ARTIST: Conway Twitty
TITLE: The Best of Conway Twitty, Vol 1: The Rockin’ Years
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: I Need Your Lovin’ (#93), It’s Only Make Believe (#1), Mona Lisa (#29), Danny Boy (#10), Lonley Boy Blue (#6), What Am I Living For (#26), Is a Blue Bird Blue (#35), What a Dream (#106), C’est Si Bon (#22)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not by him unless you’re a rockabilly fiend
LINEUP: Conway Twitty + the MGM session players
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early rockabilly and Elvis-style ballads by an artist most known for his country songs and duets with Loretta Lynn.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Conway Twitty is an important country artist. He also has one of the all-time ballads in “It’s Only Make Believe”. But I bet you didn’t realize that at first he wanted to follow in Elvis’ footsteps.
It’s obvious from listening to this material that Twitty was straining when he tried the more uptempo numbers, and his real strength was in the Elvis style ballads. What he didn’t have is Presley’s material – though he did co-write “It’s Only Make Believe”. His vocal hiccups, which at times sounds like a bad impression of Barack Obama starting a sentence, is annoying.
There are some other decent songs here.”Lonely Blue Boy” was a worthy follow up. Country is where Twitty made his bones though, and most of these songs will be exiled.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Elvis recorded “Lonely Blue Boy” for King Creole but he didn’t use it.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: C-: I’m not a rockabilly scholar, nor a junkie, but I don’t think this is where Twitty’s strengths were – even then it was noticeable. As I said, EXILED except for a few cuts.