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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bill Carter

Ramblin' Fever - The Complete Recordings 1953-61

Review by Gary Hill

This collection gathers up all commercial recordings by Bill Carter and releases them on two CDs. The music covers territory ranging from country to gospel and rockabilly with some variants under each of those headings. While a lot of this isn't really my flavor, I can appreciate the talent. I am sure folks who like these styles more than I do will probably really enjoy this.

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Track by Track Review
CD 1
A Woman's Way

Old school blues, bluegrass and some rockabilly are heard on this. The lyrics are seriously misogynistic and don't hold up well today, but they were a feature of their era I suppose.

A Story Book Affair
Down-home, deep South country music is on the menu here. I'm not crazy about this number, but it works well for what it is.
I Couldn't Keep From Crying
The fiddle on this brings a lot of style. This is another old time country piece. It's more effective than the one that preceded it, as far as I'm concerned.
That's Me Without You
Old school country sound is on the menu here. The sound on this leaves something to be desired. The tune works reasonably well, though.
Mexican Joe
More energized, this is a fun tune.
Honeymoon On A Rocket Ship
Hoedown, bluegrass music is on the menu here. This is quite entertaining, and I really like the fiddle playing a lot.
Big Jim Boogie
There is a heavy helping of pedal-steel guitar on this. The fiddle work is classy, too. This is a bluegrass instrumental romp that works well. It has some electric guitar soloing at play at times, too.
Honeycut Stomp
This instrumental piece has some killer guitar. The fiddle is tasty, too. I like this a lot.
Wednesday Night Swing
Built on a lot of bluegrass texture, this instrumental is also solid and competent.
Wild Strings
A bit more of a rock and roller, this instrumental is one of the standout pieces here. It has a great retro sound and some definite country angles to it.
Long Lost Girl
Another old-time bluegrass styled number, this is solid.
Making Believe
Old time country music drives. You'll likely recognize the melodies on this because it shares a lot of them without a couple tunes, including "On Top of Old Smoky." This is a fun piece, but it feels a little too slow.
More Than A Man Can Stand
A fairly slow, down-home tune, this works pretty well.
You Ain't Got My Address
I dig the driving energy of this bluegrass, hillbilly romp. I'm not as sold on the vocals, but this little tune is a lot of fun. I really love the guitar solo, too. It brings some rock and roll to bear.
By The Sweat Of My Brow
There is a slow blues vibe to this old-school country type piece.
Mama Loves Papa (And Papa Loves The Women)
More bluegrass and country-styled sound is on the menu here.
I Wanna Feel Good
Here we get an energetic rock and roller that's so much fun. It has some killer guitar work on display.
I Knew Her When
A slow moving, country ballad type number, this has a dense vocal arrangement.
I Used To Love Her
I dig the rock and roll and electric country sound on this tune a lot. It also has a great energy.
Too Used To Being With You
More balladic, this reminds me a little of Elvis Presley. It's a solid tune.
Baby Brother
Now, this is really different. There are some weird sounds that feel almost experimental as it starts. The tune has a real early 1960s rock sound to it. It's a fun romp.
Ride Gunman, Ride
A classy and dramatic Country Western sound is on the menu here. The vocals are in a particularly low register. We get some whooping voices in the background at times.
Ramblin' Fever
There is both country music and early rock and roll in the mix here. This is another solid tune.
Half Hour Til Sundown
Country and folk are merged here. This is a song about a man going to the gallows.
There are some hints of Island music on this tune. It feels a little like a novelty tune. It has plenty of folk and pop music of the time in the mix.
Seven Years
This electrified country stomper makes me think of Johnny Cash to some degree. It's a potent tune.
When God Dips His Love In My Heart
The pedal steel is a big part of the arrangement here. This is an old-school country tune. The lyrics land it in the gospel music zone.
Amazing Grace
I am not a fan of this song. In fact, there has only ever been one or two versions of it I could stand. This is not one of them. It's a pretty traditional gospel approach on display here.
This World Is Not My Home
Gospel based country music is the idea here. This works reasonably well, but is not any kind of standout.
Where We Never Grow Old
An echoey country sound is in the driver's seat here.
Cool Tom Cat (tape fragment - unedited)
I love this rock and roller. As you can guess from the parenthetical, it just sort of jumps right in. There is some killer drumming, and everything here works well.
Secret Date (unedited version)
A shuffling tune, this is a song about infidelity. It's an intriguing piece.     
Secret Date
This version is much slower. It also feels a little overdone in this recording.
CD 2
Cool Tom Cat

