GEORGE HAMILTON IV
New CDs Recorded In Texas and Canada
While many artists, with over 55 years in the business, may well be giving thought to slowing down, if not retiring, it’s quite the opposite for longtime Grand Ole Opry star George Hamilton IV.
Well known for his hectic tour schedules, both within the United States and internationally, George equally delights his legion of followers with a steady output of recordings. Certainly March 2011 is no different with not one but two new releases on offer – and both revealing his ease and ability to tackle different country music formats.
The first, recorded towards the end of last year, found the North Carolina born entertainer in Texas surroundings, the second presents the first ever complete compilation of all his Canadian recordings for RCA released during the 1960s and ‘70s.
George Hamilton IV In The Heart Of Texas – recorded in Brady, Texas and produced by one of the Lone Star’s most versatile entertainers, Justin Trevino – presents new versions of some of George’s top hits alongside Texas favourites made famous by such as Ernest Tubb and Bob Wills. It all adds up to a highly entertaining programme that includes Truck Drivin’ Man, Before This Day Ends, Somewhere South of San Antone and A Little Bit Of Everything In Texas while, as a bonus, there’s a Hamilton-Trevino duet rendition of the artist’s 1964 hit Fort Worth, Dallas or Houston.
The album is another first for George IV and in true Texas tradition, gives him the opportunity to “let loose” with musicians who keep their sounds solidly country. George Hamilton IV In The Heart of Texas is released, appropriately, by Heart of Texas Records and is launched by the singer with a series of Texas concerts, some accompanied by much acclaimed newcomer Georgette Jones, in late March.
My North Country Home brings together all George Hamilton IV’s Canadian recordings in a 3 cd pack released by Bear Family Records – and, in the best Bear Family tradition, is beautifully packaged with a 68 page booklet.
George IV was always keen to seek out new songs and songwriters and none more so when, after achieving success as a top selling country artist in the 1960s, he became intrigued by the Canadian music scene and was the first Nashville artist to record “folkier” material from North of the 49th Parallel. After becoming aware of Gordon Lightfoot (and recording sixteen of his songs, more than any other artist), he sought out material by such as Ray Griff, Buffy St. Marie, Ian Tyson, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. In total he recorded 82 Canadian songs on six albums, which included such “folk-country” songs as Steel Rail Blues, Canadian Pacific, Early Morning Rain, Urge For Going, Four Strong Winds, Both Sides Now and Did She Mention My Name. This is the first time that all the Canadian recordings have been released in one package.
It was the success of such recordings that led George Hamilton IV to host his own Canadian television series for seven years and, combined with his surfeit of European activities (both sides of the Iron Curtain), earned him the title International Ambassador of Country Music, presented by Billboard magazine in 1974.
GEORGE HAMILTON IV – In The Heart Of Texas (Heart Of Texas Records)
GEORGE HAMILTON IV – My North Country Home (Bear Family Records)