Music Reviews

Kitty Wells

The Best of Kitty Wells: The Millennium Collection


The lonely Tennessee voice of Kitty Wells is one of the most heartbreaking sounds you’ll ever hear in your life. A child singer who married young, she was 33 and just about to retire from the music biz when she recorded “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” for the $125 session fee – everyone was fairly surprised when it hit number one and stayed there for six weeks in 1952.

That’s the first track here, and it’s a classic. The rest of these songs were all top ten country & western hits (including “Makin’ Believe,” which somehow stayed at number two for 15 weeks – how does that happen?), and they’re all ace. The elemental power of “One By One” and “As Long as I Live,” her smash duets with Red Foley, cannot be denied, and you just aren’t human if you’re not moved by “Mommy For a Day,” which details the pain of a woman who only has visiting privileges on Sunday afternoons. The shivering strings here are bleaker than anything Nine Inch Nails or Marilyn Manson have ever recorded.

If you’re too cool for country, then stay away. If you think Garth and Toby are classic country singers, stay away. If you’re anyone else, you can’t really go wrong here. This is great stuff.

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