THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION; THE MERCURY YEARS
Humph Head Records ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚
The first ever compilation of all 20 of Johnny Rodriguez’s Mercury hits plus selected B sides and album tracks….a timely reminder of the huge impact the first Mexican-American country star made after his career launch in the 1970s – and an album that is great value for money!
It is rare that any country star achieves rapid success, but in his first two years in the music business, Johnny Rodriguez had achieved six top ten singles and three best selling albums. Aged just 20, Rodriguez was breaking new ground back in 1972 as the first Mexican-American country star as well as being one of the youngest performers to achieve such major success in country music. And over the following years a long succession of hit records and sell-out appearances have reaffirmed Rodriguez as a huge talent. Listening to this album reminded me what a capable song-writer Rodriguez was and his skill in selecting the best work of other writers was always impressive, too. He was also one of the first big names to feature both Spanish and English lyrics in his recordings (as in The Immigrant) – to great effect.
THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION; THE MERCURY YEARS is the most comprehensive collection yet of Johnny Rodriguez’s successful recordings on the Mercury label. This was a time when Mercury was at its best with artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom T Hall, RoyDruskyand Roger Miller on board. Fittingly,
Rodriguez’s first ever hit, Pass Me By (If You’re Only Passing Through) – a song written by Hillman Hall, Tom T Hall’s brother-opensCDone. Highlightsamongstthe other 49 tracks of this two CD compilation include Love Put A Song In My Heart, That’s The Way Love Goes (a number one for Rodriguezand Merle Haggard) as well as I Just Can’t Get Her Out Of My Mind and You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me).
Supporting musicians include Pete Drake on pedal steel guitar, Johnny Gimble on fiddle plus many familiar Nashville names and the quality is all you’d expect it to be with excellent production values.
The 49 songs selected for The Definitive
Collection are not only suited to Rodriguez’s voice but to his world; the South West of dance halls, mesquite and barbecue; of car radios and outdoor dances. Highly evocative – and part of the reason why this album is rather special. Nick Dent-Robinson