if she were Patti Page or Jo Stafford. For this record some of her original versions of up-tempo tunes, such as Seven Lonely Days and Williams' Lovesick Blues, have been rockabillied up, so they sound neither quite modern nor contemporary with Cline. But nothing distracts enough to interfere seriously with the artist. The only unhappy thing about this album is that it's a reminder of how much music was lost when Cline died at 30. (MCA)
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