This is an energized rock and roller. It includes a short drum solo, and it's a lot of fun.

Jailer Man (unedited)
This is a solid tune, but nothing all that special.
Jailer Man
Another version of the tune, this isn't a huge change, but it does feel a little more immediate.
Jailer Man (alt. take with guitar overdub)
Here we get one final version of the song. I think I like this one best. The guitar overdubs definitely help the cause.
Legend Of Billy The Kid (unedited)
This is essentially a folk song. It's a good tune. There are some minor tape issues on this.
Legend Of Billy The Kid
More electrified and polished, I think I prefer the other version.    
Cross Road Bill Carter
Down home country music is the concept here.
Good Lord To Keep Me Happy
This country tune is bouncy and shuffling.
Won't You Go There With Me
A slower tune, this has both gospel and country music in the mix.
Full Time Religion
Bouncy and fun, I really like this a lot. It's packed full of country music and gospel lyrics.
Thank You Dear Lord
Down home country merges with gospel here.
Only A Tramp On The Street
This sounds quite a bit like the tune that preceded it.
Your Last Day On Earth
There is some static on the recording here. This another tune set in both country and gospel zones.
God's Mansion In The Sky
I like the energy and the melodies on this. It's another country gospel song.
Ain't You Gonna Change
While this is in much the same territory as the last few, it has an acapella section that sets it apart.
The Gates Of Glory
Not a big change, this is another gospel song.
Where You Gonna Hide
More rocking, this isn't a big change. It has an intriguing vocal arrangement. It also has some cool guitar work.
Glory In Your Soul
This is a bouncy gospel tune that works pretty well. It's catchy and fun.
Pony Express
A country and western number, this is a nice change from the last batch of tunes. It's also entertaining.
You'll Never Know
A bouncy tune, this is fun stuff.       
Dreambowl Commercial with Black Jack Wayne
This is what it says it is, an ad for an upcoming gig. The sound quality is not bad, but also not great.
Colt 45 -part I
This song seems to be a sequel to "Legend Of Billy The Kid." It's a folk styled western tune.
Colt 45 -part II
As you might guess, there is no big difference between this and the last tune.
Shot Four Times And Dyin'
A bluesy country styled number, this has a real classic texture.
Stranger Shake Hands With A Fool
Another energetic country tune is what we have here.
The 12th Man
More bluesy and balladic, this is still fully set in country music zones.
From Time To Time
The sound quality on this leaves a bit to be desired. It's another country tune. It's fine, but not really stand out.
I'll Be Still Loving You
A slow balladic cut, this feels somewhere between country music and old-school rock and roll. It's a nice bit of variety.
Steamboat's A-Comin'
Down-home, stripped back country music is the idea here.
Climb That Scaffold, Jimmy
Here is another country tune. It's also another about a guy heading to the gallows.
Stranger Shake Hands With A Fool (uptempo version)

This energized take seems stronger than the earlier version.

Looking Through The Bars
Here we get another prison song. It's also another that reminds me of Johnny Cash.
I've Missed You
A country tune, this works well with a mid-tempo groove.
Better Times Are Coming
Fast-paced and fun, this has a lot of bluegrass in the mix. This is actually one of the strongest things here, making for a great closer.
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