I grew up listening to country radio in the '70s and early '80s.
It was a time of flux, transitioning the hillbilly tendencies of the
genre towards a more mainstream pop sensibility. This was not necessarily
a good thing, and today has driven "country" music to the
likes of Toby Keith and Carrie Underwood
that have absolutely nothing to do with country music except the occasional
promotional photo with a cowboy hat on their heads. On the other hand,
back in the 1970s, this countrypolitan move gave us such amazing songsmiths
as Kenny Rogers, who after fronting the rock band The First
Edition went on to be responsible for more children conceived
while listening to country music than anyone else in history. His
songs have always been good, and his voice, to this day, is still
like the best Gouda cheese
tasty, smooth, with just a hint of
A Love Song Collection brings together a sampling of the balladry
that has come to make Rogers so incredibly famous in both country
and pop circles. From his earlier years come songs like the amazingly
syncopated "Love Will Turn You Around" and the beautiful
epic balladry of "You Decorated My Life." "She Believes
In Me" is a sure bet for those loveless, lonesome nights, while
the classic "Lady" had to be included simply because it
is one of the finest songs ever recorded. Some of Kenny's classic
duets are included here as well. He joins Kim Carnes on "Don't
Fall In Love With A Dreamer", sings the 80's ballad "We've
Got Tonight" with Sheena Easton, and who could forget
the incredible "Islands In The Stream" with his long-time
co-conspirator Dolly Parton. More recently, Kenny recorded
an incredible version of "Buy Me A Rose" with Alison
Krauss and Billy Dean, and that makes a great inclusion
if you've never heard some of his newer tracks, this is a nice gateway
recording. But no Kenny Rogers love song collection would be complete
without the incredible piano ballad "Through The Years"
that closes out this great compilation.
The only real glaring omission that I can think of is "What
A Difference You Made In My Life"
but if that's all I
can think of to complain about, well, then this is a great collection.
If you've been a fan of the Gambler for decades or simply need some
fine love songs to get your partner to remember the magic of falling
in love, this is a fine selection of some of Kenny's Finest
possibly some of the finest crossover love songs of all time.
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