Bear Family Release CDs by Eddy Arnold & Sonny Burns
There couldn’t be greater contrasts in 1950s country music as Bear Family release cds by Eddy Arnold in his “wilderness Years” and Sonny Burns who missed out on becoming Starday Records first major star.

Tears Broke Out On Me; Before This Day Ends; A Little Heartache; Chip Off The Old Block; Just A Little Lovin’; The Wall Came Tumbling Down; Molly; Sittin’ By Sittin’ Bull; Wabash Cannon Ball; Kisses Sweeter Than Wine; Little Sparrow; What’s The Good (Of All This Love); I’ll Hold You In My Heart; I’ll Do As Much For You Someday; Yesterday’s Memories; Lonely Balladeer; A Million Years Or So; After Loving You; She Called Me Baby; Tender Touch; I Met Her Today; Rhinestones; Sweet Adorable You; I Thank My Lucky Stars; You Were Mine For Awhile; Little Swallow; Real Love; My Woman; Don’t Cry No More; Jealous Hearted Me; Did It Rain; The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs; The Worst Night Of My Life. 
(Bear Family  BCD 17205 AH)
Bear Family continues its retrospect of Eddy Arnold’s phenomenal career, that earned him a place in the country music history books with more chart recordings than any other artist, with this 33 track single cd that spotlights the period 1956-63. He had wondered about his career and the changes that were taking place in music, stating “several times, during 1958 and 1959, when I had made little headway in developing a new image for myself, I seriously considered ending my singing career and devoting myself to business projects.” Elvis had arrived and was the focus of RCA’s marketing and promotion and Jim Reeves was very successful building his crossover career on the musical foundation that Arnold had abandoned.
This was the period of, as authorized biographer Don Cusic named, the “wilderness years” that only saw 16 Billboard chart appearances with, arguably, the most well known being Tennessee Stud that led on to the western themed “Cattle Call” album. Other chart entries included Chip Off The Old Block, Before This Day Ends, A Little Heartache, Yesterday’s Memories, A Million Years Or So, Jealous Hearted Me, Molly and Tears Broke Out On Me, though none had the impact of those earlier hits. Consequently they are harder to find and many have never appeared on LP, let alone compact disc. Now they are gathered together for this collection – and several, for the first time, in Living Stereo, alongside six recordings that never previously saw the light of day, My Woman, Dark At The Top Of The Stairs, The Worst Night Of My Life, The Wall Came Tumbling Down, She Called Me Baby, Jealous Hearted Me and Rhinestones.
Besides presenting recordings that haven’t been given the attention that they rightly deserve, this collector’s item shows Eddy Arnold’s initial involvement with the Nashville Sound that he helped pioneer. Dave Samuelson’s informative notes in the 42 page accompanying booklet covers this period of the artist’s career, his desire to sell to the pop market and with frustration when his songs were covered in that marketplace. The booklet also features 18 full page colour photographs and full recording information.
Other Eddy Arnold recordings on Bear Family:
Cattle Call (single cd) – BCD 15441 AH
The Tennessee Plowboy (1944-1950) (5 cd box set) – BCD 15726 EI
There’s Been A Change In Me (1951-1955) (7 cd box set) – BCD 16538 GI
Powder And Paint; Too Hot To Handle; Tho’ You’re In My Arms; Blue, Blue Rain; Close Your Eyes; Another Woman Looking For A Man; I Ain’t Long For This World; Just A Token; Think Again; You’ll Look A Long, Long Time; It’s Easier Said Than Done; A Real Cool Cat; Satan’s A-Waitin’; Frown On The Moon; A Girl Of The Street; Let’s Change Sweethearts; Six Feet Of Earth; If You See My Baby; Invitations (To Your Wedding); Heartbroken Me (& GEORGE JONES); Waltzing With Sin; Tell Her; A Place For Girls Like You; Heart Like A Dollar Sign; It’s So Easy To Love (But So Hard To Forget); God Knows I Tried; Won’t You Leave Him Alone; Wrong About You (& GEORGE JONES); Remember And Regret; Tell Her; Another Woman Looking For A Man.
(Bear Family  BCD 16877 AH)
Once again Bear Family does what the major labels completely ignore, giving another footnote artist big time attention with their own cd release. It’s certainly most worthy here as Sonny Burns started his recording career on the fledgling Starday Records and, if he handled his career wisely, could have become it’s first star instead of his Texas compatriot George Jones. As it was, the Jones career kicked with Why Baby Why, putting him on the ladder to an iconic career while Burns achieved nothing more than regional attention and, later, obscurity.
The problem with Burns is that he lived the wild lifestyle of womanizing and boozing that he sang about, regularly the theme of 1950s honky-tonk country music. He achieved Texas hit status with Too Hot To Handle and possibly his follow-up, A Place For Girls Like You, could have put him the national charts if Faron Young hadn’t covered the song and earned him a national Top 10 placing. A good buddy of the equally rowdy George Jones, they recorded a couple of duets – Heartbroken Me and Wrong About You  – and was set to record Why Baby Why, but Burns never turned up for the session, so Jones double tracked his voice. The record was backed with more promotion than Starday normally afforded, Jones was on his way and producer Pappy Daily decided the time had come for Starday and Burns to part company.
This collection contains Sonny Burns complete Starday recordings – 10 original singles, plus unreleased material and alternative takes, a total of 31 tracks – and provides a real insight into the hard driving music that filled the Texas dancehalls and honky-tonks of that era. Although Bear Family cds always come with detailed notes in the accompanying booklets, the 52 pages in this collection must be among the most informative ever, providing full biographical notes for an artist who, previously, only enjoyed a line or two in the occasional reference book.

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