Gene Watson and Rhonda Vincent – Your Money and My Good Looks (CD Review)
1. Your Money and My Good Looks 2. Gone for Good 3. It Ain’t Nothin’ New
4. You Could Know as Much About a Stranger 5.Till the End 6. Alone Together Tonight
7. Out of Hand 8.This Wanting You 9. Making Everything Perfect Tonight 10. Sweet Thang
11. My Sweet Love Ain’t Around 12. Ashes of Mt. Augustine
Recording Date – 2011 02 28 – 2011 03 01
Label – Upper Management Music © 1948 Upper Management Music
Release Date – Jun 7, 2011
Catalog # – UM002
UPC – 881034740144
Time – 41:00
Honky Tonk meets Bluegrass as Gene Watson dubbed the “King of Country Soul” and the glamorous Rhonda Vincent “Queen of Bluegrass” unites on this collaboration project YOUR MONEY and MY GOOD LOOKS. The humourous album cover gives the game away as to who holds the money and has the looks! The first time Gene Watson and Rhonda Vincent sang face to face was at the Grand Ole Opry for a televised event. Due to delays they sang together without a rehearsal or having previously met. There was an instant chemistry as their vocals both complimented and blended perfectly.
Vincent sang backing vocals on Watson’s 2007 ‘In a Perfect World’ album and then as a duet partner lent her vocal chops on ‘Staying Together’ on his TASTE OF THE TRUTH release. YOUR MONEY and MY GOOD LOOKS has 7 country classics, 5 new songs and 3 penned by Rhonda Vincent and were produced by Herb Sandker. Watson & Vincent are backed by some excellent musicians. The cast includes Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Dirk Johnson (piano), Michael Rojas (piano), Mike Johnson (steel guitar), Michael Rhodes (electric bass), James Mitchell (guitars), John Gardner (drums) and Biff Watson (acoustic guitar).
The opening track is the toe tapping title cut and was co-written by Vincent with Terry Herd. They wrote together on her album THE STORM STILL RAGES.
Rhonda’s vocal is deliciously crystalline on the break-up ballad and first single ‘Gone for Good‘(see video) written by the 45rpms lead man and banjo player Jimmy Melton. He has composed songs for many top names in country music including Reba McEntire (‘I’ll Have What She’s Having), Chely Wright (‘Sea of Cowboy Hats) and Gene Watson (The coast of Texas). This track is a must-listen-to-highlight, is as country as it gets, and would have many a soul crying’ in their beer.
Country remains very much in the genes on the Larry Cordle & Larry Shell composition ‘It Ain’t Nothin’ New’, serving up generous helpings of steel and fiddle on this slow-paced ballad.
Gene Watson’s 1976 #10 chart hit ‘You Could Know As Much About A Stranger’ is given a new lease of life with Gene and Rhonda taking turns to step up to the microphone and then combine on the chorus.
The singers pay homage to the late Vern Gosdin on the heartfelt ‘Til The End’ (video) written by his sister Cathy Gosdin which scored a hit back in 1977. This song also made it way onto Alan Jackson’s album FREIGHT TRAIN in 2010 when Lee Ann Womack was his duet partner.
Two lonely broken hearts share their woes at the honky-tonk on ‘Alone Together Tonight’. It’s written by terrific artists Billy Yates, Ashley Monroe, and Terry Clayton. Seems like lonely is just a state of mind as they sing: You’re not alone if you can’t find someone to tell your troubles to, I’d like to share a few with you.
Gary Stewart’s # 4 hit from 1974 ‘Out Of Hand’ (written by Jeff Barry and Thomas Jans) provides a perfect duet number and likewise ‘This Wanting You’ from T. Graham Brown’s 1988 album Come As You Were hits all the right country notes.
On the mid-tempo ‘Making Everything Perfect Tonight’ ,self-penned by Rhonda Vincent, she plays the role of a doting housewife. Domestic life has been no bed of roses though and offers some friendly advice to her singing partner – “If you wanna stay together maybe you could help out around here” but with some “kissing and a-loving” it makes for a perfect night!
Another number dusted off from the country vaults is the humorous ‘Sweet Thang’ the 1966 top 5 song for its author Nat Stuckey which a year later was cut by Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn. In the hands of Vincent and Watson it’s blinking good!
I have always loved Suzy Bogguss’ (see video) take of Hank Williams classic ‘My Sweet Love Ain’t Around’. Here in duet mode it has a slower pace, is much bluesier and Vincent adds greater angst. The band members are allowed to take centre stage with some wonderful solo’s to close out the track.
The album bookend ‘Ashes of Mt. Augustine’ composed by Vincent is a bluegrass instrumental further showcasing the high quality musicianship.
With fiddle and steel guitar laced arrangements throughout this record along with duet vocals reminiscent of a George Jones and Tammy Wynette era it could easily hark back to the 60’s and 70’s. In fact those that miss lowering the stylus down in the groves a vinyl version is being made available! Lovers of the traditional country sound will think this is the way that it should be done.