Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is This The Most "Country" Singer Ever?

Just give his music a listen and you may be declaring him just that.  The artist that I am referring to is Mel Street.  The album I am reviewing today is "Mel Street 20 Greatest Hits".  In reviewing the album, I am going to change things up a little from the last album review.  I don’t think going over each song with a description is the best way to go about an album review because it ends up being long and boring.  However, I would like feedback on which method you like best.
"Mel Street’s 20 Greatest Hits" is available on CD and by mp3 download.  I will say that I think there is a song or two missing, but I believe this is probably the best overall collection of his music available at this point.  Maybe someday, a box set or at least a two disc version will be put together that will give us all of his best songs.  However, off the top of my head the only song that I believe is a huge oversight would be “Don’t Let Me Cross Over.” 
I’m going to give a little background for those of you who don’t know this man, who I am claiming may be the most country singer ever.  Mel Street was an auto body worker from West Virginia who was discovered by playing honky tonks and a small TV show.  Street quickly rose in the charts in the 1970s but never had a number one hit.  Street’s highest single “Borrowed Angel” topped out at number 5, and was covered by Ricky Van Shelton on one of his albums.  Sadly, Street took his own life in 1978 on his 45th birthday.  Street’s recording career only last six short years from 1972 to 1978, but his mark on country music will last a lifetime.
Along with “Borrowed Angel”, the CD also includes hits such as “Looking Out My Window Through The Pain” and “I Met A Friend Of Yours Today” both which were covered by George Strait.  The greatest hits album contains mostly cheating and love lost songs, but one of the biggest highlights is “Smokey Mountain Memories.”  The song is about a man who misses his home and his love he has left back home.  All the songs on the album are great.  I will dare say if you like the first song, you will like all of them.  Really the only song I could do without is his version of “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
After listening to Mel Street you may decide he is the most country singer ever.  If not, I think you will say he ranks in the top 10 anyways.  If you agree with me, this is a must have album.  For those of you that download mp3’s I would also suggest that you pick up “Don't Let Me Cross Over” to complete the collection.  Not only may Mel Street be the most country artist ever, but he may also be one of the most forgotten.  You will not hear his music on today’s country radio, and I hope this may have helped you discover a forgotten country legend.

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