Totally Biased Fan Review – Gary Ellis – Hands of Fame Appreciation Album – This One’s Just For You

It is hard to believe Gary’s age when you listen to his faultless vocals. There is not a quiver or a waver anywhere, he doesn’t falter. This album is definitely one to mellow out to. If you don’t know the significance of the Hands of Fame, then you have never been to Tamworth. There is a section near the bridge and West Diggers in Kable Avenue, Tamworth, that has the imprints of many stars of Country Music. To get your hands covered in cement, you have to be of a certain standard….a very high standard. I have put my hands on there, but only on top of Brendon Walmsley’s and Melinda Schneider’s, which happen to be next to each other! Gary was one of the hand sinkers this year. A lot of people said that it was way over due. Heck, 65 years in the biz is pretty good going.

Gary has had some tough times, but he seems to have come through it all. I have been able to meet some legends in Australian Country Music, I hope to meet Gary one day to add to the list. How amazing to sing this well at 80. It is great to see veterans like him and Rex Dallas, Reg Poole and all still singing so well and producing such quality material.

Apparently, Gary can’t play guitar anymore, but the musicianship on this album is very good. It doesn’t override the vocals, it works hand in hand with them.

A special mention to Bernie O’Brien for some great guitar work.

Tracks:

One more for Slim (Dustin Vosper): I love the ‘walk a country mile’ riff at the beginning. Great song and a nice tribute.

It Always Will Be (Willie Nelson/Kimmie Rhodes): What a lovely song. I thought that I knew every Willie Nelson song. There’s some replica Willie guitar licks and strums in this.

The Running Kind (Merle Haggard): If you are going to put a cover on an album, it has to be a Merle cover.

This One’s Just For You (Terry Morris): A tribute to Gary’s wife. A lovely hummable song.

A Little Peace (Ralph Siegel) – a catchy tune, a happy, hopeful tune.

The Little Tin Soldier (Cliff Richard) – An old Cliff Richard song. I listened to it before I read the credits. I thought that I had heard it before! Back to my childhood. A nice, gentle rendition.

Ticket to Heaven (Mark Knopfler) – I thought that I was in Mexico! Again, I hadn’t heard of this song, though I have seen Mark in concert a few times and I have most of The Dire Straits Albums and Local Hero. Lovely song.

Speed of the Sound of Loneliness (John Prine) – a classic song by one of my favourite songwriters. It is hard to go wrong with this classic. Some of the best lyrics ever written.

Shoo Shoo Shelala (Unknown) I remember a Wilf Carter version that my Dad had, did he write it? This is a fun song, a happy, feel good song. It is a lullaby but it can just be enjoyed at any age and at any time of the day. I had a Nanna Nap to it on the first play. On the third play, I was singing along.

A love that should have been (Jimmy Gleeson): This song has a nice 60’s twangy guitar feel to it (I am partial to that). It sounds very familiar. Maybe I am old enough to remember it but too young to be sure where I have heard it from.

In the Chapel of the Lord (Norm Burke): I am not sure if this is an official hymn, I think that it is more of a gospel song, a nice gentle one….no fire and brimstone here.

Just like Mona Lisa (B.G.Pollock) – Another great singalong song. It is also very 1960’s sounding. Toe tapping and shoulder shifting required.

The Blue Side of Me (Gary Gough) – You can’t get much more country than this. It is a familiar story, we all know a bloke like this.

Old Cowboys Never Say Goodbye (Ray Rose) –  I had images of John Wayne as I listened to this song. This is song is so country that when I played it, a tumbleweed rolled through my lounge room. My father is going to love this song when I play it to him. A good way to end the album.

The closest that Kaz is ever going to get to putting her hands in the Hands of Fame! 

 

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